Free falling into purgatory
Wrote this after Saturday’s game
Baby Jesus wept. Then he wept some more. Tottenham have travelled into the shadow realm, twitching uncomfortably between reality and the seventh circle of hell. If Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham have found progressive success by punching above their weight, over-reaching and over-achieving…I think it’s safe to say we are currently a miserable mess and most definitely under-achieving based on what we know this side can produce.
One away win in ten away games. Six successive league away defeats. This is surreal considering the form previously produced on our travels. All this from a position of relative comfort. We were in a position of strength. Not just for a top four finish but at one point - we were contending, be it on the outskirts - of a title challenge. Alas, the squad depth difference proved pivotal in the end. I think even the white flag has to be waved here, admitting it’s no longer viable for us to keep existing in this bubble outside of the requirements needed to attain a sustained challenge. We are breaking these players, hurting them. They need help. Daniel Levy needs to help Poch and Poch needs to help himself.
The game against Bournemouth was, well, a self-destructive calamity. It’s been a season of daft individual mistakes. Supporters are harnessing their hindsight superpower post-match. Let’s just get one thing straight in a world of distorted scribbles. We’d have won this game. We’d have eventually scored. The home side were average. Below average. Just not very good. Even when we were down to nine players, they couldn’t muster enough to bully us. Obviously it was inevitable we’d concede at the death. But with eleven players, we had this and this weird league campaign would have been done and dusted in our favour. But no. We now go onto the Everton game having to win and not having a recognised ‘striker’ to lead the front-line.
Blame Son. We wanted rays to give us a bit of colour but we all we got was an eclipse. You could, at a stretch, blame the little punch Lerma gave him, slapping his back. Or the stepping on his foot follow up. I’ve never seen Son respond with such venom. Foyth was a school boy error of over exuberance. Madness and naivety that ended any chance of us stealing all three points. The real Greek tragedy was in subbing Eric Dier because he looked the more likely to be red-carded. You can’t make this up because it’s all based on a true story; Tottenham Hotspur.
We are burnt out. We miss Harry Kane. We have players that are reliant (perhaps too much) on the form of others. Spurs at their best is Spurs with their best eleven. We have been that finely tuned for a fair while now. We worried at the start of the season what would happen if we lost players here and there and what we have is the worst possible scenario predicted:
Currently in the top four. Three points from Champions League qualification (again). Champions League Semi-final.
What a sorry state this club is in.
Context ladies and gentlemen.
If I constantly preach against the doom merchants and the cult of finality, supporters fearing the worst rather than living each moment…then I should embrace my philosophy. With no caveats.
We’re in the CL semi. 1-0 down. Still in with a chance of making a historic final. Sure, this team should have cemented top four weeks back. But considering the injury plight and the incredible and unlikely journey to where we find ourselves right now, surely we should accept it. Accept it all. We want CL football why exactly? I know with pragmatism (as I’ve often stated) it’s vital from a business model perspective and attracting players. The stature and growth of the club etc etc. But us supporters want the finest European away days possible and our players want to compete against the very best. Top Four isn’t a trophy but it’s an impossible to ignore reality. But equally so, it’s not the be all and end all. I see that now. I see it because we’re on the cusp of the greatest night in our recent memory. The biggest one off game we’ve faced in my life-time. So qualifying for it last season, if sacrificed next season for the chance of getting to the final this season is dismissed out of hand, then we’re not tuned into our own maddening self-being.
Maybe our players are mentally shook. Unable to focus or think about anything else other than Wednesday. I think for me the context is, f**k the Bournemouth result. F**k every defeat and all the points p*ssed away in the past two months. Nothing else will matter if we manage to upset Ajax. How you might feel that night will go beyond any other emotion. We (as a fanbase) often bang on about winning silverware being more important than a CL spot. Well, guess what, we’ve still got a chance of winning a trophy (let’s pretend Messi doesn’t exist). I can lose myself in over-analysing, scapegoating players, calling out Pochettino. Or I can just belong to this wonderful head-f*ck of a football club and allow her to drown me with glorious waterboarding torture as we attempt to realise the real fairy-tale.
