Lilywhite linings playbook
It doesn't feel like January. Sure, it's raining and it's cold but there isn't a buzz about that other traditional festivity that occurs this time of year. No, not post-Christmas detox, I'm talking about the transfer window. No surprise if you're not feeling that buzz and support Tottenham. The summer window was a little bit like spending the night with Jennifer Lawrence and skipping around everywhere the day after with a massive big grin on your face, in love and loving life. The present day however is a much darker place. No sunshine no smiles. Akin to her never calling you back, ignoring your messages and calls, removing you from Snapchat. Why Jennifer why? Or rather, why Tottenham why not deviate from the playbook just this once?
Only we can look to enforce our momentum by spending £100M on new players and then several months later bemoan most of the new arrivals and have to spend our days reading about half of them being linked with moves abroad.
Did you truly expect it to play out any differently? When you go to the circus you expect to see clowns.
It's quite clear that if you lose a single talismanic player, you can not expect instant success with the replacements. Players need to settle but should they be struggling to settle to the point where some have now been deemed surplus to requirements? Maybe thanks to the lack of activity everywhere with incomings and outgoings, we're easy pickings for agents and tabloids to suggest X player is unhappy/transfer listed. History will remind me this is pretty much a standard response to yet another identity crisis.
Are we that devoid of patience, from the chairman to the current coach and to the stands and the supporters that we want to continuously reboot the club like it's a duff operating system? Don't all the repeated blue screens of death tell you we need to fix the problem at the core of all the instability? Which means we need to wipe the hard drive clean and re-install it. Might even need to upgrade the entire rig. That isn't happening any time soon.
See, we at Spurs aim so high that even in failure there is an echo of good accountancy. Levy gets £100M for Gareth Bale. He spends it on new players but in reality our net spend is ridiculously low. All the players we have have solid re-sell value meaning we'll probably make a profit on most of them if sold on. This part of the clubs dynamic gives us a sustainable base to work from but it's hardly one that allows for football progression.
Too many times Daniel Levy has stuttered at vital moments to consolidate our position by not spending big money. The one time he does it, he does it because of Real Madrid's generosity to match our estimation of Bale. What did this give us? It gave us imbalance and failure to gel within the time limits set by the fans/the media/the very same board that sanctioned the super-spree. Andre Villas-Boas claims he wasn't given support at Spurs, a wink towards the in-house relationship degrading to the point where discipline was lost out on the pitch. Say what you want about the slow brooding football, but it was effective until the implosions and the continued stubbornness not to change. Did AVB fall out over transfer targets? Surely not? We signed players he wanted right? Players to fit the system, no?
Regardless, for all our desire and ambition, we have no true masterplan because that would mean sticking to it having made the right decision at its very beginnings. Perhaps the hard hitting truth is that a club with a 36k capacity stadium can not compete in any other way than how we appear to be competing presently. Buy and sell, the only method we can sustain to continue to remain active and competitive in the market.
But it's not really about that, is it?
It's about how we appoint a director of football to handle the transfers and support the coach to then see the DoF take it a step too far with the new signings and for us to struggle to handle their assimilation into the Lilywhite collective. Actually, they fit perfectly considering the despondency most are suffering from.
Then, out goes the coach (sacked, asked to leave, mutual agreement - what does it matter, he's gone and replaced) and in comes the contingency that wants a longer contract for his own personal financial protection. I'm certain the academy will now be considered and used more but that's a long term strategy. Spending 100M and getting the players integrated into a working system is of far greater relevance to the here and now.
Do the players we have fit Tim Sherwood's philosophy? Do we even know what his philosophy is, aside from not fancying defensive midfielders. Or does he simply not fancy lazy ones? Is Levy and Franco Baldini actively looking for a more suitable coach to come in this summer? What exactly is suitable for Spurs? Preferably someone wearing roller-skates so they can circle the Lane and be on their way out as fast as they came in.
For all of the positives with financial stability our chairman has bestowed on us are we not allowed to question his erratic and misplaced speculation to pushing us further on the field? A club like Tottenham should always be looked after with the highest respect for it's heritage and fanbase. So having someone fiscally astute should be a given. When you don't have that you end up with someone like Irving Scholar and spend a couple of decades desperately attempting to reclaim a genuine spine strong enough to contend again.
With much heavy irony, we expect the answers to the questions above with seasoned impatience.
Our financial backbone is used far too often to defend our amateurish approach with matters of a purely footballing nature. Which is where the problem festers. There is no pure footballing nature. It's fused with the finances and unrecognisable to our chairman.
I'm not crying over here. I'm not ranting. I'm not punching the keyboard with my fists as I type this out. I'm Tottenham. I'm thick skinned, self-deprecating and accepting the melodrama as a given. The defining positive is that this isn't Spurs of the late 80s and most of the 90s and early 00s. Say what you will about the our current predicament, it's not a crisis and our squad - even with the misfiring players - is loaded with class. That doesn't mean we can't shake our heads at our apparent inability to avoid giving up that momentum and wasting it with transition and lack of leadership.
I'm fairly certain it's easier to support a football club than it is to run it. Running would equate to a steady pace, knowing when to push through the pain barrier and run through the wall rather than having our lungs give out and collapsing in a heap. Supporting equates to standing in the same spot jumping up and down frantically screaming and swearing. At least the latter is one thing perfected by Tottenham.
I don't have the answers. I don't know what goes on behind those closed doors at WHL and Hotspur Way. Others have echoed this same sentiment that Andre Villas-Boas failure and the manner in which it all unravelled crushed the hope of what was meant to be the next level the club aspired to get to. Mistakes happen. You correct them. You sometimes replace them with another mistake. Successful clubs retain consistency with their mantra. Ours is in a permanent state of flux. That's probably who we are. It won't change until ENIC sell the club but that won't happen until we get naming rights for the new stadium and that won't happen until the football side is successful on the pitch and marketable enough, say, with Champions League football.
Caught in a loop. Forever caught in a loop.