Will the real Tottenham Hotspur please stand up…

August 18, 2010 — by John Lally1

I repeat…Will the real Tottenham Hostpur please stand up. We’re going to have a problem here…

There’s the obvious question of which one the “real” reflection of Spurs is: the fantastic, everything-but-the-win game against Manchester City on Saturday to start the Premier League season; or the tepid, inept, throwaway performance against Young Boys of Berne in the Champions League playoff last night.  But there’s also the more long term view.

For 20 years, we’ve been the “nearly” team. The team that goes 3-0 up to Manchester United at half time and loses 5-3 (and proving lightning can strike twice, followed that up with this 2004 FA Cup performance The team that throws away a season-long stay in 4th place on the last day of the season after some dodgy lasagna and a frustrating defeat to West Ham (cf. 2005/2006 season).  Or is the real Tottenham now the one that went up to Manchester City for the penultimate game of last season and earned a hard-fought 1-0 win to guarantee themselves 4th place.  Honestly, I have no idea which one will show up on Saturday away at Stoke, (my gut is telling me a 1-0 defeat) or for the second leg against Young Boys at White Hart Lane next week.

It’s the return of the “Ah wait, no way. You’re kidding, aren’t you?”

I guarantee that’s how every Tottenham fan was feeling after thirty minutes of the game yesterday. So many individual and collective mistakes had led to a 3-0 deficit which threatened to derail our Champions’ League adventure before it had ever really begun.  The obvious mistake for the first goal was Assou-Ekotto, who gave away a cheap free-kick from which the goal came; but in the build up to that play Luka Modric attempted a ridiculous cross-field ball which fell way short of the intended target (Bale on the left wing) and put Spurs under unnecessary pressure.