Dark days at White Hart Lane

I can’t very well continue with this blog and not mention Spurs, much as I’d like to avoid the subject.

For those of you who don’t follow football, here’s a brief resume: A couple of years ago Spurs had a lovely manager called Martin Jol. I loved him. And under his stewardship, we finished 5th two times in a row, scoring lots of goals, which was very good for Spurs. But some people at the club didn’t think Martin was good enough, so after a poor start to last season he was sacked and replaced by Juande Ramos, a granite-faced Spaniard. We recovered enough to avoid relegation and did remarkably well in the Carling Cup, beating Chelsea in the final to win our first silverware in a decade. Hooray. Despite this, our form in the league under Ramos wasn’t great. Then in the close season, we sold our two main strikers, Berbatov and Keane to Manchester United and Liverpool, for good money. Berbatov had been itching to leave for a year, and Keane claimed that Liverpool were his dream club. Alongside them, we also sold lots of key players like Malbranque, Tainio and Chimbonda. We spent big as well, buying big name players from Croatia, Russia and even England. In pre-season we looked quite good. Then the season started. Whoops. Spurs have played 8 games, and have won none of them, with two draws to show for our efforts. We have rarely looked like scoring goals, and the team looks uninvented and uninspired. There is little leadership on the pitch and Ramos doesn’t look like he knows what he wants the players to do. If things continue like this, it is fairly likely that Spurs will be relegated, which would be a disaster for a club that size. Oh, and as a pleasant afterthought, Martin Jol has just steered his new club, Hamburg, to the top of the German League.

On Sunday evening I popped by my mum’s for dinner and told her that we’d lost to Stoke. Worse still, we’d had two players sent off, conceded two penalties and had a player knocked unconscious. We both shrugged. It didn’t really surprise either of us.

Over the last few months I’ve written thousands of words on the subject of Spurs on the messageboards at spurscommunity, and I’ve read thousands more words on who is to blame: from Daniel Levy to Damien Comolli to Juande Ramos and even the fans. It’s exhausting. And I can’t be bothered with foaming at the mouth and chanting “LEVY OUT!” or calling for the manager’s head. None of it will change things.

I’ve passed through the various stages of grieving: denial, anger, bargaining… and acceptance. Not an acceptance that we will get relegated, but an acceptance that the club I loved under Martin Jol has gone. And it has been replaced by a team in which reputations count more than substance, where a love of the club has been replaced by an celebration of mediocrity. At the moment, even the thought of relegation doesn’t horrify me as much as it should, because there is almost no-one in the team that I care about. There’s no-one I’m rooting for. I don’t have a favourite player, because most of the players I loved now play for other teams, and have been replaced by empty superstars signed by people who spend their days watching goal compilations on YouTube.

There have been a litany of woeful errors by both the board and the manager. The chairman has been short-sighted and greedy and Ramos inspires no confidence in me. I look at the team and can’t even bring myself to hate the players – I just feel a pathetic sense of indifference and contempt. I hope we don’t go down. But most of all I want my Spurs back.

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