Half a scarf, fully a fan – Dan Raywood guest blog

This week in Spurs – we lost our main goalscorer to a major ankle injury, got knocked out of the Champions League and season ticket prices came out. For some clubs that may seem a lot, but with Spurs now very much in the news headlines these days it is not unusual to see the club mentioned a lot.

Another story, which relates to that Juventus game at Wembley last week, caught my eye though. Issued via the Supporters Trust, it said that some Juventus fans had got tickets in designated home supporter sections.

I can guess that among those of you reading this who regularly go to games, you’ve sat among fans who are not supporting the same team as you. Doesn’t have to mean you are supporting one of the teams playing, you’re just backing one of the sides. I’ve had my experiences – one was sitting with a Leicester City fan with free tickets to an away game at Barnsley, sitting among the home fans (we made it a policy to punch each other when Leicester scored, which happened twice…thanks Wikipedia.)

However the release from THST states that “such supporters will only be asked to leave the venue if it is felt they are antagonising home fans”, in other words come along and enjoy the game – but don’t act like an idiot. Surely that has to be a good thing? Many is the time I watch football coverage, live or highlights, and I see empty seats. Any one has to watch West Brom at the moment to see the swathes of empty seats at the Hawthorns. Should neutral fans be encouraged to come along?

The other claim by the report is that it is hard to spot fans when they wear similar colours and half and half scarves. So is the answer to ban half and half scarves? Unlikely. But I bet at the weekend some football tourists would have bought a Man Utd v Liverpool half and half scarf, it’s an occasion to be at after all. Would you go to Barcelona v Real Madrid and not spend a handful of euros on a half and half scarf?

The answer is for better stewarding and for them to watch the crowd and be better at crowd management. Those who witnessed the invasions at West Ham United at the weekend will attest to that.

Enjoy the game, and behave yourselves. The person behind, next to and in front of you has paid a lot of money for that ticket.



FA Premier League Predictions Week 27

Another weekend of goals and and it was also a case of Merseyside v London which saw a win for North London and a draw. Everton got a pummeling down south whilst Spurs stole a draw in the death featuring some questionable decisions. The penalty decision at Anfield turned a correct score prediction into nothing. For the Arsenal, it seems I wasn’t quite as generous in my predictions. My prediction was 2-1, but the Arsenal routed Everton 5-1. Apparently Everton fans were piling out before half time. Then of course my prediction of the Watford v Chelsea game, that couldnt have been more wrong. The Blues were trounced 4-1 having been down to 10 men after 30 minutes. To be fair the game was 1-1 till the 84th minute when Chelsea fell apart like an England Ashes batting line up.

It was two correct results and a correct score. Arsenal’s win added to the Swansea v Leicester ending in a 1-1 draw and not a 2-2 draw gave two correct results, whilst Man Utd bounced back to give a correct score as they beat Huddersfield 2-0.

So to this weekends predictions and lets see if I can do better this week.

  1.                                          Chelsea   2-1 West Brom        Blues back on track
  2.                                         Everton   0-2  Crystal Palace  Eagles give Blues headache
  3.                                Huddersfield   1-2  Bournemouth  Cherries away win
  4.                                       Man City    2-0  Leicester City  Another home win on the board
  5.                              Newcastle Utd   1-1  Man Utd           Magpies hold the Reds
  6.                               Southampton    0-3 Liverpool          Klopps reds thrash hosts
  7.                                      Stoke City    2-2 Brighton            honours even
  8.                                Swansea City    1-2 Burnley             Clarets hold Swans rise
  9.                                    Tottenham    1-3  Arsenal             Gunners glory in derby
  10.                                     West Ham    1-1  Watford            Hammers hold Watford to draw


Some interesting predictions with the interesting one being the North London derby. A couple of weeks ago I’d have said a home win, but with the signings that Arsenal made and the way they took apart Everton, I think with the space at Wembley will give the Gunners some ability to cause the defence some issues. If they can get at the Spurs defence as Liverpool did through Salah, I think that will be them taking the win.

Man Utd travel to Newcastle Utd, but I think the Magpies might just throw a spanner in the works. Man Utd should be favourites, but if Newcastle can dig in, then they can steal a point against the Reds. On the subject of Reds, Liverpool will put the disappointment of the 2-2 draw and storm to a 3-0 win on the south coast.

More disappointment for Everton as they lose to London opposition, this time at home to Crystal Palace. Fellow strugglers Swansea look certain to lose at home against Burnley who have impressed greatly this season.


FA Premier League Predictions – Week 24

It’s Thursday once again and that can only mean one thing, Premier League predictions.  Last week sadly wasn’t one of the better weeks as I only managed to predict three correct results out of ten. No correct scores last week although some teams did throw a spanner in the works. Everton continued to struggle and instead of the 2-2 draw with Spurs, the blue half of Merseyside was left with a 4-0 thrashing. Chelsea seem to be going through a rough patch and having expected them to beat Leicester at home, the Foxes to their credit, grabbed a point and a clean sheet.

Having tipped Watford to beat the struggling Southampton, the Saints nearly came away with a win but were denied by the handball goal from Doucore right at the end. It’s a shame Doucore wont received any retrospective punishment,

In the only results I did get correct, I called Liverpool beating Man City 3-2, it was in fact 4-3 but I guess City conceding 4 might have been a bit of a push. David Moyes seems to be rallying West Ham at the moment and having predicted a 2-0 win, they actually managed to put 4 put past the hapless terriers. I was close with Man Utd beating Stoke,they netted three whilst I had predicted a 4-0 thrashing.

