Is there a more poisoned club in Europe than Tottenham Hotspur?
Sunday's 1-0 home defeat to newly promoted Hull City was the latest setback for an organization that has mired itself at the foot of the English Premier League table with its own ineptitude – on and off the field.
Juande Ramos's head is on the block after collecting just two points from seven EPL games, yet still no one at Spurs is prepared to take any responsibility.
The suicidal preseason brinkmanship of selling off Dimitar Berbatov and Robbie Keane without proper replacements in position is partly to blame. Still, there is no excuse for such a dismal performance.
An old folk tale about Tottenham alleges that the club's training ground in Chigwell occupies former gypsy land and is subject to a curse. Whether you believe such stories or not, there does seem to be some unforeseen force preventing the club from making any kind of proper progress.
A plucky Hull team highlighted everything that is wrong with Tottenham. The visitors were brave, motivated, hungry and fearless – and fully deserved the three points.
Stories in the Sunday newspapers suggested former favorite Terry Venables could be brought in to replace Ramos as head coach at White Hart Lane and stem the bleeding. Good as Venables is, though, it appears that even a combination of an exorcist, a miracle worker and a $700 billion government bailout package couldn't fix this mess.
Other points to make on the weekend's action:
1. In need of Advil
Spanish side Atletico Madrid was left with a massive headache this weekend after being on the wrong end of a pounding from rampant Barcelona.
A contest billed as a head-to-head showdown between young stars Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero instead turned into a rout as Barca reinforced its La Liga title credentials with three goals in the first 10 minutes on the way to a 6-1 triumph.
Presently, no team in Europe is more confident than Barca.
2. In need of a vacation
Guillermo Barros Schelotto has been the outstanding player in Major League Soccer this season, leading the Columbus Crew to a spectacular campaign and confounding the critics in the process.
Unsurprisingly, the only realistic choice for MVP is now starting to look a little leg weary. Crew coach Sigi Schmid would be smart to rest Schelotto ahead of the playoffs if he expects the Argentinean playmaker to spearhead a deep postseason run.
3. In need of a miracle
With three games remaining and an MLS-worst 29 points, the Los Angeles Galaxy are facing the reality of a third straight playoff-less season. Nothing has worked for L.A., which could use new players, defensive firepower and a fresh approach in its upcoming offseason of reconstruction. What the Galaxy need more than anything right now, though, is passion.
4. California dreaming
Juergen Klinsmann didn't envision his return to Germany to pan out like this – with his Bayern Munich stuck in a drastic early season slump.
With the Bayern faithful and the German press riding him following a miserable 3-3 draw at home to Bochum, his former peaceful life on the Orange County coast must seem pretty appealing.
5. Catch a flight to …
Manchester. Sir Alex Ferguson's decision to cancel the Manchester United Christmas party must mean the 100 girls who were invited last year are bored and lonely. Good luck boys, your flight leaves in 90 minutes.
6. Get excited about …
Jose Francisco Torres. The Pachuca youngster's decision to pick the United States ahead of Mexico last week was a big boost for Bob Bradley's U.S. side.
With advancement to the next stage of World Cup qualifying virtually assured, Bradley should give Torres some immediate playing time against Cuba on Oct. 11 to get an idea of what he is all about.
7. Get me a lawyer
Luciano Moggi, the former Juventus general manager, faces prison if found guilty of sports fraud and criminal association for his role in the match-fixing scandal that rocked Italian soccer.
Hopefully, the continued strong action of the Italian authorities in this case will ensure there is no repeat of the disgraceful corruption that went unheeded for years.
8. Get me a Kleenex
Michael Owen missed out on selection for England's next World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan despite scoring five goals in six games for an awful Newcastle side.
Owen has his flaws, but he must wonder what more he needs to do – especially as David Beckham was again picked despite his poor form for the Los Angeles Galaxy.
9. Get ready to say hello to …
Robbie Savage. The Welsh midfielder is already looking at his options when his current loan spell with Brighton comes to an end.
A journalism course in college is one possibility. However, more than one MLS club has made contact with Savage's agent regarding a potential switch to the United States.
Let's hope he can find a good freight company to ship over his extensive collection of gleaming sports cars.
10. Get ready to say goodbye to …
Sacha Kljestan. He looks certain to become the latest U.S. international to head over to Europe at the end of the current MLS season.
His performances with Chivas USA and the U.S. Olympic team have attracted the attention of several clubs, with FC Twente of Holland the latest to send a scout to watch him in MLS action.
11. Why it's good to be a soccer player
Take a look at Lisa Ryzih, the European junior pole vault champion and girlfriend of former U.S. under-20 defender Neven Subotic, who now plays his club football with Borussia Dortmund.
- Tottenham Hotspur
- Juande Ramos