Gatecrashers no more
Pochettino has been speaking about his job and the expectations and agreements made when he accepted it. The usual nods towards longevity and building towards something. The much repeated focus on changing the mentality of the players and the club which ties in with ye olde nemesis himself, Father Time. All good positive vibes. Let's face it, he's hardly going to sit there and suggest he'll be sacked in 18 months time if we've not got involved and competed against the mightily better suited for success clubs that always sit above, mocking with us with unrivalled quantities of consistency and luck and class.
The Spurs job has for so long now been defined by our own relative success post-Sky Sports Top Four dominance. We slowly got our act together whilst others transitioned from being light years ahead to being the odd kilometre away. Alas, they still kept their distance but we have remained attached, pretending more than contending but at times fairly unlucky not to claim the glory of Champions League. Yes, the glory. Expectations these days are aligned to financial gain and blah blah blah, you've heard it and read it a thousand times already. We know what football has become and we fully appreciate that players are geared up towards the desire to play in it and earn money equating to playing in the CL. Which is why when we fail to achieve it, we lose our cream of the crop.
Ignoring Pochettino's comments (although I like the fact he's aiming for silverware - which appears to be a naturally ignored trait with preference always firmly on that number four spot), we don't really know what the plan is within the club. Hopefully it's stability whilst ENIC attempt to finally get the stadium build rolling (or look to sale up instead).
We wanted this under Andre Villas-Boas but for a multitude of reasons - both political and footballing - along with the usual in-house mismanagement of transfer money and player/coach fractions - we ballsed it all up. AVB quit. Or rather agreed to quit. Shambles. That's what we do best. Hardly fitting of the romantic notions Bill Nicholson gave us all the years ago. Foundations that have left us forever reaching out but never quite touching it. You'll have better luck (and fulfilment) touching yourself.
I do want stability. I said it before and after Pochettino was appointed - I have no expectations that will involve me going absolutely mental with disappointment if not reached. That might sound like I'm ignoring Bill and his echo of glory sentiments but sadly these are different times. Take his words about Europe and Spurs being 'nothing' if we are not involved in European competition. Glory Glory nights only appear to be apt if those particular occasions have even a remote hint of the past in their presence. Europa League group games with a fringe selection played out to low attendances don't appear to inspire much from fans or even the players. Prioritisation is king. It's reflected on and off the pitch with how we value a game or compeition. In this case, the Europa League is seen as a burden, a distraction thanks mainly to the lack of glamour in these early stages.
It picks up later on, or should do, more so now because the competition has CL as it's grand prize. Easy to forget how good this competition was and felt in its previous life as the UEFA Cup. From winning it in 1984 to a more dystopian modern existence. Footballers train and play with physical superiority to past decades and yet so much of the game becomes a chore for so many. Supporters included.
We want silverware, but we can't be bothered with the graft. Nicholson's sentiments must remain part of our DNA. They need to mean something more than being taglines that just sound nice. But we have to resemble a team, a club, worthy of doing so first. We're simply not cohesive and strong enough to apply these grand notions. Not yet.
I have no expectations because I'm having to sacrifice it all because once more we've started afresh and although I want us to play with style and grace and attack with potency I know full well that we've made it difficult for ourselves to be able to do just that.
Poch has a job on his hand which involves getting us to look good again and then using that as a platform to truly push forward. The bits in the middle of it all - players we have, players we need, players we need to get rid of, the patience of the supporters, the pressure on the board, the guts to stick with it or to once more admit a mistake - all of this is where we make or break. If the players and the coach find a balance then all those bits in the middle are vanquished because all that will concern the majority is the quality of football being played.
But don't fret. We do love a reboot and there is always an occasional renaissance enjoyed in the aftermath. Pockets of adventure is what we do best. The new question birthed from all of this concerns that coaching chop and change culture. We've already slipped a little from our 'top four' seasonal challenge thanks to our very personal repeated deficiencies and the far more focused fiscal prowess of those teams ahead of us. So, if Pochettino fails or the club fail him, are we in danger of being locked out of the party that we've always managed to gatecrash?