What is Tottenham Hotspur?
Just when I thought I was out...they pull me back in. This Stratford saga is never ending.
I posted the below over in the thread 'The East End itch Levy can't quite scratch...' at The Fighting Cock forum. I've made some amends to it for this blog. Promised myself I wouldn't got back to discussing this, but then it's one of those subjects that fragments us (an already fragmented fanbase).
Be sure to join in the discussion.
What is Tottenham Hotspur?
Its difficult to talk about this question because you can sit and attempt to quantify what constitutes emotional detachment and what defines a club and what it means in practicality for hours and still not get anywhere when attempting to use said arguments in relation to a potential move away from N17.
So what is Tottenham? Is it the fans? The area? Do you define a club by its traditions and if so, what are traditions? Style of play, memories of games? Players? Celebrations? Infamous away trips? Hatred for other clubs? The Lane? The journey into the Lane? So much goes into constructing the DNA of a supporter and club. I think its all of the above, all mashed together in a sexy gooey kinda way.
Football is emotive, so surely it should be based on emotions?
What? Oh yeah, PLC. I need to remember to get a tattoo of that on my back.
If we moved down the road, say to another part of North London, there would be a transitional period for all of us attempting to move on from the fact we've left WHL. It happens in life when you leave a job, split up with your partner or someone dies. You think its all gone and it wont be the same again, its all changed, but you adapt and you end up embracing the present and look towards the future.
No matter where we play, you could argue, Spurs exist because they exist in our heads and in our minds. If there were no Spurs fans they'd be no club. Now before I drown in deeply philosophical musings that I'm struggling to articulate because I'm sober...what I'm saying is, I do get that history DOES count and everything this club has achieved will not suddenly disappear because we've shifted home.
Or will it? Will people look back on it with some degree of detachment? Will it matter if that happens when I hit the grand old age of 70 and new young football fans don't much care for whatever happened back in the days of HD and 3D tv, what with their 'Watch the game with retina-cam' via your fav player with Holographic TV™.
I wasn't alive in the 1960s yet that side, those players, they feel and belong to me as much as any player or team I have watched in the modern era.
Spurs won the double in 61. Eight FA Cups. Trophies in Europe. I could name 50 flair players off the top of my head that made their mark for our club. These are the things we can't lose because what has happened can never be changed, but the clubs actual physical persona, its character and its appearance will forever morph into something completely different. And why? Because at that (this) moment in time Stratford was more affordable and feasible than N17.
Revenue, 60K + attendances, new supporters, corporate hospitality to die for, transport links made in heaven...all this has nothing to do with what happens on the pitch when Spurs play. I'm talking in the purest sense here. If it takes another 10 years to get the NDP sorted I'd rather wait then spend another 100 years in N17 than to uproot and move to another part of London just because it's a more fiscal do-able option in the short term.
I get its a business. I get shareholders and investment. But that doesn't mean I should conform. Tottenham (like many clubs) have copyrighted everything to do with the club. Brand. Tottenham the brand. You want use the THFC club badge on your blog because you're a fan? Sorry, no chance. Pay Spurs first for the privilege. Or be sued. Why? Because you can't be making money off the Tottenham brand. That's modern football. If I'm in the minority that wish to hold onto the last surviving romantic notions, then so be it.
Why the mad rush and the opportunistic short cut with the OS bid? Football might well implode in the next 10 years, we don't know. The mad rush is because of those shareholders and their demand for it. They invested money. You can't argue against their argument. But again, why should that concern me?
I guess football has moved on and I'm refusing to move with it.
Billionaires are buying up clubs left right and centre and changing the competition and the landscape of competitiveness. Again, I'd rather be this plucky team on the outside punching our way in. And if we get in, and we enjoy a cycle of success and then lose that cycle. So be it. That's football. Not everyone has that honour of silverware. Nobody is at the top forever. We've not quite been at the top for a long long time. I'd welcome it. Would even be acceptable in small doses.
So it all comes back to what you define as heritage and would constitutes an acceptable sacrifice (i.e. leaving North London to settle in East London) to consolidate progression and that competitive spirit in this age of money.
The club would have moved had they won the bid. That's the scary thing. The power of our custodians over the voice of the dispensable fan all too evident.
We are Tottenham, a small club they say, yet we always compete or at least show ambition to and the last 15 years or so (the barren 90s) has been down to bad management on the pitch (and off) in terms of managerial appointments. We still make money, we still splash said money. And look at us now, with the monopoly practically dead, we are always in with a chance. It's exciting. Let's not forget its all the depression that makes the good times good.
We need a bigger ground, not because I'm concerned about the £££ but because we have loyal hardcore fans who want season tickets and they are much needed because 50k will make more noise than 37K. The extra revenue will obviously help to bolster the rich and spoilt millionaires that wear the shirt with a fraction of the loyalty we possess. That's the hit right there.
I probably still haven't got my point across in the best way, but I guess what I want, what I need as a fan is different to how others might perceive things. Some are simply focused on the fact that a bigger stadium will equate to more money that will somehow guarantee success and glory. Might. Might not. It's a risk either way. Would prefer to retain our identity. I do agree we need to be ambitious. But want us to anchor ourselves to some of that emotive stuff that glues as together. That's the identity with all the romantic caveats attached.
You know, from my front door, Stratford is thirty minutes away by tube (and I don't even live in London). But I'd still rather spend 1 hour + getting into that sh*t hole in North London.
That's just me.