Heartwarming Tales Of The True Meaning Of Being A Spur Lift The Gloom

The drabness of Spurs’ 1-1 draw away to Hull yesterday matched the battleship grey gloom enveloping supporters this week. Tottenham went through the motions but never got it together. However, we came home with a point in a match where we had the better of the play overall without ever looking particularly dangerous.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who is feeling numb and disillusioned – the Lustdoctor has returned to blogging with this searing indictment of the current situation on the The Fighting Cock site. Read it if you haven’t caught it already. I have been reminded recently about the bond between Spurs supporters and the special fascination this club develops for those of us who feel our support deep inside.

First, yesterday’s draw. The dysfunctional features of our play, familiar when we’re not doing so well, were in evidence for most of the Spurs blog 108game. A slow tempo, soporific in periods where we seemed scared to play the ball out of defence, or unable to. Lack of cohesion as we tried to move the ball forward. Adebayor was the focal point throughout and our best player, holding, giving and on rare occasions looking sharp in the box. However, he looked around and found precious little going on, at least in terms of anything decisive, something or someone to make a goalscoring opportunity. Lennon missed the beat all afternoon, regularly passing to an opponent or moving to exactly where a team-mate’s ball was not going to end up.

Defensive uncertainty. So good to see Vertonghen back, brought straight into the side alongside Dawson but not yet match fit. The two centre-backs were shifted out of position too often, although this was not all their fault as the protection from our midfield four in front of them melted away frequently, and not under any great pressure. Vertonghen tried too hard early on: in trying to get in front of an attacker he sold himself. Dawson was stranded and Long ran on to a clever ball to exploit that confusion and score. We had still to get going.

Gradually we pushed Hull back. It’s a pattern that they don’t seem to mind too much. They have one of the best home defensive records in the division, plus a recently acquired strike pairing that would always keep us occupied. So without ever firing up the quattro, we made the chances and missed them. Most were fleeting opportunities, might-have-beens not forehead-clutching blunders. Manu and others to the byline, time and again the cross was blocked in or near the six yard box by well-organised and determined defenders. Almost but not quite.

Good to see Paulinho back. Needs time on the field too, his box to box drive is vital in a four man midfield but he can’t get up into fourth or fifth just yet. But class is permanent. Rose’s hopeless mishit came to him at the edge of the box. One momentary lapse from an otherwise diligent defence and he was on his own. Back to goal, he killed the ball stone dead at his feet, then turned and shot into the net in a single movement. A rare moment of quality on a dull afternoon.

Poor Soldado. Strikers more than any other player relay on instinct and when it deserts them, they wander lost and bewildered in the wilderness. When they are out of touch, defenders can whack the cover off the ball to clear it, midfielders can run around a lot but strikers have no such fallback. Soldado has no idea what’s gone wrong. It’s past the point of criticism, I just feel pity.

Now for a heartwarming story of camaraderie and generosity between strangers, united by a loyalty to Tottenham Hotspur. TNot sure if the club is worthy of such loyalty. It fails to grasp the basic fact of support – we give a hell of a lot but in the end it is a relationship, and like any relationship they have to give something back. Not much because we are patient, loyal and longsuffering, but something, yet at the moment they give nothing.

Supporters are different. Supporters get it. They understand what it means, beyond head and heart and into the soul. There’s nothing like it, the bond supporters feel towards a club. Irrational, insane, energy-sapping but as a soul singer once said, when she touches me, nothing else matters.

On Christmas Day our garden was flooded. Another six inches or so and it would have come into the house. I don’t even live especially close to a river. We were lucky the damage wasn’t greater and I’m grateful for that, but under three feet of water, inside our little garden cabin, was my collection of Spurs books, souvenirs and programmes. I’m not a collector, I just kept a programme from every game I saw since I was a kid in the sixties until the late nineties, when I stopped buying them.

I wrote about it here. Of course I did – the essence of the blog over the last five seasons is about how it feels to be a Spurs supporter, and this felt bad. Logically, rationally, really, I am so relieved the house didn’t cop it but those programmes meant a lot. But, I have discovered, not as much as the touching response I had to that piece. I’m going to embarrass a few people by naming names, because you deserve to know about their generosity.

As well as the kind comments on the blog, several people wrote to me to say how much they enjoy the blog and felt for my loss. Thank you.

Three authors, proper writers not a scrappy blogger writing in snatched moments between chores and work like me, took the trouble not only to contact me but to offer to replace any damaged books. Adam Powley, Martin Cloake and Julie Welch – thank you. Please buy their books – all of them, now. They will remind you what it means to be a Spur.

On the Spurs Odyssey site, run by the mighty Paul Smith, my pal Rich Dickenson put me in touch with Graham Barker. His father, a lifelong Spurs fan like Graham, had died recently. Graham wanted his programmes to go to a good home and so now they are in mine. We had never met before I went to pick them up, he refused to take any money for them, he knew his dad would have wanted them to go to someone who knew what they meant. Graham, thank you.

Davey, sometime commenter on this site, writer, we’ve shared a few games on the Shelf. Not been in touch for a while, out of the blue a programme from the Pat Jennings testimonial drops through the letter box. It’s found a good home. Didn’t have to do it, but took the time and trouble. Thanks Davey.

