Harry Kane once spat on himself at Old Trafford after booting the ball into the stands.
Nobody could have predicted what followed.
What followed was a colossal amount of salt. One season wonder. Two season wonder. Three season wonder. Trend setter.
His ascendancy into a top tier forward remains undeniable.
Before fame I always thought 'what a quality name for a footballer' when staring at his cut out face on my Football Manager save game before selling him to a lower league side. In the real world, all those loan spells never gave us a single indication he'd mature in the exceptional manner we've witnessed. Although he looked decent during his time at Millwall, most would have argued he found his level. Football at its very best is when it ignores the narrative, breaks conventions and surprises every single one of us.
This being a premium blog and not one that contains engineered content to drive traffic using faux anger and ultimately flawed agendas festering with persistent despondency (and breathe) - I'd like to remind everyone that football is the enjoyment of it. Players like Kane orchestrate the music we dance to when celebrating our team. You know, when we win games by scoring goals.
We are still unbeaten at the Lane in the league. It remains a benchmark (15 wins, 2 draws) to work towards on our travels. Although what happens when we play all games at Wembley next season is one of debate and concern. 'Enjoyment of it' is stretching it a touch when looking at our record at the national stadium. It's great fodder (the poor form) for those that use football for that other reason. A conduit to reflect their general pessimistic and hateful attitude on everything and everyone.
Stoke were rubbish, obviously.
Not my problem. Spurs were rampant. It's more satisfying when you play and defeat a team on your level. The main conundrum is winning more games against those that are. Of course, losing to teams that aren't has always been a mental obstacle we've struggled with. Well, perhaps not for a while now. Once more, it's all part of the thin line between being 2nd and 1st. Since that 2-2 draw against them at the Lane we've won three times, four nil each time, against a side that was very much the typical prototype to frustrate any given Spurs side.
Christian Eriksen dictated thanks to the space available. Harry notched two deliciously taken goals, right foot - left foot before accepting a deflection for his hattrick (his third in nine games). Kane also assisting Dele for a much required confidence booster in what was a professionally managed performance from the midfielder. Low key but productive, avoiding any potential follow-up aggro post-Gent. Not too shabby when sharing the field with Charlie Adam and co. Also, a special mention to the little flick from Kane to set him free down the flank before sending the ball in for the fourth.
The game was as comfortable as it could get thanks to Hugo Lloris supa save from Peter Crouch (when the score was still 1-0). The second half had no goals. The drop off hardly surprising. Toby and Jan subbed for precaution, Stoke organising themselves with a little more sustained effort to avoid further embarrassment. Their keeper was kept busy. We still could have had more. Greedy.
Match game key bonus?
Dele Alli didn't murder anyone.
You know, like he did at Wembley, where he committed such a heinous crime that some 'Spurs fans' wanted him to serve a ban imposed by the club as punishment deserved. Apparently this medieval style of love is popular with the perpetually disconnected that take football so seriously they forget about all the little things that make it a fulfilling experience. You know, stuff like belonging and supporting and backing your own players rather than being fearful of an emotion that isn't anger and thus incapable of displaying compassion. If you don't grasp my point, here's Mauricio Pochettino, manager of Tottenham Hotspur to explain:
"He (Alli) is only twenty-years old. I will always protect and support him"
Protect and support.
Imagine not loving this. Like a father, publicly supporting his son after an incident that brought a little shame to the family. Privately, it's been dealt with. He (Dele) has an edge, be it a volatile rawness and inexperience to control his temperament. You live, you learn, right? Oh but sure, @NeverBeenToAGame1970 thinks Dele is a diabolical signing and a massive mistake and because of his colourful skin and youthfulness he's an abomination that shouldn't frequent N17 unless he's standing outside in the streets mugging people. See, he's a gangster cause he's aggressive and gets 'involved' in games.
Guessing you need to be quietly racist to see the correlation with this line of thinking. Dele being down to earth and humble is apparently not a relevant fact. Take away his on field bite and you'll left with a Jenas hybrid.
Watch Dele off the ball, his movement and positioning. His hunger to get where the ball is, to damage the opposition. Watch him when we are deep in a competitive encounter, one of pure physicality where the opposing team are attempting to bully and incite. Whilst a player like Victor Wanyama (a destroyer with the face of an angel) goes about his business with quiet composed legal brutality, Dele's trait is more simplistic when fronting up to the antics of the other team. We need fighters. We need spirited souls that display passion. Occasionally said passion will force the heart to invade the brain and implode grey matter. It's an imperfection but remove it and you'll left with a shell of the player that was there before.
It happens. The mistakes. To all footballers, the less aggressive ones too but especially the fledgling. Let pundits and rival fans attack one of our own. Our job is to stand alongside players like Dele, with pride and forgiveness.
God damn it. Now I feel like going studs up on someone.
I'm sorry. To the regular readers. This isn't a great write up. Gut full of rum and fingers made of dynamite.
I've started so I'll finish.
You wear your heart on your sleeve as a badge of honour. At least you should as a supporter. The sense of detachment from our most critical fans might be an illusion created by 'words shared on the internet'. I do not doubt that most (even the forever angry amongst us) love THFC. However, there's darker shades of love. Abusive ones. If the emotions are lacking then adulation is hardly going to be displayed.
