Conner Green tries to answer a straightforward question.
“It is better to fail aiming high than to succeed aiming low. And we of Spurs have set our sights very high, so high in fact that even failure will have in it an echo of glory” that famous quote by our greatest manager Bill Nicholson. There’s no doubt Bill is our greatest manager, Poch may have a few ideas about changing that but for now the late great Bill is the most important and to the supporters most famous man to don the touchline at White Hart Lane. There are many reasons the fans love Nicholson, a player turned manager who had quotes like “it’s been my life and I love the club” about his beloved Spurs. Mostly for Spurs fans it’s that he actually won things; as a player he won the league with Tottenham in 1951 and then a decade later he won it as a manager in our famous double winning season of 1960-61. As well as multiple FA Cups throughout the sixties, a UEFA Cup and a few League Cups thrown in for good measure. Bill did lead Tottenham through their most glory filled era, this is why Spurs fans will never forget him.
Since this glory-filled era in the 60s and early 70s Spurs have been through a slight drought, there has been another UEFA Cup win in the 80’s and a few more FA cups dotted about throughout the decades but for a club that “have set our sights very high, so high in fact that even failure will have in it an echo of glory” this really isn’t good enough. If you’re to take Tottenham’s record since the inception of the modern game (the Premier League era) it’s pitiful to say the least. Since the Premier League Tottenham have won a grand total of zero FA Cups, two League Cups and zero Premier League titles. This begs the question, why don’t we win anything?
If you’re to take Tottenham’s record since the inception of the modern game (the Premier League era) it’s pitiful to say the least.
What could it be? The Premier League itself is fairly self-explanatory as other than that Leicester win and Blackburn winning it way back in ancient history the Premier League trophy has pretty much stayed in the same four or five trophy cabinets, I don’t to list them, because we all, sadly, know our name isn’t there, and know too well whose is. The Premier League makes sense, but this doesn’t excuse our frankly woeful record in cup competitions; to not have won an FA Cup semi-final since the 1990-91 season, for a club with our history in the competition is frankly, woeful. The League Cup, although for many seen as an irrelevant competition it has positives, and we’ve only won that once, that cup run of 2008. A win that was seen as for many as a platform to move on to bigger things, but in classic Tottenham style within six months we’d sold our two best players and sacked our manager. This still begs the question, why don’t we win anything?
It doesn’t come down to purely squad strength as since our last trophy in 2008, Portsmouth, Swansea, Birmingham and Wigan have all won trophies, although the latter two were relegated in the same season, something even the most desperate-for-silverware-Tottenham-fans wouldn’t be willing to trade for some silverware. These clubs did have something Tottenham do seem to lack; luck. Tottenham tend to be on the level of world’s unluckiest team, ever. The great Pochettino said when his Espanyol side beat Barcelona “to win anything, you need some luck” and any Spurs fan will know we really do lack luck, so we’ll just have to make up for it with pure determination. Although our starting XI is much stronger than previous winners mentioned, our squad does lack real strength in depth, so there has been times when fielding a weaker starting XI has cost us. It’s no real secret to anyone that our squad could do with more padding out, and that will undoubtedly help us on our quest for first silverware under Pochettino.
In classic Tottenham style within six months we’d sold our two best players and sacked our manager.
The real defining factor for me is lack of a winning mentality; it’s all well and good saying you want to win trophies, because who in football doesn’t want to win trophies? No one, but there is a serious difference between wanting to win trophies and having a squad full of players who have been there and done it on multiple occasions. I know our squad is young and still learning, but with learning how to play does come with one serious drawback; an actual lack of experience of playing in big games and knowing how to win them. I’m not one to criticise Hugo Loris (I don’t think any Spurs fan is) but in an ESPN interview after we lost 1-0 at that vapid shell of ground The London Stadium Hugo told ESPN he was “gutted” and Tottenham’s ‘weak mentality’ had cost them. Which is a fair comment, but as a captain and senior member of the team it’s his job to inspire the team, maybe that’s harder to do as a goalkeeper as oppose to a commanding centre-mid directly shouting directions from the middle of the pitch.
Tottenham have always been known as a team that can’t finish, a team that crumbles as soon as they concede a goal, a team that can’t hack it in the big games, but this is changing, ever so slowly. In the three seasons that Pochettino has had at White Hart Lane he has begun to slowly but surely turn our club around, we are no longer just good going forward we are solid defensively, no longer do we get outclassed every time we play another big team. No longer do we always falter at the final hurdle and finish behind those tourists from South London. All that needs to come is that first piece of silverware which will, unlike 2008, serve as a platform for much, much more silverware. Even if it doesn’t, at least our new ground will host a few NFL games, right guys?