The blog has moved. Just browse to


the fighting cock podcast
blog best viewed on

Firefox, Safari, Chrome and IE8+.

Powered by Squarespace

Tottenham beat Tottenham to beat QPR

Okay, so first things first, my preview versus what actually played out. Worth doing just to mug myself off a little and remind myself that when things look really straight forward on paper it’s best to remember that the opposition can always perform better than expected. QPR might have had it bad in some early performances this season but proved they could organise themselves to worthy competency (with the draw against Chelsea).

via @TheloniousFilth

I keep waiting for us to step it up with delicious delight and tick all the boxes. I got it wrong the other week. It seems there is a monkey on our back, one that nests at the Lane. Think King Kong cradling the East Stand. Any which way to get rid of it and then perhaps my preview promises and hopes will play out with less pressure and more expressiveness going forward.


Preview statements in bold.


QPR. At home.

> Hey, I got this right. Move aside Nostradamus.

Is there really anything more to say than to find a happy medium between the dominant Reading performance and the cohesive one against Lazio and win in bullish, aggressive fashion? Anything more, aside from:

> Ever since that opening first half against WBA it seems we’re struggling to awake from a nightmare and when we think we’re awake, it turns out to be one of those awakening experiences. You know the type. You get out of bed, wash your face, make a cuppa and stick the radio on only to then wake up for real and realise you have to go through all that again. Except when you do you don’t because you wake up in bed again. More about the tactics in a moment but in terms of matters of the head, there’s a problem. Not enough application or bravery. The strategy, it’s not apparent. So either something is losing itself in translation or our boys in Lilywhite are experiencing stage fright thanks to an impatient and difficult to please audience.

One holding midfielder, not two.

> One. Because without Parker and Livermore there‘s only Sandro. We’re also at home so we have to show intent. The line-up saw Bale slot into left-back (old skool) with Gallas returning at centre-back and Dempsey in midfield. I said before half-time I’d have preferred Caulker at centre-back with Vertonghen at LB and Bale attempting to capture some form on the left flank. That switch happened at half-time. For the best as we looked unlikely to make a breakthrough before then.

Score an early goal.

> Some opportunities early on. QPR forcing Friedel to save twice. Sigurdsson feeding Defoe. Zamora and Hoillet enjoying their afternoon. Faurlin impressive. As the game progressed so did Rangers. Closer and closer to making the break through. No pace or tempo from us. Possession not always clean and fairly redundant because nothing was made of it. Visitors happier on the break, hosts not asking Cesar to dirty his gloves. 33 mins on the clock and its 1-0 to them. Friedel edging closer to the bench when failing to move off his line quickly. Then again, not sure who was meant to be moving quickly in the build up. The pass was superb, our defenders not quite playing the offside. Vert on a different wave length to the rest around him. Zamora smiling the outcome.

So early on, no evidence of that press, hassle and push ethic of the previous two games. Our midfield ominous.

Then get another before half-time. At a push a third.

> Not only did I miss the dart board with this, I hit the landlord in the face with my aim.

If not a third before half-time, score it within ten minutes of the second half starting.

> Well, we did score after 15 minutes into the second half. Well actually, they did, for us. But we scored ourselves a minute after that. Hedonistic scenes. Open bus parade. DVD. Levy stripping off his shirt and tie in the stands and screaming ‘Come at me bro, come at me!’.

Kill the game, kill it dead. If they park the bus, slap 'em with a parking ticket then hot wire the sonofab*tch and clamp it on the touchlines. It's our back yard, don't allow them to dictate and force us to react in a way not becoming to our preparation. Control equates to tempo which results with initiative. They need to be adapting to us. Our home, our rules. Their struggle.

> QPR did not park the bus. They all arrived on motorbikes whilst we struggled on dainty roller-skates to keep up. There was no ownership of playing at home. We seem to be up against ourselves foremost, the opposition just take advantage of it. But we did improve in the second half. Having Bale in midfield helped more so than being lost not really knowing his role as a left-back. There was a little more urgency if lacking that confident conditioned cohesiveness of say the Lazio game. Inventiveness was also a struggle to introduce. But chances were finally being crafted. Heads did not drop. An own goal followed by a counter. Caulker with a looped header and Faurlin netting past his own keeper via his shoulder. Then Vergonghen breaking, releasing Bale, shot saved onto the bar and Defoe lapping it up. Lady Luck not just in attendance, but pouting her lips and licking them. The minx.

via @barryslater

Take the sting out of the game if necessary in the latter stages. No need to witness the last 20 minutes consisting of nervous dispositional football. Solidification please.

> No forceful take down of the match happened, we didn’t force a stranglehold to the point where you could perhaps sit up and say ‘we got this’. But we still had chances and could have made it three. Huddlestone and Townsend subbed on. Clint Hill another pick out player for them. Kudos to Defoe who has limitations but has still managed to score four goals in five games (and assist one).

First half wasn’t great at all, second half there was something resembling a team. Lennon worked extremely hard. Caulker impressing again. Vertonghen outstanding, more so for an utterly epic challenge proving (much like King did against Robben) that you can celebrate a defenders tackle (easy there tiger) as emphatically as you would a strikers goal.

Sigurdsson has still not found a rhythm to his game. Hoping that happens soon.

Belief. On the pitch, in the stands.

> King Kong has fallen. I’m hoping the players relax a little now but this is entirely dependent on the atmosphere inside the stadium which is now defined as defeatist before a ball has even been kicked. I’ll leave this alone until later. Said I wouldn’t bang on about a minority but it seems said minority is influencing the majority and as a consequence - silence is defeating.

Home win.

> What was required we got. Lucky win? Sure. Wasn’t pretty. Wasn’t a blueprint but I’m hoping I’m right and we can now shrug off the mental anchor that held the players back. But the learning curve is just that. We are not continuing from before, from last season. We are trying to start over. There is no legacy left. Best to ignore the fallacy and look to the future. It’s risky but it’s also brave, so onwards with Villa-Boas, who looked magnificent celebrating in the pouring rain.

QPR deserve plenty of credit. They won’t quite believe the result. Their game plan was not to sit back exclusively but to seek the counter and the initiative. They had moments where they could so easily have killed the game dead for us.

Interestingly, AVB says he wanted to give QPR the initiative in the first half so we could counter them. Didn't quite work out. Not sure it can if Bale is stuck at left-back.

Positivity in blog comment sections and pubs the world over.

> Steady now. You’ll end up waking up in bed and all the above was just a dream. Even with a slice of luck to aid us - we had to show some spirit and move on from the WBA and Norwich results. We did just that, which is why we can afford a smile or two. So smile. Or just pinch yourself.



