Spurs Fans Enjoy The Moment

Happy to stand corrected but there’s something odd around the Spurs fan community at the moment. People are having fun.

Tonight we play Fiorentina. We’re up against it – should have settled the tie in the first half of the home leg and the team cannot help but think of Sunday’s League Cup Final. Yet it seems like half the fans I know are in Italy in party mood with plans to carry on straight through to Sunday afternoon. A journalist has just tweeted that despite a heavy police presence following violence in Italy last week from Feyenoord supporters, every Spurs fan he’s seen is intent on taking in the sights.

The League Cup Final itself – most people seem to be delighted just to be there, an unexpected pleasure to be enjoyed as a Wembley final rather than consolation for an FA Cup exit and a league position that could see us finish outside the European qualification places entirely.

There’s a sense of enjoying the moment rather than planning ahead. Since Christmas there have been some fabulous moments for certain. Wins against Chelsea and Arsenal, not just victories but barnstorming performances amidst a pulsating atmosphere reminiscent of the Shelf in its pomp that many of us believed had disappeared from the Lane forever. I missed the West Ham game as I have been ill but enjoyment of a different kind, stealing a point, missing a last-gasp penalty but still scoring. Play badly, nah, something will turn up. Can’t do any wrong.

The 2008 final versus Chelsea was placed in a different narrative. Not just our first sniff of a trophy for almost a decade, this tension-filled match was about a breakthrough into the upper echelons of the Premier League. This story is about how a taste of success breeds a hunger for more. The League Cup is very much the junior competition but winning can instil a winning mentality, a belief that this is a step towards something better.

As with all good fairy-stories, there’s some truth here but this time round, I’m not hearing much about ‘moving to another level’, the curse of the modern game where every success is interpreted not as an achievement in itself but as the stepping-stone to something else, usually expressed in terms of money. Win the Europa League because there’s a CL place up for grabs, not because there’s a bloody brilliant trophy at stake. Or dump the EL, and the League and FA Cups for that matter, so you can finish 4th and get even more money. Win the League but don’t do well in the CL so what does it count for?

For the time being at least, Spurs fans are happy with their lot. In Italy and on Sunday, let’s enjoy the day, give it a right good go and see what happens. In many ways it’s a healthy attitude. Partly it has come about because expectations have become lower this season. This may be realistic or maybe settling for second best, I’ll leave it up to you to decide.

For me, the manner in which we’ve reached this point is the key. I have never known a season begin with so much disillusionment expressed by hard-core supporters. Nobody was even talking about winning something. The years of disenchantment had taken their toll on hearts, minds and bank-balances. The lack of long-term planning, constant reactive chopping and changing of the manager and squad, of wasted opportunities and the huge cost of watching Spurs that created alienation and distance between supporter and club.

Pochettino has been forced to turn to the young men but they have repaid us in spades with talent and wholehearted commitment. They can’t keep it up week in week out – the performance against West Ham showed their tactical and mental limitations rather than physical tiredness – but they feel the same way about the club as we do. Others, most notably Vertonghen and Eriksen, have rediscovered a pride in their performances. As a result, fans feel closer to the team than has been the case for many years.

The news this week that the building of the stadium can proceed, subject to another possible appeal, has helped the mood. It means the club can move forward.

So it feels good to be here in the moment, enjoying Spurs play football and anticipating the spectacle at Wembley on Sunday. No one is under any illusion, however. Let’s enjoy it while we can because the mood could change. On the field we are seeing the start of something not the end product. It will be another wasted chance if we do not invest in the team in the summer, never mind the fact that the real test will be keeping key players like Lloris, Eriksen and Vertonghen, especially if we do not qualify for Europe.

The much-anticipated stadium will be a huge drain on funds over a period far longer than the few years it takes to build and if prices, sightlines and atmosphere are not right then supporters will rightly question the whole point. We matter – the club need to show they have a better understanding of that fundamental point that has apparently been the case in the past.

Meantime, Fisher’s Fitness Battle will come down to the wire. Coughing, spluttering and rattling with pills, block 108 may be infected but being there is all there is. Enjoy the moment and get behind the team. I’ll bring my own oxygen tent.

Still time to download the Final song Hotshot Tottenham by Ledley and the Kings, including a good friend of this blog. And Chas and Dave. All proceeds to the Tottenham Tribute Trust helping ex-players.

Spurs blog 145

Looking for something to wear on the big day? The Art of Football have some snazzy styles on display here including a competition to win an Eriksen t-shirt. An offer you can’t refuse.