When you look at what we were before Poch, what he’s turned us into, our ambition as supporters and thus eternal disappointment is a consequence of the culture defining shift the Argentine has blessed us with. We’ve hit our ceiling. We have to smash through it. Poch wants, needs more players in the summer. The new stadium is a monument to the clubs ambition but will stand for nothing if we don’t behave like the big club we want to be. I’m not saying we sell out. Spurs are organic, there’s no chance of that (unless ENIC look to make their billions). I’m still uncomfortable about breaking wage structures and turning into an agents playground like City or Chelsea, but if our manager and chairman agree to find the middle ground, it’s not like we haven’t splashed out on players before.
We have had immense evolutionary seasons, played majestic football and scored a points tally worthy of a title win in many other seasons. But, well, this means nothing if another club earns more points in that given season. One of Liverpool and City will not win the league but accumulate a ludicrous end of season total. This is the benchmark, this is what we have to aim for, regardless of whether we can achieve it or not. But doing so takes more than what we have. Otherwise stagnation will kick in.
Our failure to consolidate 3rd place (hindsight super power klaxon) is down to our failure to sign any players in the transfer windows. We got the plaudits before Christmas about how the collective at Spurs was a major assist in our form. Enter injuries. Gone is the momentum.
But this is for the future. The now, the present. The immediate present is all that matters.
If Ajax wipe the floor with us, then this is as good as it can get but it’s testament to how much even elite football can flux to allow the anomalies of the team from Amsterdam and N17 to get this far. If we win, then that feeling you had during the City second leg dramatics, that sensational ecstasy induced euphoria…you’ll have that again. If you think that feeling is less powerful and meaningful than dropping out of the top four next weekend and having to put up with memes and gloating from Chelsea and Arsenal fans for a single summer like it suddenly wipes away everything this team and Poch have created, then you’re as weak as the banter our rivals dish up. Let them define their season with our shortfalls. The only shadow we remain in, is of our own creation, the team we could be, the side we should be.
I wanted CL football when we were sacrificing the domestic cups. One game away, I want the CL final and if we have to deal with the Europa League and Thursday nights and the rest of it, then so be it. We’re in this position because of Spurs. Because of this team. They’re responsible for the league form and the CL adventure. Accept both or don’t accept any of it. Deal with the consequences. Echoes of glory shouldn’t just be this fancy tagline we use to excuse and rationalise failure because it isn’t failure if you actually find yourself believing that we just might, possibly could make it to Madrid. If you think the greatest away day in our history is failure, then we can’t be friends.
I feel sick with anticipation. COYS.
This, current form and all, is still the best time I’ve had as Spurs fan for twenty years. More so than the Bale and Redknapp patch. I’ll have to go back to 1991. Then 1987.
Sick with anticipation.
Free falling into purgatory? Or crashing our way straight into the upper echelons of heaven?
Wrote this after Sunday’s games
I think we’ve got away with it lads.
Laugh out loud. Turns out I don’t need to concern myself with Thursday nights and Emmerdale. Or try to rationalise sacrificing next season’s CL spot for a final appearance this season. I guess I should have waited for Arsenal to do an Arsenal. They’ll never let you down them lot.
All the talk about Tottenham’s dire run of form has masked Manchester United’s mental capitulation since appointing Ole officially. As for them lot down the road? Four points from a possible eighteen. If Spurs have limped lethargically through the business end of the season, Arsenal have crumbled like Jack Wilshere’s crisp like bones. We have somehow hit the worst run of results we’ve ever had with Poch and still managed to stay ahead of 5th spot. Comedy. As for Chelsea taking third spot? Well bully for them and their collection of over paid superstars.
They (Arsenal) could still qualify for the CL if they win the Europa but judging by the downhearted faces of their players and the absolute savage rage of their supporters, they don’t appear to be too confident. In fact, I reckon they value finishing above Tottenham more important than CL or even silverware, such is their fragility and obsession to protect their self-esteem. They only have us to use as a gauge to control their self-worth and happiness. It’s pitiful. It turns out we’re not the ones falling into purgatory.
It’s a far cry from their players taking selfies and celebrating out of car windows after their 4-2 win over us.
As for us?
19 defeats in all competitions, 13 in the league, CL qualification* and a semi-final to concluded.
The hard way is the only way is the Spurs way.
*Unless we lose 4-0 to Everton and Burnley concede four. That would be the most ridiculous miracle in football and well, that won’t happen.
Seriously, don’t even go there. That’s too dark a place.