This summer, like the many that have foregone this one, brings with it a great importance. We're presented with a chess board seemingly stuck in a position of checkmate. One wrong move and it's all over. We over-committed and sacrificed pieces that we thought were for the better of the club but have quickly realised that this short-term impact holds only negative bearings for the long-term.
Ah, the long-term. Look it up in the Spurs dictionary and it'll tell you that this is anything beyond 2 years. A long-term vision that is held in such a hollow shell by a trigger-happy chairman does not bode well for the future of any football club. Given circumstantial external elements must be taken into consideration, as must the internal environment, but the clubs that were around us that persisted with the faith they installed into their respective managers are now stepping on our shoulders with a firm eye on achieving their seasons' objectives.
We can only look down and realise that the comfortable pair of shoes we purchased in the summer have become scruffy and unloved. They desperately need an owner to come and give them some immediate attention. There's no need to fall in to the easy cliché of modern football and shift a variety of players that have failed to live up to our initial perceptions. I find it incredibly difficult to label our summer signings as 'flops' although I can understand why this may be the case for some.
I beg that the surface is scratched a little more. I'd ask how so many players, even those that were stand-outs last season, have shown only half their calibre this year. It was understandable that time, persistence and a notorious amount of patience would be required to install and settle an entire side of talent; three factors that are alien in language for our own club. The seemingly imminent rotation policy would be our own self-created hurdle and a challenge we would have to embrace. I felt that we were too quick to rotate initially at the start of the season, but understood that players had to play.
But right now we're lost without a strategic direction, without a game plan. Forgive my marketing background but if I were to launch a new product and applied little to no branding, no pricing strategy, no method of distribution and no use of promotional tactics behind the launch then no matter how 'good' the product may be, it would fail. If I had no strategic direction to market this product and grow in the future then it wouldn't be a success.
If a team/a squad of players have no real strategic direction, no consistent, homogeneous way of playing every week and approaching each fixture, no preparation as to how to attack the oppositions weaknesses or defend against their strengths and 11 players are just fielded, then the results will be similar. The players have no idea how to operate in their roles. Combine this with a lack of cohesion within the side and the fail to have a leader on the touchline or within the squad and the result is inevitable.
Oh, Bobby. A £26m man would be (and is rightly) judged on goals. Playing up-front is a far more complex operation than it may meet the eye. At Valencia, Soldado enjoyed a flurry of quality crosses and was renowned for pouncing on them. He'd play 90 minutes in the opponents area. With a season that has presented a mismatch in players operating out wide on the wing, the most utilised have arguably been Eriksen out left who naturally tucks inside and Lennon out right who's struggled to execute a consistent final ball all season. There's no stable system for Bobby to play in. The early runs off of defenders at the start of the year - before Eriksen's real introduction into the side - have vanished as the forward works into positions out wide just to get involved.
Without a regular partner feeding him goalscoring opportunities or wingers that are thumping balls into him we lose, essentially, all of Soldado's game. In glimpses we've witnessed a partnership in production between the Spaniard and Christian Eriksen. This may have materialised far earlier on had Eriksen not suffered injury in November and AVB not being sacked moments after. This prospective partnership is the glimmer of hope we have to carry into the forthcoming season. It should be a partnership that we operate around next season. A system that should also see Paulinho exploit his box-to-box asset that we signed him for and present him with a regular partner within the centre of midfield.
It's been mentioned before that we're lacking a real core, a real identity of this football club. Granted the players haven't performed, but the environment they're in is poisonous. There's no system or preparation. There should be a growing desire to keep them and integrate them into something that works. It's criminal that we're into April and still haven't discovered our strongest 11. Selling off an entire team would see another transition, another summer of uncertainty.
So this brings us to the person that can bring all these pieces together. Levy. Sherwood's pitch for the full-time role has fallen on to hard ground. The guy is the image of Tottenham Hotspur and it's ironic that he's pushed his own chances of keeping the job full-time (one would hope) out to sea with his diabolical antics on the sidelines, his alienation of the players and his obvious lack of tactical approach and preparation.
If we were to be sucked into a black hole and emerge into a paradox Universe in which gilet's were a genuine trend and in one that Levy did decide to retain Sherwood this summer, then we'd face another 12 months of uncertainty due to his contract expiration. There's potential for fruition in our, now seemingly, exaggerated objectives of actually winning a trophy or acquiring a Champions League spot next season, but the manager needs changing to facilitate and put this potential into practice.
Ben - You can follow me on Twitter here