Writer: J P Fear
Date:Wednesday January 18 2006
An interview with Arron Ludlam, a Spurs fan as we look to the weekends clash at White Hart Lane.
Here is the interview I did for the Vital Spurs site: Click Here
So, Spurs are chasing the big boys in the league are above Arsenal. Enjoying your season?
Yeah itís going great with the exception of our performances in the cup. Itís a complete turnaround in that respect, we used to be a good cup side and pants in the league now itís the other way round. I doubt we are good enough to stay in fourth all season but if we did it would be as good as winning the league if we beat that lot down the road to a champions league place. In truth any kind of European qualification would be a good year for us.
What has caused the turn around?
I think there has been a massive culture change at the club. We used to buy top players with big reputations but sadly at the end of their careers in a desperate rush to find some kind of success. What Levy, Jol and though I hate to say Arnesen too have done is take a different approach, they set out the need to be patient up front and then went on one of the biggest recruitments of young bright talent this country has ever seen. I honestly believe we are not that far away from the approach Manchester United took with the likes of Scholes, Giggs, Beckham etc. and hopefully any kind of similar success in the next 5 years would be great. I think that kind of spending is over now though and itís key we now compliment our young bright squad with one or two really world class signings, we are only a Henry away from being better than Ar*enal (sorry canít bring myself to say their name). The only worry as a Spurs fan though after years of suffering is that it remains as yet to be seen whether this is another false dawn or something more sustainable, we have all had high hopes before. The signs are really good this time around and we are all behind Martin and the boys hoping the dream will come true.
Obviously you face the original claret and blues on Saturday. Who do you fear in the Villa side?
Hmmmm can I say not many? Just kidding JP! Angel and Baros have a history of tucking us up so I will be wary of those two if playing.
Who should Villa fear at Spurs?
I am hoping Jermain Defoe will be back in the side this week with no Mido due to the ANC. If he is, he will have a big point to prove and I always fancy him playing at home. Carrick is majestic at the moment in midfield and really runs things for us. I reckon he sees more of the ball than any other player in 90 minutes. Jenas has started to look good for us too, he has got bags of talent and now finally, he is starting to apply it to his game. From a literal ďfearĒ perspective you should definitely be concerned about Davids, the man is a legend. Ok so heís not quite the player he was in his prime but he is still fantastic. He has a gladiatorial (not sure if that word really exists but I liked it) approach to the game, Iím sure I even spotted him uttering the words ďI am Spartacus!Ē the other day following a tackle on Gerrard. Defensively King and Dawson are a fantastic pairing who will only get better, I think they can deal with Angel and Baros at home but we will see. Finally watch out for Lennon if he plays, I guarantee if he does you wonít have a quicker player in your side, this lad is going to be very big in the game with his pace and equal amounts of skill.
Why do you have 3000 strikers in the squad and who in your opinion are the best?
Actually we need one more please, a big target man to compete with Mido for a place in the side. Rumours suggest it could be Dirk Kuyt but I remain unconvinced we will get him, it would be great if we could though. Jol likes to play with one big and one small as has been well documented, of the two small boys, Defoe and Keane, I personally favour Defoe despite Keaneís recent good form. Defoe on form is one of the best natural finishers in the league, Keane on the other hand has great skills but can be wasteful in front of goal despite his ability to create chances for himself. In fairness both are good players though that I would like to keep at the club. On the other hand we have Rasiak who we signed from Derby as cover for Mido who frankly in my view and many others is one of the worst players we have seen at the Lane for a very long time. Rasiak is the reason we still need to sign one more forward!
What do you think of the talk of moving away from White Hart Lane like Arsenal are from Highbury?
I honestly believe Cashburden Grove will be the downfall of the Goons, they really should have stayed at Highbury despite it being better known in North London as ďThe LibraryĒ and just generally as a bit of an old hole. They have lost a lot of the popular armchair vote to Chelsea, they donít have any money to reinvest in decent players because of the weight of the stadium round their neck and I donít see that changing anytime soon since they are financed up to the neck. My heart bleeds for them obviously (*snigger*) but most importantly there are real lessons to be learnt here for Spurs not only from Arsenal but also Manchester City, Ipswich Town, Southampton etc, Come to think of it I canít think of anybody who has made moving to a new ground or significantly redeveloping the old one a financial or playing success, can you? Maybe Man Utd. on the redeveloping side but even they have problems now.
I think it would be fair to say that we could do with another 10k on our capacity though, I would love to see the Lane improved to cope with that but that will require the transport links to be improved. We have a great atmosphere at the Lane now, one that puts Ars*nal and Chelsea to shame and it would be a tragedyto lose that. Negotiations with the local council and London transport havenít gone well in that respect as far as I can tell. If we have to move then I would like to see us not build from scratch and have the same problems as Arsenal. If we decide to share Cashburden Grove I personally would never go to a home game again! The new Wembley would be too big in my opinion but the new Olympic stadium might be an opportunity for us although itís a shame itís out of the borough. I suppose they could always adapt the plans a little and call it Tottenham 2012!
Do you think you finally have the right board of directors and manager at Spurs?
Yes more or less, I go back to my earlier point. I think the Culture change has been significant and things just feel right now whereas in the past you always felt there was rot at the core.
I have seen some Spurs fans moan at the style of play that you are now playing. Is this a fair criticism or are they just shocked that you are now able to grind out matches and win?
Tough one this for a Spurs fan, its fair to say we donít play the same total football we have done in the past (to no success whatsoever in the last God knows how many years I hasten to add) and that we do use the direct route as a tool in our kitbag. That said I donít think we are a bad side to watch still when we play with wingers yet sometimes Jol tends to tuck the midfield in a little bit which doesnít produce quite the same flair and style. Iíd love us to be playing the glory glory game week in week out but I think there has been a culture change in the fans too, the attitude now I believe is win first and look to play after that. As long as we move along those lines I think everyone will be happy though I would be concerned if we became a total win at all costs regardless team with no respect for the fans, the league or any other club in the premiership (no prizes for guessing who I am referring to here!)
What is your impression of Aston Villa? Big club, also ran, sleeping giant or...?
Identical to Spurs 3 years ago? Thereís not much difference between us in truth historically, we are both big clubs living of former glories when we should have achieved a lot more in recent years. I get the sense of Villa being really in the doldrums though, treading water without going anywhere. Your miserable as sin manager doesnít help does he? He seems to spend all his time whining and moaning about all the reasons why he canít win a game which I have to say I find a little irritating, not least because heís an ex-Goon. I also detect a lot of unrest around the Ellis situation which is probably having an effect on David Oh!íWeary too? You really need the same kind of culture change as we started out on 2 years ago to turn things around, perhaps starting with the departure of Ellis and possible Oh!íWeary too!
Would you like to sing a chorus of Ellis out for us on Saturday please?
Yeah sure, we did ďSouness outĒ for Newcastle since they were so quiet at our place over Christmas.
Finally, what is your prediction for the game?
2-0 to Spurs, you wouldnít expect me to say anything else would you? This should be a game we win on paper but hey you never know!
Date:Wednesday January 18 2006
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