Think back 4 seasons to our golden trio of Modric, Van Der Vaart and Bale. Finally a team to rival those of yesteryear that our Grandfathers or fathers point to. What I remember the most wasn’t the scintillating football, the destruction of teams that didn’t dare park the bus at the lane or the expectations of getting a ‘result’ against the top teams home or away. What I remember the most was the excitement of waking up and knowing I was going to the lane. Can we all say the same after Yesterday?
The current White Hart Lane is a fraught place full of jaded fans praying that the team will be set up in an attacking manner or hoping that our current crop of players show just a little heart and spirit. Many are now starting to turn on our Chairman after successive transfer windows whereby the main priority seems to be attaining a profit rather than a quality striker. After 25 minutes of West Brom this season the atmosphere turned toxic and downright damaging to the 11 players on the pitch. Newcastle exploited the same fear amongst us yesterday. A far cry from the intimidating atmosphere that provided the perfect setting for the 3-1 against Inter Milan or successive victories over Arsenal and Chelsea at Home in April 2010 that saw us qualify for the Champions League. The stats seem to back this up:
During our 2009/10 Champions League qualification season 37% (26 points) of the overall points were earned away from White Hart Lane. Likewise when we finished 4th for a second time (2011/12) with fate conspiring against us 39% (27 points) of our overall point tally was earned on the road. The last two seasons that coincide with the sale of our talisman, wholesale (average) changes to the squad and a new more ‘reserved’ tactical identity tell a very different story. Under AVB 47% (34 points) of our overall point tally was earned on our travels. Last season was somewhat of a nightmare for Spurs fans seeing us regularly smashed by the bigger boys and some fans questioning the identity and overall direction of the club. Despite this 48% (33 points) of our overall point tally was earned away from White Hart Lane. This is a significant jump from our Champions league qualification season and does beg the question… why?
Perhaps AVB and ‘Tactics Tim’ were just far more astute tactically away from home than Redknapp?! Perhaps we have finally learnt how to bully smaller teams away from home?! Both of these would make for an interesting consideration in their own right. However, coming back to my original point is it our fault? Is our negativity and fear over the constant transitional nature of our club the cause? There is no denying that the atmosphere has changed at White Hart Lane and not for the better. What used to be excitement at watching my team has been replaced by a general wonder as to when the atmosphere will change and invariably it does! After West Brom’s 1-0 win this season Irvine pinpointed a change in mood at Spurs in the first half when he felt his Baggies side could win. We were still drawing 0-0 with West Brom when the fans “changed their mood,” according to Irvine.
Ultimately there is a real cause for long term optimism under Pochettino who must be given time to create a squad and team in his own image. And yes this does mean he needs to be given the players he wants Mr Levy! *cough Schneiderlin and Musacchio* cough. Levy is in a real predicament now and must be praying that Pochettino works or there may be nowhere for him to hide. It’s going to take time but it’ll take our minds off of the impending fortnightly trip to the MK Dons Arena. Similarly, our most realistic chance of Champions League most probably lies with qualification through the Europa League so we need to take this more seriously than we have done. Plus I want to win something. Something big that can be held up and paraded around. Like what our grandfather’s and fathers point to! We must debate and question how our club is being run but not during the games whereby we need to get behind the lads wearing the lilywhite shirt.
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