guest-blog by Chris King
When is it no longer acceptable to complain? To moan about a service provided, an experience gained or an attitude presented to you?
What makes it unacceptable? Do you have to take in to consideration everything that has gone before – to apply a “mus’n’ grumble” attitude to everything you do – as hey, there is always going to be someone far worse off than you; someone below you – way below you.
When do you hand over your right to complain? As soon as UEFA doles out their 30 pieces of TV silver; or does it go back further than that – to Eastlands last term, to when Harry signed, to when Jason Dozzell went back east?
This is the picture currently being presented to Spurs fans – fans who feel they want to exercise their right to politely point out where the team has gone wrong over the last couple of months. To comment, complain even criticise (lick windows and howl at the moon as some in the media are suggesting us “nutters” do). Yet we are being reliably informed that we are clueless; that we have no right to moan about this past season – as this is the best it has ever been (since circa Sky and all that).
Swallow your penance, shut up and accept your lot.
But what if you are one of those book learning types; you know – those that can read. Can look at a set of results, the names in a squad; understand maths sufficiently well to add up points that could (read: should) have been gained against those clubs below yours. What if you then came to the conclusion that all was not right? That something had gone wrong; horribly wrong – and the slight swagger you presented to the world back in March – was now a hunched shuffle, which had you sloping back in to the pack – to where most believe you truly belong.
City beating us was no great shock last night – eggs, paper bags, and the geek’s even nerdy dad could have Spurs in a rumble right about now. Yet if you read twitter last night, or skimmed through the obituaries – sorry – I mean match reports this morning - you’d think we were just popping off cloud nine for a pint of milk, a decent keeper; and we’ll be back amongst the big boys before next season was but a few weeks old.
It was official – we weren’t allowed to complain. We weren’t allowed to pluck figures like one win in 10 (I appreciate it’s more, I just like round figures) out of the cold, hard facts. We weren’t allowed to comment on the apparent lack of desire at times against West Ham, West Brom or Blackpool.
We weren’t allowed to question the tactical acumen applied to the team selection in those game, or last night – or the switches made, and the personnel introduced.
Unbeknown to Spurs fans, a new law was passed across the land placing the penalty of treason on any negative comments directed at the Red Top’s new “King of Hearts”. Harry is lauded as a very good manager who had a bad run with a few dodgy decisions, sendings off, injuries – it was always someone else’s fault.
But what if we want to complain? What’s stopping us?
Well there’s the ever so slightly patronising undertone that we’ve been shockingly bad for so long that, To Dare – is apparently above us. We should be happy with the fact that we’ve beaten AC and Inter Milan – we’ve had a run in the Champions League that no one expected of us, and that we took our beating against Madrid like men.
If there’s a Spurs fan out there that can’t find a positive from the season, then there is a little more than something wrong with them – and in fairness, to those baying for Harry’s head, only Vicente del Bosque would get the sack after some of our European results this term – but there is no disputing that our season was derailed sometime in March – and if we can’t moan, then at least let us ask why it all went so wrong?
I don’t buy in to the notion that the European experience did for us. We’ve been all over clubs at times – West Ham at home, City home and away – and what have we got to show for it? If we can’t criticise Harry, do we point the finger of blame at Dear Mr Levy? – who is so cunning in his transfer bargaining that he left us a striker light, and gave us Pieenar – a player who appears to have left what form he had, back up in Liverpool – no doubt a victim of that gang that targets the prized possessions of their local players.
But we can’t moan – nor question. So what do we do? We do what all Spurs fans do at such times, we argue with each other. If no one is prepared to listen, we find someone to at least shout over the top of on the same subject matter; though for once, we all seem to be shouting the same things.
No Journos will return our tweets, opposition fans only see the folly in our arguments – we’re no longer the darlings – back to being the overly expectant, laughing stock we’ve been since the ‘80s.
If last season delivered the earth, this season promised the moon and the stars as well. There was, daft as it now seems - the faint glimmer that we might even be the club to take the title race in to May. Looking at our last 13 league games, the teams we’ve played and the points we dropped – would it really have been so daft?
Though I guess it is not really our fault. United, Chelsea and Arsenal are where they supposedly belong – City have bought their place at the top table, and Liverpool – well, they’re just the Liverpool of old; same efficiency, same manager, same reliance on the back pass to the keeper. So if it feels like we robbed ourselves of glory; chances are it just wasn’t meant to be.
So if you feel like moaning – ask yourself a few questions: are we better than we were under Francis? Have we enjoyed some fantastic European nights down the lane this term? If the Red Tops want Harry for England, surely he’s still the man for us, right? If we’d have won half of those last 13 games, would we be back in the Champions League next year?
Actually, don’t ask that last question; it’ll only cause you to question, to moan….. To ultimately, be wrong!
Chris King, a regular on the old Shelf and held a season ticket in the Park Lane Upper. He now lives in Leeds, where he spends most Saturdays trying to teach his daughter the words to Spurs’ songs. Writes for In Bed with Maradona and his own blog Northern Writes.