Before you even get to reading this article, watch this (or at least the last two minutes):
This was the video I stumbled across at 1AM, after writing an in-depth tactical piece about Mourinho’s failings this season.
And after watching the last two minutes, I found myself incredibly emotional. That moment is without doubt the best of my whole entire existence, but it’s clouded with sadness when you realise how the club evolved since then.
That team wasn’t perfect. Dele was on the decline, the squad was drying out, and their away form in the league was that of a relegation side.
They performed absolute miracles to even get to that point in Amsterdam, a series of clutch moments: Kane’s brace vs PSV, Lucas’ equaliser against Barcelona that meant we went through the group stages on goal difference, Llorente’s hip and the VAR on Sterling.
But none of that mattered, because the club had an identity, a belief, a bond. Those players, that night in Amsterdam, loved playing for Tottenham Hotspur and we loved watching them.
In the last ten minutes against Ajax, Spurs were pushing for a goal with barely any running, or quality, left in their legs. But they had the sheer willpower of a team that loved the club they play for, and the manager at that.
When the full-time whistle blew, you could pin that moment: uncontrollable joy and a few tears. Substitutes raced onto the pitch. Coaching staff raced onto the pitch. The little pocket of fans in the top corner of the stadium clutched each other as if they never ever wanted to let go.
Jermaine Jenas was reduced to genuine tears on co-commentary. Glenn Hoddle said: “I’m so glad I’m still around to see this.”
Pochettino, after crying in his interview, said: “I’ve told you over the last six months that they are heroes. I think they are superheroes now.”
Yes, Poch – they were.
Because they believed in you. You instilled happiness and belief they could go on the adventure of our lifetime, even if they weren’t, on paper, a good enough side to win the Champions League.
I’ve never felt more in tune with Tottenham that night. From the manager to the squad: we were together, even if we weren’t perfect. We’d lose together. Look at the Champions League final, I think I speak for millions in saying I didn’t shed an ounce of negativity that night – I was proud.
Now I bring you to modern-day. We’re still not perfect on the pitch, but off it – the contrast is so ugly: it’s rotten to the core and it almost makes you sick to the stomach.
No reasonable fan can ask for the heights of a last gasp Champions League semi-final goal every season, obviously, but the general feel around the club can.
The thought of tuning my TV on to watch this Spurs side doesn’t excite me.
The disconnect, the lack of belief, the dressing room that is clearly toxic, and our best player since coloured television now wants to leave. Sigh.
Whether you blame the new manager, the board, or maybe even the squad, one thing is certain: we are a million miles away from getting to a Champions League final on the pitch. But off it we feel even further.
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