Spurs: The Premier’s Registered Charity

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Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Liverpool – need to maintain the illusion for your fans that you are still a potent attacking force with an excellent defence and capable of challenging for the title again after losing

Luis Suarez? Come to White Hart Lane.

West Brom. – struggling for goals and needing a win badly to save your manager’s job and appease your fans?  Come to White Hart Lane.

Newcastle – without an away win for over six months? Come to………OK, you get the picture.

As Elvis Presley might have sung, had he been a Spurs fan (and still alive, of course): ‘If you’re looking for (no) trouble (and 3 points), you came to the right place.’

Everybody seems to relish playing at White Hart Lane. Except us, of course.  Season after season, regardless of who is in charge, the same things seem to happen: if a team needs a good result, for whatever reason, Spurs will provide. It’s guaranteed. Somehow, when teams are on a long losing run when they come to the Lane, it ends. Conversely, somehow, when we play teams who we haven’t beaten in years, and you hope against hope that, by the law of averages, this must be the season it ends…….no – we fail again.

I have, on occasion, been attacked for my negativity about Spurs in the comments section beneath my articles. The faithful who, unlike me ( I long ago got pissed off paying for a bronze membership that still only allowed me to get the odd ticket for a Wigan or Blackpool game, never one for the biggies, so am largely an armchair fan these days) shell out their hard-earned cash week in, week out, have also been branded by some ( TV pundits and AVB at least) as negative and unhelpful for our fragile team. But, boy, this is a team that makes it hard to be positive. It’s not just the uninspired, boring play, the lack of creativity, the possession retained ad nauseam in unthreatening areas and given away too easily in areas where we should be threatening or where we should be restricting the opposition’s ability to be threatening, the lack of chances, the failure to take many of the chances we do create, the lack of defensive nous, the lack of  leadership on the field, the lack of professionalism ( yes, young Dier, I’m pointing the finger at players who stroll late onto the pitch after half time and don’t even wake up until the ball is in our net, 7 seconds after kick off) and lack of heart. It’s our evident failure to learn from any of this. The same mistakes keep getting made, over and over and over again. Taking shit corners being just one of them.

Pochettino echoes AVB (or was it some of our players after AVB got the sack?) in bemoaning the fact that our pitch is, apparently, one of the three smallest in the Premiership. Apparently, this suits teams who play deep and play on the counter-attack but doesn’t suit our attacking style ( which, as I understand it, is playing one up front at home, that one usually being the one who hasn’t played well and scored in a midweek cup game). Apart from the fact that this seems to be a problem even when we are a goal up, as against Newcastle, theoretically, at least, requiring the away team to stop playing deep, I would respectfully point out that the pitch size has been the same for years and didn’t seem to be a problem when we had the likes of Greaves, Gilzean, Chivers, Hoddle, Ardiles, Villa, Sheringham, Klinsmann, Ginola, Defoe, Berbatov, Bale, to name just a few, playing for us. And if the size is a problem, has our dear manager not heard of something called ‘adapting to the circumstances’? If our style of play doesn’t suit our home ground, since the latter isn’t going to change for a couple of years, wouldn’t it be worth considering a change to the former? Some managers seem capable of changing tactics, employing a Plan B. We just seem to say, ‘Well, Plan A doesn’t seem to be working, let’s try Plan A.’

Let me say here and now, I’m not advocating another change of manager at this stage.  Pocchettino is right to point out ( although, since it’s been highlighted for years by fans, previous managers,  and TV pundits, it’s a classic ‘no shit, Sherlock’ moment) that we need to change our mentality. So let’s give him a bit of time to see whether he’s capable of creating a winning mentality. The last thing we need at this stage is yet another knee-jerk Levy reaction, followed by another appointment of a new ‘flavour of the month’ manager whose only claim to fame is some good performances at a club without our history and much lower expectation levels, followed by the signing of another half a dozen holding midfielders ( most of whom do not appear to understand what the ‘holding’ part of the job description means) . What’s the worst that can happen?

OK, a season where our away win over mighty, high-flying West Ham on the first day turns out to be the highlight of our season. Where we point to the fact that we only lost by three goals to Liverpool and Man. City as evidence of progress. Where we have a couple of cup runs. At least we’re not in danger of relegation. Thankfully, there are a lot of teams playing worse than us. Aston Villa, for example. They haven’t even scored for 8 hours, we’ve got a terrific record against them, home and away, so it’s good that we’re playing them on Sunday. A chance to get our season back on track. It’s not as if we’re the sort of team to roll over and help them end that run is it? Oh fuck – we’re doomed.

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