I’m back embracing positivity again. Unnatural positivity. That feeling in your bones, that tingle down your spine. When you start to theorise and believe in the improbable. Not because you truly think it will play out to perfection but only because it’s an irresistible all consuming sensation. One that is too good to turn away from. Heart on sleeve, chest pumped out…you whisper it to yourself and then you say it out loud.
“We could go all the way”
Tottenham could win the Champions League. I mean, we could right? We could also get knocked out in the quarter-finals. But where is the fun in thinking that? Oh, I can hear some of you cry…”It’s not being negative…it’s being realistic and logical and pragmatic”. Yes, wonderful perspectives if you’re attempting to work out how to budget your finances for a mortgage and pension fund.
Football isn’t meant to be something you approach tentatively. Of course you should also avoid the other end of the spectrum and its delusions of grandeur. It’s still not something you’re meant to fear. I get that we shift into a defensive stance and expect the worse so if the worse happens, you can buffer the damage. But that doesn’t work. Not really. Pain is pain. If you’re gonna get kicked in the balls, expecting it won’t mean it hurts any less.
Football should be attacked. Full on. With all your heart, unconditionally. You’re meant to be getting absolutely smashed on booze, eating a dodgy pre-match burger and then singing simplistic chants out of tune whilst gesturing to the away fans with fingers and palm-related waves. You win or you lose, you’ll still be standing there, Tottenham till you die.
I love how this makes me feel. You can tell I’m excited right? The hairs on the back of my neck stood when I chatted to a Spurs fan about the quarter-finals. I had to stop the conversation and point out how giddy and ridiculous we both looked actually believing we’ve somehow already got a foot in the final. I’m certain Manchester United fans think the same. I’m sure Ajax fans are believing. Ronaldo is flexing his muscles. City fans probably think it’s a given and Barcelona are telling all of us to ‘hold their Ballon d’Or’.
For all the soul searching both the supporters and players have been subjected to in recent works, for us to go to Dortmund, ride our luck and then nullify their youthful exuberance…well, it should be applauded. 4-0 on agg. A brilliant home leg followed by half an hour of incredible last ditch defending before Spurs took comfort over stress. Helped, of course, by a fluid smack of the ball from Harry Kane (now our all-time top European goal scorer).
If Harry can go from being a loaned out youth player to possibly one of our best players in history, then Spurs could graft themselves through to the final. What with so many giants falling. Draw permitting of course. Feet firmly on the ground of course. The players feet. Let them remain grounded whilst I levitate majestically.
Christ, I’m getting carried away. Nobody stop me.
I often wonder how cruel football can be. Juventus with their ten minute masterful slap that was honed from their years of top level experience. It was a harsh brutal lesson at Wembley that evening. This season we suffered away to Inter. A lack of concentration. At home to Barcelona, we got pulled apart by a Messi inspired Catalan locomotive. Yet someone we qualified, we kept going. And here we are.
We sometimes err. We sometimes stagnate with form. We (the fans) tend to be a little too reactionary over it. Yes, woe is us, forever waiting for that step up. That slice of luck. Poch is maligned by some (mostly supporters that will never find happiness in anything). But here we are, dare I say, attempting to improve. Attempting to progress and evolve. Believing, no matter the odds, that we could go further than we’ve ever gone before. Which is also humorous based on the fact we are practically Champs League virgins compared to most of the teams left in the competition. All this with a squad that half the time isn’t good enough. So say the mob with the pitchforks.
Every season is the season Tottenham will falter and disappear and every season we stick around and pound for pound, arguably do better than most of the clubs around us. The art of actually winning a trophy remains the promised land we continue to wonder around, a little lost, but certain we’re heading in the right direction.
Poch can still misdirect and waffle like any given manager, claiming it might take another ten years for us to win the title. He can smile and laugh about his touchline ban. Players like Eriksen can continue to be targeted when out of form (his good form is conveniently ignored because it doesn’t fit the narrative). Kane can be doubted time and time again, the one season wonder stuck in a perpetual groundhog day of prolific goal scoring and utterly sublime touch and vision.
Whilst Arsenal are booed for their Europa League efforts by their franchised mess of a fanbase, we should at the very least appreciate and enjoy what we have. Because when it’s gone, you’ll be left with bemoaning a lesser side and lesser manager rather than bemoaning a top side and a coach that has done something pretty special in the short time he’s been here. He’s become one of us. He makes mistakes. There’s no one alive that doesn’t. This team, for all the out of place bottle job punchlines and semi-final mishaps…this side continues to dig deep and refuses to go away.
It’s a shame. The universe and how it conspires with randomness and the illusion of destiny and control. The Tottenham side of two seasons ago, the swarming pressing monster of a side, swashbuckling wing-backs and all…they’d probably have been in with a shout of winning the league this season. I know this doesn’t mean much outside of being high at a house party and debating ‘what if?’ with a friend in the kitchen whilst doing your tenth tequila shot. But there’s something to be considered here. We’ve been good enough to compete at the top level. As good as we can, not based on the potential of what we could do (our chairman) but the reality of what we have done - to be here now. We’ve relied on outside variables too, there’s no denying that. It’s been one hell of a journey.
With Dele Alli back in contention and with Spurs announcing the long awaited news that we’ll be moving into the new Lane very soon, the momentum is there for us to reclaim.
Imagine the quarter final home leg at the new gaff. The noise we’ll make. A Glory Glory night away from our rented accommodation, back in N17. Back home. Back in our very own cauldron of the cosmos. A ground where the acoustics are designed to retain the songs rather than lose them in the night sky. The stands are close to the pitch meaning we bask in that old stadia vibrancy. The single tier stands tall, waiting to be used as a conduit for vocal chaos. A new modern state of the art structure that - at the very least away from the middle-class hipster concourse food hangouts - and facing the pitch, is our home re-birthed.
Nike or Nikey Stadium? It’s pronounced ‘White Hart Lane’.
Imagine it no more. It’s happening. It’s actually happening.
No matter where I roam, On land or sea or foam, You will always hear me singing this song, Show me the way to go home...