My eyes have seen the glory. Not glory in the traditional sense of the word, but glory, nonetheless.
It’s important to live in the present. To enjoy the now. True, in most walks of life, there’s a beauty to the everyday. Joy just around the next corner.
I say in “most walks”, as right now, after following Spurs for the vast majority of my 37 years on this planet we’ll call…earth, I’m finding it hard.
Hard to find belief there’s a way back, a light at the end of the tunnel. A tunnel which seems to be getting progressively longer by the day. Hard to believe we aren’t sliding back into mid-table oblivion once more.
A truth which is becoming more and more real given the recent events at Newcastle and potentially at West Ham. Politics aside, investments in their respective squads will see a shift in perception regarding hierarchy. As some supporters struggle with the moralities of continuing to support their club following a takeover from a regime such as the Saudi’s. I, too, wonder whether the promise of “glory” and investment in return for acceptance of their history and ongoing dealings would lead me to question my own support.
Also, would the “glory” still be as pure or just another trophy for the financial doping cabinet?
It’s not something I could answer immediately, and probably a topic for another day.
There’s danger in seeking comfort and solace solely in the past. When the present offers so little, however, it’s difficult not to close your eyes and revert to a time when things seemed clearer. To a time where I could identify with my beloved Football Club. A time when watching my team play brought happiness and excitement. Watching them play with a style so fluid, so in tune with its fanbase it felt harmonic.
It’s hard to believe that was only a couple of years ago. In 2019, Tottenham were in the Champions League final.
No one could have foreseen what the arrival of Pochettino in 2014 would bring (and yes, I know it wasn’t trophies), but we’re certainly feeling the effects of his departure now. During his reign as our head coach/manager he brought unity, stability, hunger, desire, and a winning mentality.
He elevated us to a level we didn’t think was possible, and further still, kept us on that course season after season. He enabled us to dream, to believe we were “there”. We hade made it to the top table. Average players became world beaters, winning became a habit, a normality. White Hart Lane became a fortress, an impenetrable echo chamber of noise as supporters rallied around our soldiers with siege like mentality.
The lilywhite shirts became blurs to anyone who dare walk on the hallowed turf as we overloaded them with our high pressing, high energy, swashbuckling style. Like a dazed and confused boxer, coming round from hitting the canvas, hearing the count to 10, another opponent was blown away with a knockout punch.
Those years under Pochettino will never be forgotten. They were the best in my lifetime, in many lifetimes. A marker in history. A time where Tottenham: The Team, perfectly aligned with Tottenham: The Brand. To dare was to do.
Pochettino enabled us to think we were in with a chance. That there was a chance the most beautiful girl in school would do a double take, she’d notice. She would no longer walk through you, but towards you. This was it. Hands together, walking off into the sunset, to live happily ever after.
Alas, it was not to be. The dream became nightmare. A bully in the playground.
We all know there was a lack of investment, a resting of laurels from the board. A Premier League club simply cannot go through 3 transfer windows without investing in the playing staff and expect to remain competitive forevermore. Pochettino was one man, he could only do so much.
Ultimately it was the club who failed him, not the other way around.
I’m not so blind as to not realise he had faults. There were some strange tactical choices and bizarre team selections. His mood and demeanour towards the end changed significantly, so did results.
Was that cause or effect?
In my opinion, we failed the best manager we’ve had in my lifetime, and possibly the 2nd best of all time.
Cut to today, 2021. After an unsuccessful vanity project in Mourinho, followed by a summer of abject manager recruitment which resulted in the appointment of Nuno, we’re a shadow of our 2019 heights.
We no longer buckle any swashes. We no longer press. We no longer have a winning mentality. I’m not even sure we have a style of play anymore. If there is one, it’s not one I enjoy watching. I know I am not alone in saying that.
The “old” Spurs have returned, and I don’t care for it.
Nuno was not the manager we needed after Mourinho. He is not the man who is going to help us “revert back to our core DNA of playing attacking, entertaining football”. There is nothing in his historical managerial appointments and indeed our matches this season to suggest he ever was.
We already had the right man, a man that epitomised all we were, and we let him go.
As I write this on the eve of our game against United, I don’t feel anger anymore. It’s just apathy. My intent to remain positive regardless of performances and results waned quickly. It’s a two-way street, but only one lane is open. There are glimmers of hope. Flashes in the pan. However, I feel like they are echoes of our past, glitches in the Matrix. Not a sign or progress or change.
So, do we just accept what has become of us? Accept the mediocrity? This is where we are now. Nuno is in and looking back doesn’t help us. Is this an entitlement to something we should never had or are we right to believe we belong where Pochettino once took us?
As I mentioned previously, there’s danger in seeking comfort and solace solely in the past. When the present offers so little, however, it’s all we’ve got.