On the morning this season’s fixtures were announced, I was on a train from London to Cardiff. Rolling through Bristol, a northern voice in front of me laughed into his mobile: ‘Great, Spurs on the last day of the season – they never have anything to play for.” It was only later that I worked out that he was a Burnley fan. As it turns out, he was right, but not quite in the way he expected.
On the surface, all the hallmarks of classic Spurs. Two up then falling apart to vastly inferior opposition. But you know what, I couldn’t care less. Easy for me to say, I wasn’t there, didn’t lay out hard earned cash and get caught up in some of the travel problems that befell our returning bravehearts. And I’m usually the first to state emphatically that whatever the circumstances, professional standards, pride in the shirt or the need to earn their inflated salaries should be enough to ensure maximum effort. So understand that I’m breaking a habit of a lifetime here. At the end of the season, we have done enough.
I’m still suffering from my love hangover, and as a woman who knows about these things once said, if there’s a cure for this, I don’t want it. The thought of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club in the draw for the Champions League is simply mind-blowing. It’s not something that I dared to hope for, even as the season reached its later stages. I’ve not really talked too much about it in TOMM, as frankly I was doing the old ‘game at a time routine’, partly because that’s the right way to go about it, for fans and the team, partly to obscure the terrifying, exhilarating prospect that it might actually be possible. It’s only in the last two weeks that I have allowed myself to look at the numbers, at the status of other teams, hence the ‘7 points from 3 games’ mantra to which I adhered with such religious zeal that when the moment finally came, it passed me by (see my last piece).
So this past few days, I’ve been all Brady Bunch hallo clouds hallo sky what a wonderful world. It feels so good, I don’t want it to stop. That’s the beauty of a successful end to the season, there’s nothing to get in the way until mid-August. Not that I know much about successful ends to seasons, not lately anyway. I have a good memory, though.
On the boards and in the blogs, there’s some dissatisfaction with yesterday, and I respect that. There’s talk of rebuilding the squad, who we should go for, and that’s important. But later. Not now. Enjoy it. Enjoy the moment with every fibre of your being. Relish every ounce of joy, relive every game, as many moments as you can recall, who you were with, where you were, the nine goals or the Dawson block, Danny from thirty and Gareth from three, or Benny falling over for no reason. All part of this rich season. Trust me: I’ve been around for a while now and these moments don’t come around too often. The new term will be here soon enough, so don’t wish away the time.
Another reason to be cheerful is the plaudits that belatedly we are receiving in the press. I’ll review the season in the blog over the next week or so, but Harry has won the Barclay’s Premiership Manager of the Year (although surely Roy Hodgson will win an award), our players are being praised and suddenly everything is good about Spurs. Our attacking style, our finances, we are the club others want to be.
Of particular satisfaction for me is the attention rightfully due to a good few of our players who for different reasons have not always been in the limelight. The effort and application shown by Michael Dawson is nothing short of heroic. It’s all very well praising his form, absolutely and he should be considered for England, but we know the determination and dedication behind it. Only we truly appreciate his bloody-minded focus on seizing his chance, coming back after injury to a background of mild doubt about his long-term future at the top. Only we can really see how the passion burns inside. One of ours.
Tom Huddlestone, clumsy and awkward on the move with the grace of a panther on the ball. Forgetful and wayward, at other times he passes like no other in the league. He too has come of age. Simply, the team plays better when he’s there. So many games, so much frustration, now he’s taken his chance, not a sudden opportunity like Dawson’s but one of consistency. He’s a starter now and that brings the best from him. One of ours.
And finally, the mighty Ledley King. They all want to praise him now but not so long ago, he was a forgotten man, written off by so many, a crock condemned with sympathy, but not here. Can’t train, can’t run, but he wants to be there so he’s changed his style to the most economical of strides, gliding over the surface. The knees may be gone but the mind is a diamond, sparkling and clear. He just knows what to do, and when. Only we have felt his pain, his agony as he troops off dispiritedly, so often, then back he comes in a week, month maybe, but back he comes. Only we know how good he is, a true Tottenham great. One of my all-time Spurs favourites. One of ours.