Solidification please

QPR. At home.

Is there really anything more to say than to find a happy medium between the dominant Reading performance and the cohesive one against Lazio and win in bullish, aggressive fashion? Anything more, aside from:

One holding midfielder, not two.

Score an early goal.

Then get another before half-time. At a push a third.

If not a third before half-time, score it within ten minutes of the second half starting.

Kill the game, kill it dead. If they park the bus, slap 'em with a parking ticket then hot wire the sonofabitch and clamp it on the touchlines. It's our back yard, don't allow them to dictate and force us to react in a way not becoming to our preparation. Control equates to tempo which results with initiative. They need to be adapting to us. Our home, our rules. Their struggle.

Take the sting out of the game if necessary in the latter stages. No need to witness the last 20 minutes consisting of nervous dispositional football. Solidification please.

Belief. On the pitch, in the stands.

Home win.

Positivity in blog comment sections and pubs the world over.


Get on it. COYS.


Did Ryan Mason take a shower?

Tottenham 0 Lazio 0 (Europa League, Group stage)

That was a bit of alright. Not so much the result but the further progress displayed by our coach and reflected by the players out on the pitch. I can’t help but imagine that if this game was played out in front of a capacity crowd it would elevate the game and post-match mood rather than give the appearance it was all rather low key. In some ways it was, but then we were facing a resurgent Lazio side unbeaten this season that were both physical and stubborn in their style, biting at our legs, giving away countless free kicks. We also faced some questionable officiating which saw no benefit of the doubt siding our way in key moments (ball in the back of the net tends to be rather important in football).

This game, from our perspective, was one of structure, control and patience. Not perfect, as there are some missing ingredients but still there's an overriding feeling that this was another checkpoint in the path to enlightenment that Villas-Boas is guiding us towards.

We lined up in strength, as expected. Lloris, Caulker and Dempsey the changes made. Lennon handed the captains armband as longest serving player (aside from the almost transferred out Dawson). There might have been no thunderous smacks of swashbuckle or high intensity tempo but there was assured quick movement and discipline from our players. Okay, sure, Lazio had one or two moments where they created opportunities but they failed to get on the end of them. So there was plenty of evidence that we have to improve concentration at the back but this is no different to any area on the pitch. Players are on a learning curve because what they do has to fit into the way the unit works, it has to be methodical. This is about the collective. That's not to say there wasn't just a little bit of magic missing. That individualistic touch of creativity and expectancy. I see this as one of the more fascinating challenges the teams faces. Is the role of the playmaker now shared amongst many?

Currently, as a unit, we are playing with far more spacial awareness so players rely on their team mates to find space so that effective passes can be made. It's a little more complicated than running around a bit, in that the instructions given will involve how the team pressures, pushes up and defends - as a single unit made of three parts. It was far more compact than the Reading away game. Perhaps because this one was in Europe and against Lazio.

What we did see at Reading away was Lennon attacking space to beat a man rather than with ball to feet attempting to skip past them all the time. Without that single playmaker that demands and supplies, recycling possession and linking play as it shuffles forwards, everyone now has a responsibility to form a more collective approach to attack. This does mean that this more methodical approach does lack that magic. It will probably be more bullish and aggressive football in the long term. Much like the fast paced swashbuckle of the previous seasons but with far more control offensively and defensively. This means more balance and more astuteness rather than a complete reliance on individuals to perform by simply doing the same thing every week. You can stop one player but it's far more difficult to stop a team. Especially if that team, over time, fine tunes itself into a robust adaptable machine. We are but a handful of games into VB's tenure.

Dembele is a super player, but he’s very direct and not as thoughtful and subtle as Luka Modric. The fascination for me is if we wanted and still want Moutinho, then dare to imagine the added dimension to our play if such a player takes centre stage in midfield. For now however, it’s about working with what we’ve got, for the players to know their responsibilities as second nature instinctive actions. Dembele isn't Luka Modric but that doesn't mean he can't be as effective in a different way. No deep-lying role here for the Belgian.

First half was decent, Lazio had chances but we bossed possession. Some players are still not firing on all cylinders, Bale being one of them and he’s intrinsic to our attack. A storming season from both himself and Lennon is vital. At the moment both are involved without being overly influential. Aaron got himself into decent positions but couldn’t find that killer ball. He was, in his defence, kicked and fouled a couple of times. Dempsey in the startling line up, not quite match sharp but unlucky to have his goal struck off as offside. It was close. It was on. But this being Spurs lady luck once more looked the other way. Defoe leading the front-line again worked hard, was instructed to drop deeper which he did and generally looked busy. As for the Lazio chances, they struck wood work, so there was that ominous sign as a reminder that we could get mugged.

We found a way through twice more in the second half, both disallowed making it a hattrick of shrugs. One was arguably offside, the other (a Caulker header) wasn’t a foul and should have been given. Lady luck not even in the building for that one. Game opened up slightly as well. Again, you could argue that for all that structure and organisation there was no bravado, no thumping personality to the play. Can it be too structured in approach? Can you be too clinical in how you group, pressure and hassle, hold onto possession and attack? Maybe. But then again probably not because had we scored (I know we did) but had we officially gone a goal up then that extra bit of character would have been more evident. Confidence goes up a notch, so does the tempo. But we didn't make that (official) breakthrough.

It finished 0-0 so the obvious citation would be one concerning three successive home matches drawn. That next step on the curve is just getting that home win out of the way. And perhaps against known opposition as opposed to the continental variant, the game will allow us to gamble a little more. QPR might sit back on Sunday but we might have a more expressive game plan to get at them.

Not many negatives for me. Yes, there are individuals that need to give more. But the side looked comfortably on the ball and far more receptive to what is happening on the training pitch and how it translates in games (as opposed to the lacklustre display at home to Norwich). We didn’t win, we should have won. We could do with perhaps more industry through the middle of the park and not always look towards the flanks – although we do create plenty from width. We just have to step up the standard of the final ball.

Lazio were ugly on and off the pitch. Platini in the stands seated next to Daniel Levy. No doubt the hefty 30k Euro fine will hurt the Ultras. They're paying it, right? Siggy came on for Dempsey. Lennon replaced by Townsend (good to see he will play a part this season, we won’t know if he can make the grade until he’s involved in these type of pressured games). Caulker was beastly. He just looks the part. We were blessed to have Ledley King, even if it was only ever a percentage of him. In Caulker we have a centre-back that might, just might make that position his own. Offers so much more than Gallas (aside from experience) and importantly fits into the Villas-Boas mantra (athletic, composed and intelligent on the ball).

