You can only beat what’s in front of you

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Image: SpursWeb

After I scraped the macaroni cheese off my laptop screen, thrown there as a result of my wild celebrations at Eriksen’s 90th minute winner, I naturally headed towards the Spurs blogs in pursuit of the inevitable post-match cross-examinations. I knew what I was going to find, I knew it would wind me up, but I did it anyway, I am of course a Lillywhites fan: a glutton for punishment.

My expectation was that few would be happy with the close margin of victory; fewer still at the performance, and that the general cloud of pessimism that has hung over White Lane since West-Brom-Gate would be still entrenched like a stubborn November cold front. I was, of course, not to be disappointed. Every porthole was full of complaints about how it was a second fortunate away victory in a row, with a generous red card, circus defending and more erroneous passes than a Indian driving test. I am not for a second about to disagree with these assessments; we are a shadow of the free-flowing side of four years ago. However, I would like to question whether there is any intelligence associated with complaining about three valuable away points that moved us to within a single win of fourth place.

Emmanuel ‘that sounds like an awful lot of effort, boss’ Adebayor’s comments about the crowd in Metro last week were unwise, yes, just ask Andre ‘Russia is bloody cold, isn’t it’ Villas-Boas . However, I think any true Spurs fan would probably have to agree with the opinion that as far as White Lane goes these days, the lady doth protest too much. The self-deprecating comments and general attitude of the blogs and Facebook page (oh God, the Facebook page), has infiltrated too far into what should be our fortress, our home and a place where the team are supported, no matter what. I do not pretend to have been going to the Lane for forty years, it would have been difficult, not having been born and all. However, in the last decade where I have caught all manner of trains and buses to the capital to watch my team, there has been a noticeable decline in both atmosphere and support at the Lane.

It has reached the stage now where, as much as it pains me, I probably believe that our players prefer to play away. I can just imagine the pre-match team talks given by Irvine, Hughes et al. in the opposition dressing room; “just keep it tight for at least three minutes lads, the fans will get on their backs, start calling Adebayor a lazy prick, they’ll get nervous and we’ll nick a winner.” Un-coincidently, that quote could have also formed the post-match analysis of our last two home games.

I know why sad little men behind their keyboards do it, they have never been to a game, consider purchasing the replica shirt the height of support and are irked that the 10-15 minutes of mild melancholy they experience after reading the match report an inconvenience on their Sunday evening plans. What I have, and hopefully never will, understand is why someone pays good money to sit in the stands, waiting, willing to get annoyed, yell abuse at players, boo at half time, then leave on the 75th minute. Yes, you have paid your hard earned money to watch Tottenham Hotspur, but if you don’t like the experience, don’t come. Give your ticket to the plethora of fans that can no longer afford the Lane, but would sing their lungs out for 90 plus minutes.

If you think you have some divine right to watch total football played in the upper echelons of the Champions League places because you are Spurs fan, then you need a reality check. We have qualified for Europe’s top table contest once, yes that is once, since its invention in its current format. We play in one of the toughest leagues in the world, with huge numbers of teams with a rich European history and an even richer Middle-eastern owner. I am not for a second suggesting that this shouldn’t be our aim. However, to expect a team that has had three different managers in the last 12-months, assembled after the sale of one of our greatest ever players to be in 4th spot from August to May, then I have a suggestion for you. Every Saturday afternoon, get out of bed early, catch the 10:37 from Euston to Manchester Central, buy a City season ticket (I hear they’re a snip compared to our prices) and most importantly, stay the hell out of our stadium.

I’m all to aware of the counter argument to this, which is that we wouldn’t have had three different managers in 12-months or sold our best players if ENIC weren’t at our club, so I’m free to moan all I want on a Saturday Sunday afternoon. Whether that’s true is a question that will not be pursued here, but one thing is for sure. The ownership is not the fault of the players, or indeed the manager and booing either of the above, or the chairman for that matter certainly isn’t going to help. If you don’t like what you see, and you want to complain about it for 90 minutes, please do it at home, then feel free to post on the Facebook page (seriously, the Facebook page, wow). Let’s return the Lane to the stronghold it was not all that long ago. Less than five years ago, the pre-match team talks of Irvine, Hughes et al. would have been more along lines of “back to the wall, please try and keep it tight for five minutes lads, I don’t much fancy the look of what happened to Wigan.”

The team is in transition and it needs our support. We’re two points off fourth spot, level on points with Arsenal, above Liverpool, in the quarterfinals of the League Cup, almost guaranteed post-Christmas European football and we’re yet to hit second gear. There is a huge amount to be optimistic about, if you’ll just let the optimism in.

Also, I have huge appreciation for the away support that travelled to Hull today and didn’t stop all game. Especially the 90th minute pitch invader who continued to first pump all the way to the cells as he was escorted off the pitch. Top stuff, see you on Sunday. COYS.

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