I'm hurting. I love Tottenham and love belonging to Tottenham. I admit it, I'm over protective. If a Spurs fan attacks the club I'm instinctively defensive. Not to the point where I cover my eyes and ears and pretend it's all good vibes, happy clappy in the corner foaming at the mouth singing Chas'n'Dave. I'm just not likely to berate and hate on the club constantly.
I see Spurs as a reflective experience. I'm happy when we win, sad when we lose. I'm all in - all of the time. I'm not against it, seeking constant detachment, disparagement and self-loathing. Each to their own but as much as they might seek to attack my mindset, I guess it's fair I counter theirs. We all know how powerful the fanbase can be if they wish to encourage change and how far that hive mentality can consume. For the good, sometimes. But not always. What you perceive as the greater good is up for debate, which is why it feels like we're on the verge of a civil war. Those that reflect and introspect against those that feel justified that there was always something wrong and Tottenham's current form proves them right.
Of course football isn't that perfect and since when did any side (of our stature) claim a position of all encompassing strength with comparative ease, anchoring themselves without any concerns of gatecrashing the upper echelons? It's as though doing so is a breeze which I guess explains the success we've had challenging the top four over the past two decades. Right?
It seems we have a sense of entitlement even before we've achieved anything. It's healthy to retain ambition and focus. But it's gutless to give up the moment something brand new gets scratched up for the first time. It's like preferring box fresh trainers to ones that have been worn for some time. The latter are a little dirty and scuffed but have character in comparison to the ones with not a single mark on them that you hardly wear in case you step in dog sh*t.
Poch and his team cultivated their personality and spirit over a very short space of time. But it was from a place that had no real gauge for comparison. The club was always a mess in management and preparation. We had brief and spectacular previews of what it could look like if we got it right consistently. Jol, Redknapp and even in isolated moments, AVB. We improved when the current gaffers philosophy slowly bedded in - players and fans alike. Remember the early days when nobody could figure out what that philosophy was? Time. Everything takes time.
Some of us (the ones that cut themselves during AVB's tenure) were impatient at the start of the new journey post Poch appointment. Fans wanting him out five games into his second season (probably the same ones that are now piping up even louder today). For them, a few poor results justifies it all beyond argument.
Their perspective is suspicious because they never offer their own alternative positive no matter what they witness. I'll consider and entertain them but I can't take it too seriously. They are are still Spurs after-all but they have a demented viewpoint. They probably think the same thing of me. I guess both sets are at odds with each other. I don't understand how they get any enjoyment out of the football and they hate the fact that I do. We need each other to test each others resolve. Strange relationship.
It's ridiculous how obsessive some fans are in wanting it all to crash so they can stop and stare at the wreckage. Their natural inclination is to be one-sided, all angst and no joy. Is it equally obsessive that I won't let go of the hope? It's more than hope though, isn't it? This time it is, unlike those shattered dreams we experienced with the aforementioned managers.
Even someone like AVB (always destined to fail) had to be given the opportunity to prove he could succeed. And there were glimpses of something in there but ultimately his aggressive counter attacking football never showed up and we got a draining possession obsessed tactic that often flattered to deceive. Mixed with the random signings, it was recipe to make you choke, gag and then puke. We never combined from board room to dressing room in a way that benefited all concerned.
Is that era somehow comparable to what Poch has done since his arrival? That everything we've witnessed under him is an illusion? Are you primed with another 'I told you so' to go alongside every single other manager we've had that you've predicted will fail (basically all of them - aside from the ones the majority dislike - the trick is to always go against the popular vote).
On the flip side, what am I guilty of?
Wanting Spurs to overcome? Not wanting to fail? Being too soft because I don't throw my toys out of the pram and channel my fears with savagery against the club I support? I might have been guilty during AVB’s tenure but I duly admitted I gave him way too much leg room. I believed in what AVB wanted to do for us. He simply didn't have the capacity. His management could not match the ambition of his dreams. Poch on the other hand has plentiful evidence that he can and has handled difficulties in the past. The results up until recently prove this.
Of course, I accepted Redknapp's departure. He ruined it all going for the England job. It gave Levy an excuse for a brave new scientific world that blew up in our faces. But I often remarked he had taken us as far as he could and welcomed the change. Perhaps I'm guilty of wanting that change because we all want some success to celebrate? Is that in the same ball park as those voicing concerns over Poch? Change the manager to maximise our potential? I think it's fair to say the current situation is unlike any other we've had because what we have is substance.
There are problems at Spurs right now, there's no denying it. We can all get passionate and argumentative over what should be done and how. That’s football. But influence it? We are governed by the team. They start winning, we start smiling again. They keep dropping points, we get restless. Is there a limit on what is acceptable? When does the restless moaning turn to abuse?
Does Poch have credit with us? Is longevity even acknowledged? Is the short term still the king slayer of patience? Is it simply an acceptance that once a team loses form the trajectory can never be reclaimed? Are we that hungry and desperate that we've distorted what it means to be Spurs? We define what Spurs is, not the media or rival fans or television. We've waited forever to challenge and yet once we threaten to do so we decide it's not enough and that we should scrap it all and try something different.
I get we are off key, our defending isn't compact and we're struggling to make scoring easy. We look disenchanted compared to what we’ve been treated to thus far. ‘The best footballing side in the country’ for the past two seasons and darlings of the media only two weeks ago. Is the complacency so scary that we're going to hide under the bedsheets?
What solution are you offering? You can't just scapegoat. People want me to be hyper critical of the coach and players. I have been. I state the obvious without the necessity of spitting blood. We can all see there’s problems. What do you want? A vote of confidence from Levy? It’s apparently unproductive to retain the faith but it's perfectly natural to dismantle everything we’ve built because of a bad patch. Best we all lose our sh*t all of the time as it's the only universally accepted emotion. Anger.
I don’t give up in everyday life if I'm challenged, why the f*ck would I surrender all hope now? It’s that finality again, that waving of the finger of blame as though accountability isn’t owned by everyone representing us out on the pitch. It's ridiculous that I'm having to say all of this out loud, but here we are.
Is the issue mental?
Is it tactical?
Lets talk about it from the back to the front.
...continued in Part II