Sissoko the Marmite Man.

Sissoko the enigma, the player who’s rarely if ever seen in the celebrity haunts, who seems to get a certain amount of dogs abuse which ever club he’s at. A man who keeps his life off the pitch with his 6 year old son Kai and partner very much out of the public eye. So who is this guy who despite playing for his  country over 50 times, a country that has won the World Cup twice, is looked upon as a bit of a comical character who some say can trap the ball further than he can kick it?
Moussa Sissoko was born on the 16th of August, 1989 in Le Blanc-Mesnil, France. He was born to parents of Malian decent whom little is known about. Sissoko’s mother was a housewife while his father worked as a construction worker at the time of his birth.
Sissoko was born as the eldest of four children, with three younger sisters.
Young Sissoko started his career in football enrolling at a youth club, Esperance Aulnay when he was only six. Esperance Aulnay is a youth club based in nearby Aulnay-sous-Bois, a suburb in northeastern Paris where he stayed for three years.
His youth club career then took a step up when he joined Red Star Paris on a season-long stint. It was at Red Star that Sissoko put up impressive performances that secured him a move to Toulouse in 2003 where he first started to come to the attention of the wider football community. He progressed through all stages of the France junior teams from U16 to U21 between 2005 to 2011 but got his first full cap in 2009.

It was at Toulouse that Sissoko made his Champions League debut in 2007.
In 2009 he began to get interest  from Tottenham Hotspur as well as Manchester City, Inter Milan, Juventus and German giants Bayern Munich, although a move never materialized due to his club’s unwillingness to let him go. Moussa finally left for Newcastle in the 2013 where he stayed until they got relegated in 2016. He apparently formed a close relationship with Benitez during his time with the club but must have realised that while Ashley was in charge he would be very unlikely to win anything hence his reason for coming to Spurs 😏.
He has a love for DC comic characters Spiderman and Superman and is also a lover of French music.
Moussa Sissoko is clearly a marmite (with a hint of Scotch bonnet) character. His many detractors site his often ungainly attempts to control the ball. His inability to hit a cows backside with a banjo in from of goal. His occasional wayward passes. Even his recent improvements over the last few matches are stated as coming from such a low starting point as to be insignificant compared to his team mates.
The other side of the coin shows him as someone who’s head never drops. Who always presents himself to receive a pass (not the case when he first joined). A player who can go on a storming run deep into the opposition half. A player who Poch clearly trusts. A player who the fans are now singing songs about. He will never win over all the fans, his failings, for some, will always outway his contribution to the team and when he leaves us I suspect it will be the same at his next club as it was previously at Newcastle. It’s who he is.
This may be extrapolating a comparison too far but take a player like Berbatov. Capable of two or three moments of outstanding brilliance per game. The rest of the time, he didn’t look like he could be bothered to be on the pitch. There’s laid back and there’s comatose and at times in my opinion he was the latter. Nevertheless all his failings and thoughts what he could have been if he tried like Kane, were normally forgotten just for those few fleeting moments of brilliance. Sissoko doesn’t have those moments of brilliance but he does have the desire and effort to do his very best on the pitch. It’s not his fault he’s paid huge dollops of wonga, he can only do what he can do, nothing more.
A simile can be found in the everyday workplace. Should we deride a co-worker just because they can’t do the job as well as us? I’d suggest not. It’s not their fault they’ve been put in that position and maybe being paid more than their colleague. Blame the management, yes, but not the person, assuming of course they’re are trying their hardest.
Personally for me, while he’s wearing the chicken badge and giving his usual 100% I’m happy to support him in his endeavours, but if I’m honest, whilst occasionally muttering the odd obscenity under my breath about his frustrating inadequacies during a match. He is not an Adebayor or someone who’s happiest when he’s on the celebrity pages he’s a guy that gives his all and that’s all I can ask for.

PSV Eindhoven up next

By r’Andy

Our next in line to undertake mortal combat with are The Philips Sport Vereniging, otherwise known as PSV Eindhoven. The club was formed in 1956 and therefore just a Johnny come lately compared to our esteemed club. Their nicknames are Boeren (Peasants/Farmers), Lampen (Lightbulbs) and Rood-witten (Red and whites). So the red and white light bulbs are hopefully going to get smashed on Wednesday.

PSV currently has one of their best goal differences after 9 Eredivisie duels this season, 36 for and only 3 against. This hasn’t been bettered since the season 1999-2000 when they had a slightly better goal average, with +34 (42-8) after 9 games. They currently looked down on everyone in Eredivisie, including Ajax by 5 points and Feyernord by 7. Clearly this is a good season for them and they will be tough nuts to crack. But crack them we must if we are to have any chance of progressing to the knock out stages in the Champions League.

