Being a football or â€œsoccerâ€ (Sorry, my Dad would probably hit me!) fan in Australia is an interesting experience, and even more so being a Spurs fan. You can spot the football addicts, the bedraggled Englishman, wandering through work as if in a dream after staying up till 4 in the morning to watch their sideâ€™s crucial Premier league encounter, dreaming of the days when Jeff Stelling would read us the results at a reasonable hour!
I have been in Brisbane for all of this very successful season and trying to spread the word of the beautiful game in the face of Australians who donâ€™t believe a sport is a sport unless a limb is lost in the process (see rugby league/AFL) is proving to be a tough challenge. Furthermore being a Spurs fan is made all the more problematic by the fact that, as all travellers will know, according to people outside of England no other team exists apart from the â€œbig fourâ€.
However after staying up till a modest 3am to watch Spurs beat Stoke it dawned on me that this is a Spurs side with a bit of mettle. I have only known Tottenham for 20 years and my experience has therefore been one of optimism at the start of a new season with a big money signing (see Rebrov/Postiga/Dean Richards- possibly the worst 8.5 million ever spent!) and then only to be dashed with a side lacking that mental edge over its competitors.
The win against Stoke however confirmed that Harry has his side playing with passion, hunger and pride for the Spurs shirt, something I havenâ€™t seen since the tigerish Steffen Freund pulled on the famous shirt! Nothing more epitomises this new hunger than the lion-hearted Modric dancing free of hulking Stoke midfielders at every turn and never afraid to put his tiny frame on the line; as seen in his commitment to get to the ball and in the process get Dean Whithead sent off. With players of his quality and drive and marshalled by our never-say-die captain Michael Dawson this is the first Spurs team I have known who I believe could pose a real threat to the big three when we face them in April.
However if the Spurs side lack the passion for the fight and we finish adrift of the Champions league promised land it could be another Summer seeing the big teams such as Manchester United plunder the likes of Lennon, Modric and even Defoe. I have no doubts that if we successfully traverse these fixtures picking up 4-6 points the Champions league spot can be ours and Tottenham Hotspur will be a fixture on the world map, even in the footballing wilderness of Brisbane, Australia.
By Matthew Pavli
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