is this the easiest time to be a spurs fan ?
|For all the years when Spurs have
been the butt of jokes from fans of other teams, East Stan asks
whether this s the easiest time in a long time to be a Spurs fan.
We have had all the jibes and 'banter' from work-mates (soon not to be so much of the 'mates') and those people who show no interest in football until Tottenham shoot themselves in the foot. The years of edging away form the bottom four places in the Premier League and then the wilderness years stuck in mid-table with nothing to play for at the end of the season.
Since we first qualified for Champions League football back in 2010, things have been on an upward curve.
The appointment of Mauricio Pochettino is a really good fit for the club. A young manager who believes in playing young players and has a track record of turning them into international players, with a way of bonding the club together, whereas there have been players who have been divisive in the past. He got the disruptive element at the club out and will not stand for any non-conformity, with it being Poch's way of the highway. No cliques, no star being bigger than another, signing players up on long contracts and everyone playing for each other. The effort he demands from them means that anyone not pulling their weight will be singled out to leave everything out there on the pitch. The goal celebrations, the off pitch banter, the training ground jokes and video challenges could all be choreographed, but from Son's dabs to Pochettino's contract signing pose, they all show that there is an underlying solidarity among the squad. Young players are welcomed in and those who take the headlines do not seem to have been affected by the fame. Few players stick there neck out and say they want to leave, as the only way is down for most of them if they do.
Pochettino has been able to work with Daniel Levy, while other managers have had problems with the way things work at Tottenham. Paul Mitchell's appointment as Head of Recruitment might have proved a less than sparkling success, but Pochettino's requirement to be the one who leads the players coming in points to players who will be crucial to the squad, rather than money being spent on new signings foisted on the manager who do not fit with the way Poch wants to play. The money might be a little tight while the new ground is being built, so we can't afford to shell out millions on players who are not going to fit in. Pochettino has already said that if players are sold it will be because it suits the club. We no longer have to sell our best players and that could help us form a dynasty at the club, with players wanting to stay at a time when the club is getting it's best league placings for years and the prospect of playing in front of 60,000+ at home games. The new ground will be the envy of other clubs and will allow us, because of the extra income and the impressive facilities, to bring in a better quality of player. This, tied in with a period of challenging or winning things, will help the momentum the club is building roll on.
We have found a consistency, playing the Tottenham Way and for once, sweeping teams aside with convincing wins. It is most unlike Spurs. The system of pressing high up and the way we play at a good tempo has put teams on the back foot. Yes, Leicester and Hull might not have had much to play for at the end of the season, but to demolish both with displays of attacking football that would have pundits purring if it had been Barcelona or Real Madrid instead of Spurs emphasised the fact that they had learned form last season's end of season tail-off. Over the last two season, we have seen the technical ability of the Spurs players increase immeasurably. The skill, touch, stamina and passing have all improved with the pace that passes are pinged into players being at such a pace that the control when it arrives is a skill that few in this top league can produce. To do so and still score goals in the dying moments of a match shows not only masterful technique, but both physical and mental strength. If it happened once or twice, then you would think it was a fluke. When it happens time and time again, you know it is training that has made it happen.
While we have struggled with the Champions League, this should not be regarded as a failing, but a learning process. Other teams had trouble coping with the opposition in the competition when they first entered it. Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal have all had their problems in adapting to the quality they faced when they were new to the Champions League, so even after being in the UEFA Cup/Europa League regularly, it is still a step up and one we need to learn from quickly, to establish the club in the knock-out stages of the competition, like when we got to the quarter final against Real Madrid back in 2011. The progress in this competition helps build a reputation that will attract further players of quality to deepen the squad.
The stick Spurs get now is for not having won a trophy, but how many different teams have recently. A win might break the duck and they might come in numbers, but that is for the future. The progress on the pitch is upward and the club are growing off it, so a trophy would be a nice way to top off the way things have gone over the last three years, but with belief will come success. We have started beating the top teams and have developed a mentality that doesn't see us lose too many games, so the players know that they can get to a level where silverware comes along. Other teams go a number of years without winning things and look at what it does when their fans turn against them for that. The out-pouring of emotion at White Hart Lane's finale showed the fans and club are stronger together. And the players are the focal point of that. A young side, but one who have now got good experience to push on.
The other thing is that we are supposedly perpetual runners-up now. Well, for two seasons we would have won the title in a lot of other years, having come up against sides who have had exceptional seasons. We haven't bottled it, it has been hard to try and overtake teams out in front, but we have been the ones who have kept the challenge going for as long as we have. No other team got close to Chelsea this season and there was an eight point gap back to Manchester City in third. Leading the Premier League and falling off to let someone overtake is bottling it. We are not doing that. Mums say to children who are experiencing bullying that they only do it because they love you. Well, I'm not sure that is true, but they certainly are jealous now and wish that they are where Spurs are. It is something that is even more embarrassing for them having been the butt of their fun for a number of years. To be overtaken hurts them more than we will know, as we haven't fallen from grace, but have risen and gone beyond a lot of these top four sides.
Tottenham are one of the top four now, but you wouldn't kno wit from the media coverage. I love the fact that we are under the radar for much of the time. The Man Us, Man Citys, Chelseas, Arsenals and Liverpools all get mentioned more than us and I want it to stay that way. Pochettino isn't a headline grabber like Conte of Mourinho. He is not a whinger like Wenger. He is not a cartoon character like Klopp. He stays calm, with the odd moment of celebration and frustration. His press interviews keep to the script about our team, while he doesn't criticise the opposition or the referee and maintains a professional attitude at all times. The team go about their business without making any big claims about what they are going to do or who they are going to beat, just concentrating on achieving the best they can for the club.
Now the season has ended, a lot of
pundits on the internet and on TV are asking how we didn't win
anything. Especially when we achieved the ...
We know we are not there yet, but there is the potential to get there very soon.
It is all moving in the right direction and the manager and team have to maintain that momentum to take Spurs into a new era of success, which will make supporting the team easier still !!
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