My blogging pal Greg from the excellent Dispatches From A Football Sofa  More coincidence. I had admired his work for ages, discovered a few years ago he lives nearby. Semi-final programme, same letterbox. I told him he should have kept it for his newborn son, a hierloom. Thanks Greg.

Whatever the club do, the spirit of being a Spurs supporter will never go away.

26 thoughts on “Heartwarming Tales Of The True Meaning Of Being A Spur Lift The Gloom

  1. Really can’t be bothered to comment about the game. Another game of a group of players who seem incapable of playing together vs a less talented group of players playing as a team.
    I’m really pleased that at the time when the club grows ever distant, Spurs fans are doing so much for each other. Bravo to each and every one of them.

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  2. Alan – so pleased you have replaced the programmes and, perhaps more importantly, felt the warmth of camaraderie among true football fans. This is the football community at its best. It transcends the tawdriness of the obsession with money and profit that haunts our beloved sport.

    I was sitting among the home supporters yesterday (my partner supports Hull City AFC). There were a few other Spurs fans dotted around, exchanging knowing looks. A few were wearing hats and scarves but were behaving themselves and being respectful. Suddenly a commotion starts. A Hull fan has spotted a couple of Spurs fans sitting in front of him. He went ballistic and was yelling at the stewards to have them chucked out, saying they were causing trouble. As far as I could tell, they weren’t. Anyway, it was all the other Hull fans who told him to shut up & watch the game. They also told the stewards to go away. Class.

    Also interesting to see the Hull fans in their singing area applauding at length the Spurs fans when they sang ‘We’re Tottenham Hotspur, we’ll sing what we want – Y** army’ etc. Also class.

    As for the game. Couldn’t agree more with what you wrote. No spark, flair or invention apart from the odd flash here and there. And in that, I include the Head Coach, Director of Football and the board of directors.

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    • Cheers Russell, and that story is as heartwarming as mine. I’ve passed it on to a Hull fan I know on twitter, part of the No To Hull TIgers group, now they understand what it is to be under attack.

      Regards, Alan

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  3. It’s strange about Lennon. He seemed so good against Manchester United but since then he’s lost his way.

    I’m kind of glad we didn’t buy any players in the transfer window. The players need some stability and to get used to playing with each other. Surely that’s why they look so disconnected.

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    • Agree with that, need to bed these players down to get the best from them. The only exception is up front. I would not have sold Defoe but they took the money that was on offer, and would not have been necessarily come the summer. However, again we are left with two strikers, one of whom limped off on Saturday and the other couldn’t hit a barn door with a Spanish guitar. I know strikers are in short supply in January but they could have worked out that we are one injury away from a serious problem.

      Regards, Alan

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      • You’re right, especially if Sherwood wants to continue playing 4-4-2. I was hoping Berbatov might come back. Supposedly Levy wanted him and Tim didn’t. Still I can understand wanting to go to Monaco.

        Maybe Harry Kane could fill in but he hasn’t impressed me so far.

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  4. Without wanting to embarrass you Alan, I think such consideration and generosity reflects the very high regard you are held in in Spurs World. Lovely news.

    I think Sherwood’s Spurs are fast morphing into AVB’s Spurs. A bit more willing to risk but essentially the same stuff when teams won’t let us play. Mind, decent side Hull and an away point was a decent one, esp from HT.

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  5. Excellent article and glad to hear you got some programmes back. Frustrating times being a spurs fan at present but articles like this remind me what it means to be a spurs fan. I have a photo album at home from the early 80’s when I went to watch them train and I had my picture taken with all the greats like perryman, hoddle ardiles, crooks Clemence and the rest. My most treasured possession and the reason I fell in love with the club as they were brilliant to me and my younger brother that day. Doubt I’d get that close to the modern day players today

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    • They wouldn’t let you near, although the older generation are more than happy to share their time if you ever get a chance to see them. They will tell tales of how special this club is. And I believe them. Alan

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  6. Glad to see kindness from the said fans giving you their programmes, and is so humbling to hear that.
    I have a summer house at the back of the garden, which I used for storage whilst we are re modernising our house. When I read your blog, I decided to remove shoe stand from bottom of drawer, In order to make room for my old Spurs programmes and other important belongings, just incase. So thanks for that.
    Regarding the game, I think it’s a confidence issue with all the upheaval and the thrashing from City. So glad we got the draw at least, as a loss would of been a lot worse for the teams morale.
    Brilliant write up from lust Dr, the fighting cock weblog, and wholeheartedly agree with all that is said.
    Keep up the good work Alan.

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    • Hull are hard to beat at home. We could have done much more regardless of the result. It will be a better point if we beat Everton on Sunday.