Also enjoying Dembele. Eases past players. Attacks space in a different way (mentioned that already) than what Luka did but then the comparisons should really stop now as both offer different avenues of attack (I'll stop with the comparisons now). Once Dempsey is match sharp then their Fulham connection might go a long way in settling in both players. Dembele linking with Dempsey in and around the box? Sounds like a plan. What I want is for us not to be completely reliant on the lone forward and have a midfield that creates and scores goals from anywhere on the pitch. Everyone wants that, but if you look at our team it's particularly scary to think about the potential there. Siggy hasn't bedded in just yet either and we know what he's capable on based on his time with Swansea. Go on then, why not, let me say it out loud...patience.

Adored Lloris. You can see why he was signed and why he's so important for the future. Owns his penalty area, commanding and knows how to use his feet – which he did with confident distribution. Sweeper keeper indeed. He's got that thing about him. So assured. Seriously, if I came home and found him on top of my missus I'd be like 'sorry mate, sorry...I'll leave you to it' and walk out. Why? Because I know she'll be in safe hands. 

Naughton decent again but on crutches and wearing a protective boot post-game. We might see Vert slot into left-back for the weekend (unless boot was precautionary).

Frustrating night then but with plenty of positives. We’ve got such a strong spine, we’ve got technically gifted players and with more time there will be more invention and intent. The players have to be in complete comfort with the formation and movement and then their individualisms will shine through. Also, with a more complete forward (a fit and ready Adebayor) we might see more of a spark up front. It’s something we’ll have to wait for. Defoe is scoring, he's in form, so he should retain his place. Against stronger teams in tighter games, he should be benched.

The team is beginning to gel. Tidy stuff, but we need more titillation.

Special mention to Ryan Mason who came on for Dembele very late on for seven seconds. Did Mason take a shower after the match or just change back into a track suit? It's an important question that needs answering.


Remembering love lost

Lazio at the Lane under the floodlights. It's not the Champions League, it's the Europa League and if we're not in Europe we're nothing. So the saying goes. There's a fair amount of anticipation for this game. For me at least, you might not be as excited. You might not care too much. You might be hoping for some rotation and no injuries. Or perhaps not, perhaps you're rubbing hands together gleefully.

I'm looking forward to seeing how we line-up, with Andre Villas-Boas wanting to take the competition seriously. There's a very decent cut of opposing clubs in this years competition. Most of them are going to take it very seriously, so there's no reason to be dismissive in approach and application, unless we want an early exit. Doubt yourself for a second and you'll be punished for it. What Villas-Boas truly envisages in Europe won't begin to play out until the whistle kicks off proceedings. But I'd like to believe he will use the squad with the express aim to win each game, taking into account the fixtures that follow the European encounters.

He's alluded to the fact that silverware is important. Something we tend to forget and rationalise as secondary in a world where a league placement is perceived as a far more relevant accolade. We are more gutted about losing out to say 4th spot or CL than we are failing to get to a cup final or losing one. That's the royal 'we'. I know not everyone thinks the same way. There are still some traditionalists that pump their chest for a good old fashion cup run. But I'll hazard many are conflicted. I know I've argued for both sides, because I like to think it's possible to have the best of both worlds. Although admittedly I'm sided ever so closer to the league runs in recent years believing that you can consolidate in strength and be fitter to challenge for those cups. The reality of this thought process is that you're gambling the present with a vision of the future that might not play out.

League placement is important if a club wants to be able to sustain that challenge in the top tier consistently. Such is the hierarchy of modern football blah blah blah, I've made this speech a dozen times before. If you harbour dreams for the title, as far away as this might seem what with other clubs in stronger financial positions to compete - if you want to realistically be in the mix you have to qualify for the elite competition and milk it for all it's worth. Money is the commodity clubs perceive as the gateway to success. Yet this vision of the future might never materialise and remain simply a dream forever out of reach.

But as we all know, such things do not get chronicled in the history books as success or as glory glory days. That's if all you do is finish in a place that grants you access rather than seeing your clubs ribbons on a bit of silver. Although playing against the best sides in Europe, even if all you get out of it is away trips, should not be frowned upon. As a supporter you'll always desire a little more than that.

We finished fourth last year. We've been heavily involved in that top tier for several seasons now. That's the bread and butter of our season. The league games. But when was the last time we had a massive dollop of jam spread across that bread? 2008? And before that in 1999? And further back in 1991? Not forgetting some continental  in 1984? Yet too many times since and in-between our tea has gone cold waiting. It's time for a fry up. And there's no need for Marmite on the table.

The days of the Cup Kings and flirtations with the Twin Towers, that's history, some of it iconic never to be forgotten. These moments are truly the building blocks of a clubs identity and their traditions. We swaggered and might have gone on swaggering had we not hit a brick wall that left us bloody and bruised and nursing injuries we've only just recently recovered from. Rehabilitation has been a long and laborious journey. Whilst we began to walk again, others around us sprinted past, knocking us back down.

We all know the story.

The 1980s. The Big Five. On the verge of something greater. A young chairman with a heart bigger than his brain. Crippling decisions with development at the Lane and the baseball bat to the knees that was Hummel. We never stood a chance. Instead of being primed for the Premiership we were left struggling, on our knees and perilous close to financial ruin. Scholar tried to innovate but all we did was dehydrate. That's just how things panned out and in 1991 we anchored ourselves to survival by winning the FA Cup. Mostly thanks to Des Walker but more so thanks to a shy Geordie that practically dragged us into the final only to then implode. Cruciate ligaments raptured, his transfer to Italy delayed for a season. Another cliff-hanger of a finale in the roller-coaster ride that is THFC. Then into the wilderness we went. In many ways, so did Paul Gascogine. Both of us at the foot of the brick wall looking up, uncertain of the climb ahead.

I remember Sunday afternoons on Channel Four, James Richardson and the odd Gazza cameo and wonder goal. He only played around 40 games for the Rome club before ending up at Glasgow Rangers. The first player, the only player I ever idolised. I remember Hoddle and adored his effortless gliding and majestic arrogance but Gascogine was the one plastered all over my bedroom wall. Somewhere, at my parents home, I have a box full of cut outs of newspapers and magazines, practically all of the match reports, articles and interviews of the player and the coverage he got just before he joined us and whilst he wore Lilywhite. I remember 1990 very well. More so that fabled 91 season. All the cup games. The queuing for the semi-final for tickets. That free kick. It's just the FA Cup right? No, it's more than that. It's something that's untouchable that nobody can ever take away from you. It's Tottenham Hotspur.