Just a few more useless facts, they have won the Eredivisie 24 times, the KNVB Cup nine times and the Johan Cruyff Shield ten times. Currently, PSV is 28th on the UEFA club coefficients ranking. Throughout the years, PSV established itself as a stepping stone for future world class players like: Ruud Gullit, Ronald Koeman, Romario, Ronaldo, Cocu, Jaap Stam, Van (the man) Nistelroy, Arjen Robben and who could forget perhaps the greatest of all, Hirving Lozano.

A nice, easy 3-0 win is called for and anything less will require industrial strength water pumps to be installed in the bedrooms.


Poch’s latest Q&A

El Pochettino’s musings at the latest presser ahead of the Carabao Cup clash with Watford tomorrow courtesy of Alasdair Gold.

How do you feel about playing at the Stadium MK?

I feel well, because we’re going to discover another place to play. It’s a very nice town. Four years ago I saw Dele Alli as a 16 or 17 year-old playing against Manchester United – Many very good memories. I think it’s a beautiful town with an amazing stadium. The option to play there is the only option we had. We’re going to try to enjoy the game and the afternoon of course.Alli pushing for it

Dele seemed to be pushing the idea to play there?

One thing is he told you it’s a good idea, another thing is him pushing. No player is going to push the club to make a decision. He’s happy to play in his home town. But in the decision, Dele Alli wasn’t responsible.

Did he say anything to you?

He’s happy, he’s so excited of course. He’s the King of Milton Keynes.

What do you make of fans who might be refusing to travel there? 

I think our fans feel very disappointed, like all of us. Our chairman feels disappointed because it was a game to play in our stadium. It’s not under our control. Of course, I understand the fans who are so disappointed but so are the staff, the players, everyone who works for the club. The first is the chairman who cannot deliver the new stadium on time. I understand completely the fans are not happy but no-one is happy and we need to adapt ourselves in that circumstance. If we only complain, find excuses, it’s difficult for the club and team to move on, it’s difficult to be strong. If not, the human being is always to find excuses if you don’t win. For me, it’s the opposite – to try to be strong. All that situation is to make us stronger than before and use that for the future, have the capacity to adapt. I want to be positive, I am positive because I am an optimistic person. I’m not going to blame or complain. We’re playing Watford at Milton Keynes. It’s a great opportunity for discovery and to be strong in our mind. We’re away from home for a second consecutive period.

First of all we need to win. We respect Watford, they’re doing very well. It will be a tough game but if we win after the draw we’ll take the decision if we need to play at home and it’s not possible to play at Wembley or our new stadium, I’m more than happy to play again at Milton Keynes.

They have cows in Milton Keynes…

I’m going to be so welcome because of my sympathy and respect for the cow. We were talking before the press conference about the concrete crows. They run about! For me, it’s a fantastic city. I have a few friends there and it’s so close to London – only 45 minutes. It’s a great town, beautiful. When I was there I enjoyed a lot.

Will you be giving game time to others?

From the beginning of season we have been making changes and making a lot of changes in the Premier League and different games. For me it’s a squad game and competition. In four years we have played one final and two semi-finals and that means we always take all the competitions very seriously and try to win. Like last year against Manchester United and the previous season against Chelsea and the final, in some circumstances against Chelsea too, it because you took it very seriously. For me the competitions are about the squad, Premier League, Champions League, League Cup or FA Cup and we have a strong squad, capable of everyone playing. The idea is we want to win tomorrow.

Will Paulo Gazzaniga still start tomorrow?

Nothng changed because Hugo and Michel are still injured. It means Paulo going to play and of course Alfie [Whiteman] and Brandon [Austin] in contention.

How far away are Michel Vorm and Hugo Lloris?

We’ll see after the next few days if they can arrive to be ready for Huddersfield, if not then Barcelona, if not Cardiff and if not after.

Could one of them be fit for the weekend?

Look, we cannot change, the process is the process. They need time to recover. We’ll see what happens in the next few days and sure at the next press conference before Huddersfield I will tell you properly if they will be ready to come back and compete.

You played Watford not longer ago, what can you take from that?

We were watching this game and another game in the Carabao Cup against Reading, where he rotated and changed the starting XI, completely different 11 players and using different systems against Reading. We’ll see what happens tomorrow, if he decides, the coach or manager, to have the same players playing or to play with the same starting XI or rotate and using different systems. We are aware of that and of course differing things that you can take from our game that we play at Watford. But sure it is going to be a completely different game and a different competition. We’ll see what the starting XI is.

