Sunday, November 4, 2012

Against Modern Tottenham

A trip to White Hart Lane is fast becoming a toxic experience. You’ll find more atmosphere in a Virgin Train’s quiet zone or during nap time at the local nursery. The only time fans raise from their slumber is the now traditional half-time boo or end of match catcall. A sense of entitlement is palpable in the air. There are plenty of reasons to be against this interpretation of ‘Modern Tottenham’.

Tensions are threatening to boil over amongst supporters with differing views, arguments and petty spats are now commonplace between the perceived ‘nouveau fan’ and those with a greater tolerance (or perhaps experience) of crap results, but one glance at the Premier League table shows Spurs lounging in…fifth. The season isn’t over (if you go by the league table) and many of the club’s best players are stretched out on Ledley’s old treatment table hoping for a surprise invite to Daniel Levy’s luxury pool.

Yet few can deny that Haringey Council’s highest capacity library is a cause for concern. Not so long ago, White Hart Lane was rocking during home matches. It was a source of pride, especially given the dinner party style experience at Highbury and the Emirates, that the passions of our home crowd could carry a mediocre team to better things. A pure, unrequited love for Tottenham, its traditions and history burned bright within us and warmed our wounded souls.

We were relative beggars, enjoying slim pickings and savouring the rare football morsels thrown our way. A taste of success has warped perceptions. The home seats are now awash with unrealistic expectation and a dash of delusion, too many in attendance expect a feast when anyone who has supported Spurs for more than a month should know this particular menu is predictably unpredictable. Shit invariably does happen.

Booing your team with the game still hanging in the balance makes little sense to me. If only similar energy had been expended ‘supporting’ the team against Wigan on Saturday. Over 35,000 Spurs fans belting out rousing Tottenham anthems might have inspired the team to something special or at least made that experience more memorable for those unfortunates in attendance. A different, more negative approach sends everyone home unhappy. Very few people in life respond well to biting criticism, footballers are no different. If everyone at work labels you a twat tomorrow then you will probably understand the feelings of the Tottenham scapegoat du jour. Apparently, the Wigan defeat was either Friedel, Walker, Gallas, Huddlestone, Sigurdsson, Dempsey or Defoe’s fault.

On the flipside, there is little value in being a ‘happy clapper’. There are several perplexing issues ongoing at Spurs. As much as I like and support Andre Villas-Boas, he appears to think tactics are a packet of small mints in a transparent plastic box. Playing a solitary striker at home, especially one who can only hold his balls up at Faces nightclub, makes precious little sense. The Tottenham way is to risk and attack, fail or succeed gloriously, and the largely turgid, conservative displays at White Hart Lane this season do not fit this ethos or sit comfortably with me. I want to be entertained not sedated. To date, AVB’s tactics remaining oddly rigid and devoid of flair. But it’s early days. Hang in there.

Tottenham are a team in transition. Frustration must give way to patience. This season is a team rebuild and, whatever your thoughts on our new manager, he has been hamstrung by injuries to key personnel (Mousa Dembele’s fitness is now, almost farcically, linked to our fortunes) and chairman Levy’s shrewd/tight-arsed transfer policy (delete as applicable) makes every transfer window feel like a 45 second shopping spree at Iceland. Just grab the nearest Sigurdsson!

In the interim, cast aside your grievances and back the team. We are all Spurs fans after all. True support can make an unbelievable difference. Turn the clocks back to ‘Old Tottenham’. It’s a far better place to be.

*** I was fortunate enough to be invited back as a guest on The Fighting Cock podcast this week. It’s the sixth-rated podcast in the United Kingdom and an audio opium den for strung-out Spurs fans. Listen or miss out. You can hear my insane ramblings and more coherent opinions at The Fighting Cock.


Anonymous said...

Agree whole heartedly. Fans need stop with all the self-entitlement, malaise, and "what have you done for me lately?" at home games.

There is a reason our home record is unimpressive--the fans do not show enough support. Instead, we question and boo every decision. The lads seem more relaxed and comfortable on the road.

The lads are still finding their rhythm and cohesion as a group and need encouragement, not ridicule.

darren thomas said...

Good article. I find it to be a confusing time being a spurs fan at the moment. Having watched the garbage in the mid to late 90's and early 2000's we have enjoyed a great few years of relative success and some fantastic football. But what do we so as fans? Do we enjoy it for what it is and be thankful that the dark days are behind us? Or do we forget about all that and think we have a divine right to be in the top four!! And this is where the problems are, there is this thing called expectation now.

We seem to have massive splits forming in our support, those who have forgotten the dark days and think we have a divine right to be in the top 4 and everything else is failure. We have fans who think harry should still be here, after all he got us playing attractive football and we had success under him. Then we have fans who are glad we got rid of him as he took us as far as he could and he couldn't take us to the next level! We also have fans who are unsure of avb and the direction and style of football we are playing. We have fans frustrated by the transfer window dealings where for a few years now we have been crying out for a striker and we can all see that but nothing. Then we have the modric sale and lack of replacement for him which is a massive problem for us at the moment. Then we have the booing fans who think they have a right to boo, and we have the fans who can't stand the booing fans and moan about the lack of support and singing!

My personal frustration is that by having the relative success we have had recently we haven't really kicked on from it and capitalised on it and my fear is that it all fizzles out and we go back to the staus quo!