29 thoughts on “Spurs Fans Enjoy The Moment

  1. Well I’m enjoying it. At the end of October, I really couldn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel and felt very disconnected, possibly the most I’ve felt in 26 years as a season ticket holder.
    For me, what has changed is the emergence of team spirit led by the young players and a unwillingness to give up. Most players now seem to have pride in the shirt and perhaps (dare I type this) are developing a mindset that sees Spurs as a bit more than just a shop window on the way to a ‘better side’. I feel this is a ‘Spurs’ team, not just 11 players in white shirts.
    I really hope that we kick on next season although knowing Spurs, it is always in hope rather than expectation. In the meantime, I’m determined to enjoy this season for what it is, irrespective of the results.
    Hope everyone has a great day on Sunday. I’ll be in the Gods looking down on the biological warfare that Alan is reeking in Block 108. Get well soon Alan (for everyone’s sake)!

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    • That’s the sentiment I was writing about, Pete, and it’s important. Let’s enjoy Sunday, feels like a grand day out. Might win, you never know 😉

      Suspect we will be worrying about the team for the rest of the season – not sure that investment will be forthcoming and good players will be in demand. Feeling that Levy will demand success on the cheap – if we have done well with the young players now, why not in the future? There’s a big flaw there in my view but let’s put that to one side for a few days…

      COYS! Alan

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a relief. We’re in block 113 so your germs should have dissipated by the time they reach us. Just keep breathing towards the C***ski lot. A plague on all their house’s !!!

    Will be interesting to see which Spurs team turns up on the day. If its the one that played the Arse and C***ski at home then we have a chance otherwise I’m feeling a tad apprehensive. Afraid I can’t get enthusiastic over tonight as I feel that whatever happens this evening I don’t think we can win the competition and therefore we may be better off out of it

    Do agree with you though re the future as I think with a couple of good investments in the summer and our continued growth as a team, next year may be something a bit special

    Hope you’re feeling better by Sunday Alan. COYS

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    • Thanks Steve, should be coughing our way to victory.

      I’m determined to enjoy the occasion for once and worry about the future next week. I doubt though that the required investment will be forthcoming. We need to strengthen all over the pitch – effectively we only have 1 striker and will be forced to rely on a 20 year old centre half for the biggest game of the season because the others are not good enough.

      Regards, Alan

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  3. Well, EL dream is over…Listen, Cheatski got 8 days off, they’re the best team in England, they’ll be heavy favourites, we’ll be expected to lose — all we can do is give it a real go, hope for some magic, and let the chips fall where they do! COYS!

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  4. OK
    The wet dream’s over.

    But I take at least one positive, No. It ain’t the surgical incisiveness of our attack… or the brick shit-house construction of our defence.

    However for long periods tonight, our guys seemed to be on the same radar and wavelength – and speedily touch after one man touch found a shirt that was useful.

    I hope the lads found this a loosener for Sunday so as to give Racists a good stompin’ (metaphorically, you do unnershtan’… not physically, of course. (Or not too much)

    Hang loose, lilywhites!

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  5. Nice positive article Alan.
    Out of Europe now but the League Cup final to look forward to. Let’s beat those racists!!!
    This was always going to be a building year for the new manager. We can finish the season well, buy a couple of players in the off season and make the 2015/16 a great one for the mighty SPURS

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  6. Tottenham talk confidence but are not confident. Florence is a stylish place,a fitting city to show your wares and your creativity. The team sometimes shows that but many times seem chained,tied and gagged as if they cant speak and cant move.
    Its as if you went to give a speech and you stand there and nothing actually comes out.
    In the car on the way home you recite perfectly what you were going to say but its too late.
    They will be up on the podium again on Sunday.

