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A Bad Season For Spurs? Not In My Book…

“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!” — Bill Nicholson OBE

Before I start the first thing I should say is I don’t consider this season to be a bad one. Like any Spurs fan over 10 years old I’ve experienced far too many bad seasons and no matter what way you look at it and no matter where we finish in the league, this season can’t be compared to the dross we’ve had to contend with in the last 20 years or so.

tottenham newsThat being said it’s been a disappointing season for me, but I think that’s my own doing. I think I expected too much, more than the team and management could deliver. I expected more domestic cup games and a much more consistent and entertaining league campaign than we’ve had. I’m not quite sure what I expected from the champions league and obviously what we did get didn’t disappoint in the slightest. However, I do think it’s papered over a relatively poor season. The most important word in that last sentence is relatively, because that’s exactly what it is, relative.

Like the Olympic Stadium mess, the feelings on this season have divided fans right down the middle. There are those who believe 5/6th place in the league and a ¼ final appearance in the champions league constitutes an excellent season. I’ve seen some say one of the best we’ve ever had. I completely understand this thinking too. Compare it to pretty much any season in the previous 20 and it’s been very good, with the only exception possibly being last season. It certainly outshines Martin Jol’s two 5th spots on paper, although once again because I expected so much more it doesn’t have the same sense of achievement.

Then there are those of us, like myself, who don’t compare this season with any season other than the last one because it’s the only season that has basically the same teams to compare it with. There’s no point comparing today’s results with one’s 15 years ago. If we’re doing that then we might as well keep going and say no matter what happens from season to season we should be happy because there was a time we weren’t even playing league football. Do Stoke fans just sit back and enjoy everything that happens because it wasn’t that long ago they were in the lower divisions? Of course not. That might happen in the first season in the top flight but after that comparisons are made with the previous season to judge where the club is heading and if we compare this season with last this has been a disappointment.

There have obviously been smatterings of absolute joy too, showing what this current team is capable of. Inter Milan at home, Arsenal away and AC Milan away to name three. Unfortunately there have been way too many bad memories from this season too and in fact they outweigh the good. Wigan home, Arsenal home (Carling cup), West Ham away, Bolton away, Fulham away (FA Cup) and then the last few weeks with the exception of Stoke at home that have really put a downer on the entire year for some.

Basically what I’m saying is if you remove the champions league performances and results from this season we really haven’t done very much to cheer about have we? Whether English teams have worked us out in a way European one’s didn’t I don’t know but the free flowing, attacking, goal scoring displays we’ve seen in midweek games have been largely missing on a Saturday. In fact you could marry the teams performances with a certain PFA player of the year. When Bale has performed in the manner he did from January to May last season the team has looked brilliant. At times putting in breathtaking displays and scoring some of the best goals I’ve seen at the Lane (or away from it). The fast break against Villa on Boxing Day springs to mind and then the obvious individual hat-trick in the San Siro in what shouldn’t be forgotten was a defeat but we got style marks in the second half.

I’m not blaming Bale personally here by the way. In fact I’m not blaming anyone. It’s just one of those things. I’m sure half (or more) of the people reading this will be thinking what a moaning, glass half empty kind of guy he is and you’d be right. My glass is always half empty and I love a bit of a moan, but that’s because I want us to be the best. I don’t buy into the theory that we can’t compete with two billionaire owned clubs, the two most successful English teams in history and the French Foreign Legion down the road. Why can’t we? All I hear is we won’t be able to compete until we have a bigger stadium so we can pay the bigger wages etc. Of course on a long term scale I understand this theory but we competed just fine last season against the same opposition so why not this? I’ve also heard the argument that both Liverpool and Chelsea spent big in January which of course is true but Chelsea’s spending was primarily on an out of form striker who’s caused them more problems than he’s worth and a defender when keeping clean sheets was never really a problem for them. Liverpool’s resurgence was as much about “King Kenny” returning and managing them correctly as it has been the new strikers they’ve bought with the money Chelsea gave them. Andy Carroll has hardly played for them in that time.

The arguments for accepting this as a good season are:

  • It’s been better than most of the last 20 years
  • We got to the ¼ finals of the champions league
  • 5/6th is the best we can realistically hope for

None of those are good reasons in my eyes. With my glass half empty specs on I’d be more inclined to look at it like this:

  • We’ve failed to build on a fantastic season last year
  • The teams above us have become more inconsistent and yet we’ve dropped back
  • We failed to buy the correct players in the correct positions
  • Out early in both domestic competitions in embarrassing fashion
  • We’ve got a particularly poor goal scoring record for a “top” side
  • We haven’t experienced many “easy” wins like the 5-1′s and very rare 9-1 from last season

Baring a miracle, 4th place and another champions league campaign are off the cards but 5th place is still very much on and winning our remaining two home games against the seasiders and Birmingham are must win’s if we’ve got any chance. If you would rather we didn’t play in the Europa League like so many then keep your fingers crossed for more disappointment, although we may find no matter where we finish we could get into that competition through the fair play league so we might as well finish as high up as we can. After all, if we finish behind a Liverpool team that’s spent half the season in “crisis” surely that’s yet another sign of it being a poor season?

Here’s where some positivity comes into this update. It’s 50 years to the day that we became the first club to win the league and cup double in the 20th century and I think we’ll celebrate in style tomorrow. Sadly at the expense of Blackpool who having started our decline in recent weeks with their 3-1 win in a game that highlighted everything that’s been wrong with spurs in the league this season, are now struggling to beat the drop and I think we’ll put one more nail in that coffin. For the record I really hope they manage to stay up purely because of the way they try to play football but any points they need will have to come after tomorrow.

I’ve got a feeling we’ll see the team perform more like they were last season and this season in Europe. We’ll live up to the entertaining, attacking, goal scoring tag the press seem to have given us but this time without conceding 2 or 3 goals first. It’ll be an afternoon to remember, a celebration of a time when 5th place and a ¼ final was seen as an ok season, not a good one and of a team who would only settle for playing blistering football and 1st place. A time I wish we all shared now. As the great man once said, it’s better to fail aiming high than to succeed aiming low.


Submitted by THFC1882

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