So where am I going with all this? One thing is for certain, we're over that wall. Gascoigne too, but he's still sitting at the foot of it on the other side. We've left it behind us, from a jog to a run. We're not so easily knocked down any more either. But we've got plenty of shoulder bruising and there's one or two runners up ahead.

From Europa League to the seasoned question of silverware versus Champions League and long lost love for a breed of player that no longer exists. It's simply this: You can't create history that can be looked back on with pride if you let the present pass you by as an inconvenience.

It's not that supporters don't want to win cups it's just that so many of us prioritise the league and want that top four place more than anything else that we forget that there's no necessity for sacrifice. This won't be easy. The games come thick and fast. The recognition isn't what it was in bygone eras. You could even argue it's just a financial safety net for clubs falling out of that other more grand competition. Then again, if you win it you get to play the winner of that grander competition and that doesn't always turn out the way you expect.

To host Lazio, another club to have loved and lost Paul Gascogine, unbeaten and a dangerous opponent - it's a fine way to reignite a lust for a different type of momentum. One that can lead to moments in games that remain in memory forever. One that can lead to success, regardless of its downgraded stature, regardless that its perceived as an afterthought. Football is what you make it, not what someone else tells you it is. Those conflicted thoughts around what is or should be more important pale into insignificance. It should always be about Spurs and it should always be about glory.

How else can you define yourself as a winner if you don't actually win anything? More importantly, you can't add to those blocks of identity and tradition if you don't set out to build them to stand the test of time.


"It's full of history & different winners. It does not generate financial advantages but it generates emotions when you win it."

- Villas-Boas on the Europa League


Monkey claims to fall off back. Wasn't on it in the first place.

Thrown some thoughts on the game together. It's been a long tiring day, hassled through out it. So excuse the lack of craft. But who cares when Tottenham displayed so much of it on Sunday. Badum tish.

Reading 1 Tottenham 3

Well that was nice. Fluid, effective football with some ample finishing to see off opposition that we probably should have blown away in the first half. This game wasn't just about picking up the three points but doing so with a bit of style and structure. Which we did. Can’t really sit here and complain about not scoring enough goals or not making it look even easier than it was when the reality is, the side is still adjusting under Andre Villas-Boas. Monkey off back. Then again, there wasn't a monkey on it in the first place. Onwards we go with two successive games at the Lane. That momentum is fluttering her eyelids at us, it would be rude to ignore her advances.

There was no Livermore or Benny, both injured, the latter out for a month and replaced by Naughton. Dembele started alongside Sandro – the combo we all wanted to see and although it was up against a weak side, it was very reassuring to witness some life after Luka Modric. Dembele was progressive with movement, looking for the ball from Sandro. Both playing in tangent and protecting each other’s space and making sure availability to receive the ball was always evident as we looked to move higher up the pitch. Dembele, effortless when attacking space. Sandro dominant pressuring opposing players, intercepting and tackling with supreme belief that he owns that patch of grass in the middle.

Did Dembele start because Livermore was injured? He probably would have started regardless, especially as VB stated he wanted us to be more offensive against Reading. Sigurdsson, the third part of the midfield trio, and responsible for a killer ball splitting the defence for Lennon to cut back for Defoe to score for the 1-0. So much to like about this. The fact it almost seem to play out in slow motion even though it was over in seconds. The vision from Sig. Lennon’s awareness to receive the ball. Defoe’s scuffed effort perfectly beating the defenders and keeper. Striker’s scuff the ball on purpose, right?

Defoe starting ahead of Adebayor might have raised some eyebrows. I guess he's in form now, so you can’t drop him out of the side although as per usual we have to weigh the good with the bad and if JD can repeat this type of bullish performance against a better class of opposition then we still have good options up front (or at the minute, from the bench). Isolated, this was a cracking performance. His second goal (for the 3-1) was very well taken. Although given the freedom of the park he still had to retain composure which he did. He had other chances including a majestic take down and outside of the foot shot that deserved to go in.

Because of the comparative ease of playing against Reading, having the midfield trio behind him, the team was able to play to Defoe’s strengths. They supported him, he delivered (he had several shots at goal). Against sterner teams that make the midfield congested and turn it into a battlefield, he won’t be able to lead the line in the manner he did on Sunday. Which is why Adebayor will always be the better fit because he can drop back and work the channels effectively. However, this is a side coached by someone with Powerpoint slides. It’s quite possible that Defoe will improve his game, his awareness and positioning under Villas-Boas. You can’t change a player that is driven on by pure instinctive play but you can attempt to control the areas of the pitch he attacks though far more ticky to improve his link up play. Can’t fault his effort though. And he's scoring goals so I expect the same against QPR.

gifs by Eperones

An improved Defoe is better than one that just runs around a bit and waits for a chance to fall at his feet. However, not sure he can bring the midfielders into the game as effectively as Adebayor. This is going to be very interesting. How VB handles the two players in rotation and how effective each player is against lesser sides and the stronger ones.

Naughton did well. Gave away a couple of needless free kicks but seemed to be quite disciplined and solid in possession. Vertonghen was brilliant at the back, might well be one of our best signings in recent years and makes the retirement of Ledley King a little easier to deal with (best to avoid dreaming about the fantasy line-up of Vert and King at the back though if you want to sleep tonight). Sigurdsson wasn’t as influential as I’d have liked him to be, but can hardly complain what with the ball played for the first goal. Once Sig slots into his role he'll have more impact on the game.

Bale was quiet first half. Better in the second. Scored (another scuffed shot, there’s got to be skill in this) and looks to be slowly improving. Just a case of him finding his groove. Better he slow starts than fades away later on. He needs a pulsating home display. Can’t help feel that his responsibility and effectiveness will start to take shape in the next few games. Has to be used more as an outlet and he has to run that flank with authority. With so much more reliance on tactics these days, I’m still struggling to see a definitive change in what he’s meant to be doing. With Lennon it’s clearer that he’s beating opposing full-backs by finding space rather than ball at feet attempting to beat them time and time again. But sometimes people expect explosions from Bale when it’s the subtle stuff he does that needs a nod of approval, like the dummy run he made that allowed Defoe to do the damage for his second.

Huddlestone, Dempsey and Townsend all on as subs. Add Scott Parker, Michael Dawson and Hugo Lloris to the fold and our squad depth doesn’t look too shabby. All those players likely to be used in the coming weeks as opposed to simply warming the bench. Lazio on Thursday, QPR on Sunday – there has to be a little rotation.

