Spurs have been a part of my life for the past 55 years or so. I guess it must have been the Double winning team of 1960-61 which convinced me that Spurs were the greatest ever and therefore the team to follow. Whatever the reason, once you make that decision as a 10 year old, it cannot be changed under any circumstances. It would be fair to say that over that period, however, whilst the team has often given great pleasure, it has also frustrated in equal, or probably greater, measure. Throughout my adult life Spurs have been a team of great individuals who, if they got their act together on the day, could beat anybody (or almost anybody)- potential Cup winners certainly but League winners, not a chance.
Within the past two years, however, something has changed- Spurs are now a team first and individuals second. They still have great individuals but they also now have a ’togetherness’ both on and off the pitch, a real sense that everybody is pulling in the same direction, that no-one is shirking their responsibilities and no-one is being allowed to coast.
As a retired Director from a major civil engineering company, one of the real pleasures I got in my working life was to see youngsters whom I had brought into the firm, change from raw, uncertain trainees into polished, knowledgeable engineers delivering first class work for demanding clients. Now that I am retired, they are successfully running the business. This wasn’t by accident; there was a plan in place- from staff selection through to training, creating opportunities and making them see that part of their job was to nurture the next generation not just focus on their own careers.
Anybody looking at modern football clubs will see that Spurs are head and shoulders above rivals in their long term planning with a fantastic first team squad, a well- developed Academy system and precocious youngsters not being squeezed out from first team opportunity by expensive transfer signings- brilliant, yes, but also no more than the natural consequence of first class management! Critically, the club has recognized that any success in the near future, though hugely enjoyable at the time, will be simply transient and a wasted opportunity if it doesn’t lay the foundations for longer term success (as Ferguson’s reign did at United or Paisley’s at Liverpool). Providing nothing totally untoward happens in the near future, I am convinced that far from wasting opportunities, Spurs are now creating bigger opportunities with every passing day- the foundations for long term success are well and truly in place.
By way of evidence, what was the most interesting Spurs-related match report that people read over the past week? Most would probably say the report of Spurs 4-1 thrashing of Liverpool, beating the Wembley hoodoo etc. Me, I took more pleasure from reading about Josh Onomah’s match for Aston Villa against Fulham and the various comments made afterwards by Steve Bruce about breaking the bank to secure his services permanently. It won’t happen of course. Just 20 years old, he represents another player of huge potential on the fringe of the first team who will be integrated gradually and then developed through experience while others are in turn being brought through the Academy system.
Perhaps the 10 year old supporter choosing Spurs as his team got it absolutely right. I have always believed that you have to be something of an optimist or dreamer to support Spurs and I’m no exception-for the first time in a very long time I believe that we will win the League. We may even win the double or, better still, become a serial double winner. It is the result of careful and professional management in every aspect of running the club. How clever of that 10 year old to spot this at such a tender age.
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