Monday, October 6, 2008

Titanic Tottenham should avoid the drop

The press are making a lot out of the fact Tottenham's start to the season is their worst since 1912 - the year the Titanic sunk. But is that really a fair comparison? The Titanic was a mighty ship, whereas Spurs are more like pedalos in comparison!

The massive amount of money been thrown at the English Premier League's version of the game was always going to cause one of the "established" clubs a lot of problems. That it happens to be Spurs is irrelevant to an extent, as if it wasn't them, it would have been someone else.

But can Spurs really, like the Titanic 96 years ago, actually go down? On the surface (the best place for a boat to be) no team is too big to go down, but there is still a long way to go. Just as some pundits have been making wild claims Aston Villa will challenge for a top-four slot, it's far too early to be making serious predictions about a club the size of Tottenham Hotstpur.

One thing worth considering is that Spurs are one of the seven clubs to have played in every season of the Premier League since it began, on that terrible day back in the 1990s, along with Arsenal, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool and Manchester United. Of those, clearly Everton and Villa would have to be considered the most "at risk".

For Everton's chairman has already said the club needs a billionaire owner, while Aston Villa don't have the money to compete at the very top table, or the global brand to force their way in. Randy Lerner, their owner, may be a nice enough guy, but money talks - and his £600million or so won't go far in the crazy system we now exist in.

The next interesting thing will be to see who takes over Newcastle, how much money they have, and whether Sheikh Mohammed, either on his own or with a consortium, buys Liverpool. For it is possible that a new power group will exist, ending the days of a top-four but creating a new, even more divisive era between the haves and the have lots!

Hull City - fun, however long it lasts

Hull City have been a breath of fresh-air this season - and have shown that sometimes teamwork can overcome stronger teams packed with more expensive, if not better, players. Their defeat of troubled Spurs, shortly after dispatching Arsenal, was enjoyable.

However, it's unlikely to alter the pre-season predictions. Despite their decent start (they are third in the table!), I wouldn't personally bet against Hull getting relegated and I certainly wouldn't bet on Spurs going down. But stranger things have happened, which is why football can, at times, still be enjoyable, despite the obscene amounts of cash involved.

As well as enjoying Hull's unlikely league position, it's also great to see a new face in the dug-out enjoying the action. Phil Brown is currently the highest-placed English manager (with Harry Redknapp at Portsmouth the next-nearest) and is quite correctly winning plaudits across the land.

After beating Spurs, Brown said: "Tottenham might have had 23 shots but the best chances fell to Hull City. My hardest job after last week was to keep their feet firmly on the ground and make sure that they weren't over-confident. We're about three points ahead of our points tally because we didn't expect to beat Arsenal at the Emirates. We are ahead of schedule. It is dreamland."

Brown makes a great point. Nobody expected Hull to beat Arsenal but, once they did, the current trials and tribulations of Spurs made another win possible. To keep his players focused on the job in hand, despite being outplayed for long periods, showed a resilience any newly-promoted side needs if they are to bridge the gulf between the Premier League and Championship.

So while I remain convinced Hull City will be relegated, I'm happy to cheer them on as they stick a proverbial finger up at the big money boys in the top-flight - and if they do manage to stay up, especially if at the expense of a club who have spent silly money, it will be because of the "all guns blazing" opening they have made to their first-ever Premier League campaign.

Though even after beating Spurs and Arsenal, there is still someway to go before Hull's greatest-ever moment is beaten:

I'll get my coat...!