Curb your pessimism
Let’s get straight into it.
Poch makes comments in a presser about transfers and his job title and social media does a VAR with context and drowns in the selective ambiguity that breeds point scoring and those all important digital numbers. Was he having a dig at the chairman? Is he fed up with having to justify and respond to the same ilk of questions time and time again? Forcing a reaction to aid with the story arc that all is not well behind closed doors?
Rant mode enabled.
No apology for this chimp with a machine gun about to spray lead like a pineapple induced Peter North.
Success is relative to the stature of your club, and along with ambition, the platform to support it and potential to achieve it. So for a club like Spurs success should equate to silverware. It’s a privilege to be able to entertain this ideology in the first place. We’re part of the upper echelons of the lower tier elite. But to be able to flirt with the upper tier is pretty honourable in the first place. It’s taken us a long time to compete but arguably it’s taken Mauricio Pochettino five or so years to create a pulsating, hungry culture that gives us that vital push towards something that was quite unfathomable not too long ago. Playing catch-up during a period of time when the club was building a new stadium isn’t an excuse for the flux we are suffering from (so much suffering). It’s a reality.
Not achieving it (silverware) doesn’t necessarily redefine the clubs statute either. Football is hardly comparable to what it was 10 years ago let alone 20 or 30. It’s not easy and the entire concept of player valuations and transfers has been bastardised beyond recognition. That and the prioritisation of Champions League qualification and the financial clout of that upper tier we are so desperate to be part of makes it all that more messy to navigate through.
It shouldn’t redefine you as a supporter either, the lack of winners medals. Don’t let the amplified and often shallow and contrived agendas of the media imprison you in the echo chamber. Should you really be losing your sh*t over a rival club spending more money than us but spending money on players and positions they don’t really need to be improving? Should you be jealous of a club that spends more than us to only finish below us? Is this about Tottenham and their progression or is it about your ego and that all important save-facing tactic when you’re looking to swagger your avatar into your followers timeline whilst doing a Twitter frenzy?
Okay so perhaps our true rivals are the clubs finishing above us. But finishing below them is hardly testament to shambolic failure is it? Wanting the best, the very best, for your team should not cost your soul in sacrifice. Be ambitious, demand the consolidation required but not to the detriment of what it means to be a football supporter. Maybe this is where I differ from many. I prefer the brotherhood and togetherness, the bond with fellow like-minded supporters and the sense of unity with the players on the pitch. I prefer this to the more clinical, business like ‘I WANT RESULTS AND SCREW EVERYTHING ELSE THAT COMES BEFORE IT’ shuffle, mostly drenched in disdain and perpetual despair.
Don’t confuse the true essence of identity with the politics of football. You are not defined by the success of your club. You can choose to be defined this way, I know some of you do, with your checklists and economics and five easy steps to winning stuff (spend, Spend, SpENd, SSSSpenD, SPEEEEEEND!!11). It will ruin your entire experience, but some of you love doing that. Projecting your misery, abusing Spurs as a conduit for your misgivings, exaggerating every little thing to appear tenfold in magnitude. You prefer to moan and complain because it helps to mask the good things. The very same things you’re too afraid to embrace because you think doing so is a weakness. So instead you point at those that synergise with the football team and call them weak for happy clapping and basking in the moments, limbs and all, even if there’s no open bus parade to enjoy at the end of it all.
Yes ambition, no matter the distortion, remains the fuel. The want and desire to better ourselves and seek that history making reward, those incredible fusions of celebration and validation - but confusing the two (ID and silverware) ends up with what them lot down the road have; a fragmented mess of petulant entitlement harbouring poisonous insecurities. It’s the upside down of a more vibrant and enriching existence. One we are in, one that we seek to improve. In the good old days it took one club twenty five years to rediscover itself before bossing the following twenty-five. Some got doped and won it because of the money at the time before financial fair play.
The TV money reshaped it all and it wasn’t until 2006 that we began to claw our way back. Maybe others have found their way to success with more comfort. Maybe they could afford the luxury of cutting corners. Better the devil you know? If you struggle to contain your expectancy now imagine if we did find a way to sustain success. I’m not sure most would survive the constant demand to keep on winning things. But alas, we’ve yet to actually cross the first finish line. Winning one thing, anything (pre-season competitions aside) would be enough for this old boy scribbling this rant down. Stranger things have happened proving it’s still totally conceivable it’s going to happen. That’s a pretty powerful positive to hold onto.
Belonging is identity. That might not keep the dust off the empty trophy cabinet but it sure as f**k retains the heart on your sleeve. The journey is the destination (right?) and when we finally do arrive it should be treated more compassionately than a notch on a bedpost.
Us being Spurs, when we’ve had success, it’s been with pockets of panache and not decade dominating drama. It’s never sustained and perhaps that keeps us grounded, appreciative of how rare true glory is. True glory by the way is our glory. I couldn’t care less for anyone else. T
The bad times make the good times better. As I’ve stated, football isn’t the same and it’s massively more difficult to win things than it once was. The quality is far greater too. It’s a myth to suggest we haven’t endeavoured to do so.
We have players that believe they can and the fact fans (us lot) lose our sh*t in the disappointment is because we too believe it to be possible. That’s a grand epiphany right there that gets lost in amongst the defeatist rhetoric that many prefer to dwell on.
Also. We do this dance every summer (of discontent) and the season that follows defies the odds. Every-time. Perhaps these are odds we stack up against ourselves but let’s not pretend it would be any easier if we splashed out constantly. There are no guarantees in football regardless of the money spent. I’d rather the slow brooding methodical approach than the scatter-gun mayhem of yesteryear.
Also part II. It’s comical how half our fan-base keep referring to a mystical football handbook on how to behave and demand and survive the constant turbulence. As if it’s ever been easy supporting and following a football club - especially our one. You don’t need to be told how to think by the institution outside of our majestically imperfect club or the ones inside it that only ever seem to embrace anger and bitterness, self harming with a smile that wouldn’t go amiss on the face of The Joker whilst he terrorises Gotham with a pitchfork and torch.
Caveat. Stop dismissing (you won’t) the new stadium and the state of the art Hotspur Way like they are not important factors or play a part in attracting growth and new players. Or that it hasn’t been an extraordinary challenge to deliver them and the continued evolution of our brand (you know, that thing we need to promote to perhaps continue to offer bigger wages to top players). Both the ground and training facility will outlive us and several generations more. You can’t cross the river if you don’t build a bridge.
The club has gone through a metamorphosis. From caterpillar to butterfly. We were wrapped in a cocoon before, isolated and alone. And now? We can spread those wings and fly. After-all, something small can rise and rise towards a big tidal wave of change. Flap those wings, create the hurricane. Another one. Our chaos is no longer theory, it’s orchestrated.
Add to it, the academy lads. Sometimes it feels like the accidental miracle of Harry Kane has gone through the revisionist history making machine and been wiped from memory. It can happen again. Have faith. It’s more fun. Promoting youth players > Ya’ll got anymore of them marquee signings?
Caveat part II. What’s with the persistent finality too? Half a season into Poch’s first year at Spurs and he was doubted. Every summer it’s the same ‘IF WE DONT DO THIS AND WE DONT DO THAT THEN WERE DOOMED’. It’s parody every-time. Self-depreciation is funny when you’re self-aware and your audience knows it’s a joke. If you’re being serious, then it’s commonly known as The Arsenal.
If we don’t ‘do this or that’ what’s gonna happen? Will the club cease to exist? Will memes make you cry? Will Archway reappear underneath the retractable NFL turf? Will Levy’s ears bleed from the realist sound you make with your feet when you stamp them in disgust? What’s gonna happen ffs?
We signed nobody last time out, lost our way with style on the pitch, got savaged by injuries and yet ended up in a CL final with memories that will live with us forever. FOREVER. Are you really that ashamed to feel emotional about the Ajax game because we lost the final? Do you even Tottenham? Football is the greatest when it refuses to follow a script. Improvise the f**k out of it. Curb your pessimism fellas and women folk.
What’s that saying? Something about if you fail, then fail better the next time. Sam Beckett was obviously fully COYS.
Do we need more depth? Yes. Yes we do. Will this define me either way if the club don’t deliver it? No. No it won’t. Will it define our season? Possibly? Who knows? The whole point is to find out one game at a time and not pretend that hindsight is a solution at the finale. Get a grip and own being Tottenham...97th minute winners and self-fulfilling prophecies of shooting ones self in the foot. We are these things and nothing without them. We’re a paradox that even Stephen Hawking would have struggled to explain. We’re not like any of the rest of them and long may that continue.
It’s crazy that I probably share the same opinion of Daniel Levy as some of the hashtag proud boys and yet the difference between them and myself is immeasurable in comparison. We’ve got Spurs in common, it’s the same source material yet we’ve got practically nothing more beyond that. Maddening.
I’d say put down your excel spreadsheet and stop pretending you know how to run and manage a football club. #BackPoch? Most of you would have sacked him within the first six months of his tenure. In fact, you probably wouldn’t have appointed him in the first place. ‘Cause he’s a foreigner innit.
There’s so much reactionary bullshit these-days, a consequence of being able to micro analyse every word and scrutinise every opinion within seconds, a far cry from having to rely on the back-pages of tabloids for any given transfer news or developments, pre-internet days. A time where your opinion often had to cook for days before finally being served up to others to chew on and spit out, if it wasn’t binned on account of being burnt to a crisp.
Much like with everything in our hyper-political hellmouth of this cyber connected community, ‘we’ pick a side and never seek to meet in the middle. Tribalism rules the roost. Us versus them, us versus us. It never ends.
Football shouldn’t be half as complicated as we all seem to make it. Get drunk, sing a few songs. Win, lose, draw. Get more drunk, sing more songs. With your best mates. In spite of everything.
That’s the only hashtag you’ll ever need.