    Talk you F***ers,Talk

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  7. Sorry Alan, I need to let off some steam. I’ve certainly enjoyed many moments and many games as a life long Spurs fan.
    However, the short bursts of possession and pressure we’ve exerted in matches since the Arsenal ‘climax’ this term, have left me pulling out what little hair I’ve got left!
    Because nothing has come out of those oh-too-brief periods of dominance since ..while, for the rest of the time in these subsequent games, we’ve looked uninspired, flabby in midfield and up front, and have given goals to the opposition as cheaply as we could muster.
    We lost to Liverpool (perhaps deserved a draw, but we were coming down from the Arsenal victory – sloppy in itself as all games should be ‘Arsenal’ type games if we seriously want to kick on); we then got a 9 day break but faded after 30 minutes of looking like world beaters against Fiorentina at the Lane; then we just about rescued a point at home to the Hammers which we barely deserved; and have now just lost comfortably to the same mediocre Italian side in arguably our most important game of the season.
    I thought we were a high tempo, high pressing team? What’s the point of doing it in games for just 20 or 30 minutes?
    Wasn’t that what our increased fitness levels were all about? Because frankly, I’d rather we paced ourselves throughout the whole game, than just the beginning and end of most matches.
    Of course, we have to account for how the opposition sets up and counteracts ..but what made Barca the greatest team ever (a few years back) was not their fabulous passing game of a thousand cuts ..slowly bleeding the opposition to death in that final third ..it was the fact that whenever they they DID lose the ball, they swarmed around the opposition instantly, like angry hornets, trying to get it back. They didn’t just do this for 20 or 30 minutes in a match ..they did it throughout!
    Now that was the lethal combination of skill on the ball, high pressing determination to get the ball back, AND fitness!! All maintained throughout the whole game.
    Of course we’re nowhere near that great side, but we should be able to sustain and link high pressing tactics with our passing game, if that is Poch’s plan, far more consistently than we are doing. .
    But, unfortunately, as well as high pressing ‘inconsistency’, our reliable middle of the park passing game has seemingly gone awry.
    I don’t mean I want us to revert to those times in the last couple of seasons when we simply kept passing the ball around the half way line and bored the opposition to death, while frustrating us (the fans) because there was little end product in the final third.
    I would like to think we’ve got over that ..but on many occasions, and especially in the games since the Arsenal victory, we’ve given the ball away in non threatening areas without too much, or even any, pressure at all!! ..and that has been equally frustrating to watch.
    What is killing us too, is that whenever we do have those precious moments when we look like world beaters ..we can’t seem to convert chances into goals. When was the last time we went 2-0 up against a team?? ..Ok West Brom, but it’s rare, and we constantly miss out on our great starts in matches ..especially at home.
    Last night, as much as I like the man, I wanted to throttle Soldado for that miss (or rather he was so frightened to ‘miss’ himself, he meekly passed it to the goalkeeper instead of firmly to Chadli). Can you imagine Jimmy Greaves forgoing that chance, let alone passing when he just had the goalkeeper to beat?!
    OK, I’m nostalgic, but that is who I wanted Soldado to remind me of (if not actually emulate).
    Yet now a realisation is slowly and depressingly coming to me.
    He’s not going to be a success with us, is he? It’s finally sunk in after nearly two seasons.
    Our 29 year old £27m ‘box striker’ came to us three years too late.
    A good finisher whose confidence has been wrecked by the way we are attempting to play. A player who would have benefited playing with Bale, Modric and Lennon, and possibly VDV around him, but is an anachronism in this side.
    Other than him, Chiriches has to go. He is neither a good right back or dominant centre half. I saw something in him once, but last night I saw (mostly) a ‘liability’ ..from his first misplaced passes in the opening minutes to his struggles controlling Fiorentina’s left sided attacks. And yet he stayed on the pitch for the whole game! Capoue has got to be a better bet (anywhere on the park) than one or two of these squad members. Fazio (how many more disasters is in this central defender’s play?)! If our centre halves could actually get in the BOX occasionally and score a few important goals, we’d forgive them these awful errors ..but there seems to be no John Terry type at our club (in a football sense I mean) who can nick the odd goal!
    OK, Verts made a terrible mistake for the second, but he doesn’t have many lapses (or hasn’t recently) and I still harbour hopes he can be a Danny Blanchflower figure, as long as he doesn’t go all precious again if we end up this season with yet another near miss on all fronts.
    Davies disappointed me too last night (Rose’s attacking flair was needed), as did Lamela (I’m beginning to worry about his development too). Townsend, as inconsistent as he is, deserves more starting time than Lamela, while Chadli has never thrilled me as a left winger (or anywhere else on the park, for that matter) despite his occasional impact.
    We didn’t start this game with parity ..we effectively started it a goal behind, and that’s how we should have set up.
    Like the FA Cup we have meekly surrendered the EL this year, and we are an outside bet for top four.
    Maybe everyone will be up for the League Cup on Sunday, and up for it throughout the whole 90 minutes.
    I just hope we give a good account of ourselves, and, if we win ..then all will be forgotten in these gloomy recent weeks since the Arsenal victory. But I cannot help feeling that for every step forward we go backwards ..for every glimmer of hope that we are developing into a really top team, our inconsistency drags us back to into the pack Since we reached the Quarters of the CL and played Real Madrid in the spring of 2011, we have tantalizingly glimpsed the promised land many times since, only to be prevented from getting there by so many factors (nearly all self inflicted, plus the Arsenal ‘nipping in and nicking it’ factor).
    The competition today is more intense than ever, and there really are no easy games ..but we have the squad (with just a couple more additions) the ability, a young fresh manager, and a new stadium coming. We just need to be far more consistent applying Poch’s tactics, and for longer periods in matches. And the key thing is, every game should matter as much as playing Chelsea and Arsenal! .

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    • Great post CB.

