The night the lights went out
I’ve been putting this off for days. I just don’t know where to start. I’ve written so many ‘wait and see’ articles recently that it feels like all I can muster up is another one. I don’t need that. You don’t need that. What we need is for Tottenham to give me new source material. This community, the loyal readers of DML, have followed this blog since its humble beginnings. Faith, belief…these are often touted as important states of mind. For fans and the players. If there is one thing that the Poch era has given us, it’s tangible evidence that a focused state of mind breeds a winning mentality. Anything less breeds a losing one.
There is no escaping this reality in the present day.
So what happens next? Er…let’s wait and…
We need to adapt. We need to be more like Bayern. Ruthless and clinical but mostly push through this transition and drive towards change by proving we want that change. If we can’t, if the players as a unit are not capable then Poch has to accept this and start the rebuild. There’s no getting away from this scenario if we fail to salvage anything from it. Sacking him or bringing in a short term option might achieve a positive but long term, it just defaults us to the template not too dissimilar to the one Chelsea have. Constant caretakers. They pick up silverware though, right? But at what cost? We have lost our style but am I wrong to say we have lost our identity. In terms of tradition, we know exactly what it is. We have to reclaim it, old or revised or brand spanking new.
Once upon a time, our identity was ‘Cup Kings’. Maybe there is no longer a middle ground? Maybe adapting and changing is admitting we need more on every level at the club.
I wrote this for The Fighting Cock. It’s the Seven Stages of Grief. I got to the end, published, slept and woke up the next day and thought to myself…”I’m over reacting”. Maybe it was therapeutic, a cleansing. Maybe things are always better the day after. Especially if you avoid the memes and text messages. Maybe the realisation that the game in some ways was a freakish anomaly of savage excellence. Bayern took us to school. They finished practically everything with venomous spite and elegance. We did the complete opposite. We could have been 3-0 up and instead we went in 2-1 down.
Then came the abyss. That thirty minutes of stylish swagger we had in the opening half was gone. Disappeared. Imploded into nothingness. That energetic buzz from Dele, the bruising influence of Ndombele. Kane. Son. The evident urgency in our play. GONE. MIA. Winks was left alone to be dismantled in the middle of the park. That fabled togetherness almost seems to have been confined to legend.
I can’t believe it’s because we got tired. That’s ludicrous. Hindsight would suggest that in the early stages of the game, the visitors were simply biding their time. Waiting patiently for the moment to strike. They knew, they could sense our mental fragility.
Regardless of the brutality of the scoreline, the game might have finished 2-4. And the autopsy post-game would not have been so bloody. But the way heads dropped and the manner in which we capitulated was shocking. This game is testament to all the problems we have at the club currently with morale. A team with a core set of players that want to leave. A chairman that perhaps placed way too much pressure on Pochettino to deliver under tight fiscal constraints. Supporters that have become entitled, drunk on over-achievement.
This isn’t the team Poch built but it is his team falling apart. It’s a testing time for him and his words post-match remain defiant. I have to take them at face value and not look for ambiguity.
I’m in a strange place. I almost, almost, admitted to myself that maybe it’s time to move on. If the manager won’t leave because of the £32M pay-off and the chairman won’t sack him for the same reason then nobody will budge unless someone else swoops in to pay the compensation. On the other hand maybe this isn’t even a discussion point. We’ve been poisoned by the media and their relentlessness attack on the club, attempting to facilitate crisis when there isn’t one. Not really, not in the grand sense of the word. The cut-throat nature of football is almost at odds with the security and elitism that accompanies the experience of both being part of a top team - player or fan. Yet, here we are, alarm bells ringing like Spurs will never recover unless WE DO SOMETHING DRASTIC!! RIP OFF THE WALLPAPER AND DASH SOME PAINT OVER IT!
It’s still the same wall.
Supporters are calling for the head of Poch. They actually are. Probably a vocal minority. As if the 7-2 loss at home (as humiliating and unnecessary and damning as it was) is the end of it all. Of course, this result still remains surreal to me. It will always be surreal. In that moment, it can be the damning proof the players aren’t motivated anymore. And perhaps it’s true. Perhaps the ‘wait and see’ sentiment has a deadline that can not be passed because if it does, we fall into an actual crisis. Whatever that might be in modern football.
Ah f*ck it, there’s no such thing as a crisis for a football club as big as Tottenham Hotspur. The cut-throat nonsense is something we all think is the way we should be behaving. Not me.
Sack Poch? Do one. We go again. We sit back and we expect the players and the manager to give us the reaction we not only deserve but the only reaction we require. A win. That starting block. The one that has given us a fair few false starts. There is fight in us. In some of us. Poch has to admit that the players that he once entrusted are not the same hungry eager ballers of yesteryear. It’s time to sacrifice. Force change, deal with the consequence of that change - but own it unequivocally.
Turn the lights back on Spurs.
If we lose to Brighton, we riot.