The Perfect Meme
Meanwhile, in the future…
[walking down Tottenham High Road] "Oh my God... I'm back. I'm home. All the time, it was... We finally really did it. [falls to his knees screaming] YOU MANIACS! YOU BOTTLED IT! AH, DAMN YOU! GOD DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!! [camera pans to reveal the half-destroyed golden cockerel on a ball]
It’s metaphorical banter.
Only Tottenham can go from playfully thinking there is an outside mathematical chance of winning the league to then being fearful of a 6th place finish. Two games, no points and we’re self-harming. The supporters are just as fragile as the players. A perfect reflection of what it means to be Spurs.
We all need to man up.
The game was an odd mess of fractured football. Where was the spite and spirit of the original Battle of the Bridge? We’ve lost our mojo so bad, we can’t even implode properly. We’ve been mesmerising this season. We’ve done hard graft. We’ve dug deep. Yet every time we need to turn up in games that require that little bit of arrogant upper echelon self-belief, we don’t. It’s akin to wanting to go to Ibiza to melt your brain on MDMA and Ecstasy but not getting there because you drank too many Stella’s at the airport and got kicked off the flight before it took off.
You know me. I’m a romantic. I’m old skool. I belong to Tottenham. Tottenham chose me, I didn’t choose Tottenham. I don’t see Spurs, the team and the club itself, as a separation from myself and the supporters. I see the club as the supporters, the fanbase. The ethos, the tradition, the very essence of everything - it’s us. We carry it all, we own the true intellectual property. Without us, there is no Spurs. We are Tottenham Hotspur and although you could argue the players and owners are custodians of the club and the badge, I struggle to detach them all from the experience. Even if we’re treated like customers, even if some of us behave like customers and not proper fanatics.
At a tribal level, when we lose our sh*t celebrating a glorious winning goal - that’s us completely stripped of all the glossy crap that gets attached to this beautiful pillaged game of ours. Everyone involved at every level is representative of what it means to be Spurs. Even if some elements are at odds with what football should be about at its purist.
If you’re struggling to understand this philosophical waffle, then the best way I can describe it is with song. Can’t smile without you is pretty much the anthem for how I feel. If you obsess too much about the boardroom politics and the mythology of cheese-rooms, then you’re doing it wrong. We’re all in it together. Even the suits. Modern life means modern football means modern adoption and adaption. Football isn’t what it was but that doesn’t mean we should allow the bits we dislike to consume us whole. Those bits are mostly out of our control. So just control what you can. Belong to the traditions that make up your match-day experience.
However, I’m still self-harming. Even if I wear the waffle like a badge of honour.
We often cite the teams application and discipline and mettle. That we prepare and believe and fight. I have not a clue what the performance was all about at Stamford Bridge. Now I know it’s easy to say our form hasn’t been great in the past several weeks (Champions League aside) and that we’ve done enough to win games until the Burnley disappointment. But Spurs are not a soft touch, we rarely get bullied. So when it happens, it doesn’t feel right and our reaction tends to be one of acute disgust.
Poch, the players - all of them have to take responsibility. Regardless of our achievements in progression and punching above our weight, there has to be a resolution for whatever the f**k is going wrong and it has to be delivered fast. By this Saturday, early afternoon.
Why we fail to turn up when these ilk of sides (Chelsea, Arsenal - City and Liverpool also) always do their best against us is brain numbing. Once more, it’s Spurs killing Spurs. Once more, it’s a mental state of disarray that is birthed internally and projected onto all of us. But in the grand scheme of things, these blips only hurts us because of the levels we play at/towards. The blips are magnified and micro-analysed because a defeat these-days is super damaging to our lofty, dreamy ambitions. It’s because of the high standards we set and aim for. It’s a good thing, even if in these moments it feels devastating. We can just do without being reminded of just how devastating it can feel.
Eight losses this season because we couldn’t muster an alternate dimension to our play. It’s a trait that needs eradicating if we ever want to hit the lofty, dreamy heights. And yes, I know boardroom politics will have to come into play for this to happen. I understand why fans separate themselves from the chairman and the business model. I get how pragmatism can ruin the romanticised notions I constantly embrace.
Hugo. Tripps. That own goal is pretty much the personification of the flux we’re experiencing currently. It’s the perfect meme. Our defending for the first goal was equally limp and weak. Chelsea sat deep and that was enough to contain any threat. Did we have a single shot on goal? Winks hit the woodwork, right?
The lack of cutting edge in the final third gave me the foreboding sick feeling in my gut that something horrific is about to happen next. The Tottenham ship, chasing a red balloon, heading towards the storm drain with Pennywise about to drag us in.
Poch and the players are guilty not gully. I’d say that the whole debate around not signing anyone has hit back with an ironic vengeance. No signings. It’s proving costly. Spurs finally paying the price for something. The reality is simple. Poch is magic but he can’t pull rabbits out of a hat that has no rabbits in it. Magic is an illusion and Mauricio is in desperate need for the prestige.