Conceding late on was disappointing. It keeps happening. There was a batch of pressure in the second half where we struggled to clear the ball convincingly and it looked more like panic than tactical instructions. Leadership is something else that needs to stranglehold the latter stages of games. We have to retain the ball, take the sting out of it and boss it rather than sit back and invite. In addition, if you go back to the early stages – we can really put games to bed if we are clinical. That cut-throat side of our game has to be worked on. Not just up to the striker – the midfielder need to get in the mix more. I’m confident this will happen with Sig and can pretty much guarantee Dempsey will relish the opportunity. We could be one more goal to the good each game.

As for the host? Reading are not very good. At least on this display they allowed us far too much time on the ball and let us dictate practically from start to finish. But that is really not relevant. Cliché: beat the teams you face. We did that and there's still so much room for improvement. Improvement that will come by virtue of this side understanding the new system more with each passing week. Confidence will see to it. Application was spot on, as was pace and tempo. Players all looked like they had an understanding of what they were required to do and when in possession players seeking the ball made themselves available either in support or by attacking space with intent. Less pressure away from home? Do we feel the pressure back in N17? We'll find out soon enough.

Feet firmly on ground. We had a job to do, we did it.

Other footnotes.

The kit. It's not terrible but it's not really Spurs. Aside from the fact that it is Spurs because we were wearing it. Just not very traditional.

AVB on the touchline. Adore the way he celebrates goals. Looks no different to a supporter in the stands. Looks better in fact, what with that beard and that suit.


This should make good Reading

Reading (A)

I'm looking forward to the game. Hoping Dembele starts alongside Sandro and we get to see Clint Dempsey in midfield (if match fit) and Adebayor up front. Will also be keen to see us pass and move with urgency. We were lacklustre against Norwich and wasteful against WBA. Taking our chances early on is key. Reading haven't played a competitive match (Prem) since the 22nd August. Fresh but hardly match fit. That's not to say we've been setting the world on fire either, at times looking like we've not had much of a pre-season. This has got to be the game to ignite the spark that leads to the explosion. The spark being a convincing win against Reading today, the explosion a smashing of QPR at the Lane next week. We all know how it works. Momentum builds confidence in form and style. Perfectly illustrated by the past couple of seasons of rampant winning displays (when things were going well).

That urgency has to have traits of structure, players effective in their positions - yes Gareth, that means you. Having predicted that AVB will have a better handle on Bale we've yet to see him truly take a stranglehold on the left flank. Also, the controversial centre-pairing of Livermore and Sandro will have a few people biting their nails. Would prefer Sandro doing the Parker job of sweeping up trouble and laying the ball off to Dembele (our sort of Luka replacement in terms of creativity). Sandro can also pass the ball better than Parker so it can work. Dempsey or Sigurdsson can play further up-field behind the forward, in support and linking up play. Which will be two-fold with Adebayor being able to float into the channels.

We've yet to see the high-line implemented fully. Which tells us a lot about the patient 'rebuilding' of style rather than just asking players that haven't played it before to do so from the off (even though our fullbacks do enjoy a high line when wondering into forward positions). Talking of which Kyle Walker seems to be very positive about training and the coach. But don't shout about that, just whisper it. To yourself. As for the goal-keeper situation, only a matter of time when Lloris will settle in between the sticks. Brad knows, VB knows. We know. Lloris is a vital part of that fabled high line so it's essential. In time.

So there's a few things to look out for today. But not just formation and how it's implemented but also the attitude of the players. We would have been our way to sustaining some momentum had we buried those chances against WBA at the Lane. Such is football it can be cruel first to then be kind later. Which tells you that if you place the brain surgery of tactics aside a moment, we (the players on the pitch with ball to feet) have to be bang on their game and do the basics right in front of goal. Running around a lot still won't be enough, as witnessed the last two seasons when we run out of ideas. Villas-Boas has to pull us back towards that swagger and find a middle-ground where we strengthen mentally without letting go of the characteristics that made us such a joy to watch. It's in those games where we were not a joy to watch; it's in those games where we need to find a way through, have answers to all the questions being asked.

We seem to be stuck in that place at the moment. The inherited problems are not quite improving towards resolution and mixing in well with the new instructions meaning no immediate impact (although we've seen glimpses of it away to Newcastle and early on in our first home match). Would be easy for a new coach not to change a thing but then at what point would he be able to implement his own style? Better to struggle at first building the new and waving goodbye to the old than hang onto someone else's vision for the sake of short term pretence over longevity.

There's no need to panic, no need to struggle finding a way out. Find the door, walk through it.

Composure please Spurs. The self belief will blossom.

Whether today's convincing win does end up being a lucky one instead, the three points will be gladly celebrated regardless. The other two potential outcomes cannot be entertained. If anything because attempting to be explosive next weekend against QPR will be akin to setting off fireworks during a thunder storm.


Follow @Spooky23 on Twitter


Altogether now...

You know I can't smile without you
I can't smile without you
I can't laugh and I can't sing
I'm finding it hard to do anything
You see I feel sad when you're sad
I feel glad when you're glad
If you only knew what I'm going through
I just can't smile without you

You came along just like a song
And brighten my day
Who would've believed that you were part of a dream
Now it all seems light years away

And now you know I can't smile without you
I can't smile without you
I can't laugh and I can't sing
I'm finding it hard to do anything
You see I feel sad when you're sad
I feel glad when you're glad
If you only knew what I'm going through
I just can't smile

Now some people say happiness takes so very long to find
Well, I'm finding it hard leaving your love behind me

And you see I can't smile without you
I can't smile without you
I can't laugh and I can't sing
I'm finding it hard to do anything
You see I feel glad when you're glad
I feel sad when you're sad
If you only knew what I'm going through
I just can't smile without you


1989, when it all changed 


That era, the 80s, distorting the truth to protect themselves (the police, politicians, news agencies) all deflecting to aid their own agenda and callously avoiding responsibility - it was easy to do. For all of them, not a seconds thought to dissociate and detach blame. Our culture, within football and outside of it has changed. Almost unrecognisable in comparison. But then so much has in the past twenty years.

On the day its self, there was competence, lack of awareness and respect. No planning or organisation. No contingency. Just a blag and panic that led to chaos. How exactly were grounds inspected back then I don't know and hate to guess. You'd think having a clear understanding of what constitutes safety and what is potentially dangerous and life threatening would be imperative to having a handle on things. Then again, football fans were profiled mostly as trouble makers, cattle on the day. Get 'em in, get 'em out.

The police with their panic caused chaos. Crowd control in the way of rushing and searching blindly for a quick fix over actual crowd safety, even at the cost of fans not getting into the ground. The police had no clear idea of how to police it. The catalyst was devastating human error followed by further mistakes then compounded by conspiracy and cover ups by people in power with power to draft an untruth that was perpetuated by the tabloids.

