Monday, 9 November 2015

Spurs On The Up!

Confession time. This might come as something of a shock to many of few. It certainly shocks me. Here it is: I’ve always had something of a soft spot for Tottenham Hotspur. What, the laughably unsuccessful neighbour of the not quite so laughingly unsuccessful Gunners? (Okay, 2 FA Cups makes that very hollow.) Yes. Them. What the hell has North London got to do with a boy raised on steel and smog?

Well let me put this in context. First of all there was a brief time in the very early 70’s when Spurs were the last team to win the Double. Arsenal did it too in ’71 when Charlie George belted in an extra time screamer at Wembley but at the time the Double was a rare beast indeed, like an albatross in golf, or a decent cross from Shaun Wright-Phillips.
That 1961 double-winning team was captained by Danny Blanchflower, a man who turned down Eamonn Andrews on This Is Your Life. A hero of our age in other words. In the 70’s they won nowt as far as I can remember but David Coleman used to love shouting ‘Chivers… 1-0!’ on Match of the Day and they had a bit of that swagger about them.
A few years later and they were parading two members of the victorious Argentine World Cup winning squad. Osvaldo Ardiles was one of them. God it was exotic! Like opening your curtains and finding a flamingo trotting about in your water feature (I don’t have a water feature by the way but I hear North London is full of them). Bobby Robson managed a similar trick at Ipswich with the majestically spindly Dutch duo of Muhren and Thijssen. Ardiles spent that World Cup dancing about the Argie midfield as if he held the ball on a gossamer thread attached to his big toe.
Joining him at Spurs was a suspiciously elegant genius called Glenn Hoddle – one of those too talented Englishmen who, far from being celebrated for the nigh-on supernatural capabilities of his feet, was merely decried for not tracking back enough. (“So what if he can hit a seventy-yard pass onto Tony Galvin’s instep, can he outmuscle Claudio Gentile? Nah, I thought not. Poof!”)
With Steve Archibald and Garth Crooks forming a surprisingly sharp spearhead – Crooksy looks and sounds a lot blunter these days – this was the team to watch. It lacked pragmatism but more than made up for that with good old-fashioned flair. In essence they were a Cup team – which is football-speak for ’11 Fancy Dans who don’t like it much when it gets cold’.
From amongst the swirls of and spumes of Teesside, this seemed like glamour writ large. There they were in their spotless white shirts (apart from Steve Perryman who was the only bloke who liked a tackle in the whole team), the cockerel crowing cockily on their breasts, a bunch of lads playing continental footy the like of which we’d not really seen before. This was pre-Wenger, pre-Juninho… Spurs have always been a little bit bling, what with your Gazzas and Waddles and Ginolas.
There’s been some lowly and frequent hiatuses – Christian Gross wasn’t a name that promised much, indeed it sounds more like a couple of adjectives you might use when describing the American Republican Party, and Juande Ramos proved a Juan-day wonder, picking up a cup and then leaving Tottenham rock-bottom.
It’s hard to believe that Daniel Levy has been a wholly beneficial force at the club. His policy of managerial appointments has too often resembled Graham Norton’s red chair. But the current occupant of the hot seat (and if his seat’s hot then the one at Leeds United must be a bloody inferno)  Mauricio Pocchetino may just be lugging the club beyond its traditional position as Not Quite As Good As It Thinks It is.

Obviously Spurs were once just a botulism-infested lasagne away from Champions League glory – well, qualification anyway – and this may be the year they get there. Chelsea’s continued difficulties offer the opportunity to someone to get a top four spot. 

Of course, Chelsea are helped in their cause when the opposition centre-half stinks. I believe Diego Costa. He didn’t spend nearly enough time in the opposition penalty area cos old Stinky Shawcross was there. And NOT because Chelsea can’t create anything much at the mo unless it’s a fluky own goal or a Willian free-kick. Seriously though, anyone who’s worn a football shirt for more than ten minutes knows they bloody stink of their own accord. At least that’s my excuse.

So can Spurs clamber higher? Well possibly. Citeh should really win it at a canter but much depends on the tweaks and twinges of Aguero who seems to pull up more often than a medieval drawbridge. Arsenal have their injury concerns too. If you’re English and wearing a first team Gunners’ kit the stretcher-bearers are virtually following you round the pitch.
Leicester can’t possibly keep this up. Yes, I know it’d be nice. But it won’t happen. And Man U – well as a spectacle right now it’s like Crossroads - unwatchable and yet somehow always on. Spurs just need Kane to keep firing, Son to get fit again and Eriksson to maintain some brilliance for more than the odd half-hour and there’s a real chance for them.

