The last couple of days have passed in a blur of hazy joy. They are the kind of days that happen very, very rarely in football.
Last summer’s World Cup; that euphoric, almost other-worldly few weeks where the sun shined, the beers were cold and England actually entertained. But that was a shared emotion, the whole country united, 60 million people joining together. This was way, way more personal. This was Tottenham Hotspur.
Tottenham Hotspur: one of the top four teams in Europe. Better than Real Madrid, better than Bayern Munich, better than Paris St Germain. Tottenham Hotspur, who, when I started supporting them, sometimes played Gary Doherty up front. Whose idea of a good season was a cup run and 9thplace. Who regularly broke my poor young heart in Worthington Cup finals and local derbies. We were the little brother of the footballing world, the club who would have their hair ruffled and be told ‘Ah well, next season eh?’
But on Wednesday night that all changed. And it’s not just that we beat Manchester City, the swaggering, buckeneering machine who toy with opponents like a dog with a mouse. It’s how we did it.
When Raheem Sterling scrambled in the ‘winner’ in almost in slow motion, I turned to my fellow Spurs-supporting friend and we shared a look of almost complete acceptance. Ofcourse they won it in the last minute. This is the role our club plays in the football: the nearly men, the wannabes, the ‘lads, it’s Tottenham’. We’d get a pat on a head, a ‘what an effort’, a ‘they gave it their all’. We’d have the piss taken out of us online, we’d stutter towards the end of the season and normal service would be resumed.
And then, out of nowhere… we won it.
Since then life has, frankly, been bliss. If I was to estimate the number of times I’ve watched the highlights it would be around the 25 mark. And that’s not even to mention the full time scenes, Mauricio Pochettino’s dressing room cojones celebration, even Victor Wanyama’s absurd injury time toe punt into touch.
Life has been dominated and overwhelmed by that ridiculous 94 minutes of football. I can be walking down the street and suddenly involuntarily clench a fist; have a random urge to shout Yid Army down the High Street; get a pint because, frankly, why the bugger not?
Almost the greatest part of this mad adventure is that there is no way we can lose now. The semi-finals were way, way beyond our reach- we shouldn’t we here. And if we are defeated by Ajax we lose to a club that are respected around the world, an exciting young team, a club with similar principles to our own. It sure beats losing to City.
And if we win… well frankly it would surpass my expectations of where Spurs would ever get to in my lifetime. And it would be truly and utterly bizarre.
Whatever happens, I will never forget these few days. From being taken on the most emotionally draining journey thinkable to total and unadulterated euphoria and pure supernatural dizzy joy.
Thank you Poch, thank you Levy, thank you Son, thank you Sissoko. This is more than I could ever have imagined.