Thank you El Tel

Published: Monday, 27 November 2023

As I said when we went to air at beINSPORTS yesterday ‘there will be many words spoken now by people who knew Terry Venables better than me’. There has been. None capturing who Venables was better than his mate - the Mail’s brilliant sports writer, Jeff Powell. What another beautiful piece Jeff. Nobody does it better. I know how hard it is to write those pieces when you’d really rather not, and few craft them like you do. Beautiful.

I only got to know Venables after I’d left Sky. Because he was so closely aligned to ITV and the BBC at that time, we didn’t book him to watch games with us. That was a shame. We should’ve done, but that was the policy back then.

Only when I got to beINSPORTS did I strike up a rapport with him. What a nice guy he was. He was always smiling and he made others around him smile. That’s how I’ll remember him - a smile here - a wink there - a cheeky glance and a razor sharp mind that invented all of todays inventions on the pitch long before they were invented. Thank you Terry. Now rest peacefully my friend.

It couldn’t have been an easy day at Spurs, but they shouldn’t have lost to Villa. Having said that - Villa were top class. Ollie Watkins finish was as good as you’ll see. Terrific. But Spurs were so naïve again. What was the keeper doing bouncing around in his area trying to get them on the front foot deep in first-half stoppage time? Calm down man. Keep the ball. Get in one-up. Manage the game. Do all of the things you didn’t do v Chelsea.

But oh no. They did it again. They were reckless. I know Ange ‘it’s what we are mate’, but you won’t be joining the big boys unless you’re more professional. I grant you - the way Spurs play can be enjoyable to watch, but it won’t bring success.

I don’t buy the fact that they were short yesterday. If they get in one-up the second-half is different.

They’re beginning to remind me of Spurs under another Ossie - Ardiles. Do you remember the famous five? Arsiles’ team were great in possession and could sweep teams away, but they were also naïve and their inability to win enough games quickly saw off the Argentinian, who was also determined to follow the maxim ‘it’s what we are mate’.

I didn’t like seeing Mikel Arteta marching across the Brentford pitch with his arms round Havertz. It was clear what he really was trying to say. ‘My man. I told you. My man’. Arteta knows he dropped a bollock paying all that money for Havertz so it was more with relief that he was cuddling and pointing at him. ‘I was right all along - you were wrong’. No Mikel. You weren’t.

What he should’ve been doing was walking towards those Arsenal fans with his arms around Ramsdale. The way he’s treated the keeper is a disgrace. He’s turned him into a nervous wreck. I hope Ramsdale gets himself out of Arsenal in January and goes on to prove what a good keeper he is with another club.

Just when it looked as though Chelsea might be turning a corner they showed their true selves again at Newcastle. They were awful. Pochettino was right. ‘We were soft in every challenge’, he said. ‘Not ready to compete’. Well I’m sorry Mauricio, whose fault is that? Who is supposed to prepare them?

Oh, and I read that Chelsea are preparing a £100m+ January bid for Victor Osinhem. Having spent £1b under Todd Boehly - how? I’m sure Everton will be watching closely.

On that subject - what a shame the Goodison response to last week’s events wasn’t to create a rip-roaring atmosphere that would’ve inspired their own team and rattled United. I thought the demonstration was limp and set the wrong tone. Everton played the same way. I still believe that Dyche will get them out of trouble, but they can afford too many more performances like the one they gave on Sunday.

Well done Luton. It’s been a long time in the making - 11537 days to be exact - so the win at Kenilworth Road must’ve felt good. Watching Burnley lose to West Ham made me think it might take Vincent Kompany as long to get a Burnley win at home.

De Zerbi’s celebrations at The City Ground were a tad over the top, but I understood the reasons. I’ve decided to cut him some slack this time, but for those of you wondering - yes, the Celebration Police made a note!

Finally - (this mention is personal) - well done Mark Robins. The Super Sky Blues have had an untidy start, so the win at Millwall was very welcome. It’s been coming. I don’t have any concerns about Coventry or what they can achieve. The support at Millwall was fantastic - as it always is these days. Not many clubs take over The New Den, but our fans did. And they did it the right way. Well done to everybody that was there. Now let’s go Mark.