Pre-season is supposed to be a time for optimism. It is the time of the year where every team in every league is on the same amount of points. A time for hope.
There are exceptions, the fans that think their team will win the league no matter how unrealistic it may be, but most supporters are roughly aware of what awaits them when the season starts. Some will be glass half full and imagine their team will reach their maximum perceived potential (ask the Man Utd fans that thought they would be champions last year), whereas the glass half empty amongst us think the absolute worst (unfortunately, the Arsenal fans that thought they could get relegated last year were particularly pessimistic).
This time last year it was difficult to find much in the glass at all as a Tottenham fan. Fresh from qualifying for a competition that everybody that isn’t Jose Mourinho would prefer to avoid, the fans were subjected to the humiliation of *that* manager search and the original ‘one of our own’ wanting to be someone else’s. Even the signing of Cristian Romero managed to come with a caveat, when it was announced he was on loan.
Fast forward a year and the emotions could hardly be more different. It would have been difficult to obtain Champions League qualification in a more satisfying way, winning 5-0 away in the sun after stealing 4th from Arsenal and their one COVID sufferer. Spurs have one of the most successful managers currently in the game, Harry Kane seems happy again and ENIC have joined in the party atmosphere by committing real funds to invest in the team.
As Spurs fans there is, however, always that lingering doubt on the horizon. Will Conte leave? Will someone turn Kane’s head again? Will Levy want to re-assume the power he has finally seemingly released?
When I have these doubts, I remind myself of ‘Only Fools and Horses’ when Del and Rodney finally became millionaires. Del is the Spurs fan, not quite trusting the fact that they are going to get their money and Rodney (clearly a non-Spurs man) calmly says ‘Del, we’re dealing with Sotherby’s and the Greenwich Museum, not Ronnie and Reggie.’
That is the reality of this summer and what we need to adapt to in this exciting new era for the club. We are no longer in the realms of blind optimism, hoping the likes of Nuno (Ronnie) and Steve Hitchen (Reggie) will take Spurs back to the promised land. Fabio Paritici and Antonio Conte are proven winners that can genuinely take the club to the next level.
What is important now is to retain that optimism when the inevitable bouts of self-doubt take over. The transfer window is the first test of all of us as fans. Tottenham have already signed a proven winner in Ivan Perisic and upgraded the reserve goalkeeper position (Gollini was a great cheerleader, but the whole saving shots thing is now covered with the addition of Fraser Forster). There are strong rumours Djed Spence (Guardian) could soon follow Yves Bissouma through the door. Then a centre-back, creative midfielder, and forward. Just a small reminder – this is ENIC’s Spurs.
As fans, it is important to handle further speculation in a level-headed way. Signing players of the quality that this manager wants isn’t easy; that’s why he wants them. So if there are further disappointments like the news about Alessandro Bastoni, just remember the transfer window is a roller-coaster. Don’t be the guy puking over the side.
There are nearly two months until the start of the season and there will be significant movement in and out of Spurs. Just like there will be at all clubs. However much Twitter will tempt you to panic though, make sure you keep that important sense of perspective. If Arsenal sign a quality striker, they still won’t have Harry Kane. If Chelsea sign one of Spurs’ defensive targets, it won’t be someone better than Cristian Romero.
We may have heard this many times before, but this summer really is the start of the new Spurs. Let’s embrace it. Because we finally have our own Sotherby’s.
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