Sunday, 1 February 2009

I hate football

I hate football. There I said it.

One of the most obvious knee-jerks after a defeat such as the one experienced up at the Reebok is to hold your head in your hands and cry uncontrollably, wiping away the tears as you ask yourself:

“Why? Why do I care more than the players? Why can't the players care as much as me?"

Why? Well simply because we – the fans – are the heart beat of the club. We are the one constant through its existence. We retain the values and the ambitions that the club should be aspiring to. When players are long gone, we are still here cheering and singing and supporting the next generation to wear the colours. The history of the club is embedded within us from the first time we watch the team play and stays with us as passionately and obsessively throughout our lifetime. It’s religious in scope.

And we are all together in it. We all experience the highs and the lows. The emotions and the glory. The depression and the disgust.


The reason we want to cry (or if you are too manly for Gascoignesque waterworks) shake your fists furiously at the teams abject display whilst using colourful language, is because we care so much it hurts and it hurts so much that we question whether our loyalty is misplaced. It’s a weak moment. One we always recover from. It’s sometimes easier to pretend to care less about something because it gives the illusion that you won’t hurt too much from the pain.

It’s part of our make-up as fans. Most of the time we complain and disagree with each other whilst we wait patiently (sometimes for decades) for something resembling true progression from the club before we all hold hands in unity. But that never stops us from wearing our hearts on our sleeves.

We simply love the club. Unconditionally. So when we watch a team display the same inept and dysfunctional quirks week after week, whilst the manager quotes excuses from himself from the previous defeat and the one before that, you begin to wonder why it’s so impossible for the players to react positively when the problems are so obvious?

We all know players don’t feel the same type of loyalty as fans do. That isn’t ground-breaking news. But self-pride should be evident enough. And yet its rarely evident on the pitch. Just in patches or certain games.

Other clubs have managed to capture this pride and spirit, and although some sides do not have the quality to see them achieve success others do have the quality and the combination is unequalled (see Man Utd for more details).

NLD up next. Shudder.

This crisis we find ourselves in wasn’t birthed this season. It’s been a long time coming. Our away form has been utter crap for years and years now. We never compete consistently away from WHL to really be able to drive forward as a strong side who could challenge for Europe every single season with comparative ease. Martin Jol, bless him, changed the status quo momentarily. What we’ve managed to do since has been well documented. A mish-mashed squad of individuals who struggle to form a cohesive unit. We entertain like no other club, on and off the pitch. But the main gripes are never sorted out.

Set-pieces, defending, balance of squad. Groundhog Day.

This is not just based on the Bolton result, where the score flattered us tbh. We did nothing much for 65 minutes and reacted far too late and only when Bolton relaxed. Once we made it 2-2, they woke up again and scored, thanks to help from us who sat back when we equalised. We appear to hold our own destiny in our hands every single week. Losing (I think it’s) four games away from home in the final minutes is pretty scandalous stuff. And the reason behind it?

Mental strength. Or lack of.

We have a deep-rooted psychological problem. We have players that want to play football, who want to play it about and score magnificent goals and buzz as the ball pings with neat and tidy one-touch skills. But it’s all plastic rather than gold because turning up and wanting to be great and wanting to play great is not enough. We – individually and as a team – need to want to win all the battles across the pitch like our lives depend on it. We need to clatter the opposition. Bully them. Show we mean business instead of all this limp excuse for spirit we witness most weeks. We need more Dawsons. I can’t believe I just said that.

We have no leader and we have no bully. Weak in mind, weak in soul. And this has been us for a while now. We change the manager, we change the players. And yet the same problem always exists. When mistakes are made, does anyone get angry about it? Apart from us, the mugs in the stands?

What was it Carrick once said about us? We have a culture of failure at Tottenham. He didn’t quite say that, but that was the gist of it. The players do not appear to hate losing. It’s acceptable. It’s ok. But it shouldn’t be.

The players have to stand up and show us 100% heart and passion. How many times has this been demanded this season alone, and they don’t quite do it? We know they can because we've seen it in one-off games. But alas again, that's the problem. Botheredness.