So lets get on with this weeks round

  1.                                          Arsenal  2-1  Crystal Palace    Gunners shoot down Eagles
  2.                                        Brighton  1-2  Chelsea                Blues back on track
  3.                                         Burnley   1-1  Man Utd              Clarets hold United
  4.                                         Everton   2-0  West Brom         Toffees win in January
  5.                               Leicester City   2-2  Watford              Foxes hold Hornets
  6.                                       Man City   3-1   Newcastle Utd  City too good for Magpies
  7.                               Southampton   1-2  Tottenham         Saints in trouble
  8.                                      Stoke City   2-1  Huddersfield     First win for Lambert
  9.                                Swansea City   0-4  Liverpool           Reds march on again
  10.                                     West Ham   2-0  Bournemouth    Hammers on a roll.


Some interesting predictions this week, basing it general form although I might be kidding myself with Burnley holding United and Watford drawing. That one depends on which Watford turns up mind you. Chelsea should win, you would like to think, that is unless they are making a complete hash of things like they did against Norwich, having two players sent off and having to get through via penalties, but hey thats football.

NLD – Now (the) League (table looks) Different – Dan Raywood blog

So it turned out to be one of the most one sided, well from a goals perspective anyway, north London derbies for years. The result leaves the red side of North London happy and the Wembley tenants of Spurs less than happy.

In a way, you could see it coming. Great results and performances against Liverpool and Real Madrid were followed by a scraped win against Crystal Palace, and Arsenal unbeaten team aside, a team needs to have an off day at some point.

Apparently today was one of those days. Spurs looked disorganized and only Hugo Lloris played well in my view. The majority of the game was played in midfield or in Spurs’ half, and then the Arsenal offense had figured out how spurs were going to play and used that in their own tactics: playing through the middle and on flanks against two left backs who did not have the strength of Rose and Aurier.

Spurs will go back to the drawing board ahead of the away game against Dortmund on Tuesday night. Arsenal now find themselves in the top four a point behind Spurs, and without the distraction of a champions league tie ahead of them. Spurs will just be glad that they have already qualified from the champions league group, and can focus on giving Son, Llorente, Foyth and a returning Eric Lamela (played today for the under 23s) a chance to get some game time.

As for me, I’ll be looking forward to the rest of the weekend and glad I got so many chores done during a dismal game.

Never Appoint Your Heroes – Dan Raywood

They All Count

After a fantastic performance against Real Madrid in mid week, the next game was always going to be a challenge to meet the same excitement.
As it turned out, the early Sunday kick off against Crystal Palace was my first Spurs game of the season and one that found me initially surprised to find that it was an early kick off, but ultimately delighted that I got my afternoon back.

At the time of writing, I’m heading back home from the game and it’s about an hour and 10 minutes since full time. That’s why I don’t go to many games in truth; it’s great that Spurs stayed in London but the journey home is a chore.

As for the game, well Spurs made several changes from the team that conquered the European Champions and saw a debut for goalkeeper Paolo Gazzaniga as well as continued presence of Aurier, Winks, Son and Rose – who you may seem to be from the second string of the first team squad.

All in all, the game was relatively uninspiring and not full of incident. Palace have had their challenges on and off the pitch so far this season, and with a vocal traveling support and the strength of Zaha, Cabaye and ex Spur Andros Townsend, they have the potential to succeed and stay up this season.

For Spurs, it was a laboured performance that didn’t see Harry Kane at his best, saw Son miss an absolute sitter and generally saw good performances from Sissokho and Vertonghen. Man of the match for me was the impressive Davison Sanchez, but that is an example of how well distributed the ball was and how cool he was under pressure.

This won’t be my last visit to Wembley, but I’ll be delighted when the team return to Tottenham as while Wembley does suffice, every fan knows that this is a temporary situation and while Spurs can produce some classy performances, there are games they will have to scrap for and as the headline says, sometimes you have to do that as all of the points count.

Two out of three ain’t bad – Dan Raywood

Spurs have qualified for the champions league knock out stages for the second time, having suffered a Wembley headache last year that concluded with Dele’s sending off against Ghent in the Europa League.

That all seemed like a long time ago last night though, as Spurs swept away the holders Real Madrid 3-1. Was it one of the greatest nights in the club’s history? Probably, but combined with an absent performance by Madrid there will be many who will not consider this to be among the great performances.

After all, against Inter Milan in 2010 Spurs were facing a good side and with an in form Gareth Bale, they swept the Italians aside. Compared to the team that Spurs played a few weeks ago in the Bernabau, last night’s team looked disappointing – Kroos was a shadow of the player he was in Madrid, Sergio Ramos almost spoilt the night with some petulant efforts against Dembele and Harry Kane struggled to get past the last man and seemed to lack pace.

Yet no one will consider those facts in history, and remember that Spurs played Real Madrid off the pitch and with some excellent performances across the 11, this should go down in history for the right reasons.

On a positive note, Spurs have now qualified for the knock out stages with two games to play, and can focus on the league campaign and getting performances back on track. A week ago we were bemused after being beaten by West Ham, a week later we conquered the European Champions. It feels good say that!