So there… with the dizzying dribbling of Ossie and Ginola addling my nostalgia-ridden brain I’m going to say it. Spurs will do it this season. They’ll win the title…
…. of runners-up to Man City.

  

64 comments:

  1. No way am I first...
    I don't even care about being first and I'm bloody first!

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  2. Some great writing there, RR - laughed out loud at Christian Gross, and your closing flurry of Aguero, Arsenal and Man U/Crossroads? Nearly wet myself. One of your best - cheers!

    Spurs could indeed be this year's Liverpool, getting pipped at the end by one o' them 'bigger' clubs. But everyone seems to be stepping on one banana peel or another these days. Could be a wide-open season, and Spurs might just be a pipper, rather than a pippee.

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  3. I didn't mind Spurs.2nd best ever FA Cup final goal (behind Roger Osborne,obviously) with Ricky Villa.Hoddle in his playing days was utterly magnificent (maybe his punditry is karma for sins committed in a previous life.Not sure if it's his sins or ours) Even managed to win a penalty shoot out to win the UEFA Cup.

    Then bent old 'arry came along and ruined it.Can't stand him.How he's not in stir I'll never know.I'm tempted to open an off-shore account in the name of my dog and see how HMRC like it.(The answer being I'll share a cell with Godber)

    It would be nice to see a change to the standard top 4,but I'm fairly it won't happen.Pocchetino wants to be careful when offered a pot of tea that it isn't glowing slightly.

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  4. Great read as always Robbo. I'm sorry to disagree with you Jacks but the Villa goal was the best I have seen in an FA cup final. You just couldn't believe he managed it. How the current Villa (Aston) would love that amount of talent.

    Hoddle is a jerk when he speaks but his talent was brilliant. Like many great talented British footballers this was not appreciated enough (ref the exceptional Le Tissier who was a one club man and all the better a man for it).

    I still think Spurs will try to lose out and feel that Southampton will be in the mix also. Their defence has improved even more this season with Van Dyke seeming a bargain at £13m. He had great training at Celtic you see.

    My top four are Man City, Man Utd, Arsenal and then Southampton. Bet nobody had Chelsea as a team outside the top four at the start of August. BTW I kept my promise of not mentioning Chelsea in the last blog so I will just add STOKE hahahahaha.

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  5. good stuff Robbo, like a walk down memory lane, Alan Gilzean deserves an honorable mention!

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    1. Mr Wet Underpants 198910 November 2015 at 13:18

      “More Brawn”, “I’m Out On Bail”
      “She Looks Like Alan Gilzean”
      “No Spare”, and there we were
      We had our first EP

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  6. It'd be a whole lot easier to have a soft spot for Spurs if they didn't have so many wankers for supporters.

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    1. There are wanker supporters for every club in every sport on the planet. Fortunately or unfortunately, it depends on what type of wanker supporter they are. The best wanker supporters being the ones that point out they won, you lost your last game, or both and move on. No pinching or chaffing. The worst wanker supporters being the ones so starved for any sort of footballing conversation, they cause all sorts of delays and irritation while in a queue. All pinching and chaffing with most certainly a rash. I'm lucky as most wanker supporters around me follow a La Liga or Serie A side. I simply pretend to listen to their pointless blather.

      Cheers,
      ~74

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  7. It's about time the 'top four' is refreshed with some new faces/teams. Leicester are a breath of fresh air, fearless, committed and in-your-face; real joy to watch, coming back from 2-0 down etc. Pocchetino was excellent at Saints and it seems like he fits the Spurs glove, well, like a glove. I'm a ManUtd fan, probably spoiled by the excesses of the past two decades but I appreciate the effort and clever use of limited skills that the so-called 'un-fancied' teams bring to the table. Football is not just trying to emulate Messi...
    The only problem, as ever, is the 38-game season + two cups, ie. the size of the squad and consistency: cliche - "the league is won in May but lost in November".

    SashPie

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    1. Wouldn't the best analogy for a Spurs glove fit be a hand?

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  8. An excellent blog as usual, I'd never thought I'd see the day the Spurs would be a featured subject. To me, the Spurs are perpetual underdogs or under-cockerels. The earliest example being the 1900-01 FA Cup. A recent example being shafted by Chelsea's CL win in 2011-12. They're not a team to be supported by the casual follower of the beautiful game. The heartbreak of all the ups and downs will destroy your spirit in time. It can't matter to one whether the Spurs are winning losing. You can only try to sing "When The ..." louder, than "they" make hissing sounds.

