Friday 3 January 2020

Opinion Piece: Uncared for ex Tottenham players roll up to the Five Live retirement home

Happy New Year!

Some people like to begin their resolutions in earnest, beginning the new year, new decade, in positive form. It may not last but it's the effort that counts. Well done to all of you with that attitude.

Me - I'm going to moan about the number of mediocre former Spurs players in the media!

On New Year's Day itself, largely forgotten White Hart Lane turf-treader Andy Reid (yes, you remember, also played for Nottingham Forest, bit tubby for a footballer, little chap, dark hair, played on the, not Jose Dominguez, but made almost the same kind of impact) was among a panel of Five Live "experts" (Dion Dublin was also classified as one of these) discussing the topical points of the day, presented by Steve Crossman, who is obliged to ask the questions.

In fairness to Reid he isn't annoying, merely a voice over the airwaves that follows the main commentator, just his Irishness standing him out from the crowd of dull observers. His approach, unsurprisingly, is less combative than his colleague Michael Brown, also from the same era of mid-2000's Tottenham Coldspur. Brown scored 22 goals in the Championship for Sheffield united in 2002-03, and I was a little worried when he joined Spurs, but oddly he performed in David Pleat and Martin Jol's teams as a fouling midfielder in the David Howells mould. Leaving Tottenham two years later to literally scrap for a middling career in the Premier League with Wigan and Portsmouth, Brown returned to the top flight a couple of years ago to bless listeners to the world service with his priceless experience of trophy-hunting (lost 1-0 to Chelsea in 2009 FA Cup Final).

Another underwhelming lilywhite from the time, Jermaine Jenas, took the bold step of indulging in title talk as a Match of The Day pundit, insisting during the "business end" of 2015-16 that Leicester City "will feel the nerves" at the top of the table, while his former North London employers hung on to their coat-tails. My research team tell me that across his six seasons as a Spurs player, JJ finished 6th, 5th, 11th, 8th, 4th and 5th in the Premier League, so to come to his title-race conclusion he presumably called upon personal memories from the Sunday League or on Championship Manager.

Jenas's MOTD pal, Danny Murphy, hails from the same Tottenham Hotspur period of insignificance, but both men over the last few seasons have regularly commentated on a period of The Lane history that is far more respectable than theirs. Murphy did enjoy a successful spell at his home club Liverpool, but none of the others I've mentioned would have got anywhere near Mauricio Pochettino's sides. New Spurs boss, Jose Mourinho, might possibly have considered Brown as an option, but then more probably would have thought better of it, even when looking at Eric Dier.

There are more celebrated Tottenhams in the media - Hoddle, Waddle, Lineker - and their positions aren't questioned (by me anyway) though I guess that the Five Live factory of average players from average Tottenham teams (granted, Jenas won caps for England, but can anyone other than him remember the matches in question?) taking up the mic just goes to show how difficult it is these days to break into pub ownership or mini-cabbing.

Antony Gardner, we are expecting you!     

Image result for Jose Dominguez Tottenham   Andy Reid (left) - not to be confused with Jose Dominguez (below).                                                                                                              
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