Were you disappointed that Lloris or Kane were not in best team of the year?

Yes of course I can understand our fans, and for them sure might be disappointed but we’re not responsible for the vote and we don’t pick players who are going to be rewarded. Only I can say nothing because it’s not in our hands to give the awards to our players.

I presume you will make some changes?

Yes, like Inter Milan or Brighton, we changed five. It’s a squad game or competition like all. Of course sure five or six changes.

Do you think it devalues the competition?

Why? If you see how we lose the games in the previous season, you’re going to see that we lose always against big teams. Of course we want to win but if you say the same question to the manager of Watford, why he picked 11 different players against Reading, with the risk to lose, when they didn’t play European competition, and we are involved in the Champions League. We have a lot of games ahead. I think we rotate, trying to find the best solution to try to win games. But the obsession here in England is to try to disrespect the players who play in one or another competition, and for me it’s so difficult to understand.

Sorry, it’s nothing wrong with the question. But always it’s, if tomorrow Paulo Gazzaniga plays, the competition the FA Cup, or Serge Aurier, who played against Inter Milan but didn’t play against Brighton, it’s like we disrespect the competition or we don’t take it seriously. I think when Tottenham is going to play tomorrow, it’s going trying to win. When you sign players and you have 24 players in your squad, you need to respect all the players. If not, if they’re going to have the possibility to play and show their quality, why do you pay their salary, why do you provide the food every day at the training session and at the training ground? Sorry but for me it’s so difficult to understand, that obsession about why one or another plays. It’s like all the managers want to lose.

No-one wants to win, or like the competition in the Copa del Rey in Spain, if Real Madrid is going to play against someone and they used to rotate, it’s like Real Madrid don’t want to win. I think it’s crazy and the problems sometimes is not from you, because I understand you. But sometimes some people who play football and were professionals, their opinion is similar and it’s difficult to understand, because I was a professional player and now a manager, and you need to understand that to deal with 24 or 25 players is not easy. To give the possibility to play to all the players always is so important because they need to feel the confidence and trust. They need to challenge the players they believe are ahead of them. In the end for me it’s about the squad. It’s about being a team.

If you want to win some competitions you can win or lose with one or with another. Sometimes it’s more important when you win a trophy, the players that not play too much because they help to be better every day the players that play the most. I repeat again, I don’t understand the obsession with asking about the players that are going to play in one or another competition because when we are going to play tomorrow, or Saturday, or Wednesday, or I don’t know, always it’s Tottenham that’s going to play, and your honour. But of course I understand you and everyone need to find always some reason to talk, and in the end if we win, it’s fantastic to rotate and give rest. If you don’t [win] it’s because you don’t give rest and you kill the players and it’s normal. If you don’t play the players that don’t play too much it’s very disrespectful for the coach. Always with the medicine of Monday it’s easy to give opinions and of course. But that is my job, it’s in my contract and it’s my job to try to deal with everything.

There are no other injury concerns going into this game?

No, just Hugo and Michel.

Anyone you might leave out to give a rest, like Sarri did with Hazard in the Europa League?

Of course we will rotate, like it was at Inter Milan. We have the plan to give other players a rest.

How do you approach this in a stadium you haven’t played in?

For Watford it will be the same, the same conditions. We are going to try and adapt to our game and give our best and win the game. It is not an excuse to play in Milton Keynes, I don’t want to say anything negative, I am so optimistic and very positive. The circumstances are the circumstances and we can’t change them. We need to be clever and positive in a tough period that is now for the club. The last season was tough and now this is tough because the circumstance and the expectation was to play in our stadium and that is for everyone so disappointing and frustrating for many people. But it is so important from inside to keep strong and believe and try to be positive.

It is a circumstance no one wanted but we need to keep pushing. We cannot go down because the circumstances are the circumtances. If we lose we cannot say it is because of the circumstance, because we play in Milton Keynes, it’s because the stadium is not ready, it’s because we played at Wembley. It’s easy to blame all this but I don’t want to blame, I want to be responsible for the result and the performance and when I am happy I will tell you and when I am not happy I will tell you too. It will be good for the future because the stadium will be a fantastic venue to play football, the facilities here and the potential of the club is massive.

How unsettling is it for the players?