    Cheers,
    ~74

    PS ¿Jacques Santini?

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  9. I have a soft spot for the Sp^rs......... I sit on it.

    Being a narf Lahndan lad and hailing from the non toxic and unlooted end of the Sevensisters Rd I can't be 'aving any of this "Tottnum were a good team to watch" malarky. Big team, my arse(nal), they have always been crap (especially when they weren't), never won anything of note (the double was waaay easier back then before the invention of colour tv) and have always, and will forever be in our shadow. Sorry, that's just the way it is. They are a big club in the way that Newcastle are a big club, ie, they are not.

    However, relocation and age has mellowed me (ever so slightly), and I must admit, I've been pretty impressed with what I have seen from the Tiny Totts this year. Pottychino has moulded them into a hard working unit with a visable game plan that calls for them to press high up the pitch and try to win the ball back as quickly as possible, which they seem to do well.

    For the first hour of Sunday's derby they were the better side and I can't remember a Spertz team (in the PL era) that looked so comfortable playing in a proper stadium (Highbury/The Grove). They pressed, harried and pretty much bossed the midfield, they looked calm on the ball and really should of won................

    But they didn't, and that should be a worry.


    Arsenal were well below par. We just had our arses handed to us away to the best team in Europe and were missing too many players, some of which you would expect to start, others that definetly would of made at least the bench. Take out the likes of Walcott, Ramsey, Bellerin, Oxlade Chambo, Welbeck, Wilshere and Rosicknote from any team in the PL and they will struggle. Add to that Santi Carzola who was clearly way off the pace from the get go (a bit of Lasagne style revenge perhaps) and you should summise that they were there for the taking. I saw the marsh dwellers in the away end celebrate like they had just released a new DVD, but I think I would of been pretty pissed that my team hadn't sealed the win when they had the upper hand.

    The game changed in the second half when the "dizzy" Spainiard was replaced by Flamini, although to be fair the Spuddies were still looking the better team, but their high tempo, high press started to take it's toll. For the last 20 mins it was Arsenal who were in control and could of pulled off a true rope a dope with the chances they created. Giroud having one of those days when nothing was going in to the net no matter how handsome he looked, he did get a handy j from that Belgian bloke though, so he may consider that a score. In the end a draw it was and I suppose that was a fair result.

    I believe that this Spertz team could very well reach the Top 4, but if Robbo's tipping them they're DOOOOOOOMED!!!!

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    1. Ha, pretty much my thoughts. Though I would argue that it were PottyChino's subs around 70 min (introducing that Korean hound... no pun int) that broke their flair. Arsene fcked em even with halve the squad out. Just imagine the scenes if Gibbsy poked in the second... Or G-Rods head being just a tad less squarish.
      And btw Bayern were downright flattered with that scoreline, so much had gone their way... can't wait to play them again, with a proper squad. Or at least without two key defs dropping out hours before the game. Not ruling out goals would help as well.

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  10. Finally a post on the mighty Spurs! Great blog, Robbo, that really was a wonderful team in the 80's, although I'd add Clemence and Roberts as other honourable mentions as along with Perryman they provided some much needed grit and quality at the back.

    We're (still) in a period of Bale post-transition at the moment though and despite excellent recent results (so close to beating the Woolich Wanderers on their own patch!) there's not enough consistency there, despite the likes of Kane and Alli coming through.

    Lamela, Dembele and Chadli too often flatter to deceive, we haven't got a decent second striker and the defence is well..... as always a bit of a liability. Lloris is a great shot-stopper but is shite on crosses and doesn't have the same command of the area like a Jennings or a Clemence.

    Still, here's hoping you're right, would take a top 4 spot right now, let alone 2nd - COYS!

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  11. this should be like an Olympic diving contest where the comments from the top and lowest judges (Spuds and Gooners) get thrown out.

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  12. I honestly dont see the point of spurs. Like arsenal but not quite so good-ish/vain/succesful-ish. I think they should just give up and go back to being a cricket club. Its like buying a 'japanese mercedes' lexus and then buying the same model with a smaller engine and without the metallic paint. the world's most pointless football club except for stoke fucking city.

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    1. which comment was that then?

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    2. The one below, trots me old son>>>

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    4. it beats having the author removed by the commentator.

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  14. Calls in USA for the banning of heading the ball in youth soccer! Wtf. They never played with a brick or a bottle I suppose.