It's staggering just how much manipulation was had. Football has become a safer environment since but again you have to ask why there was such a dismissive attitude towards that potential for disaster. Leppings Lane was notorious for over crowding. As witnessed in 1981 when Spurs played Wolves in the FA Cup semi-final. Thirty eight injured, hundreds climbing over the fencing and sitting on the pitch perimeter. Negligence cost the lives lost at Hillsborough in 1989. Could have been any club, any set of fans. Could have happened to us in 81.

Also, on the subject of one particular tabloid, I think (for very obvious reasons) they are the very public face of the perpetuated lie. They were used as a tool to aid the cover up and asked no questions because all they wanted to do is sell newspapers. Best they are just ignored. Different era, different people involved. If the government wanted to turn a blind eye than a Tory publication was always going to appease them. Make the ones at the heart of the lie accountable and bring them to justice. If there's any of them left.

Sadly, corruption is one human trait we'll never see the back of. It will continue to happen but perhaps, in football terms, it will never have the impact and repercussions that day in 1989 had. Football changed because of it. Shame the authorties perception of football fans didn't change earlier, long before that day.


Let’s pretend we scored a goal

Thanks to everyone that cited 1882 (blocks 15 and 16 allocated) when getting tickets for the NextGen game at the Lane against Barca on Thursday night. Around 600 or so like-minded supporters turned up, stood up and sang for 90 minutes. Great atmosphere before the game at the Bricklayers pub and relentless enthusiasm right up to the final whistle and beyond. Okay, so there were some issues with overzealous stewards during the first half including the Old Bill doing the rounds although to be fair to them they were only following club policy, something witnessed on any given match day at Spurs.

Although this is an U-19’s game its hardly the same category as a fully fledged league match. Lack of communication it would seem was the reason as the head steward was apologetic to one Spurs fan after a heated debate on the subject. They didn’t seem to know the club had arranged the blocks for us (supporters that wanted to sing – you try signing sitting down). Second half, they let us get on with it proving safe standing is exactly that. So thank you to Spurs and the stewards. I’m sure it will be slicker next time round.

If you missed this whole 1882 thing first time round, it involved us travelling to Charlton away last season for the FA Youth Cup. 250 turned up for it, singing for the entirety of the match. We lost, 1-0. We didn’t care much, we just sang about Spurs. Considering all the coverage over the current supporting landscape at the Lane and the nervous, fearful approach – the aim of Thursday evening was to bring back some of that upbeat, constant love for the shirt no matter what was going on around us. I think we did pretty well. Just over 8k turned up for the game which is amazing in itself. Barca won 2-0, not unexpected. Out of our lot Pritchard looks a gem. Samper is one to watch for Barca.

I guess the thing that sticks out most from the evening is that if this sort of unofficial standing area was not available on the night, if Spurs were not accommodating then there would not have been the atmosphere created because all the people that want to sing will have had tickets all over the West Stand leaving them fragmented. Stick them all in one place and you get what we got: Support, from start to finish. Then again, the fact we need a singing section to produce a far better experience than sitting there doing nothing is another example of modern football and that's why we started 1882. To draw people in.

Okay, so the pressure of youth football from a supporter’s perspective is not on the same level of expectancy than first team football. But considering the Park Lane lower was once known for its voice, seems a shame and a waste that if the hardcore stand there, they’re not producing the same vocals every other weekend that 600 produced for a NextGen game. It’s not even about 1882 and The Fighting Cock. It’s simply about recapturing that romantic notion of being proud of the badge on the shirt and not caring about anything other than being Tottenham Hotspur. Everyone at Spurs has a voice. It’s better to be heard singing that it is complaining.

The essence of supporter is to support. If that makes us a dying breed, so be it. We'll be part of it until the end.




Great to meet a few more people off Twitter, although not enough of you it seems. Avatars on t-shirts like name tags next time? Missed out on a couple of handshakes and hugs. Pleasure to chat to Crackers who hosts the 'Ohh When the Spurs' podcast with Antony Costa. And big love to @eperons, @Teflon6 and also @THFCAlex from Norway with a better English accent than most English people - all of them travelled in from the continent to make the game. Not forgetting the God like CaseTFC (webmaster of The Fighting Cock website) who visited the Lane from Crewe.

The West Stand has never been so noisy. We'll be part of it until the end.



Follow @lovetheshirt


We all need to make sacrifices (part III)

continued from part II


I love my club and I want them to succeed.

That sentence above could be tagged to either ‘group’. One has had enough and wants change, the other wants the uncertainty of battle even if there’s the chance they will be outnumbered. Side by side, they are quite normal reactions even if each side will argue the opposite isn't.

There is no right or wrong. There's opinions on how things should be handled. But there will also be opinions on how you should go about supporting Spurs. Nobody has the right to tell the person standing next to them the best way to support their team is the way they support them. However, if there is friction and disagreement then this will spread and destroy atmosphere. Arguably atmosphere that has been degrading for a while because of other issues at play (concerning fear of failure, the pressures of success and the usual complaints of modern football match-day experience). You're one, but inside the ground we're meant to be as one.

What happens next is usually left to occurrences on the pitch. A moment of sheer genius, magic or luck and a winning goal to give us three points. A change of luck. A catalyst. Not that we are in the same position but say coming back from 4-2 down to draw 4-4. Confidence, it breeds belief and helps push things along when they’re being held back due to adversity that may or may not even exist in some people’s eyes but can’t be ignored because it does in others. Some fans think we're on the road to nowhere. Those outside of Tottenham will magnify that thought. If you asked Villas-Boas he'd probably shrug and mumble something about time. There's another type of catalyst that can take us the opposite way. Although I can hear some of you suggesting that particular catalyst is under way already.

So there is no right or wrong. Just that perception and opinion on how to handle a particular scenario and what you believe is the correct way to behave in amongst it.

Perhaps the ones that are disgruntled, deep down, believe it’s going to fail and simply don’t have the heart or desire to fight for something that is not going to work. But then the very fact they are disgruntled and want to be heard is them showing desire and fight they don’t believe they’re seeing on the pitch. They are standing up for something they believe in and want the world to know. They want their team to know and react to it.

Those that wish to sing want to believe and do believe it will work out and want to take that risk, that leap of faith, because if you don’t roll with the punches then how are you going to cope next time you’re low on confidence and lacking spark? A winning mentality, a winning team needs to know and understand it's weakness to be able to strengthen and evolve. If you can’t dig deep do you give up and look to start over again? Every time?

The great thing about a problem? It's there to be resolved. To some it's not even a problem. It's a learning curve, a necessity that has to be experienced so that progress is made. At the moment we can't consolidate a lead. The last problem we had before the summer was an inability to break the opposition down. Which is more troublesome? A team supposedly at it's peak with the first problem or a team starting afresh that harbours ambitions to exceed the previous heights reached?

