Hola. I'm sharing a video (link directly below) that pretty much sums up how I'm feeling. Don't fret, it isn't that scene in The Wolf of Wall Street where Jordan Belfort snorts cocaine from...er...the depths of a female acquaintance. It's not often I find myself scratching my chin in agreement with Sky Sports pundits. Although Monday Night Football analysis tends to be the strongest output they produce. Need to shower off the stench now.
Here's the vid:
Watched it? Good, right?
I was going to write about how quick we are to transition from defence to attack. Thank Gary Neville for saving you from a 10,000 word blog. Remember earlier in the season, during that dip, when we struggled to move the ball with pace into the final third (plodding rather than pulsating)? There was no true sense of width and urgency. It had plenty to do with out of form players (and the aftermath of the EUROs and suspensions), but Spurs are so well coached that class always shines through - and when everyone is on song, we are a mean machine of tactical discipline and punishing power. We now have to work towards a position where we hit the ground running and avoid looking back at early season fixtures and wonder 'what if?'
I also agree that this team deserves silverware but, well, you know...we have to earn it. You still have to be a gooner not to be able to enjoy what Poch and this team are accomplishing, moment to moment. Football isn't just about winning trophies. If it was, we'd be in a constant flux of existential turmoil. However, if your intent and application has you fighting towards that expectation, then you have to focus around achieving it. There has to be desire that stretches beyond delusions of grandeur. You can usually tell when this is the case when those commentating on the game (journalists of respected non-click bait establishments) acknowledge how good we are. That and the form guide (never lies).
The purpose of holding aloft a cup, in this instance, is altogether a different imperative than say randomly picking one up every so often. We are doing our best in becoming more than just a team that occasionally wants to experience an open bus parade, then slumber back into hibernation until the next chance encounter. We still need that initial breakthrough parade before we can push on with using it as a foundation for more parties.
Lesser sides have won cups in the past. We've been one of them. They are one off occasions and most of the time, nothing in that teams mentality alters in the period that follows their success. We were triumphant in 2008, a prime example. Them lot down the road have also had it a couple of times recently. Nothing was elevated there either. Clubs that routinely win at Wembley might treat it as second nature or an after-thought because of other more ambitious endeavours. All of this remains subjective and unique to the clubs mindset in question. Importance is relative.
For us, it's simple. We want to win something because we haven't for a fairly long time. That's about as obvious a reason a supporter can call upon. We want that one off occasion. We want our hard graft honoured. But how it differs to 2008 or other failed attempts is that this time we have a team that we identify with. A team that is threatening more than just a misadventure in the battle for fourth place. A team that believes they/we can win the league, be it one that is only marginally falling short of doing so. Winning a cup cements our connection with these players forever and rewards everyone associated with the club. It solidifies a winning mentality with something unquestionably undeniable. A place in the history books. For us, it's a conclusion for ye olde conundrum...the one about seeing something through to the end and claiming it for ourselves.
To be clear, I'm not devaluing any given cup final win. 1991 was glorious for many reasons, financial and rival related. Mostly, because it was one of those rare moments you cherish forever regardless of circumstance but also thanks to circumstance. It was unexpected, it was desperate and it was nigh legendary with one Paul Gascogine dragging us all the way to the final. It also meant more back then. It was enough to win a cup because it WAS a cup. Because it was Wembley. It was an event, one that required no hype or fireworks.
We knew more wouldn't follow. With each passing season, we abdicated our crown as the cup kings. Like I said earlier, we have a different agenda this time round. A different breed of players and manager. This is a new era we are choosing to control rather than allowing recognisable institutionalised errors to define us.
If you wish to contend in the top tier it means you run the risk of getting close and falling at the last hurdle. It's why there's that echo of glory in failure because the antithesis of that is pure glory and the ecstasy of its fulfilment. Someone has to lose. To get into a position to win more than others, you have to get into the position regularly. And then win. It's bloody simplistic this football lark yet impossibly testing for ones being...if you want to break free from the cameos and claim a residency.
Inside three seasons, Mauricio has removed the bad eggs and laid a few golden ones. It's been miraculous in terms of what we have witnessed compared to the past. Although as often cited, we've never had the most prestigious of professional work ethics to compare to. The fluke of Leicester City and the non-European commitments of Chelsea have meant our imperfections will prove costly twice in the Premier chase. Our own Champions League campaign and the points dropped domestically, the most hurtful of all statistics. You live, learn and dust yourself off.
Last seasons intensity isn't evident within the squad currently. They're enjoying their football. If Chelsea drop points then perhaps the pressure will be felt by all. If not, then we roll into the next one and make sure we improve again but this time with cut throat enthusiasm. It might not be in our hands but knowing what we have to do to change it? Well, it means we can influence our destiny.
Away from the league, in the cup, we have demons to face. So many semi-final heartaches to brush aside. Redemption is required. For us. But the players? For the most part, they don't carry the same burden. They're not the old. They are the new. The Battle of the Bridge still hurts yet looking back, it might yet prove to be our awakening. Everything, in loss or victory, for this current team lives in the present and not our past, the supporters past. It's hard for fans to wrap their minds around this because we remain the one constant whilst coaches and players come and go. They are representatives, we're here for life. Although it's worth noting we can influence what they do from the stands (and we seem to be in sync with it all in a mighty positive way). But we know this already (players come and go) and understand it. It's hardly breaking news. At least this time we have a squad reflecting our love for the club from the stands, on the pitch. At least this time, we have eleven giants rather than a single giant killer.
Having said all of this, some fans (a minority of sycophant agents of misery) are claiming that it means nothing unless we win silverware. Much like the days pre-Poch when I'd often see social media comments proclaiming 'I don't care how we win, I just want us to win'. Basically, skip the tantric sex and go straight to the climax (although tbf, we've had decades of suffering cuckolding so it's no wonder some prefer the solitude of their own hand than diving into the emotional orgy we've been invited into).
They are choosing to ignore the journey. That you have to do something to be in with a chance in the first place and doing that something encompasses all of the great things that make up the experience of following your team. Be blessed because most are cursed and we've had our fair share of voodoos to last countless lifetimes.
Two seasons of hard evidence should be enough to stick a smile on most faces. Still, there's no argument that for all the differing perspectives, we'd all be happy - together - for a day out on the High Road in N17 with Dele Alli taking the mic on an open top bus and singing a song we all sing back.
C O Y S