A trip to White Hart Lane is fast becoming a toxic experience. You’ll find more atmosphere in a Virgin Train’s quiet zone or during nap time at the local nursery. The only time fans raise from their slumber is the now traditional half-time boo or end of match catcall. A sense of entitlement is palpable in the air. There are plenty of reasons to be against this interpretation of ‘Modern Tottenham’.
Tensions are threatening to boil over amongst supporters with differing views, arguments and petty spats are now commonplace between the perceived ‘nouveau fan’ and those with a greater tolerance (or perhaps experience) of crap results, but one glance at the Premier League table shows Spurs lounging in…fifth. The season isn’t over (if you go by the league table) and many of the club’s best players are stretched out on Ledley’s old treatment table hoping for a surprise invite to Daniel Levy’s luxury pool.
Yet few can deny that Haringey Council’s highest capacity library is a cause for concern. Not so long ago, White Hart Lane was rocking during home matches. It was a source of pride, especially given the dinner party style experience at Highbury and the Emirates, that the passions of our home crowd could carry a mediocre team to better things. A pure, unrequited love for Tottenham, its traditions and history burned bright within us and warmed our wounded souls.
We were relative beggars, enjoying slim pickings and savouring the rare football morsels thrown our way. A taste of success has warped perceptions. The home seats are now awash with unrealistic expectation and a dash of delusion, too many in attendance expect a feast when anyone who has supported Spurs for more than a month should know this particular menu is predictably unpredictable. Shit invariably does happen.
Booing your team with the game still hanging in the balance makes little sense to me. If only similar energy had been expended ‘supporting’ the team against Wigan on Saturday. Over 35,000 Spurs fans belting out rousing Tottenham anthems might have inspired the team to something special or at least made that experience more memorable for those unfortunates in attendance. A different, more negative approach sends everyone home unhappy. Very few people in life respond well to biting criticism, footballers are no different. If everyone at work labels you a twat tomorrow then you will probably understand the feelings of the Tottenham scapegoat du jour. Apparently, the Wigan defeat was either Friedel, Walker, Gallas, Huddlestone, Sigurdsson, Dempsey or Defoe’s fault.
On the flipside, there is little value in being a ‘happy clapper’. There are several perplexing issues ongoing at Spurs. As much as I like and support Andre Villas-Boas, he appears to think tactics are a packet of small mints in a transparent plastic box. Playing a solitary striker at home, especially one who can only hold his balls up at Faces nightclub, makes precious little sense. The Tottenham way is to risk and attack, fail or succeed gloriously, and the largely turgid, conservative displays at White Hart Lane this season do not fit this ethos or sit comfortably with me. I want to be entertained not sedated. To date, AVB’s tactics remaining oddly rigid and devoid of flair. But it’s early days. Hang in there.
Tottenham are a team in transition. Frustration must give way to patience. This season is a team rebuild and, whatever your thoughts on our new manager, he has been hamstrung by injuries to key personnel (Mousa Dembele’s fitness is now, almost farcically, linked to our fortunes) and chairman Levy’s shrewd/tight-arsed transfer policy (delete as applicable) makes every transfer window feel like a 45 second shopping spree at Iceland. Just grab the nearest Sigurdsson!
In the interim, cast aside your grievances and back the team. We are all Spurs fans after all. True support can make an unbelievable difference. Turn the clocks back to ‘Old Tottenham’. It’s a far better place to be.
*** I was fortunate enough to be invited back as a guest on The Fighting Cock podcast this week. It’s the sixth-rated podcast in the United Kingdom and an audio opium den for strung-out Spurs fans. Listen or miss out. You can hear my insane ramblings and more coherent opinions at The Fighting Cock.