Home is where the Hart is

 

Liverpool

I guess spending money and spending lots of it pays off in the end. Remember when Spurs were in the title race? Hedonistic days of yore. To lose in the manner we did after pulling things back in a much improved second half, only to once again be the architects of our downfall was, well, typical of our luck. That’s if you believe in luck. Perhaps it would be fair to say we have deep rooted design flaws. Our mettle gets bent and snaps when stretched. Full pelt Spurs can go toe to toe with anyone but this current variant is having a wobble that’s outlasting a bowl of jelly that’s been slapped around by gleeful toddlers.

If Sissoko had hit the target. If Son had pulled a little wider for the pass. Had Lloris not spilled. And so on. We played well though, right? Which makes it harder to digest but I’d rather this than get walloped. Although I’d much rather it was us stealing all three points. This has been our worst run in around seven years. It’s been more Marilyn Manson than it has Marilyn Monroe. An itch that can’t get scratched. One point from fifteen has been Harry Redknapp proportions of catastrophe. Which brings me onto the contrary reactionary finality that once more seeks to vanquish any perspective in the rough and tumble reality we exist in.

Revisionist history states Redknapp lost his job because of league form and Champions League qualification failure. Nowt to do with his brazen flirting with the FA and the England job then. And nothing to do with short termisms and on the field economics that gave us little foundation to grow from. Now I know that if I’m about to spout the argument that Harry took us as far as he could and we required an upgrade in approach and direction (less said about it the better), the same could apply for Pochettino. Nothing lasts forever. In this modern era of constant foot stamping, recreational anger and impossible entitlement, the boundaries of what quantifies success has been deformed to the point of an unrecognisable mess.

Yes, success is about winning things. But building towards it, actually believing you can win something is equally important. Because it means there’s a journey to be taken. It means there is quantifiable anticipation. This isn’t me trying to rationalise the lack of silverware (we’ve tried, got to cup finals and lost). We’ve endeavoured and pushed and chased. We’ve not stopped still to take selfies or proclaim glory in something that is undeserving of it. Regardless of what the Twitter memes shared by rival fans tell you. They exist to make them feel better about their own misgivings. Remember, that most of all of football clubs never come close to what we have, let alone what the 2% elite achieve.

Yes, yes, yes. A club of our stature should want to win things. Which we want to do, at least from the effort given by the players and coaching staff. Whether that aligns with our chairman and the financial investment in player acquisition consolidation is a fabled debate that goes on and on, every season. The problem remains, there are clubs of even bigger stature that have the rights to owning that elite status.

Spurs making record breaking profit (thanks to our rented accommodation) is perhaps a view to our future revenue (loan repayments aside). The end game is another discussion to be had in terms of the NFL relationship and the billion pound valuation the new stadium has. If ENIC sell, then hold onto ya hats.

Anyways, what was my point?

My point was, suggesting Poch should be sacked if we fail to get Champs League is ridiculous. He might move on regardless and if he does, I’ll be gutted. Gutted because this side deserve their moment of certified glory, ribbons on silverware. Not achieving this final step isn’t failure. It’s testament to how f**king difficult it truly is to compete at the levels we dare to reach for.

Poch and the chairman are accountable. However, the modern era has us believe that a single season of ‘failure’ (say 5th spot) is somehow the end of days. No doubt it hurts in the short term. No doubt that with the way football is structured, players (and agents) want peak football which equates to Champs League. A single season without it can hurt you. At least if you’re Tottenham. Because we don’t counter it by paying 200k+ weekly wages.

Poch has given us a foundation. It’s synced in beautifully with Hotspur Way and the new gaff. It means Spurs have a winning mentality, we’ve proven that much in the past five seasons. We want to win. We mostly win. This season has been offbeat and weird. No signings. Prolonged move back home. One draw, ten defeats. With or without Poch, we go on. We should know better than any other fanbase that football is both cruel and wonderful, usually occupying the same point in space and time. I just don’t think it’s time for his to pass on the baton. But it is time for everyone at the club to admit that pure heart and spirit isn’t enough. Daring can only take you half the way up.

Return to N17 / Crystal Palace

It’s surreal. We’re home. We’re back. Seven Sisters. The walk up the High Road. It’s White Hart Lane but it’s not. But it is. It will be. It takes time. But it helps that we’re not in Stratford. Or Wembley. We’re in Tottenham.

Test events are done but the teething problems will persist, which is to be expected. As long as they do so off the pitch (and on the concourse) rather than on the green turf. I heard a few fans moan about the queues to the bogs. It’s almost like there was never an absolute clusterf**k of a queue in the Park Lane end. In fact, I can’t think of a single experience where I’ve managed to p*ss without having to hold it in for ten minutes before hand. A period of adjustment is unavoidable. But again, it helps that there’s still the kebab shops outside. Chick King if you’re a connoisseur of fried delights. The traditional packed out pubs if you’re not into the neon of hipster bars like Beavertown. It’s N17 but we’ve got ourselves a brand spanking new modern state of the art stadium that still seems to encapsulate the old skool feel, at least when sat or stood in your seat.