It’s easy for the likes of Utd where they win things every year to hate losing and therefore give it that extra 110% every week because defeat and failure is unacceptable for them – but surely at a club like Spurs which aspires to be a force in English football – should see their players strive to avoid being second best? Players at the club should arrive and understand that second best is not good enough for the club. We don’t have a Ferguson. But neither do most. So what is the point of being at Spurs? You can almost taste the importance and affect Davids had at the Lane, on the training pitch and in the first team squad. Hopefully Palacios will bring us something similar with his undoubted class. Whether he has the same fire in his belly that even an 'old' Davids had is altogether another thing. But then Wilson is not the same type of player that Edgar was.

Tottenham's midfield, with Lennon in the middle

Where is the intensity? That extra yard? That willingness and aggressive nature?

We didn’t show much up at the Reebok. Well done to Bent who has a pretty good goal scoring ratio this season, even though we sometimes wonder about his ability and application game to game. Shame on our defending, especially for the third decisive goal. And maybe this one up front business can be scrapped soon as it simply doesn’t work. Most of our lads had stinkers.

We are fast running out of games now. Do I think we are going down? No. Because we will do just about enough to avoid the drop, thanks largely to the fact that there are far worse teams than us. But I pray to God the players don’t have this very same thought. Look at our away fixture and who we have to visit between now and the final game of the season. It's daunting in places.

Arsenal at home next. Three points from six games during December through to Jan is almost as bad as what we got under Ramos. The results from the first 8 games of a season will not get you relegated – it’s what you do after that and we’ve done nothing other than skip through a honeymoon period that wasn’t followed up with a successful marriage.

Let's just avoid the divorce papers.

The sooner this window shuts, and Harry stops harking on about how many points we had when he joined the better. Had we not lost any of the last four away then we’d all be a little more happier now. But we did, and we’re not. The Preimer League is a joke down at the bottom, with all teams of equal poor quality. So there's no need to laser-remove your tattoos just yet.

I bet we give it a right old ding-dong go on Sunday in the NLD. Unbeaten against Big 4 opposition this season in the League (sums us up really). And we’ll be scratching our heads trying to figure out why we can’t dish out the same performance every week. Fingers crossed, hey?

I hate football. I could never live without it.

Let's just thrash Arsenal and worry about this relegation lark later.

Thanks to Dayo for the photoshop Redknapp pic. Visit this thread over at Glory Glory for more hilarity.


Anonymous said...

Robbie Keane looks set for a return. I expect you'll be throwing rotten fruit at Levy's car tomorrow morning at the gates of the West Stand?

Anonymous said...

Spurs and mental strength has never been something thats binded us. The fact we persist in playing Jenas sums our general attitude towards games.

We dont have any 'cunts', excuse my french. We have no truly hated players how can push the others or in fact throw a reality check into their faces.

I'm also struggling to defend Harry at the moment. Bentley still plays up for the camera and still attempts far too much rather than just getting on with the basics and team work. How the heck does he keep performing this badly? Ok, he was alright against Stoke but his level has been so poor that he doesnt warrant a place but still gets one.

Its a mess.

But I agree. We'll save our selves by the skin of our teeth.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy your blog Spooky. Its never the same type of writing style from one day to the next.

I too give up on Spurs every week and then take them back.

Bane of my life.

The Machine said...

Ferguson built up that mental strength over time. It's hard to see how we can do it over night. But I agree its something that we need to conquer if we ever want to sustain some type of serious challenge.

Anonymous said...

I honestly think Spurs will begin to drag themselves away from the bottom three in the next few weeks. Spurs always react when things go wrong. 2-0 down, we react. OK, didn't quite get it right in the end but I we'll start making inroads and climb the table. I do think teams below us are worse off and although we have tough games coming up so do all teams around us. I think at home is the real key. We have to win them all.

TX Yid said...

We'll beat Arsenal. Then the following week play shit.

Its how we roll.

Anonymous said...

So much hope ..... and yet so little hope. It's a roller-coaster ride of note.
There's no mental strength and no team-work because every transfer window brings in new players - under 'panic buying' - that there is not enough time to settle down and start bonding before the roller-coaster starts again.
And 1 thing on set-pieces: if you 'mark the man', you'll always be a step behind him. For a while under Rames, we stood in formation and attacked the ball, and we were the most solid under fire that I can remember for years!!

Anonymous said...

COmpletely agree. We should drop the impatience and desperation for glory and do what Everton do.

Slowly, slowly...

Anonymous said...

