Wednesday, 29 December 2010

The perfect 10 men

Last season, when we were positively battering Chelsea at home, a friend texted to ask, 'Who are these strange men in white shirts?'

I had to admit I didn't know. But whoever they were, they're still here.

This team just doesn't know the rules. Our rules, anyway. And they have no respect for our traditions. When they go ahead, they think they'll go on and win. When they go behind, they think they'll probably still win.

They see a goal as the first step towards victory not, as it used to be the case, an audaciously early equaliser or, in some cases, the laying down of a marker for some semblance of respectability in the scoreline. Conceding a goal, meanwhile, is just a bump in the road to victory.

When they're reduced to 10 men, they don't just dig in and show resilience, they break up the pitch with speed, style and confidence - and score actual goals, like real teams. Like, well, like Man United, frankly.

Previously, in almost any situation, a win was viewed largely as a wholly unexpected bonus. We, fans and players, would be quite giddy with delight. Oooh, have we won? Are you sure? I know the final whistle's gone and we've scored more goals than them, but, three points? Really? You're sure? Excellent! Let's get pissed and lose the next one!

Now, we sort of shrug a bit and maybe have a look at the table.

So, who are those strange men in white shirts? Perhaps they're Spurs players.

Perhaps, finally, the psyche of Spurs is changing.

Because more than a properly world class striker or a fit-again pairing of Woodgate and King, that's the final piece in the jigsaw.

We need to stop being Spurs. I'd hate us to be New Spurs, that sort of rebranding doesn't seem to end well, but, more than we need to play differently, we need to think differently. We need to react differently to going ahead and to going behind. And that's what these strange men in white shirts seem to be doing.

They've just done it, twice. And, whilst they seemed very pleased about it, they didn't seem hugely surprised.

I like these strange men. That's not a quote I wish to be remembered for, frankly, but it's true. They can stay. We emphatically don't want our Tottenham back.

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