For the third and final installment of Inside the Opposition: Spurs, we talk to influential Spurs fan Jack McInroy. Jack was the founder and editor of a now defunct Tottenham blog, You’ll Win Nothing With Yids, and currently spends his time producing superb weekly podcasts. Jack is a fascinating and hilarious tweeter whose opinion on Spurs is extremely well respected. Here, we talk to him about all things Spurs and City ahead of Sunday’s big game at the Etihad.
How convinced are you that Villas-Boas is the man to improve on Redknapp’s team?
It’s always been an appointment that could go either way. Brilliant job at Porto, horrible stint at Chelsea. Not everything he’s done so far has filled me with confidence. Some of his team selections are odd and he is a bit rigid, but I’m definitely behind him, unlike many people I’ve had the misfortune to sit near at White Hart Lane this season.
The other thing is that Redknapp set the bar very high. Can Villas-Boas do better than fourth? Can he take us further than the quarter final of the Champions League? In the next couple of years, probably not, but at some point? Quite possibly.
Jan Vertonghen looks like an excellent signing. What do you make of him?
I must admit I’m a bit of a moralist (or moralizer, which ever is the right word), and I find shirt-pulling absolutely reprehensible. Commentators and pundits (even fans) are so focused on the evils of diving that defenders get a free pass to cheat. Vertonghen gets hold of opponents’ shirts at any opportunity.
That said, he is very good on the ball and reads the game well and when Younes Kaboul is back they have the potential to be a very good partnership. He’s also done a fine job at full-back in Benoit Assou-Ekotto’s absence.
How weird is it watching Spurs without Ledley King? And has there been a better English defender in the last 15 years?
Ledley King is up there with Rio Ferdinand and Sol Campbell as the very best English defenders of the last few years, probably ever.
Watching Spurs without Ledley King is nothing new though. We got used to that over the last 6 years. His deterioration in the second half of last season (you’ll remember the injury time penalty he conceded to Mario Balotelli at Eastlands in January) made his retirement a necessity.
What position is most in need of strengthening at Spurs?
Luka Modric’s departure has left us a little short of creativity. Moutinho was an unrealistically good replacement and the deal didn’t quite go through. We’ve still got a wealth of talented central midfielders to choose from (Sandro, Moussa Dembele, Parker), but none with the magic touch of Modric.
There’s also a lack of depth up front and Clint Dempsey, who I like and think will come good, has done little to allay that so far. He’s been dreadful in most games.
Who’s the most debonair manager in the league – Villas-Boas or Mancini?
I think Villas-Boas probably shades it with his husky Richard Harrow voice (one for Boardwalk Empire fans), even if Roberto Mancini is the more handsome man.
Makes a change from Harry Redknapp, who looks like a half deflated space hopper someone has drawn extra chins on.
Who has the best kits – City or Spurs?
Our previous two home kits were our best of the modern era, but this year’s looks like a rugby shirt , and not in a good way. The grey and black third kit is even worse. I feel bad saying that, because Under Armour’s commitment to social networking has been commendable, and they even tweeted their sympathies when my sister was blinded in one eye in the summer.
City have the luxury of being manufactured by Umbro who are currently making the best kits since sponsors ruined everything in the 70s. Everything they do at the moment is good, but the City shirt isn’t one of their best. I do like the black and white badge though.
My favourite Premier League kits this season are Liverpool home and Everton away. I’m a sucker for a monochrome embroidered badge.
Daniel Levy or Lord Sugar?
Levy has been the single most important person in Spurs’ (relative) success in the last 7 years, but I will never forgive him for trying to move Tottenham Hotspur out of Tottenham. A lot of people insist he was bluffing, but I’m not at all convinced.
Who’s been your best player so far this season?
Dembele has only played a handful of games, but he already looks the key player, the driving force of the midfielder. He’s a great signing and the sooner he’s fit the better.
Jermain Defoe is also in scoring form (although his importance shouldn’t be overestimated, the team needs Emmanuel Adebayor more) and Aaron Lennon is causing problems for defences week in week out. He remains one of the most underrated players in the country.
What’s your perception of City from the outside?
Billionaires that aren’t getting enough for their money. Failed in the Champions League again and even last season’s last minute title grab was more entertaining than it was impressive.
Roberto Mancini was a superb footballer, but as a manager he’s never achieved more than par with the huge clubs he’s been in charge of. While he’s at City I can’t see them realising their full potential.
What would constitute a good season for Spurs?
We need to qualify for the Champions League. We were a better side than Chelsea last year, but the additions of Oscar and Eden Hazard moved them back ahead of us. The huge amount of money they spent in the summer was a stark reminder that they, like City, are filthy rich.
It would be nice to win the FA Cup too, but I couldn’t care less about the Europa League.
I suspect we’ll lose, but it won’t be as painful a defeat as last year’s absolute heartbreaker.