      Regards, Alan

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  7. ….Well you can all waste your time and money on levy and his clueless approach to club management, but I will definately not be bothering to wonder how this shambles of a season progresses , or should that be regresses, any longer!! This was supposed to be the year we finally started to make the top 4 positions on a consistent basis, but instead the club is in complete disarray and still lacking at least 4 quality players to ever make the top 4!!! I have no affinity to the 5hithole that is N17 any longer, hell I wouldnt even go to Tottenham nowadays to have a sh!t!! Man City all the way from now on, a team full of hard working players that have a winners mentality and really do try to please their supporters with their style of play. Ive had enough of supporting losers, watching them drop points over bottom of the table teams or teams that have just been promoted from the championship….utterly fakkin ridiculous how this club is being run by a fakkin bookkeeper!!! I will never support Spurs whilst levy is running thios fakkin fiasco!!!!!

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  8. Hi Alan
    There’s a definite gloom hanging over Spurs at present. I was surprised Wednesday night at just how many people hadn’t taken their seats 5 minutes into the game. They all eventually arrived, but I couldn’t help but feel that there were some just going through the motions of turning up for the sake of it. I was also disappointed at how few of us were left at the end of the game. There weren’t any boos that I could hear, but maybe the usual suspects couldn’t be bothered to hang around and were among those who left early. A guy I work with, who sits in the Paxton with his dad, left when the 4th goal went in (quite a few around me in the Park Lane left at the third). I’ve never left early and never booed despite how angry I’ve felt. I’m possibly just a masochist, or maybe an optimist that when we’re riding high and the opposition fans are singing “where were you, when you were shit” I can quite proudly say “I was here!”.
    So an air of resignation now pervades that the heady days of feeling we’ve finally arrived at the cordon bleu top table of the elite, has disappeared back into the greasy spoon mid table of mediocrity. Momentum seems to have been lost.
    We have a history of being a laughing stock, more so now when other clubs look at us and wonder how we’ve managed to piss Gareth Bale’s transfer fee up the wall. Sold Elvis, bought the Beatles. Or was it the Ruttles? (Sorry younger readers if you don’t know who they are). However, I do actually feel that of the so called deficient 7, Chadli is the only one that seems a waste of space. I do feel for Soldado and think he will come good, as will Lamela, if ever given a run in the team. I also think Capoue is a good player, but as Sherwood has a downer on him will probably be shunted on come summer.
    I wonder how Levy feels about the prospect of losing money on the big signings? Can’t really see him let Lamela and Soldado go for £10m a piece!
    It’s hard to know where we exactly are now and where we’re going. A veritable state of Flux. I think Sherwood will be gone at the end of the season, regardless of where we end up. He’s just keeping the seat warm for Levy’s next comical 18 month transient. So more upheaval to come, another season when we don’t achieve anything and them down the road going from strength to strength, because, and I hate to say it, they know how to run a football club.
    What is it with our board? They stumble from one balls up to another. Somebody remarked somewhere that if this were a normal corporate business, they would have been fired long ago for their abject incompetence!
    Still, as Spurs fans, we’re caught between a rock and a hard place. We have a club that is run very well financially, so not doing a Leeds or a Portsmouth, but on the other hand we have people that don’t seem to grasp the concept of stability on the football side. Levy is a great horse trader, but we’ve been let down in the past three January transfer windows we have needed an additional quality striker to help get us into the top 4. Lack of investment meant no Champions league riches (I’d like to open a discussion on the CL as I think it’s an aberration). It could be argued that the striker we craved wouldn’t have guaranteed success, but as the investment wasn’t made, it was never going to happen. Which now brings me on to the new stadium. What new stadium? Maybe I/we need to keep our patience with ENIC and keep our fingers crossed naming rights will be sold and the construction can begin. Will the sale of naming rights keep us active in the transfer market? We’ll see when/if it happens.
    A final point. Wouldn’t it be ironic if Sherwood does leave at the end of the season. Goes off learning his trade at other clubs, then comes back to take over from Wenger and be in the job for 15 years. That could only happen to us!

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    • Thanks for taking the time to post this, enjoyed it.

      You’re not the only one – never gone early in 47 years. We were there to watch the Ruttles! I think CL comes through doing things right – not at City or Chelsea because of their money but here where we have to buy well and bring them on. That needs patience. Easy to see therefore where we have got it so wrong this season.

      Sherwood surely gone at the end of the season.

      ENIC have no reason to go. I have always thought the stadium would be built because it increases the value of ENIC’s investment. It may be good for the fans and the club too, don’t get me wrong, but I still believe it will be built because ENIC’s investment is made more secure. We’ll see but one thing is for sure, we will both be around to see the Ruttles opening gala concert.

      Regards, Alan

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  9. One word Alan ‘attic’
    Sit up there and have a read and give this season a miss.
    I’m not very good at taking my own advice
    so I, like you will probably stick it out.
    You never know!
    It was a write off the moment they sacked AVB I’m afraid.
    two steps forward and three steps back.

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    • I struggled with that Hull piece, let me tell you. But some good news around, from the fans of course, not the club.

      I don’t know Jim, I’m a glass half full kind of bloke, a cynic at times but realist too. But this is a bad time, chickens coming home to roost in terms of the club’s attitude towards the fans. I don’t care about the CL, I just want us to play to our potential, to have a plan.

      No attic and anyway, the garden shed was my refuge but that got flooded so nowhere to go.

      Take care, Al

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