If there is one thing I didn’t want it is to give reason to the players, to us, to say, ‘If we don’t win it’s because of Milton Keynes, it’s because we don’t play at our stadium, it’s because we play at Wembley’. I am not like this. If we lose it’s because we deserve to lose and our performance is no good or because I made a mistake. It is our responsibility, but for me if you are a winner you have a different mentality and if you are a loser you always try to find an excuse to avoid responsibility. I understand that it is not the same as playing in your home and the help from our fans will be fantastic in our new stadium and the energy is different to play in Milton Keynes than your own stadium. But I don’t want to find an excuse, we need to go there and show personality and character and win the game. That is our responsibility, it is not to blame the venue or the fans or the chairman. When we are on the pitch, we are on the pitch, it is 11 v 11 and we need to be clever and better than the opponent. I understand football like this, this is my character and personality. I understand everything that happens around, but I try to avoid the players finding excuses.

How much sympathy do you have for the fans having to go to Milton Keynes and buying tickets for the new stadium?

I am the first that would like to finish the new stadium. If I have to go to work after training here and help the builders finish the stadium as soon as possible so the fans I will be happy, and all the fans will be happy and the chairman will be happy, I promise I go. But I told you in the past when there was the decision because it wasn’t ready for the date we expected to play against Liverpool we were so disappointed. I need to tell them sorry, that we are doing all that we can to try and finish and the chairman is so committed.

I promise he didn’t sleep trying to find solutions. Of course we feel disappointed for our fans but they need to understand that is a venue for the rest of our lives and for the next generations and years and years and it is so important to finish in the right way. Maybe one or two months means a lot , but in the end it is no time because the most important thing is to finish and be safe when we are going to move there – fans happy, players trying to give their best to win games and in the future have a venue that is going to help us win trophies. I think Tottenham’s future with this venue to play, with a stadium that will be the best, the only thing that we will be missing is trophies in the cabinet. But we need to start to put trophies there. The best training ground, the best stadium, the best fans, okay not so good manager and coaching staff, great players, only trophies we need to add to the history of the club.

One player who might feature is Juan Foyth, he started the season with an injury and missed out on the Champions League squad – how difficult has it been to manage his situation?

He will be in the squad but no it hasn’t been difficult to manage it. It’s true that it was very bad luck that he got injured the day before we were going to the USA and it was long the recovery. Now he’s doing well and he’s going to be in the squad. I don’t believe he is going to play but he will be in the squad.

There are reports coming out of Argentina that he might be in the next international squad…

Only I can tell you that some coaching staff contacted me asking about his form and how he is doing. I don’t know if he’s going to be called for the national team, but in the last month, in the last international break, some staff contacted me, yes.

Pre-Match Blather

Pochettino has made a “technical decision” to omit defenders Toby Alderweireld and Kieran Trippier from his side’s Champions League opener against Inter Milan.

relating to a particular subject, art, or craft, or its techniques.
“technical terms”
involving or concerned with applied and industrial sciences.
“an important technical achievement”
synonyms: practical, scientific, applied, applying science, non-theoretical; More
(in areas with guerrilla warfare) a small truck with a machine gun mounted on the back.
“the helicopters flew difficult night-time searches for technicals”

I’m assuming Poch isn’t referring to the noun in his description. Although on second thoughts it might be useful to bolster our leaky defence at dead ball situations.

In other news Dele Alli (hamstring) remains unavailable after missing Spurs’ defeat by Liverpool on Saturday, as does captain Hugo Lloris (thigh).

On the upside Moussa Sissoko (hamstring) is also absent for the match at the San Siro.

“You cannot bring 25 players and can only play 11,” said Pochettino.

“That is the reason. It was a technical decision. You can find it in the dictionary, maybe tactical also on the pitch – yes, it’s tactical too.”

Italian giants Inter Milan return to Champions League action following a six-year absence but suffered a 1-0 defeat by Parma on Saturday as their indifferent Serie A start continued.

Forward Mauro Icardi should return to Luciano Spalletti’s starting XI after the Argentine was a substitute in that match, but Danilo d’Ambrosio faces a late fitness test.

Simply the best or worse than all the rest.

Found this interesting article rating the 13 Tottenham managers that have been in charge since 1992,the start of the Premier League era. I’d forgotten that Doug Livermore and Ray Clemence were once in charge at the beginning of the era and were actually responsible for signing Teddy Sheringham. Controversially the have Hoddle only 8th best behind Sherwood in 5th! Is that possible or have we fallen into an alternative universe?
Pochettino is clearly the best we’ve had in this period but how do the others rate in terms of the order the article give them?

Is the Future Bright or Dystopian Black?

