At Saturday lunchtime, I turned on to BT Sport to watch Spurs play their arch rivals, Arsenal in the local derby match. Now, as a long time Spurs’ supporter, I live more in hope than expectation. It felt similar for this match, although there was more of the latter and less of the former than in previous matches. After all, hadn’t Spurs hammered Chelsea recently? There is always, however, as with any Tottenham supporter, that nagging doubt. How will we contrive to blow it this time? After all, this is the club that, if memory serves me well, was winning 5-1 at home to Aston Villa, only to draw 5-5 and that only as a result of one of our defenders clearing a potential match winner off the line. It was also the club that was 3-0 up against Manchester United only to lose 3-5. Spurs’ fans have trepidation built into their genes. Could that be about to change?
Well, it was the manner of the wins of late that make me think that it just might. Spurs of old weren’t as fit as some of their rivals and they tended to rely on the individual genius of players bought in, such as the brilliant and much lamented Dimitar Berbatov. All that now swept away with home grown youngsters, relentless effort, teamwork and no little skill. Not that a Luka Modric, working his magic in the middle of the park, would go amiss.
It is, however, somewhat ironic that among the first matches that this “new” Spurs should be on display should be that against Arsenal. Now Arsene Wenger has been a progressive and civilising force in English football for the past 16 years. Not only in the football that the team played, but in their training, diet and everything else. What, I suppose, is called a holistic approach. Now, I realise that it may sound heretical, coming from a Spurs’ supporter, but Professor Wenger’s teams have produced some lovely football during his tenure. Indeed, it’s why one of the books I’m writing is entitled “Why Don’t You Just Support Arsenal?” This being my wife’s response to my complaints after I had come home from watching them lose, yet again, on TV in the local pub,
Well, I do believe that what I witnessed on Saturday was a changing of the guard. As, I think, someone once said to Tony Blair, “You were the future once”. As was the Professor. Maybe that is about to change, although only time will tell. However, what is evident is that there is now a new breed of young managers of whom Mauricio Pochettino is one. He has already changed the football culture at Spurs, much as Arsene Wenger did all those years ago at their rivals. Is the guard really changing? Well I think it just might be.