A familiar face circling the wagons at Tottenham 5

What a difference a change of manager makes. Well, what a difference it makes to the way that events are reported.

From a blundering set of under-achievers under Andre Villas-Boas, Tottenham are now over matching expectations with Tim Sherwood at the helm - despite actually doing worse.

“This is a club with Champions League ambitions operating on a Europa League budget.

This season, if Tottenham’s coach Tim Sherwood finishes fifth, where they are currently positioned in the Premier League, that would be about right based on their current wage structure.”

That’s from Neil Ashton’s column in The Mail this morning, and it represents a dramatic change in narrative from the days in which Andre Villas-Boas was pilloried by Ashton after almost every loss, belittled for his failure to break-into the top-four, and was generally ridiculed at every opportunity.

Etc. etc. etc.

The vast majority of journalists working in the sports media do a very fine job and warrant all the respect in the world, but there are a few whose opinions are dictated by a need to do little PR favours for their contacts within the game.

When it comes to Tottenham, that’s what Neil Ashton does - and has been doing for some time.

He’s not wrong about the wage spend and the expectations of the supporters being slightly too high, but he’s arrived at that conclusion for all the wrong reasons - he’s searching for a reason to defend Tim Sherwood.

Ashton’s perception of Spurs isn’t dictated by the permanent circumstances surrounding the club, it’s periodically altered to fit his personal relationship with a manager or certain backroom staff.

How can that be right? Opinions are fine, and uncovering stories has a purpose, but when a journalist starts offering PR-support instead of authentic opinions, how much credibility can he really have?

I’m bored of hearing myself complain about Neil Ashton, and I don’t mean it to sound as venomous as it probably does, but his coverage of time has, for some time now, been both very insincere and contrived to suit a personal allegiance he has within the club.

This is football, it’s a game, and so this is all actually quite trivial, but it’s still very depressing to listen to - slag the club off, support it, by all means say what you believe, but just be genuine about it.

Today was very much a tipping-point, because in order to prop-up the ‘Sherwood is actually matching expectations so please, please don’t sack him Daniel Levy’ theme, Ashton had to completely reverse his position on Villas-Boas and - sort of - credit him for his job performance.

How ridiculous is this getting?

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