      Part of the good feeling around the team at the moemtn – and I have had plenty of feedback to say that’s about right! – is that it is a relief, an escape if you like from the long-term problems at the club. It is important that the fans feel closer to the team. However, in the medium and long term, the squad is severely short all over the pitch. Poch has done well to cover the gaps but unless we invest in the summer, he will be papering over the cracks. I strongly suspect vertonghen and Eriksen will want to leave in the summer. Soldado has gone beyond anger into pity that anyone should play so badly for so long. Given the rpice and his salary, it’s possible that he’s the worst value buy ever in the PL. Lamela is hopeless at the moment, we only have 2 centre halves and we have begun as you say to make basic errors all over the pitch – Dembele v WHam, Vertonghen and Fazio yesterday. And Levy has the stadium to pay for…

      Promise I will worry about that, but after Sunday…

      Cheers CB, thanks for taking the time to write that. Alan

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      • Alan… If the Fiorentina second leg was the first final, it reminds me of the FA Cup (two legs) in 1981 vs the old, non-oily Citeh. In the first game, Ricky Villa trudging off after being substituted and looking down and out — like our players on Thursday — but coming back in the second leg (like our second final in four days this year) and scoring one of the greatest goals at Wembley to win us the Cup for the sixth time. Here’s to one of our present fellows, lifting himself, the team and us fans on Sunday and winning the whole bloody thing…and wiping that smug grin of Moan-rinho’s face. Okay, the odds are heavily stacked against us, and we’re playing the League champs who’ve had 8 days rest, but, we can always hope and dream, eh. COYS! 😉

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  8. I enjoy your site very much Alan, and I am glad you are recovering from your illness. Hopefully all THFC fans have a 1st March 2015 that matches 1st January 2015! All you lucky fans that have tickets, have a great day. PS – Alan, did you carry out a book review in last month’s When Saturday Comes, by any chance? PPS I rate Vorm (ish) but please let us hope the magnificent Hugo gets the nod tomorrow.

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    • Thanks Danny, much appreciated, a good way to start Final day!
      yes, that is me with the review of Frank Large’s book. I write for WSC occasionally – interviewed the Football Ombudsman for an issue before Christmas.

      COYS! Al

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  9. Hope you’re feeling better, Alan. We’re going to have fun out here in LA this Sunday. It’s easy to be critical after the fact and complain about tactics and inverted wingers. Truth is, all season long we’ve been getting by with only one goal-scoring striker, and when we’ve dominated games with possession, and/or failed to kill off games, it’s because of missing gilt-edged chances. If we’d gone 3-0 up in the first half of first leg (with our stellar play producing some excellent chances that weren’t put away), this tie would’ve been over. And few would be looking back in hindsight and complaining about tactics or team selection. Same with the first half of second game — if the player whose name we shall not mention had scored or set up a goal, we would’ve been in the ascendancy, and probably would’ve taken the tie, at least to ET, or won it by closing up shop. I sense MoPo doesn’t have a full squad of players who totally buy into or who can play his system. Some (Kaboul, Capoue, Adebayor) didn’t even play or make the bench apparently in Feb. Others (Paulinho, Dembele, Townsend, Soldado) may well be gone next season. The difference between the top-4 and us is obvious to see —we may have an exciting, solid system but we just don’t have the players (yet) — and all the criticism of tactics and selection won’t make one iota of a difference. We’ll need to be lucky, and play a perfect game on Sunday. A tough challenge we may not be able to pull off. But a hundred strong of us are heading out to the Greyhound Bar in NE Los Angeles to enjoy the day and pray that the football gods rain some luck down on us! COYS!

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    • All the very best to you Ashley and everyone in the Greyhound. It will be tough. Dier is a great prospect but if he plays as is likely, think of the pressure. Key are the two wide men in the front 3 – no one fully fits the bill and they have to get back to cover as well as support Kane.

      Let’s take the game to them as we did at WHL then see what happens. Give it a good go and I’ll be satisfied. We’ll give them a song from you and the Greyhound! Regards, Alan

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  10. Alan me too hope you are feeling better!

    Ive levelled criticisms of Eriksen before because I have felt that he could do more to create. That he seems to get a free ticket while others are lambasted for their weaknesses but I say in this game we cant just rely on Kane.For sure he will be double teamed by Mourinho. I usually ask Eriksen to create but in this game I ask that he just does 2 things and thats score twice.It is almost essential for this win

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    • Yessiree, think we’ll need at least two goals to win this, as for sure we’ll ship one goal…didn’t we beat the old, non-monied Citeh 3-2 in an FA Cup final replay! I don’t care if it flies off someone’s face, just get in there!

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    • Cheers Ron, doing the chores so I can get away in plenty of time. Eriksen has to take the opportunities for shots and free kicks that will come his way. A stretch for everyone but at peak form in those crucial win or lose moments, we can do it.
      COYS! Alan

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