I can't get the disturbing images out of my head that when some of these melty supporters make love they're disparaging through out the entire experience. Hateful for the sex and then critical that their partner isn't <insert dream partner here>, ignoring their own complete disassociation to be immersive. More concerned that the socks they left on might slip off at the height of passion, something they've already decided probably won't ever happen. Pulling out before the climax because the bed is making too much noise. You get the picture? Actually, don't spend too much time attempting to visualise it. It takes two to tango. Or three. Or more. Not my business how you get your rocks off. I'd hazard a guess these melty supporters prefer their own company when seeking pleasure.
There are two things going on here.
The first is Spurs and their season and the discourse around it. No ego - just what we see and our perspectives. The second is unavoidable because of the platform we discuss the first thing on.
This is the meta.
The fact that we're not just dealing with our conflicting opinions on what we see (which is fundamentally the exact same thing everyone sees). It's also the responsibility we have as fans to talk about it with humour, controversy and genuine heartfelt honesty. That is where the issue eats away at everything. The deliver of content, online, in this format or on social media...it isn't just opinion. It becomes a form of alternative art. It becomes a weapon. It can incite. Be it on a blog or the comments or a timeline. The meta has already destroyed the way we converse with all of this because of our personal stamp we plant on everything we share.
Talking all happy-clappy all of the time isn't constructive, I agree. But finding fault in everything all of the time is? Nah m8. I guess it's considered edgy. Angers the blood. Gets people to react. Cycle persists. The vogue thing currently is being intense. Not sure if it's a self-defensive mechanism in play. Protecting ones self from the worst case scenario by constantly echoing and championing negatives so that if it happens, 'you' avoid the 'embarrassment' of those that dared to dream will suffer. Even if suffering is part and parcel of all fanbases. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the digital age is fuelled by insecurities.
I'm part of the cycle. That's the stinker.
I'm reacting. Shame on me. I keep quitting the cycle but as much as I find the antagonists hilariously deranged, I can't ignore the distortion it causes. It's usually people that look at every single game as evidence for some ilk of finalistic evidence to support a negative. Some will rinse and repeat as if there is no way to focus on anything else they've seen or read. They backtrack but attempting to validate their hypocritical standpoint by hiding behind another one.
I don't get how any Spurs fan can target our best players and somehow find misery in a reality where we should be treasuring them. Especially thanks to the fact that we are more likely to hold onto these players than the ones we've lost in the past.
I'll apologise again for this stream of consciousness. I'm obsessed with the psychology behind it all. It never mattered 20 years ago. You went to the pub before and after the game and shared slurred views and soundbites and had a laugh and did it all again the following weekend. It's impossible to ignore the digital evolution of communication because we're part of it. Hence the meta. Hence why some blogs are football-centric and some are whatever this is.
You know the drill regardless. I could have written 5k words on how superb Spurs played, then mentioned every single thing you all know already about what we lack in depth and why we're still sat 10 points adrift. I could then do a couple of paragraphs on Vincent Janssen. He can't get any game time when we're sat 4-0 up he'll make an appearance in the final minutes when we're losing or drawing. There's no need to state the obvious every week, it gets repetitive. Because of how much content is available and the fact we - all of us - break and discuss everything as it happens means that this traditional long winded version of online discussion is nearing extinction.
I remain fascinated by this reluctance to recognise how much graft has gone into our team taking shape, even with the transfer acquisition mistakes and early season injuries and whatever else. We are over-achieving yet could easily find ourselves in a position to truly win something like the title. Which means the over-achievement has a chance to shift into something more than the fluke Leicester City gave everyone last season.
No pressure though.
Every season for the past several I keep reading how 'If we don't do it this season, we're done for'. It's bullsh*t. Once you understand the club (most clubs) want Top 4 as the priority then you'll understand how the dynamics of stature truly work. They'll be happy if we did win a cup, not because it will make a difference to our attempt in building a team with longevity but it will keep us lot, the great unwashed, content.
Poch and the players have already proved plenty that they set their sights on the top prize which in itself should be commended but is ignored because in failure, many seem to focus on the wrong aspect of the attempt. It's a tricky one to wrap your head around to be fair. Winning the FA Cup will be amazing for the supporters and will give us an eternal association to the coach and this team. But it won't change the bread and butter of how we approach a league campaign. To truly consolidate, we need to win the league. Expecting it when we've not done it since 61 is crazy but we all need to want it to make it happen. That's the difference between new Spurs and any other Spurs side in my lifetime (aside from perhaps 1987 and the early 80s). We still have some way to go, but mathematically, it's only a case of turning a handful of draws into wins. A handful.
Nobody is ignoring the weaknesses in the squad. If you're talking about it I'm fairly sure our manager is more than aware of it. He's also naturally privy to information we are not. Weak league it might be compared to the past, but we're not going away. Yet reading some, you'd think the club was in a mess. Critique our performances, never stop, but doing so constantly is like watching a stand-up comedian up on the stage reading out his utility bill statements. I'm still going on the assumption that what people share online is what they talk about in the pub. It's not even trolling most of the time because it's so dead-pan and one-dimensional. Either way, it's pantomime.
As per usual, self-deprecation and self-loathing - know the difference. Taking the p*ss out of them lot down the road only works if you don't behave the same way they do.
Smile. I'd say it might never happen but Spurs being better than decent is the nightmare you're all having to live.