Remember back in the day, on this here blog and others, the chat about whether Daniel Levy was Machiavellian with his tactics in securing the rights to build in Tottenham? How the Stratford play was a political move, one that we looked to be forced into but perhaps one that was taken to force others to fall into line. We’ve come a long way. Because of countless reasons, from Archway to heritage buildings and regeneration and beyond. It’s been difficult. Perhaps more so than we choose to believe. It’s been easy to compare us to others (that build new stadia) and pull context out just to suit an agenda of exaggerated frustration. The work undertaken has to be respected. When Levy and co and me and you are long gone, this stadium will still be here. Another one hundred years and some I would hope.

It’s still surreal. It will take time for everyone to work things out. The singing, the standing. The pre-match meet-ups. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been energised by this. Yes, we could have done with being here at the start of the season but sh*t happens and here we are now. Perhaps the timing will work in our favour. Give the players a buzz to turn around the poor output in points.

We looked decent against Palace. Broke them down in the end. Son with the historic first ever goal at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Credit to the away side for their discipline in defence. Man Utd have their own lull to contend with. Chelsea and Arsenal are possibly favourites to topple us thanks to fixture list comparisons, mainly due to the fact we have to visit City in the league. Then again, Arsenal’s away form is delicious for anyone that wants a taste of a top four finish. I expect the teams directly behind us to keep dropping points. We’ve made it difficult for ourselves because we can’t afford to slip up (again). Squeaky bum time.

But I almost don’t care because we’re home. Almost. If we can’t muster the desire now, then we might as well all run towards the sun beds.

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Danny Rose

So Danny states he can’t wait to retire from football because of racist abuse and one throw-away comment in his interview has ‘people’ react to him by suggesting he should man up and take it cause football abuse (aimed at players) is something they should accept. You know, on account of them being entitled millionaires. What is so telling in all of this is how these broken people deflect away from the actual racism by suggesting he’s a drama queen.

“Retire then if you believe in your principles that much”

Yes, Danny, quit football (you’ve made enough money) and then you won’t need to listen to the racist abuse aimed at black footballers. It’s your fault cause you’re still playing.

Even worse is the suggestion there is no racism. I know social media is a snapshot of society but it’s still representative of what a section of our culture believes.

The problem (as Lyle Taylor spoke about) is that so much of what we do to tackle racism (in football) is cosmetic. Having footballers say ‘no’ to racism in glossy TV adverts doesn’t stop Ultras in Italy target black players and then have excuses made for them (‘the player celebrated in-front of them so the blame should be 50/50). It doesn’t help either when you have tabloids target the likes of Sterling.

Sometimes UEFA fines clubs 10k. Sometimes they punish them with closed doors. Should a team walk off the pitch, together united, to force the authorities into genuine action with lasting impact? The problem (racism) will exist with or without football but there seems to be an allowance within our game where it’s deemed to be less of an issue than say being racist in public and getting nicked for hate crime.

I’ve heard people state that it’s just football terrace banter. That it’s not proper racism. These same people actually believe this. I don’t know where we go from here. We’ve moved on from the 70s and 80s. Society has moved on. Yes, we can be over sensitive in this brave new world where words can be taken out of context by the offended, to be used to destroy the credibility of people attempting to make a valid point. We can also be obstructive with how some care to label others snowflakes for over-reacting.

With racial abuse, there is no caveat. So stop making them.

Champions League

I don’t have much to say. On paper, we have no chance. Spurs being Spurs, we can do one of those swaggering things we’ve dished out to giant teams at Wembley in the past season or two. Where we turn up, turn it on and turn them over. But because it’s City and because of what happened when we face Barcelona (at ‘home’), part of me is tentative. My brain. My other part (my heart) is positively foaming with excitement. What a way to baptise European football at the new gaff. Two games way from a semi-final. Two impossible games. But we’ve got everyone back. There’s always a chance, always. However, when you think about what is required, it would be monumental for us to get past them.

We’d have to win by, what, two goals at the very least? We’d have to then go back to theirs and avoid one of those slaps they’ve often given us.

I told you I didn’t have much to say. I’m a mess thinking about it. When you look at Messi and Juventus and others and compare pound for pound, it’s fantasy football to think about winning this competition. But I go back to what I said before. This is football. This. Hoping, believing, wishing, wanting. Being in the position where, regardless of the odds, it’s possible. it’s tangible. It could happen. So excuse me whilst I throw my brain, heart and soul into it.

COYS