We have to admit we need more quality in this squad if we’re going to get past these blips (see the eight defeats this season) and cut the losses to say half - which would put us in a title challenge for sure. Daniel Levy and his economics do not help and there is so much punching above our weight we can do before those punches feel more like slaps and then just a pinch of the cheek.
We are complacent. We have some players that are not good enough. There is no competition for places. Our very best starting eleven can go toe to toe with anyone. Why stretch these players to their very limit, physically and mentally? Why add obstacles in the way when we have plenty of them outside of Hotspur Way? An injection of new blood, a refresh…it helps with team unity and spirit. It consolidates and improves. To quote Justin Bieber, “It’s a no brainer”. Spurs need a bit of pop.
Other thoughts from the game…
The ref was representing the Mike Dean Appreciation Society. The only way for us to win a free-kick was for a super-volcano to erupt beneath a Chelsea player. Winks was a bright spark, hardly full pelt, but one of very few players that displayed determination and a sense of self-worth. The midfield was/is completely out of sorts. It’s all anti-synergy and imbalance in the way we’re set-up. Sissoko busy covering for other players and not quite mastering the art of individualism when forward thinking is solely the focus bestowed on him when in possession. But it’s not his fault, not in terms of how we set up in the middle. No anchor, all at sea.
There isn’t a sense of fluidity when we perform like this. Transition of play is choppy. Connectivity is a 53k modem and not the fibre optic we expect. We need an initialisation string from Poch. He didn’t have one on the night. We got disconnected. No Spurs porn was forthcoming. That 3-1 from last season, saved to the w*nk bank.
I miss Dele so much. I also missed Jan. Could do with Dier in games like this too.
Harry Kane won’t be punished for a brutal headbutt. Shame. We might win a game again if he ain’t playing.
I love the passion. But then I loved the implosion, the stamps and the reckless challenges in the infamous Battle a few seasons back. Spite. That arrogant upper echelon self-belief is when you take that spite, that edge, and you do enough to break the opposition with it without breaking yourself. We’re capable of the spite. I’d rather see us lose with it. But I’d much prefer to see us play with the edge it can give, accompanying stylish thunderous football.
Then there’s the not so Great Dane, looking distracted and non-effective, struggling to pass and invent. Eriksen has gone missing. On Wednesday night, not even Julien Baptiste could have found him. Perhaps he’ll have better luck searching for Christian in Barcelona.
All I know is, the pain - regardless of the circumstances - is bad enough to suffer. But it’s even worse because of the circumstances. Paradox. Losing to them on any given day is horrible. Losing to them at this pivotal point in the season is horrific.
Onto to Saturday and the North London derby. From ten points behind, they’re now only four points behind. Mind the ever decreasing gap. Last time out, guess what? We failed to turn up.
“Losing to them at this pivotal point in the season is horrific” - Spooky
This is relevant again. And so soon.
We need that spite. Passion. Absolute belief. We need to turn up and turn them over. We need words turned into actions. No more hyperbole. Just do stuff on the football pitch. Good, positive stuff. To quote Joe Rogan, describing MMA:
‘High level problem solving with dire physical consequences’
I love hyperbole.
We’re gonna need to arm-bar or guillotine choke the scum and make them tap out. Or just knock ‘em out with precision and power. Because if we don’t, it’s going to be dire physical (punching the walls) and mental (foaming at mouth, rocking backwards and forwards in the corner) consequences for me, you and every one of us.
We haven’t lost three games (prem?) on the trot for six and a half years. We haven’t lost to them lot at home (in the league) since 2014. I have no idea if these stats are correct (I copied them from a WhatsApp group, call me @OptaSpooks). But they look mightily impressive right? Good omen right? SOMEONE HOLD ME AND SAY I’M RIGHT.
Any positive news? Well, there’s the superfluous…
Pochettino won the Manager of the Year award at the London Football Awards and Sonny won Player of the Year. Worth mentioning for the Argentine’s quip, “Finally, I win a trophy”. Well yes you did Pochy, cause apparently we have to potentially wait ten years to win an actual trophy, yeah?
Back to negative news then.
Jan and Winks to be ‘assessed’ for Saturday’s game. Down to the bare bones. Any chance we can grab Mousa Dembele on a loan deal?
I ain’t gonna lie. I might retire from football altogether if we don’t win. Can’t smile without you? I can give it a go I guess.
Who am I kidding? Come on you Spurs.
I love the feeling, the anticipation. It’s the type of game which kicks off and you want it to be over instantly, avoiding a loss. You’ll take any kind of goal. You’d take anything to win. But you hope your team dishes out a wallop. It’s never enjoyable, every second hurts. The nervous energy, that dread, the possibility of defeat. It's like having your ball sack slapped and punched. It hurts like f*k but, well, it feels good in a sadistic way - especially if there’s a happy ending.
I’ve said too much.