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    1. One step closer to a ban on kicking the ball because it might hurt your foot.

      I would in fact pay to see 22 players running up and down for 90 mins with he ball stationary on the centre spot, but only if they were naked lingerie models and the music was Yakety Sax and the germans didnt get to win.

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    2. RUNNING? Are you insane? There's all sort of CL's that could get damaged! No, they'll just have so sit in comfy (but supportive) chairs, legs up - cuppa tea... they can still be naked lingerie models, and Yakety Sax can still be played, at an appropriate volume.

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  15. Ooh, harsh! We're far from pointless, though, 21 so far this season. Agree with you on Stoke City. Just curious to know who in their right mind would drive around in a Japanese Mercedes Lexus? And would you hang around to watch the metallic paint dry?

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    1. Alan Partridge but you're right not anyone in their right mind

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  16. I was transported by all that with a big smile on my face. Trouble is they're Spurs!

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  17. As per poster above, the fact that Spurs dominated the derby match but still not winning should be a worry. Kind of like ManU, but less boring. Obviously the main point of the game is to score goals, not having the ball for yourselves.

    Speaking of 'soft spot', I do have one for Everton. I never put them in my top 4 list though, cause that will surely jinx them.

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  18. I only have one question for you Robbo... WHY????

    Blatter is playing his sick card early isn't he. He's obviously guilty of whatever they are investigating concerning him, and for being a useless arsehole and for being a humongous cunt.... although I may withdraw that last slur, cunts have been known to be useful which contradicts the previous slur.

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  19. So many comments and no-one has called Robbo out on the real reason he had a soft sport for Spurs:
    Chas & Dave.

    Rastafairy.

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  20. Looking forward to the Dawn of a New Era Part 367 tomorrow vs Spain. We could win depending on whether them Spaniards are still taking EPO and then we can start becoming self deluded again like in the good old days before capello ushered in with his enormous chin the New Realism ie that we're shit.

    My XI >>>

    Butland (sounds like a gay holiday resort)
    Bertrand....Smalling..Stones...Clyne
    Eric Dier
    Sterling.....Shelvey.....Lallana
    Barkley
    Kane

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  21. I'd still like to see Vardy start against Spain when their better players are playing and fresh. I believe Kane is a more certain part of the squad and has proved he can be a useful part of the team. Vardy could use this chance to show if he can disrupt the opposition when they are a quality team. If he can score against Spain it will answer questions that hang over his head. This is the point of friendlies I thought.

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    1. I agree he's an unknown quantity at that level so there's pnly one way to find out, but he's injured. Also my midfield above looks weak, but we know Rooney isnt starting.

      Walcott, Milner, Rooney would all strengthen the team above. England (also Hart but I think Butland deserves a game tonight) full strenght look pretty good but second string is a bit meh. I dont expect them to beat the spaniards.

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    2. I'd missed the part about Vardy being injured sorry. That means Kane is the man but be interesting to see who plays the striker role when the 7 subs come on.

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  24. Well there you go. England were lucky to get 0.

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    1. fuck me just in from the pub watched the game on record and didnt know what had happened in paris. the game? who gives a shit?

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  26. At the risk of deviating from normal sport talk are any of our USA based posters more surprised at how rubbish the Dallas Cowboys are without Romo, How good the Carolina Panthers have been this season or that Peyton Mannings still playing. The NFL this year has been fascinating and I wonder what odds you can get on a Panthers vs Patriots Superbowl?

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    1. Nobody is surprised how shit (American for rubbish) the Cowboys have been without Romo (and DeMarco Murray permanently and Dez Bryant injured most of the season).

      Peyton has been getting worse each week, now he's benched, injured all over and who knows if it's the end. Maybe a few weeks off and then secure a play-off spot and give it one last hurrah.

      The oddsmakers here are in Vegas. I can't bet on stuff in Vegas unless I have an illegal connection to the mob, which of course I don't. I can't make the call without the risk of the house being swarmed by Federal Agents, guns drawn who will likely shoot my dog, well one of them, the other is friendly. Two days later my mail box will be inundated with solicitation letters from attorneys (solicitors) offering to represent me against the illegal gambling racketeering, wire fraud charges. So, to find out what the odds are on anything, you'd be best advised to walk into Ladbrokes, William Hill, Paddy Power or any other branch of any UK betting office (usually found near a pub, a church, a newsagent or a pie shop….and ask them. You'll get a prompt, courteous answer and they won't shoot your dog.