The dynamics around what is acceptable and what is not acceptable is the foundation of the entire argument between the two groups. That perception of expectancy around how the players should be reacting and performing based on not just the immediate past but also the quality of players available to the coach at present. The results so far could so easily have been a score-draw away followed by two home wins - without the errors - but achieved with the same erratic tempo and structure. There would not be too many complaints because of points accumulated. But concern would still be evident until the swagger is back. It's all ifs and buts. It usually is until things either improve or they don't.

There are so many layers, it's impossible to define it all as so much of it is theoretical when it comes to the pragmatism and lack of with the football but it's still all fuelled by emotion. It's practically akin to religion. One God but different cults and sects, different ways of worship and preaching. Fundamentalism anyone? It's disputable who exactly has the Kool-Aid within arms reach.

There’s probably a third group out there left scratching their heads wondering why there has to be two extremes at play. They are probably far less vocal and might even be a majority that are just sitting back to wait and see what happens next.

My view, to push it back towards that ‘be patient’ speech I've tried hard to avoid (sorry), is something I’ve already alluded to here. The fact that these two groups (even the pro-AVB camp that still boo) are so evident the fragmentation cannot be good because outside of White Hart Lane and beyond, patience does not exist and can distort and damage and exaggerate. So back inside the stadium, it’s the only place where we can truly take ownership of it all. I was actually going to say 'destiny' instead of 'it all'. As romantic a notion that is, isn’t football meant to about romance?

Say, if you were in a relationship – a new one – you need a candle lit dinner or two along with perhaps the theatre or a nightclub and a romantic walk before you’re swinging from the chandeliers doing upside down doggy. No roof-top on the Lane, so no chandeliers but under the floodlights or in the soon to be winters sun, is it not best that we all sing from the same hymn sheet?

You think it’s doomed? Then what have you got to lose? You’ll get what you want in the end so why not join the other half and those that are left in-between paralysed with uncertainty will join in because let’s be honest - you’d all rather be singing and bursting with pride about what it means to be Tottenham, what it means to follow Tottenham than feeling like you're at odds with the club. There’s no chance of any of us having an affair with another club, so all that’s left is angry sex with the one we’re stuck with.

And if things do change for the best, you’ll be singing anyway so what do you have to lose? Aside from losing face? The ones that sing regardless, we have more to lose because our loyalty will be tainted and misplaced because it didn't work out.

We all need to make sacrifices, we all need to accept them.

Politics and tactics aside the games lifeblood is an emotive one. The way we're playing at the moment is not the way our coach envisages our style to be. He knows about our traditions. He's cited them many times, and not in cheap and fanciful way. If what we're watching isn't anywhere near the end result he's working towards then is it not worth some faith to see what that end result will be? If that means a siege mentality, so be it. But that's me. Like I said a few times already, I can't tell you what to do and I can't force you to do it.

It's just that, I've heard of the 12th man but I've never known him to be accompanied by a 13th one?



We all need to make sacrifices (part II)

continued from part I

I’ve always believed that a football club chooses you. A club will suck you in and its traditions will slowly mould you into a supporter with traits and characteristics that are synonymous with it, forming part of the majority tribe. Even if you think its you doing the choosing because it's your local club or you like the badge or a player or you were mesmerised by a group of lads singing songs in the street - it's all part of the seduction process that emanates and then entices you in.

But even though, say one set of fans associated with one particular club are known for a collective trait (noisy, quiet, fickle, dreamers, deluded and so on) the experience of the individual still remains unique to that person. Obviously. Only you are you. You support and love your football club as you see fit and although it’s a tribal event every weekend there are no rules and regulations governing how you choose to follow them. Yes, okay, there are in terms of behaviour at games but I’m referring to how you follow from the heart and in the mind. That can never be policed. That should never be policed.

So, from one supporter to the next, their love for Spurs can be unequivocal and yet their opinions and the manner of how they conduct themselves with displays of passion, anger, thought-provoking conversations and analysis can be at complete odds with each other. Individually, it has no impact (one man’s voice on a blog has no far reaching influence) but football is tribal and by virtue of always having two sides it means that the individual will gravitate towards other individuals that think the same way. Hence the splintering of the fanbase and the arguments surrounding the right and wrong way to ‘support’.

Strip it all away, at its purest level, we support Tottenham Hotspur. But to do that we have to support the players in the shirt and the coach on the touchline. Just how you define said support if you are at odds with what is going on falls back to perception as an individual and how big the group of individuals are that agree their way is the right way. Just turning up to sing your heart out no matter the adversity at hand is, in this consumer obsessed generation where experts and pundits tell us what we should be thinking, not an option. You can't be involved and ignore all the politics at hand. Even if you want to you still end up talking about them. Where there is a want, a desire for success, when there is something at stake...the pressures are hard hitting and can weigh you down. Make you uneasy, nervous.

The below quote was posted by a regular reader to the blog (Ronnie), directed at me (not in an argumentative way), in the comments section of another article that involved disagreements on how ‘supporters’ should react and support when the team are not performing.

We are both pro Spurs and pro AVB.

We just happen to have differing opinions on fan behaviour in the stadium. I’m for liberty and communication; you’re for censorship and pretence.

Personally, I've taken the stance that there is no reason to panic and the very idea of it can be detrimental and has no foundation in aiding the team and that because of what’s happened (new coach, overhaul of training and tactics, inherited bad form) there should not even be a question of patience discussed – it’s a given that a new era has to work through transition first. What this means is, you appreciate that the team isn’t firing on all cylinders and you sing your heart out and try to inspire the players (even if that means screaming fiery shouts of encouragement with aggressive chest thumping). You react like this because you want change to occur from a winning mentality on the pitch so that the team goes forward and doesn't take a step back. Sitting back and worrying about the worst case scenario isn't going to help. You or the team.

So, in terms of the quote from Ronnie, do I advocate censorship and pretence? The team is not playing great. If you ignore the fine line between three points and one point that we’ve witnessed so far in our two home games you might accuse the other set of supporters that their decision to boo and want change/admit that we are failing was already switched on before the season had even began. That they don’t want to witness more of something they know will not improve and that change is not a step back, it’s saving us from making that step back. Arguably, these people are realists (pessimists to others) and are not easily blinded by the beating of the drum and fanciful dreams.

