Photo by Big Ears
With a different player signing a new contract every week, the desire to stay at Spurs is obvious. James Forster looks at the change in culture at the club and the hope for the future.
Mauricio Pochettino’s era has seen vast changes in significant areas at Tottenham: The huge improvement of key players such as Danny Rose & Kyle Walker; a stronger backbone, solidified defence and a young hungry team with strong influence from the academy – the list goes on. However, most importantly has been the change of culture he’s helped cultivate at the club.
You need only to go back a few years ago to remember the chaos that surrounded the Sherwood era. Rumours of player unrest and brimming tension behind the scenes – Tottenham’s culture was in need of an overhaul. Fans were split and the discontent and glum loomed large over White Hart Lane.
Most importantly has been the change of culture Pochettino has helped cultivate at the club
Fast forward to present day and a complete contrast to those darker times is apparent. Look at the abundance of key players signing new deals, our one and only Harry Kane stating he would ‘love’ to stay at Tottenham Hotspur for the rest of his career and the connection felt between all key stakeholders at the club . There has been a radical overhaul in the culture of the club, and I believe how the club is perceived and thought of by our own players.
For so long, our very best players have hit their heights at Spurs, only to then go looking for bigger and better clubs – clubs which will ‘prosper’ their career and take them to the next level. Look at Dimitar Berbatov, Luka Modric and Gareth Bale as recent examples of this. Now, however, we have players who believe in Pochettino’s project, they want to be key figures in this journey and can sense something special could happen at this club. Most importantly to me as a fan, is seeing these players desperate to play in the lilywhite shirt – they’re not playing for themselves – they truly are a cohesive unit, working together towards a common goal.
Through this change in culture, we are no longer a team with a soft edge. We fight until the last minute.
Pochettino stated recently that the club only extended players’ contracts who were desperate to stay, who believed in the ideas. Gone are the days of offering a contract in desperation of fending off a bigger club who our player is desperate to move to. Through strong leadership, Pochettino and his comrades have installed a desire to play for Tottenham – a project they do not want to miss out on, a project they believe can take their careers to the next level without seeking a ‘bigger’ move.
External perceptions have also changed. Just recently I had a conversation with a friend who supports Manchester City. He couldn’t believe the transformation Tottenham had taken under Pochettino’s watch. There was almost a jealous tone to his words, that Tottenham had grown in stature as a club, all through wise management and a strong philosophy and without spending ridiculous money which his club so often has in recent years – money that can fabricate success. It’s refreshing to hear from other fans and helps solidify to me that Tottenham truly are on the right track.
Through this change in culture, we are no longer a team with a soft edge. We fight until the last minute, the belief is high within this young group. Players need to be ambitious and Pochettino encourages this within his players. Teams no longer come to White Hart Lane expectant of an easy game – it is clear that we are a team that means business and can be unstoppable in the Premier League when we truly hit our straps (ask Manchester United about those seven minutes last season.)
Players want to be key figures in this journey and can sense something special could happen at this club
A healthy culture is so important to a successful sports team – look at the toxicity that brewed under Mourinho in his most recent reign at Chelsea. Yes he won another title, but at what cost? The season that followed was the worst defence of a Premier League title ever. They had players disinterested, and a group of snakes eager to see the back of him. Now, Chelsea have to rebuild – yes they have deep pockets to reach into which may speed up the process, however it was all because of the mess their culture created.
As a fan of this great club, I am so hopeful. It is a bright time for Tottenham Hotspur and the future looks even better. You only have to look at the 85,000 that went to Wembley to support our team to see the significant transformation this club has undertaken. Now the hope is that the fruition of all this positivity and change in culture is silverware – with the plans in place and the club in the hands of one of the best managers its ever had, the glory glory days may well be on the horizon.