Fight Club


Well that escalated quickly. Spurs are officially in crisis. I know this because the broadsheets have joined the tabloids in reporting on squad disharmony and turmoil. You know, cause nobody can tell that from simply watching us lose.

It began with Emmanuel Adebayor dropping a truth bomb about the atmosphere (lack of) at the Lane. Yes, it was sensationalised with an inciting headline. Sure, of all the people at the club he probably doesn't fit the profile to gently highlight the corrosive surroundings that casts a foreboding shadow over the smallest football pitch in the country; the supporters. Although the shadow cast from the directors box is more in keep with the darkness of our reality. The non-existent shadow from the new stadium, an invisible dagger to the Hart.

Adebayor has captaincy privileges and his opinion is likely to be one shared by most of our maligned squad. It's not surprising as the player is well respected (by his team-mates) and is vocal in the dressing room, so he's the most likely to speak out. Although if I want to be cynical, he's also the perfect scapegoat for the equally maligned supporters to momentarily divert their expletives away from ENIC, the true architects of our stagnation.

Even though what he says is damning and nothing new, it remains a deflection and it's the type that breeds the sickle that enjoys reaping death on the most plagued of football clubs. Yet again, we are burdened with too many words and not enough action.

Adebayor and team-mates are as guilty as the low key fans for failing to spice up the cauldron with the necessary ingredients to produce something tasty. Why are the players so incapable of showing love for the shirt? Where is the spark to ignite the crowd to react to their endeavours with some pulsating physicality and sustained effort? Where's the connection because we sure ain't connecting with the ones running our club.

Why do I get the feeling we've been here before? It's because we've been here before. We always come back to this point, an anchor in time and space, looping eternally to the same spot in the most unforgiving deja vu imaginable. A black hole pulling us in with no escape until we find ourselves facing it again before being pulled in...again.

Is the football lacklustre and gutless? Are we struggling for creativity and cohesiveness? If you're a millionaire Spurs player, timid and fearful, then point towards those that watch on, for they must surely be guilty of sucking the life out of the players. Ignore the minor detail that our willingness to be positive has been rendered null and void thanks to a multitude of reasons. Mostly reasons that involves the likes of Adebayor and his team-mates not wishing to bestow those that pay to be there and those more fortunate at home (where they can switch the tv off by kicking the screen) with some fortitude and intensity. Some of our players have heart, but that isn't enough. Much like those watching the game.

The team is a reflection of the supporters and the supporters is a reflection of the team. What came first, the football or the crowd?

Away from home the support is unrelenting. It always has been, it's the culture of away days. It's tribal. Try to replicate that at WHL and it's now considered to be contrived with kids that aren't season ticket holders. Happy clappers that think they're better than everyone else. Adebayor only echoed what we know already. We hate each other so we're unlikely to hug it out. Fans fighting fans. Fans hating on the team. The team showing no spirit. The fans defaulting to the recovery position. Everyone giving up as per usual, nice and early.

It doesn't help that we remain the consumers that the club have conditioned us to be and the players a parody of our more productive past. At the game, on-line, anywhere; we have no patience, drowning in pessimism, self-loathing aplenty. With the money spent to frequent the ground on any given Sunday, you can understand why supporters behave like consumers, demanding good customer service. All-seater stadiums paved the way for a new breed of supporter and the evolution is making extinct the type that remember what it was like to pay 10 quid to stand on a terrace.

However, with this downward spiral continuing it's yearly home territory plummet - I can't blame the supporters that once upon a time embraced optimism. You'll always have a miserable section of our fan-base, it's how they are even away from football, only happy when they're sad. But it's those that once supported unequivocally that have fallen silent, it's here where the problem exists and damages and feeds an excuse to the below par footballers.

They are suffering in silence. Frustrated and despondent. You might love your wife dearly but if she complains of a headache every night you're not going to find yourself swinging from the chandelier. Supporters can and will get behind the team but in these semi-troubled times we need someone to conduct us and that person has to be out on the pitch looking towards the stands, with battle-face and heart pumping so hard you can chant YIDS to the beat.

Where is the passion? The leadership? Are the tactics so difficult to understand that we are no closer to breaking free of the constraints that our recent footballing failures have imprisoned us in? Are the new tactics as cursed as the old? Are supporters far more influential than we give ourselves credit for with the weight of expectation and judgemental viewing too much for our fragile players to handle?

They are fragile. No question. Instead of telling everyone the scary Spurs crowd are mean why not take responsibility and do something, anything, to get them up off their seats punching the air with encouragement. Let's face it, we are fickle. A few wins and the entire perspective will shift and change. It always does. None of us watching from the stands or the sofa or the pub can directly force a threaded ball to a striker as he takes it past the last defender and slots it home. We can't - but we can provide the soundtrack to what ought to be a thriller rather than another horror story.

Actually we can when accepting the role of the 12th man, as clichéd as that sounds. It still needs to be offered. We need to believe and at the moment, watching Spurs, none of us can muster enough self pride to rise above the diabolical football and sing. The players don't believe in themselves. We don't believe in them. We are left instead with venomous whispers and anger towards those around us with the addition of the uniformed instructing when we can stand on our feet and if the flag has been health and safety certified. It's abject no matter where you're watching the game. It's uninspired.

As for them lot upstairs, ENIC, the PA system drowned out the booing on Sunday. What next? Blindfolds handed out as you walk through the turnstiles? Chirpy sharing Kool Aid as he wonders around the stadium preaching from The Opus (not available in the club shop). We have been chewed up by brand and marketing, history and tradition spat out and nothing but bare bones remain. They don't care. They simply want to control.

This remains a game of blame. The media have been given the green light to roll out their templated theories, mostly stolen tweets and regurgitated sound-bites. They don't need a basis of proof, it's easy for them to appease the self-fulfilling prophecy that presides over N17 like a brooding cloud that is about to thunderclap us back to the 1990s. The pressure will build simply because of words spoken and written, when in reality we are eleven games in and deep down we all knew this was going to be a difficult task for Pochettino.

We are all adding fuel to the fire. The same ones that are slagging off Adebayor for speaking out are probably the same that berate academy players and demand coaches to be sacked before blaming Daniel Levy for not giving his appointments enough time. There is a mass identity crisis. The squad churn is to the detriment of progression. The transfer policy is one without transparency. The supporters are client ID's, expendable for the most part. We can talk about revolution. About boycotts. We could stage walk outs or demonstrations. We could. It's unlikely we will. I'd much prefer to see every inch of the stadium sing 'Ohh when the Spurs' for 30 minutes non-stop and be damned with what is going on anywhere else, because we remain Tottenham Hotspur - win, lose or draw. If ever there was a call to arms to reclaim the soul we've allowed to be taken away from us, this is it.

That includes the players, who need to sort this in-house, not publicly as to disassociate themselves from the fight. Get their heads right and the application spot on and prove themselves worthy of this grand old club. There is no denying that home defeats to WBA, Newcastle and Stoke City are unacceptable. Yet they happened because we deserved to lose which tells you we're not good enough to beat these teams on our own patch. That's three alarms that were meant to wake us up. Let's hope that last one hasn't been touched back into snooze mode.

We've forgotten how to play football with expression and freedom and we've forgotten how to support thanks to the obsessions of expectations and the over zealous policing of what is meant to be our experience of the club we belong to.

It's going to get worse before it gets better. So the only prevalent question is - who is gonna step up and fight for this club?


SpookySpurs in Crisis