Learn From This or Fail

You can’t turn it off and on again. Form, I mean. You can’t decide to leave it one afternoon, then come back to it the following week. It’s not tucked up snug and warm inside airtight bubblewrap, waiting to come out when the classy influential guests come a-calling.


Form has a life of its own. You can’t see it but you know it’s there. You can feel it, sometimes believe you can taste it, it’s so much a part of you, you almost don’t have to think about what you’re doing. It has a momentum all to itself, gradually gaining pace and shape like a snowball rolling down a hill.


But never, ever forget. You own it because you made it. All down to you. Your efforts, struggles and talent, mind and body slowly combines to be indistinguishable. Skill plus motivation with a healthy dollop of coaching to provide the organisation to play together, as one, united.


First, you concentrate. Every game, first until last. In the Glory Game, your illustrious predecessors Chivers and Peters talked of coming off the field exhausted and with a splitting headache not so much from the physical exertion but from the mental strain of focussing for each second. One mistake, one mistimed tackle for example, and you are a goal down, punished for your lackadaisical attitude.


Michael Dawson, a mighty warrior for the cause. You are our leader. You should have the honour of wearing the armband on a permanent basis but whatever, we look to you for an example, a leader in a team that’s crying out for leadership on the pitch. That’s why we love you, because you give everything, but you of all people cannot panic. Mistakes we accept, no one is perfect, we are realistic, but panic and that spreads through the team, to each and every one of them. You can’t turn that on and off, even if you would like a weekend’s respite.


I know that sometimes you will give everything and be beaten by a better team. I will be down and disappointed, more than I should be at my age and after all this time, but I will accept it. What I will not accept or comprehend is giving up. After ten minutes. I don’t care if it is the Cup in a world overly obsessed with the Premier League and the Champions League. We paid our money, same as when you could be bothered. We have – had – a great chance of winning that cup. A match for any team in the country, on the day, over 90 minutes. This new Tottenham – they are scared of us, of how we can sweep down upon them from all angles, Bale, Modric, Lennon, Van der Vaart, they fear us. Now they know we will give up, if you give us a little nudge, if things don’t pan out. That’s the message.


Habit. Winning is a habit. Make that, competing is a habit. This weekend I listened all day to the radio as the Cup unfolded. Lower league managers said they instil a winning mentality. Every game, every confrontation in the field, all over the pitch. Win it. Those little skirmishes won, the whole battle follows.


Transfers. In a few hours we’ll know if a judicious purchase or two (striker and defensive midfield, please) will lift us. Daniel Levy is singlehandedly trying to jolt the ailing Spanish economy into life. It could make all the difference but it’s utterly pointless if he joins a team without the mentality to be winners not posers.


Make it happen. Don’t sit back and wait for someone else. Play and others will play with you. Lead and others will follow. You’re all in this together.


Choke. Murray choked. Sent the message reverberating through his world that talent is nothing without the right mindset. Squeeze him and he falls apart. On the radio I heard another warrior, a rugby player this time, saying that as a coach he judges the true mark of a man not by a defeat by how he copes the next time. How he reacts. We’ll see on Wednesday. Most of you probably don’t fancy Blackburn on a chilly Wednesday. Don’t care. Sort out your head or all this talent and potential is out the window. Learn from this or fail.






15 thoughts on “Learn From This or Fail

  1. I agree with your “But never, ever forget.”

    I was disappointed, this morning, to see Bassong’s comment on the Spurs web site that “we have to forget it and move on.”


  2. Extremely well-written. We’ve got a problem because all the talk of title required beating United, I think the team are slightly lost in terms of belief and purpose (what they believe they can achieve) at the moment. It’s the slow acceptance that the league has gone, Harry sounds downbeat. But I predict it will all pick up again when the Milan game comes up.


  3. weve missed the boat!! no signings so far, i sense a last minute panic buy/loan..the only way is backwards now. levy and his money muppets have spent too much time planning our move to stratford upon shit, rather than securing the world class striker we need..pienaar just ain’t yid, just a token squad man!!


  4. We need to backtrack to how we were playing at the end of last season. OK we had Ledley then but otherwise very much the same. Apart from a few games we have not repeated that form this season. We have also been sussed and teams know how to stifle our game, far to easy. I want to see Kaboul back in the side, Charlie instead of Hutton, Lennon needs slapping every 20 mins or so and reminding he his a pretty quick winger and it’s OK to run at your marker. Also please come inside much more. Playing Modders and VDV in the middle does not work. Give Sandro a proper run out. Not to difficult Harry but just see it please.


    • Did I hear kaboul is out for a couple of months? Need some of those changes. I like it when you come on here all moist, HH. Hope the lads do it for you next time.




  5. I’ve been reading your blog for a little while now, and I just wanted to say I think it’s the best Tottenham site out there. I always look forward to reading your well balanced and interesting take on the game (despite the result!). Keep up the good work.

    Very dissapointed with yesterdays performance, we always seem to save our most inept performances for live tv! we’ve been trying to eradicate the tag that spurs are prone to stupid mistakes, that we let our heads drop at the first hurdle, essentialy that when the preverbial hits the fan, we’re an easy push over.

    We’ve done lots this season to show that’s the spurs of the past and install a ‘winning mentality’. I just hope we’re not back to our bad old ways, and this is a minor blip. I’ve been worried about our form since the Everton game, a lot of our players look very tired.


  6. I thought the days of self- destruct and weak under bellies were behind us but as Fulham showed, they are not. This is just a view but when Palacios does not play, we look light weight and lack fight. There are certain times when you play Defoe and Jenas and this should be in the last 10/15 minutes of a game and no more. Defoe looks good but he is too unreliable and not clinical enough. Jenas cannot tackle, Hutton is the equivalent of ‘Konchesky’ and I think that Liverpool have learnt their lesson from lowering their standards. VDV is a great player but no player is bigger than the team therefore, can’t be left to roam freely. Get a defensive mid fielder like Diarra to cover the back four and play VDV and Crouch up front or VDV and Pav second choice. Defoe up front on his own has got to be the most tactically naive decision Rednap has made and makes me wonder whether they are lovers.


    • I’ve written a lot about resilience over the past year and like you, I thought we were over it.

      Striker yes, but a DM who can really defend.



  7. I thought this was all behind us, but more fool me. All I ever want is for them to try, and to give them their due, they have more so this year than for a long time, but it is hard work and who’s up for that?

    Also, Tottenham without a really great striker? Srsly? Even during all those years of mid table mediocrity, we still had that.


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