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    2. Haven't the Cowboy been just plain mediocre over the years with Romo, or Blow-mo as some refer to him? Considering how the owner has fired coach after coach, I'm surprised Tony has lasted so long as QB. They must have a very special relationship.

      This year's Superbowl will most likely be the Cheaters vs. the Wife Beaters. Who the actual teams will be is irrelevant, as half-time wardrobe malfunctions and advertisements are the true stars of Superbowl these days anyway.

      Cheers
      ~74

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    3. who are the Wife Beaters? I agree with the view of Romo I've always felt that him and Flacco were overrated and Romo never really had a great passing range and you definitely see the impact Murray had on the team in his absence. Weedon has been crap - maybe it's TEBOW TIME

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    4. In the past 2 years or so, several NFL players were caught committing murder(s), as well as beating the !@#$ out of a wife, girlfriend, and even child. Truthfully this select group of players spans several NFL teams, unlike 'the Cheaters' - an obvious reference to the NE Patriots. The " Wife Beaters" would be a pro-bowl fan's choice award fantasy team, if you will.

      Cheers,
      ~74

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    5. Um, guys? I come here to ESCAPE the endless nattering nabobs here in the US discussing American football. I know it's an international break 'n' all, but really... :)

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    6. Should the game not be called American rugby as it uses an oval ball. Then the "soccer" could be renamed football as it should be.

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  27. Congrats to the ROI tonight. As Scotland could not make it I'm pleased that Ireland did. First for Ireland will it next be for Stoke by Walters.

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  28. English policemen with guns- Im glad to say they they dont look right or comfortable.

    Ancelotti called footall the most important of all the unimportant things in life and id go along with that although perhaps it's beer.

    germany vs holland called off which is a pity and seems like a victory for the islamofascists.

    still it will be hard for the french players tonight to the point where we might even win.

    My little bit is ive learnt the Marseillais now thats a proper anthem - a rallying cry, a touch of defiance of tyranny, suggestion of imminent external threat, bloodshed ending with a traditional bloodthirsty racist call to arms ...

    words here
    http://www.skysports.com/football/news/11095/10068968/la-marseillaise-lyrics-to-the-french-national-anthem

    how to sing them here at 19.05
    http://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2015/nov/17/england-france-international-friendly-live

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    1. I hope it turns out to be a draw with both teams showing full respect. But as it is football that is not going to happen.

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    2. respect's there but the french understandably look like they're not completely with it.

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  29. Sorry mes amis francais but the english youth team are giving you a bit of a pasting here.

    WC 2018 its in the bag!

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  30. Stones looks the real deal at least

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  31. I just hope the younger players don't become the golden generation, we know what happened last time.
    The English fans deserve a lot of praise tonight.
    As for the game I think the French were there to stick two fingers up to terrorists and that was about all. Credit to them for turning up at all.

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  32. Trott;

    Former Bolton Wanderers striker Dean Holdsworth and boxer Amir Khan are set to complete a £15m takeover of the Trotters this week. (Daily Star)

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    1. That's 14 million nine hundred ninety nine thousand nine hundred and sixty quid more than my offer. Maybe we can partner up?

      Get well soon Phil Garside.

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    2. I look forward to the press conference...hello I'm Dean and you'll know my partner Amir we now own the club, it's ground and assets outright...and this is our American partner, Mr trot, he owns the pie and cup of tea in front of him

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    3. clear out in January, relegation in May, resurrection begins in August when I win the Powerball lottery and buy out the other two, free pies, Big Sam comes back. We beat City, UTD and Chelsea on the road to FA Cup glory and promotion to the Championship. Promotion and UEFA cup double in 2017-18. Messi and Ronaldo announce they want to finish their careers at Bolton (they both do after a tackle from comeback player of the season, Kevin Nolan, takes them both out in our semi-final against UTD) Prem, FA Cup and Champs League plus World Club Championship in 2018-19. More free pies.

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    4. let me know when its happening trot and i'll put £5k or 50p ill see how i feel on Bolton becoming the first football team to do the ashes/cheltenham gold cup/wimbledon/ ryder cup and superbowl quintuple

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    5. as the Club's PR Director and Executive Vice President of Media Operations, you will not be legally permitted to gamble on our success but don't worry, we'll have brown envelopes in the stock room and drawers full of used tenners. It's next door to the referees room by the way.

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    7. that's the spirit, you sound more like Blatter every day.

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  33. Given the fact that Man Utd have no Rooney, Martial, Fellani and James Wilson can only play part of the game - would you play Depay, Mata or A N Other up front ?

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