Just a small point but as you said 'top 4' not 'big 4' - you were beaten by Villa way back in Sept of this season.

Also my biggest fear -if I were a Spurs fan- would be that like the fans the players *STILL* believe they are 'too good' to go down.

The teams/players around you will battle and fight to the last whistle - I don't think that either the players or the Spurs fans have that in them. And good old Harry seems to have zero man management or motivational skills.

Your players are just not that good tbh, it's a poor team - how many of the players do you think the Top6 teams will be interested in come the summer?

Anonymous said...

Look, I don't want to slag Dawson. I'm happy for his rebound. But the man couldn't man mark a Rhohypnol-addled leather-boy in a biker bar.

Mr Normal said...

I can take losses and draws and lost points, as long as there's effort, and it's effort that lacks and it's that that galls me as a supporter.

So I asked myself why? And I think it's because it's all too easy for them to shirk the responsibility of their performance.

So I asked myself why? And I think it's because they are paid so much, they can cocoon themselves away from the public. They never walk to the shops. they never use the public entrance. They never have to face it.

So I thought, how can we make them face it? And I think the answer is pay them differently. Bentley et al can earn 45k a week, IF WE WIN. If we don't, they take home 450 instead. They risk 44,550 based on performance.

That, I think will see a lot more stuck-in-ness. More 80th minute plus concentration. But who the hell would sign for us then!

Anonymous said...

Pay them £50 a month, and the rest is a win bonus. You'll see the poxy effort then.


spooky said...

Corrected Top 4 to Big 4 ;)

spooky said...

Most of us actually are worried. I think the positivity stems from the fact that we don't dare be negative because our dear fragile millionaire players will fail to react if they see us lose faith and hear our disapproval.

Frank said...

Believe me, we are NOT too good to go down. Wake up and smell the coffee people, it's a ding dong battle at the bottom and we ain't getting clear. We need another run and I don't see where that's coming from.

One dodgy lasagne on the last day could see us in the Championship next season!

JimmyG2 said...

You've been in an excellent writing groove this past few months.I don't agree with everything here ,who does, but you are certainly more or less correct in your analysis.
Harry was a short term quick fix that may backfire on us if he sells Lennon or Gio or even Bent who is much maligned by Spurs fans, and brings in players who are no better than the ones we've got already AND still gets us relegated which I'm afraid is on the cards.
However it eases the pain if you embrace relegation as the electric shock needed to revive the apparently dead corpse that masquarades as Tottenham Hotspur FC

Michael, supporter since 1960 said...

To understand what is happening, we have to turn the clock back to the early '80s when Douglas Alexiou and Irving Scholar took over the club from the previous board who had overseen the successes of the previous three decades. Unlike the Jack Walkers and even Roman Abramovitches of this world, Alexiou and Scholar apparently had little intent to invest in the club but rather they hoped to make it the source of their wealth. They started a number of marketing companies and floated the club as a plc, hoping to make their fortunes as the share price went up. Hence, Keith Birkenshaw's famous comment as he left the club - a remark more prescient than even he could have imagined. Two sets of owners and dozens of managers later, the reality is that nobody at the club knows how to cope with a situation over which they have only marginal control. Not only do the employees hold the whip hand but the supporters also heavily influence what is going on. It is clear that the current board and in particular the chairman are completely out of their depth. For anything substantive to change, one of two things must happen: either the club is sold to a company that has strong business leadership and will be able to take control while still understanding the way football works or Mr Levy must acknowledge his shortcomings and ask a firm of headhunters to find him a CEO who will take charge while he, Mr Levy, and the other directors withdraw completely from the day-to-day running of the club. That CEO will be single-minded in changing the culture of mediocrity that runs through the club and will also have the know-how not only to recruit the leading football employees, including the manager and principal coaches, but also the ability to coach and mentor those individuals in order to help them in their jobs. I believe that Mr Levy genuinely cares about the club but he obviously has no ability whatsoever to run an enterprise of the size of THFC and which is so much in the public eye. Let us hope that Mr Levy sees the light soon - otherwise we will be doomed to being another Manchester City or Newcastle: yo-yoing around and the laughing stock of the nation. In summary: it is fatuous to blame the current manager and the players - the problems run deep and have been around for a quarter of a century. Unless the root cause of those problems is understood and addressed, it is highly unlikely that anything significant will change.