I've been deeply philosophical in recent weeks and equally cautious. With each passing game when considering a battle cry for the next one (knowing the risk of repetition and the sorry fact that what follows is a post-match post-mortem allowing for both the knee-jerkers and the blind faithful to knock heads together) we stand waiting for something unexpected to happen. Like a win.
It's the FA Cup this time. That's not unexpected. We've had one of these puncture our league games before. The win in the previous round against Stevenage was hardly inspiring but taking into account the away team performed admirably in what was their 'cup final' it was never going to be a walk in the park. Spurs were professional enough in the end to get through and into the quarters with a semi-final the new prize to those that dare to achieve. Being that this is now a quarter, as a collective, we have to up our game to match the desire required for this stage of the competition.
As for repetition, I was going to cite the catalyst nature of this fixture . In isolation, it's potentially 90 minutes from a game at Wembley. A push for silverware (remember when this ilk of adventure meant something important?). In terms of our season, it's a chance to re-birth lost confidence. Blah blah blah. Re-read any of my prior match previews. It's the same colourful emotive nonsense that has failed me each time.
To compound matters further, Harry Redknapp appears to have taken responsibility to inspire the troops and fans in the post-match build up.
“Finishing top four is not a must to keep those players. If Arsenal don’t get in the top four, are their best players going to leave? If Chelsea don’t, will their best players walk away?"
“It doesn’t work like that. We don’t have a divine right to be in the top four. If we finish in the top four — and I think we will — we’ve punched above our weight"
“If we don’t make it, it’s just one of those things. We’ll have given it our best shot. We’re third in the league and we would have taken that at the start of the year"
“We’d be way over expectations if we finished in the top four. We haven’t finished above Arsenal or Chelsea for a long time and it looked like it would be tough to finish above Liverpool at the start of the season. We’ve finished in the top four once, not every year. If we do it this year, it will be fantastic, and I think we will.”
My blood is pumping and I'm dizzy from the head rush.
Underplaying much there Harry? Protecting the brand name? Comfortable? I'm hoping his team talks are a little more zesty in delivery when standing in front of the players with the aim to muster up some passion.
Pundits, managers, fans, the lot of us basically change our perceptions on a game to game basis to suit our emotions and analysis and protect ourselves from suffering if what is expected and first predicted doesn't happen. We've gone from just outside top four, to top four, to third, to title challengers, to third, to possibly 3rd, to probably 4th and now 'it will be expected if we finished 5th'.
Fix up Spurs. Regardless of the contradictions and media sound-bites, finishing outside of the top four now would be a failure compared with the form we've displayed across the season as a whole. A failure of ours rather than the result of others.
I'd like to see far more emotion (from the players its a given) but also from the gaffer, but then this is hardly a revelation (his comments to the press). It's textbook. Still, words are just words. Actions on the other hand...
We have a chance to stick those white and blue ribbons back on a piece of silver we've not had our hands on for far too long. A cup once synonymous with this club. It's all about glory, right? Nothing in the small print saying that glory can't be packaged up in two parts.
Get it done Spurs. Cup on Saturday. Then Stoke under the lights. Wake up. A good performance is imperative (rather than 'just win any which way') as we have the tools to play well and with flair. We need to apply them to inject that belief back into the side. Momentum. Remember that?
As for a traditional DML battle cry, it would be rude not to, so I'll end on this: