The Boy Clickbait has snuffed it


Imagine thinking the best ITK of the summer would come from the Evening Standard and not via some tenuous phantom nonsense masked in ambiguity and constantly evolving contradictions. Not having any cryptic clues for us to decipher either was a bonus. All we got was the straight up names of the players the club identified as their first choice targets.

#thfc summer transfer targets are Ryan Sessegnon, Tanguy Ndombele, Giovani Lo Celso and Jack Clarke. [Evening Standard]


When the transfer window closed I was beaming with confidence, looking ahead to another guaranteed roller-coaster of a season (it’s certified to be because it’s Spurs). Job done right? All the players we wanted have signed. All the players we wanted to remain have, thus far, remained. I had a Brexit analogy for this bit referencing Christian Eriksen and a no deal. The hilarity is best kept for the politicians to own.

We dun good right? Yes, yes we did. A proper 8.9 / round it up to 9 out of 10. With caveats. Which we should definitely look at but I’m retaining that beaming smile and Robert Redford nod of approval.

Firstly, my yearly reminder of how ridiculously hyped the perception of Deadline Day has become. We call it that for extra dramatic effect because media and fans alike have, well, butchered the narrative with expert precision. It’s a mess but technically one that is…er…fun? Okay, hear me out with this. I need to write it down to see if it still makes sense.

Deadline Day is an illusion. Yes, deals get done late on because of the epic games of cat and mouse that get played out. It’s actually more like buying a house. You’re in a chain. Often if someone breaks the chain then you’re left with nothing (or rather what you already own). But if the chain starts and finishes the way it’s meant to - then happy days. You sell, you buy. Perhaps one or the other, back in the world of football. Deals also happen late on, not because our chairman has waited until the last few days to bid for a player and pretend to attempt to sign him just so numptys can churn out conspiracy theories about him never having the intention to get it done. They happen late on because of all the grafting that takes place before hand that leads all of us to a (what appears on the surface) to be a nervous final hour or three.

Yes, sometimes clubs play a dangerous game of bluff. Some test the resolve of others. Often the desire to sign someone is nothing more than a way for said player to either get a better contract at his existing club or force an opposing interested party to bid more. To add to the mix, as impatient as we all become watching it unfold on social media, the clubs might not actually be in a blind panic (although we blatantly have been in the past).

Medicals often secretly take place. Announcement videos and interviews get recorded. And here’s the Hollywood bit of the transfer carnival. Sometimes, clubs simply wait until the death so that all of us - the digital zombies - get our pound of juicy bloody meat to feast on. In our silly little heads we actually believe someone was running down a hallway with a faxed over contract, trying desperately to beat the clock, with vital signatures scribbled on it, before it’s sent off (by fax again obv) for official approval that it’s within the deadline. Some believed Levy was on holiday in Miami (he was) and not bothering to back the manager on account of being busy driving a speedboat listening to Crockett’s Theme, shades on, zero f**ks given.

Why? Because that’s the game that appears to be favoured. We want that buzz, we feed off the anticipation and obsessively pick a side (to usually blame) and then WALLOP SPLASH the money-shot is incoming. Every complaint is momentarily forgotten in the moment.

The frenzy is a joyous experience.

Honestly, Spurs Twitter was fantastic at its peak when we all sat waiting for news. The Dybala Saga added a spicy and unexpected kick to it. Could we? Could he? What about Fernandes? What is going on? Surely not all of them? Or maybe perhaps? Every player is different. Lo Celso? On loan? WTF? Free up the money for another signing? No. Screw over PSG? Yeah. Where the hell is that Ryan kid? We’ve been waiting two sodding years for him. Still in for Dybala. Image rights? Agent fees? Third party clusterf*ck? Hold up. Got a DM. Oh wow. Christ. Hope this never leaks. Probably will. I’ll keep it to myself. Wait! Spurs Official! Sessegnon ! Lo Celso ! GTFI ! GLORY !

Aaaaaaaaand now I need a blunt to smooth over the comedown of the MDMA highs.

Carnival. Circus. Whatever you want to tag it with, it’s completely and utterly unnecessary. It exists because of Sky Sports and all of us having a hunger for wanting to know something before it happens. What makes it a delightful guessing game is the fact that half of the news headlines that are being shared are just as clueless as the alleged ITK community that back in my day (pre-Twitter) would be rewarded with badges of honour for getting information ‘correct’.

Today, somewhere in amongst all the tabloid and broadsheet articles is an element of truth. Often journalists that are associated with players/agents/media teams/club sources told to leak info/club sources not meant to be leaking info/individuals with disinformation…basically anyone that is seeking an edge in sharing sensitive info to aid breaking news. With Dybala we had to wait for updates from the Italian press. Most of the headlines however, across the entirety of the window, have been rehashed crap.

‘X player is going to sign this week after Spurs reach agreement with X’

The same article, worded a little different, reappears the following week. Until they get it right. Madness. Rather than focus on reporting factual developments, we all want the opinions and alleged insight of anyone that can offer it. In this day and age, everyone does.

Yes, transfers can be protracted affairs. Lo Celso was away post-Copa America and Ryan was (is) injured. The suggestion that Levy waited until the deadline to save on wages is textbook Levy if you listen to the haters and also the ones that rate him. Dybala proved to be too much. I’m sure you’ve seen the Independent article about just how long Levy was involved with negotiations. Yes, I’ve heard alternatives to this but, well, he didn’t sign so it no longer matters (tbc possibly, without the player making anything more than a cameo).

What’s my point? None of this - the involvement and demands we have as consumers of information and the sheer desire for us to SIGN SOMEONE - makes any real sense. If the media only reported on official club news, we’d have no one self-congratulating themselves for copy and pasting headlines every minute for weeks on end. In essence, we want that hope to lead to something tangible. Once upon a time it was every morning when you looked at the back page of a tabloid newspaper to see what was going on. Today, there isn’t a handful of printed newspapers to rely on. There’s thousands and thousands of sources and streams. It’s an industry.

Thank f**k something tangible did happen. That’s as much sense as I can take from it.

Spurs Twitter went from #BackPoch and ‘shambles of a window’ to a 9/10. Dybala would have made it quite possibly the most astute window we’ve ever had. A true ballers ball. In fact, had Ndombele signed on deadline day instead of earlier in the summer then we’d be doing another Robert Redford nod of approval with a possible 10/10 being discussed.

Levy said he was going to spend and he’s done just that. All the politics aside, all the potential future headaches aside…if you look at the present we’ve landed some very good players. Yes, the right back position is the one that leaves us wondering if we should have spent a bit there, what with Tripps flying off to La Liga. The much maligned (I liked him, errors and all, for his effort and love for Spurs - less for his defensive positioning) has left us with a lack of cover. Or has he?

Danny Rose was once maligned and laughed at. By our own scathing supporters. He came good. Sissoko is another example, be it a forced accidental one. There’s a fair few, if anything, with the ability to interchange roles and responsibilities. Poch likes to reinvent players. Guess it’s magic, you know.

Kyle Walker-Peters might finally be given the opportunity to step up. Sissoko might step in. Foyth (when he returns) was the pre-season favourite for it. Poch might be dancing around the need for a fully fledged right back by talking up versatility but I would think we’d have signed one if we really did want one/need one. Based on the actions we’ve taken in the market this time round.

However, I don’t quite know how we plan to line up and play this season. Three at the back? Can we attempt swashbuckling full-backs? We’ll see soon. Having Ryan join means we could be looking at another Gareth Bale moment (that’s the Inter rebirth rather than 23 games without a win). No pressure on the lad of course. Rose himself appears to be imperative to Poch and his plans. You love to hear that. As someone quite brilliantly stated on Twitter, he’s staying to teach Ryan how to be a proper bastard.

The midfield looks great. Ndombele, neat quick feet, takes the ball forward and makes good use of it. Has that silk about him, dribbling into offensive positions. A more refined Dembele in terms of retaining possession and putting it to good use in the final third. Actually, scrap that. Let’s move on from Mousa. Ndombele is, make no mistake, an incredible statement of intent. The ilk of signing we would never have been able to make a few seasons back. A testament to what Levy has built (deal with it) for those quick to snap the snooze-fest propaganda about how stadiums and training grounds aren’t important factors in growing the stature of the on the field stuff.

Clarke is back at Leeds of course (I’ll keep tabs). As for Lo Celso? We’ve got ourselves that galvaniser. That difference maker. That bit of extra dimension. A brand new Argentine version of a Rafa van der Vaart.

He can play pretty much anywhere in (attacking) midfield. Upfront, beside Kane, behind Kane, false no 9, pivot, just invent a new fancy name for a creative playmaker and he could find comfort with it. What with his delicious touch and finishing ability. He’s no Eriksen with the passing of the ball but then few are. Hopefully he can take a decent corner.

We’ve got Troy Parrott as a potential backup and one that looks like he can make the grade in time. The one we signed as backup is now plying his trade in Mexico. Not sure what his trade is exactly. Lovely lad but Vinny was always a five month strict ketogenic diet away from looking the part. If we wanted another alternative to aid with the congested fixture list, maybe free-agent Fernando Llorente is worth a one-year contract? Bit of a legend that handsome fella. I wouldn’t say no.

We’ve kept Toby and for now Christian but one can only be suspect of the European transfer window and its early September closure. Meaning that something might still happen. I’m hoping it doesn’t. Sure, Eriksen’s head might not be in it as much as his heart isn’t. If we are to focus on the words he spoke about leaving (and ignore the ones he stated about potentially staying). We’ll have to wait to see the line-up against Villa at The Lane first. Next summer is a world away but it’s already looking like it’s going to shape up to be a huge overhaul (perhaps going beyond just the players).

Money wise, you’d have to think Levy will want to get something for Eriksen. Toby can move on next year and claim those pension riches in China. I’m sure nobody would begrudge him that.

I’ve gone on a bit, as per usual. But you know me. In an era where blogs are pretty much a dead artform it’s endearing that I’m still plugging away to ye olde community here on DML. This continues to be the therapy I require thanks to the curses of deep thinking.

Deadline Day might force you into a false sense of insecurity if your club doesn’t sign anyone on that specific day (even if they’ve done all their business before hand). It is what it is. After two windows of tumbleweeds, I don’t blame anyone for going over the top with it. Especially the new age of news aggregators, the unofficial Tottenham accounts on Twitter.

Fans want their updates quick and easy, a short text of info that means absolutely nothing but is enough to pump the blood or have them respond with anger/outrage/banter. Whatever the preferred commodity in the overly confused digital economy. This blog will appear on the ancient and probably redundant NewsNow feed, but if you’re relying on NewsNow you’re reading news that’s already aged several thousand seconds. That and you’re limiting your reach. There’s no real interaction, especially in real time.

Twitter itself is an aggregator. Of course, it can still be a toxic hellmouth. But that’s up to you. You have a choice in what appears in your timeline. You’re in control.

All the misery and agenda driven outrage (before we confirmed Sess and Lo Celso) that dominated the topic of my previous blog practically dissolved to pathetic cries of ‘well, he (Levy) still didn’t do enough’ when deadline day passed. It was thankfully drowned out by the far louder happy-clappy majority. Clickbait has become nothing more than a seconds thought. A tweet that scrolls down on your timeline that you can choose to ignore. No need to click into a website because the headline looks inciting. Pick and choose your sources, no need for Google Russian Roulette. Unfollow or block in the brave new world.

When someone clicks into this site and clicks out because of the word count or because I haven’t stated ITK about a signing within the opening sentence, then that’s a win for me. If they stick around, that’s also a win. Mainly because they weren’t looking for that quick fix of data crack. If the brave new world scares you, don’t fret. I’m not going anywhere. I realise the very same data crack was everywhere on Twitter in the past several weeks but that’s by choice.

As for those that sit alone talking to themselves in a boxed up corner of the internet? With infamy and profit their main priority, without an audience or a productive reach of influence; they are perishing. Left behind because in today’s world, everyone is a blogger, everyone is a persona, everyone is an ego. They are dying because much like the newspapers that want to be the first to report something, they are lost in amongst their rotten screams for attention. To stand out, you have to offer something different. Whilst Spurs have changed over the past ten years, some still embrace the same narrative with each passing year - regardless of the quite obvious progression made.

Their desperate attempts at sensationalism are now so transparent, you’d never even acknowledge their existence because you’d struggle to see them. Unless you find a little bit of sweet irony tasty enough to look in on once in a while. Like poking a rat with a stick to make sure its dead.

Twitter might just be a faster paced NewsNow, designed for the generation that has no time to read (but can spend all day arguing with strangers) but here’s the beauty of social media - you’ll find something new every-time you log on. Someone new. A writer. A creator. An ordinary Spurs fan with an opinion that challenges the way you think or feel. Rather than a soulless article written by someone that has been tasked with generating traffic into a site because of advertising revenue. We’ve gone from browsing the web to using apps. Times have changed.

For now, we can all look ahead to the opening game of the season. Here we go again. It’s back. Have mercy on us all.

We have the ability to rotate and not burn out players. So hoping Poch does just that. Depth is over-rated unless you’re Man City, subbing on world class players to replace world class players. My expectations are simple. Give me moments like last season. Make me believe and perhaps, maybe, give us a moment that includes silver and a ribbon or two. I think I might enjoy that too.

Levy backed Poch. We will back the team. Poch will have his back against the wall because we’re going to need that intensity to drive us past the style identity blip we had in the Prem last time out.

We need to swarm and press and shock and awe.

So…absolute scenes when Grealish scores a screamer and we lose.