But what if you’re a supporter that wants the coach and team to improve and progress but still want to show your dissatisfaction and vocalise your honest reaction to what is playing out before you (like Ronnie)? Does showing your disdain for performance by matching those that are equally unhappy but are baying for blood actually work? Is there a way of classifying vocally what your despondency means when screaming it out from the stands? How can you differentiate between the two? You can't but then you shouldn't place your hand over your mouth if you feel that strongly about it. The issue here is that you can't tell the difference unless you're standing next to them and listening to their complaints. Some are constructive and are based on wanting to see improvement, others are unforgiving and have had enough and don't want to waste time on waiting.

Liberty? I see that. I more or less described it just now. You are Tottenham Hotspur and if you’re unhappy you’re not going to hold back. Love can make you do crazy things. Take the good with the bad but in equal measures when reacting to them. Loud when we win, loud when we don't. The split is on the latter and the ilk of loud that's made.

Communicating? So leading on from liberty - you are doing just that by making it heard that you’re not pleased and as an individual this freedom of expression spreads to others who feel the same way you do, validating the rebellion (or is it freedom fighting?). Defiant singing is the other argument. Sing regardless, can't smile without you, because it's Tottenham. If its aimed at the team, the coach...what would they react best to? Again, we're back to agreeing to disagree on what warrants a reaction to be one of booing or one of song.

So what of me and other like minded individuals that want to be loud in voice with song? Are we not embracing liberty and communication by deciding that singing and attempting to inspire is a more positive approach to the fatalistic one in direct conflict to us? Am I side-stepping the truth and dressing myself up in pretence and denial? How can I possibly know the future? Even if I retain pragmatism close to home am I still wired up blindly not to see things as ‘crisis’ and ‘turmoil’? Am I avoiding the inevitable? Are they perhaps not fatalistic but simply more robust to the truth?


concluded in part III


We all need to make sacrifices (part I)

A bloke starts dating a woman. There was chemistry when they met but they’ve had three dates and things have yet to really sparkle. Some friends are saying they should split up, whilst others are saying its early days and they’re obviously suited to each. They just need a really good night out to kick start things, open up a little and feed off each other’s personality.

But there's still some doubt.

“You’re on the rebound, you should never have dumped your last girlfriend”
“She was a flirt”
“Yeah, but she was as good as you’ve had it for while”
“She just wasn’t committed enough”

So what to do? That sparkle, where does it come from?

“You need to have sex”
“Sex. You need to sleep with her. Once you’ve slept with her you’ll know if there’s any true chemistry between the two of you”
“She does seem up for it, but I don’t know, there’s mixed signals in there. I think it might happen but then it doesn’t. We don’t quite go all the way. Maybe it's too early, we don't quite know enough about each other”
“Is she teasing you?”
“No, no. It’s like we fumble a little and...well, nothing comes from it”
“Sounds like you both need to relax a little, let it happen naturally”

The bloke has a think, a scratch of the head.

“I guess we shouldn’t stay in, we need to go out, go away for the weekend and something might happen”
“Enjoy a day out. You both probably feel a little anxious when staying indoors”
“I’ll do that”
“And if it doesn’t go well?”
“I’ll dump her. Plenty more fish in the sea”


So, what is the point of the adult themed Jackanory above? If the conclusion you’ve come to is that Tottenham needs to have sex with Andre Villas-Boas then, well, you’re obviously as disturbed as I am. For a start it’s not physically possible and the picture being painted in my mind is quite hideous. So that wouldn't be the point. But don’t fret, this isn’t going to turn into another ‘be patient’ speech. I guess the allegory (the one trying desperately to jump out of the narrative) is that relationships are complex and people’s perceptions of what might and might not work are based on gut reactions, instinct, attractions and past experience and comparisons. That includes the couple in the relationship and the friends that are being supportive or not being quite as supportive.

But then what exactly is defined as supportive in this scenario? Getting him to stay with her or getting him to break up?

This theoretical couple, the bloke, his friends are saying stick with it but there are some saying don’t bother its doomed to fail, there’s no evidence to suggest it will work. Are both sets of friends not being as supportive as each other by virtue of loyalty displayed to their friends well being? Is there such an act as not being supportive when you care for someone? Whether you agree with the relationship or not, you offer support based on what you believe is best. Unless you have an agenda. Which means you’re influenced to react a certain way to prove your point without caring for consequence to anyone else involved.

You care for your friend, you don’t want him to waste his time, you don’t think it’s worth his time – you think he should move on and just admit it's not going to work out no matter what. You don't want to see him get knocked.

You care for your friend, his happiness is imperative, you think he should stick with it as it’s too early to really know the person yet and it could quite easily blossom. The best things in life have to be worked at, the ones that last don’t necessarily start off with fireworks.

The friends are loyal but both have differing opinions. But offer protection with different paths outlined. But an argument might be that even if you're unsure about the woman and about the relationship - you should tell him what he thinks he needs to hear because most people, that early in a relationship, want to see where it goes. They want to give a chance. They want it to succeed. If its meant to be, it's meant to be.

Now if the allegory seems weak and misguided than it becomes fairly redundant at the point I’m about to move onto. The actual point I want to make about Spurs. Football transcends relationships. You love Tottenham Hotspur. You love a football club. You are stuck with the club for life. It's beyond marriage, it's a life style that's with you forever, it engraves itself onto your soul and you literally have to sell it to the devil to escape from it. But how does that actually work? What is it exactly you love and fall in love with? Its name? Its traditions? The players? The classic games? The pub before the game? The style of football? The people you go to the game with?

Can it be defined?

It’s not the love of bricks and seats or a postcode. Although that forms part of it allowing memories to anchor. Tottenham Hotspur itself is memories and experiences and friendships you live through. Some live as you watch it all unfold and some relived through books and recorded footage. Tottenham exists and yet its very essence is you and what you witness and process. It’s a constant, it’s always there but you are also a constant and far more important because you and you alone define what it means to be Tottenham. You define what it is that makes the club the club it is. You give the club an identity. You become part of a collective of identities, all unique but with one thing in common. You are all Tottenham Hotspur.

A man that walks the earth alone may as well not exist because he has nothing to be defined by, aside from his own thoughts. You are who you are in everyday life because you have family and friends and work colleagues and people you speak to online or casual commuters and pedestrians in the streets. You, your actions and the person you are is illuminated through the eyes of others around you. You need them to make you who you are.

Tottenham is what it is because of the supporters that follow Tottenham. Otherwise, it's just bricks and a postcode without a voice and without heart.

Okay, so I’m about to drown in existentialism and I can already feel myself moving away from the point that I’m supposed to be travelling towards (you really expect me not to take the long and winding road to get there?)


to be continued in part II


Page 1 ... 2 3 4 5 6 ... 147 Next 12 Entries »