Tottenham Hotspur celebrates 130 years as a club this week, but some may be forgiven for asking what is there to celebrate?
After all Spurs have failed for the second successive season to qualify for the Champions League. We sacked our most successful manager in recent times, Harry Redknapp, hero to the Red Top papers, we sold two of our best players and are currently without a win this season.
Surely the birthday bash should be cancelled? At Norwich on Saturday it sounded as if many were ready to read the Old Cockerel his last rites, but the majority of Spurs fans are cut from far different cloth.
We see positives were others see negatives, we hope, we pray and we remain faithful to the badge. Due to the World Cup qualifiers keeping us away from White Hart Lane this week, here a few reasons why the 130th birthday of this great club shouldn’t be put on hold:
We have Hugo.
The French national captain and one of the worlds top keepers is a Tottenham player. This transfer is a serious statement of the clubs ambition, this is a marquee signing, any Spurs fan who doubts this magnitude of this move take a brief look through our recent goalkeeping history. Bar one season from Paul Robinson, the man between the sticks has been a weak point for nearly 3 decades.
Hugo may not be Joa, Leandro or Willian, but he is a player of pure international class and one who can lead us for the next 10 years.
Daniel Levy holds the wallet.
The Spurs chairman may haggle over every penny to the detriment of our early season form, but is their any other chairman so dedicated to keeping his club at the forefront of domestic football?
Everything Levy does is in the best interest of the club. He may make mistakes when it comes to the club set up or managerial appointments, but financially despite not having regular Champions League football, we are able to make a profit and compete within reason.
We don’t have an Arab or Russian billionaire bank rolling us and unfortunately our wait for the 60,000 seater stadium continues, but the club under his stewardship has progressed.
In 2010/2011 a couple of refereeing and goalkeeping howlers prevented us from a return to the Europe’s top table. Whilst last year, the fallout from a John Terry comment and some missed penalties by Leo Messi, Arjen Robben and Bastian Schweinsteiger kept us out of the Champions League again.
We compete against world financial heavyweights, yet still hold our own. This is down in no small part to Levy. The chairman may have failed to sign a striker, but he is successful in keeping us from imploding like many other clubs who have chased the glory.
Vertoghen & Dembele.
There is no doubting that Belgian is the flavour of the month. Their stars are littered across Europe and thankfully we have two of the best.
I witnessed Jan Vertoghen’s home debut live and his ability on the ball for a centre back was outstanding. He may lack the sheer physical presence of Younes Kaboul, but his composure and positional awareness is Ledley King-esque.
Moussa Dembele already with a fantastic goal to his name looks to be a great replacement for the departed Rafa Van Der Vaart.
Far more mobile and direct, Demebele will over the course of the season prove to be a greater presence than the Dutchman. We may have all worshipped VDV for his goals and passion, but he did regularly disappear in games and vanish altogether at the 70th minute mark.
Demebele will add much need thrust to the team and his ability to play in any midfield role will be crucial if Spurs are to challenge in the Premier League and Europa League.
We are Tottenham.
Despite being starved of serious silverware in recent times, we remain a fantastically well supported club.
We may boo, we may complain, but White Hart Lane will still be full come Saturday afternoon. Whilst Chelsea, Woolwich and West Ham’s crowd ebb and flow according to how their team plays, Tottenham’s season ticket waiting list continues to grow.
We were the first British team to win a European trophy, we claimed the first Double with wonder flowing football, we are the only Non League Club ever to win the FA Cup (1901) and have won a major trophy in each of the last six decades.
Glorious players have come and gone, pass and move invented at White Hart Lane and we have become synonymous with beautiful football. We are the club that Bill Nic Made and in the end Keith Burkinshaw was right: “There used to be a football club here” because now it’s more than that, it’s a lifestyle choice.
Happy Birthday Spurs and here’s to many more!!!