It Doesn’t Have to be Winning at All Costs

Despite my age, I’m still an idealist. Hence, for years I’ve supported a team that has tried to play football with some style, if not always with substance. Yet, I’ve stuck with the concept that the ends don’t justify the means, even when those ends have meant supporting a team that has been, well, “Spursy”. To quote Roy Keane, “Spurs will always let you down”.

You see, in all the years that I’ve followed them, the club has tried to play football with some style, even when that has been at the cost of success. It’s also why, despite his present predicament, I’ve long had a soft spot for Professor Wenger and delighted in watching such players as Paul Gascoigne, Dimitar Berbatov, George Best and those other geniuses who made you doubt the evidence of your own eyes. Berbatov, I firmly believed, could slow down time, especially in the penalty area, Best treated obstacles, in the form of opposition players, as if they didn’t exist and Gascoigne was an utterly outrageous talent. I used to think that all of them originated from another planet and had been sent to earth just to show us what life could be like if we lifted our heads above the humdrum of our daily existence. Spurs, by the way, have had more than their fair share of these types of players. Indeed, they often built teams around such talented individuals and seemed to operate according to a reputed quote from Sir Matt Busby, the legendary manager of Manchester United, to the effect that his team talk was “Just give the ball to George”.

So, what’s brought all this about? Well three things actually. The first is that a young boxer called Anthony Joshua won the World Heavyweight Championship on Saturday night, beating a former champ and formidable opponent by a technical knockout. Moreover, the two of them fought with some style and manners while steadfastly refusing to engage in the badmouthing of one another that normally goes with these events. The second is that my beloved Spurs will, this season, finish above Arsenal in the Premiership for the first time in over 20 years and that they did this be beating their old adversaries on Sunday. Moreover, they have played all season with some style (albeit a little too cautiously for me at times); demonstrating, in the process, that winning need not be at all costs.

Finally, I’m now three quarters of the way through my book about Spurs and should finish it at a very opportune time.

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