I hate football. There I said it.
One of the most obvious knee-jerks after a defeat such as the one experienced up at the Reebok is to hold your head in your hands and cry uncontrollably, wiping away the tears as you ask yourself:
“Why? Why do I care more than the players? Why can't the players care as much as me?"
Why? Well simply because we – the fans – are the heart beat of the club. We are the one constant through its existence. We retain the values and the ambitions that the club should be aspiring to. When players are long gone, we are still here cheering and singing and supporting the next generation to wear the colours. The history of the club is embedded within us from the first time we watch the team play and stays with us as passionately and obsessively throughout our lifetime. It’s religious in scope.
And we are all together in it. We all experience the highs and the lows. The emotions and the glory. The depression and the disgust.
The reason we want to cry (or if you are too manly for Gascoignesque waterworks) shake your fists furiously at the teams abject display whilst using colourful language, is because we care so much it hurts and it hurts so much that we question whether our loyalty is misplaced. It’s a weak moment. One we always recover from. It’s sometimes easier to pretend to care less about something because it gives the illusion that you won’t hurt too much from the pain.
It’s part of our make-up as fans. Most of the time we complain and disagree with each other whilst we wait patiently (sometimes for decades) for something resembling true progression from the club before we all hold hands in unity. But that never stops us from wearing our hearts on our sleeves.
We simply love the club. Unconditionally. So when we watch a team display the same inept and dysfunctional quirks week after week, whilst the manager quotes excuses from himself from the previous defeat and the one before that, you begin to wonder why it’s so impossible for the players to react positively when the problems are so obvious?
We all know players don’t feel the same type of loyalty as fans do. That isn’t ground-breaking news. But self-pride should be evident enough. And yet its rarely evident on the pitch. Just in patches or certain games.
Other clubs have managed to capture this pride and spirit, and although some sides do not have the quality to see them achieve success others do have the quality and the combination is unequalled (see Man Utd for more details).
This crisis we find ourselves in wasn’t birthed this season. It’s been a long time coming. Our away form has been utter crap for years and years now. We never compete consistently away from WHL to really be able to drive forward as a strong side who could challenge for Europe every single season with comparative ease. Martin Jol, bless him, changed the status quo momentarily. What we’ve managed to do since has been well documented. A mish-mashed squad of individuals who struggle to form a cohesive unit. We entertain like no other club, on and off the pitch. But the main gripes are never sorted out.
Set-pieces, defending, balance of squad. Groundhog Day.
This is not just based on the Bolton result, where the score flattered us tbh. We did nothing much for 65 minutes and reacted far too late and only when Bolton relaxed. Once we made it 2-2, they woke up again and scored, thanks to help from us who sat back when we equalised. We appear to hold our own destiny in our hands every single week. Losing (I think it’s) four games away from home in the final minutes is pretty scandalous stuff. And the reason behind it?
Mental strength. Or lack of.
We have a deep-rooted psychological problem. We have players that want to play football, who want to play it about and score magnificent goals and buzz as the ball pings with neat and tidy one-touch skills. But it’s all plastic rather than gold because turning up and wanting to be great and wanting to play great is not enough. We – individually and as a team – need to want to win all the battles across the pitch like our lives depend on it. We need to clatter the opposition. Bully them. Show we mean business instead of all this limp excuse for spirit we witness most weeks. We need more Dawsons. I can’t believe I just said that.
We have no leader and we have no bully. Weak in mind, weak in soul. And this has been us for a while now. We change the manager, we change the players. And yet the same problem always exists. When mistakes are made, does anyone get angry about it? Apart from us, the mugs in the stands?
What was it Carrick once said about us? We have a culture of failure at Tottenham. He didn’t quite say that, but that was the gist of it. The players do not appear to hate losing. It’s acceptable. It’s ok. But it shouldn’t be.
The players have to stand up and show us 100% heart and passion. How many times has this been demanded this season alone, and they don’t quite do it? We know they can because we've seen it in one-off games. But alas again, that's the problem. Botheredness.
It’s easy for the likes of Utd where they win things every year to hate losing and therefore give it that extra 110% every week because defeat and failure is unacceptable for them – but surely at a club like Spurs which aspires to be a force in English football – should see their players strive to avoid being second best? Players at the club should arrive and understand that second best is not good enough for the club. We don’t have a Ferguson. But neither do most. So what is the point of being at Spurs? You can almost taste the importance and affect Davids had at the Lane, on the training pitch and in the first team squad. Hopefully Palacios will bring us something similar with his undoubted class. Whether he has the same fire in his belly that even an 'old' Davids had is altogether another thing. But then Wilson is not the same type of player that Edgar was.
Where is the intensity? That extra yard? That willingness and aggressive nature?
We didn’t show much up at the Reebok. Well done to Bent who has a pretty good goal scoring ratio this season, even though we sometimes wonder about his ability and application game to game. Shame on our defending, especially for the third decisive goal. And maybe this one up front business can be scrapped soon as it simply doesn’t work. Most of our lads had stinkers.
We are fast running out of games now. Do I think we are going down? No. Because we will do just about enough to avoid the drop, thanks largely to the fact that there are far worse teams than us. But I pray to God the players don’t have this very same thought. Look at our away fixture and who we have to visit between now and the final game of the season. It's daunting in places.
Arsenal at home next. Three points from six games during December through to Jan is almost as bad as what we got under Ramos. The results from the first 8 games of a season will not get you relegated – it’s what you do after that and we’ve done nothing other than skip through a honeymoon period that wasn’t followed up with a successful marriage.
Let's just avoid the divorce papers.
The sooner this window shuts, and Harry stops harking on about how many points we had when he joined the better. Had we not lost any of the last four away then we’d all be a little more happier now. But we did, and we’re not. The Preimer League is a joke down at the bottom, with all teams of equal poor quality. So there's no need to laser-remove your tattoos just yet.
I bet we give it a right old ding-dong go on Sunday in the NLD. Unbeaten against Big 4 opposition this season in the League (sums us up really). And we’ll be scratching our heads trying to figure out why we can’t dish out the same performance every week. Fingers crossed, hey?
I hate football. I could never live without it.
Let's just thrash Arsenal and worry about this relegation lark later.
Thanks to Dayo for the photoshop Redknapp pic. Visit this thread over at Glory Glory for more hilarity.