What On Earth Do We Expect?
Premier League brand kickball makes its glorious return this weekend, and for Spurs the outlook is, well, no-one’s altogether sure. What counts as success these days anyway? Is fourth place success? Fifth place, does that count as success? Would winning the League Cup be success? Is this picture of a fish finger success? Am I success?
No, of course I’m not. Pull yourself together.
My advice would be to loosen up and remember the golden rule of supporting Tottenham Hotspur: assume unmitigated disaster is just around the corner and if it somehow turns out okay- then, well, super.
One could suggest that the aesthetics of the football we churn out needs improving; AVB often sucked the fun out of games and Tim Sherwood sucked the fun out of life. Most level-headed fans would accept a style change as serious progress under Pochettino. Attach that to a cup final or, heaven forbid, a trophy and we’ll all go home a delirious mess.
In contrast to last summer, not spending £100m in the transfer window has at least tempered any thoughts of us nuzzling alongside City and Chelsea at the League’s summit, but further than that, Pochettino’s brigade are a pleasingly mysterious prospect.
Alongside the unknowns of this new-look Spurs, however, there’s always room for circumspect optimism. Sure, the sound of the transfer record being regularly shattered is an exciting event, but just as exciting can be the noise of careful and considered spending. The gentle whir of someone having a jolly good think and identifying some of our long-term concerns
Buy a left-back, you slag, was a phrase you might’ve come across quite regularly on social media in the last year or so. It’s been a problem area since Danny Rose first discovered that running really fast was more fun than defending. Ben Davies’ arrival has, at the very worst, given Rose some much-needed competition; as it’s fair to say that we won’t be relying on BAE, now that he’s fully converted into someone who hates football.
It’s also worth remembering that the players we purchased this time last year, weren’t signed on one-year contracts. They’re still here, waiting to pop. In some cases waiting to be taken out of the packaging. Remember that Erik Lamela character? If you do have strong powers of recall then you might have recognised somewhat of a change in the young man. No longer a spooked infant goat; wobbly on his feet, unsure of himself or his surroundings. But a fully-grown antelope; a one-man stampede who tore through the Pacific Northwest during pre-season. Look at him go!
It was always going to be tempting to suggest that Pochettino would be the man to get the best out of Lamela- they’re from the same country, duh!– but in this case the early signs indicate that all was needed was his coach to share a kindred tongue. It’s also quite possible that Pochettino is just a good man-manager and being able to speak Spanish has nothing to do with it. I’m sure Carlos Valderama wouldn’t have settled in at Montpellier any quicker had Shakira been around for a chat.
So, with the pressure seemingly off- or at least not quite as intense as it was after gunning all the Bale money- we could surprise ourselves this season: even if at present the details as to what that surprise might be are a little sketchy. There’s the nucleus of something exciting here; potential for something magnificent if the board holds its nerve. With the pool of talent, under the guidance of a bright coach, literally anything could happen. A cup run, an assault on the Europa League, relegation. It’s all up for grabs.
The season’s about to start, folks, time to get a sense of adventure.