When Tottenham manager Juande Ramos strengthened his League Cup-winning squad with quality players such as Luka Modric, Giovani dos Santos and David Bentley, Spurs fans had every reason to think their team would be challenging for more prizes in English soccer.
Few would have believed that, after six games, Spurs would be last in the Premier League with only two points in their worst start to a season in 53 years.
Far from looking like a side capable of challenging the traditional top four of Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool, Spurs are in crisis. Right now, they can’t even keep up with Stoke, Bolton, Middlesbrough and Fulham. Even a League Cup victory at Newcastle hasn’t lifted the gloom.
Until Sunday’s 2-0 defeat at Portsmouth — a side which had conceded 10 goals without reply in its previous two games — Tottenham fans had kept faith with Ramos, the man who had guided Seville to two UEFA Cup triumphs.
But it was too much for a section of supporters who chanted “You don’t know what you’re doing” when Ramos took off the club’s latest big signing, Russian striker Roman Pavlyuchenko, and replaced him with the uninspiring Darren Bent.
The fans clearly wanted two strikers on the field, especially with their team two goals down, and they have been puzzled by Ramos’ repeated, seemingly needless lineup changes from game to game.
Nineteen different Spurs players have started so far this season.
The Tottenham followers see Aston Villa, a club which has the same ambition to break into the top four, third in the standings and Villa manager Martin O’Neill has started with the same 11 in every league game. The last time a Villa manager had this approach, the team won the English league in 1981 using only 14 players all season and followed that up with the European Cup — now Champions League — a year later.
That’s the sort of achievement Spurs fans have been dreaming of for years.
Right now it’s hard to see where their next league victory is coming from.
Spurs’ next game is at home to Hull City, the team that only made it to the top flight for the first time in its 104-year history through the promotion playoffs last season.
While that would have seemed like an easy three points when the fans looked at the fixture list at the start of the season, they will be glad of just one right now.
Hull has turned out to be no pushover and on Saturday scored a stunning 2-1 victory at Arsenal.
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