One thing I am sure of though is that I fucking love spurs! Whoever owns us, whoever manages us and whoever plays for us! White Hart Lane used to be bouncing and loud as hell and we as fans need to get this back! Let's put all our difference of opinions to one side, we all love the shirt let's sing for that and get behind the lads and just see how they respond! We are in 5th for gods sake with our backing and support we can build on that!!!

Totallytottenham said...

I have read a lot of discussion today about the boo boys. Most of it articulate and intelligent arguments for cheering the team but none of it will get through to them. These idiots are nit going to be enlightened by something they read and change their attitude. They most likely have never been influenced by any written word other than the kind of sh!te Paul Jiggins writes. The way to influence change is to stand up and make some noise on match day. The only hope is for the real fans to take charge and shut these fools up. If someone near you boos, don't have it. I hope the 1882 can show the whl faithful how to support the team and have a good time while you're at it. COYS

Anonymous said...

It's difficult to cheer when the turgid soporific football you're being dished up almost sends you comatose. :-(

IKnowAlanGilzean said...

Wholeheartedly agree with the comments about supporting rather than booing the team. It's a whole new ball game of course, but even if many don't remember the mid 70s, the bulk of the 90s and early 2000s should be fresh in memory. Disappointing.

I do think we can get hung up on formations, especially 2 up front at home which is the vogue "complaint" at present, or one of.

We did fine with one up and VdV at the top of the midfield just behind. Though therein lies the problem as we have lost VdV and replaced him with far inferior players (Dempsey/Sigi take your pick).

If AVB was going to play his all pressing and dancing, turbo charged 4-3-3 then I could see the rationale behind VdV being surplus, even if I don't agree. But we are really playing 4-4-1 or 4-5-1,(I'm getting hung up on formations -it's easy to do I know) which the world class VdV would continue to shine in.

I support AVB and am pretty patient still, but Saturday wasn't good enough. Given the distance between the (almost all clubs) club and its supporters how can this be relayed positively to the team? (genuine question)or should we simply trust them to know it was poor and do something next time? They couldn't do so on Saturday and they were poor from the off.

Perhaps a stiff letter to the match day programme :)

The 1882 set at the Maribor game is timely as it'll hopefully remind us of what Spurs is on and off the pitch. Fingers crossed

Anonymous said...

Good blog i used to go down the lane and was proud of the support very rarly did we get outsung at home but these days we are at times an embarasement to the club
Ok we are not playing but when the kane is buzzing it can lift players,it certainly has made the hairs on my back stand up.
This i also in a way put it down to redcrap the politically correct machine telling what we can and cant chant
We are tottenham we sing what we want

Unknown said...

Great article. I have not yet had the pleasure of going to The Lane, although that gets remedied on Thursday. I do, however, watch as many games that I can on Sky, and the sound of Spurs fans booing our players DURING let alone at the end of a game is unfathomable. Yes, AVB made a mistake. These things happen. You (hopefully) learn from them, move on and improve.

Thursday, come win, lose or draw... I will be singing my heart out.

Ally said...

Well said L D. The 'supporters' who boo lack perspective.

'Lust Doctor' said...

Cheers Anon #1. Away games now offer the true Spurs experience. As a kid, I went to WHL with no idea what to expect but fearing the worst. I find the nouveau fan expectation of three points almost chilling.

'Lust Doctor' said...

Fantastic comment, Darren. Many thanks for posting. Sums up the current malaise perfectly. The splintering of the Spurs fanbase is a cause for concern. The internal bickering feels baffling and overwhelming. I wish that energy was diverted into supporting the team.

'Lust Doctor' said...

Nice one, TotallyTottenham. Next time anyone boos I am going to stand up and cheer. Back the team. Let's drown them out with positive noise.

'Lust Doctor' said...

Anon #2. I appreciate the frustration. Everyone was disappointed by Saturday, but support and crowd noise can lift the tempo and the team.

'Lust Doctor' said...

Thanks for the comment and insight, IknowAlanGilzean. AVB needs time. I think he has been hampered by key injuries and Mr.Levy's transfer policy, but my chief concern (on the field) is the lack of entertainment. It's not the Tottenham I know.

'Lust Doctor' said...

Cheers Anon#3. That's a very interesting the lack of singing at WHL due to the enforced 'political correctness'? People have complained about loud voices around me. Yes, really.

'Lust Doctor' said...

Many thanks, Steve. I hope Spurs and the fans can give you an evening to remember. We need more people like you at the Lane. Enjoy the match, mate.

'Lust Doctor' said...

Cheers Ally. I think every defeat makes a win taste sweeter. I try to view a tough loss as an investment in future joy.

Tom said...

one thing I can never work out is who these "boo boys" are. It was certainly the majority of those left in the ground when the final whistle went but I rarely see anyone admit to it. A small group of us in Block 35 got a few chants going during the game but sadly one of the louder ones was "stand up, it's a library" and never a truer word has been sung sadly.

Anonymous said...

Steve if you are going down on thursday you will prob have a good night as its not a so called glamour match you will get the genuine supporters there.
The one thing that is evident on a few forums is how crap our support at home is lately,sorry to the genuine fans on here they know i am not getting at them
Have a great night

'Lust Doctor' said...

Cheers Tom. Credit to you for starting a few chants. Possibly part of the problem is a lack of good songs? Apart from the Aaron Lennon one I invented on the last Fighting Cock podcast ;)!