I came across this article recently concerning the future of football and with the imminent move by La Liga to host one match a year in America and huge conglomerates like Amazon and Facebook beginning to jostle to get some of the action the future landscape it seems is likely to change significantly in the coming years. According to the article the £1 billion yearly turnover is more than likely by 2030 for the big boys. This would almost certainly mean the £1 million per week wage would not be far behind.
The European Superleague still rears its head from time to time. Is it inevitable or just a figmentary (is that word real or a figment of my imagination? ) tool that will only ever be used to scare UEFA?
On the advertising front the perimeter advertising, with future new technology just around the corner, will be country specific irrespective of what country your viewing the match from. For example if you’re viewing from India it will be Indian sponsors showing, viewing from the UK, UK sponsors etc. Personally I find perimeter advertising an affront to my enjoyment of the beautiful game but I can see the day when any delay in the game, say for an injury, will produce advertising graphics displayed on the pitch, as they do to show the scores in Rugby and NFL.
In terms of TV viewing I think the future is more likely to be internet based rather than supplied by the current major TV companies, Sky, BT etc. Recently a new Internet based company, Eleven TV, streamed the PGA championship (one of the Majors) for free on Facebook which was the only way UK viewers could see it. This was a freeby to encourage sign up to the service for a monthly /annual fee but inevitably that will cost in the future I suspect. I can see companies like this plus Amazon and possibly Facebook and even Google carving up the PL match rights possibly taking the majority of the rights away from Sky and BT. Of course illegal streaming will probably always be there but legally viewing from a couple of TV stations as at present looks likely to be a thing of the past.
There’s a lot more in the article here: if you fancy a browse however it’s heavily opined by the infamous Ridsdale so his input should, I suggest, be taken with a pinch of salt.
So how do you see the future of the glorious game? Are you positive and see the increase in revenue, wages as a good thing or do you wish for the days when players worked in’t mines and were only allowed up for matches at weekends?

SpurAndy’s Bubblicious bloeug


The Boy in The Bubble

The thought occurred to me whilst having a cup of afternoon tea and tiffin that we, the football fan, live in a bubble (herein called The Bubble). Yes I hear you say, an outstanding epiphany that only Tibetan monks who have trained under the Lama could ever hope to achieve.

Allow me to digress at this point if I may but there’s a little known fact that the Dalai Lama is vegetarian. Every other day. The alternate days he eats meat. This could be why the chant ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’ was originally called Omnivore Pass me the Ham. Sorry bout that but the first bit is apparently true. Who’d have thunk it.

Anyway, back to The Bubble. This Bubble transcends all other bubbles in the known universe. Unlike other bubbles The Bubble has only one immutable law which is that the inhabitants of The Bubble (Bubblians) dictate that all members must have an overwhelming and insatiable desire for silverware in the arena of Association Football. Law (1a) goes further to state that any Bubblian not pledging complete and undying fealty to the Association Football and not sacrificing all their worldly goods is deemed to be of lower order and worthy only to have insults and oaths hurled at him/her for ever more. They are to be shunned and cursed within an inch of their miserable, pointless lives.

Bubblians have little or no understanding that total, undying, everlasting commitment to The Association Football is not a given for all who inhabit the Association Football sphere.  Of course, when I say sphere I really mean 2 dimensional surface.  The Bubblians expect that every last grote must be subsumed into the quest for shiny keepsakes to be admired and lasciviously leered at like Stringfellow used to with a new exotic dancer.

The reality is of course that the world and the vast majority of its denizens spins its way round the cosmos not caring a jot whether [insert name here] club has bought a new striker (who isn’t really a striker but more like a winger that inverts far too often). And even less that the fans of [insert name here] club are happy/miserable/undecided/confused as to said purchase of a striker (who isn’t really a striker but more like a winger that inverts far too often). They don’t understand or appreciate the nuances of the 3-3-1-3 formation played by Ajax in the 94/95 season. The tactical genius of the 3-6-1 formation employed by Australia under their erstwhile manager Gus Hidinck in 2006.  Indeed which Bubblian can forget where they were the first time they saw the 3-6-0 lineup, otherwise known as the ‘false nine’. Ahhh, it seems like only yesterday. In fact in cosmological terms it was only yesterday, at the 2010 World Cup that old Vicente Delboy for Espanya produced that rabbit out of the hat with Cesc Fibreglass playing the false nine role to devastating effect (the little barsteward).

So there we have it. The Bubble, colonised by the fair minded, the rational, the non self-entitled. Woe betide anybody, in whatever position of power in the Association of Football who takes advantage of these righteous people by not giving all their worldly goods in the pursuit of an electro-plated, inscribed receptacle that’s of absolutely no use to man nor beast that doesn’t reside in The Bubble.