For those who aren’t football followers, for years Manchester City have been Spurs’ nemesis and arrived at White Hart Lane as the Premier League leaders managed by one of the best coaches in the world while playing exciting, attacking football. They left well beaten. So the title of today’s blog is both a celebration and an excuse to write what I was probably going to anyway.
You see the club I support has, for years, been synonymous with intermittent, often individual, brilliance but is now a team with a modus operandi in which consistent, sustained effort is the watchword. Much like life itself needs to be if it is to have real impact. Interestingly in this, the total is more than the sum of its parts. Again, what one would hope for in life too.
The problem for me is that I’ve always loved those flashes of individual brilliance, epitomised for me in the talents of one Dimitar Berbatov, who was capable of making you doubt the evidence of your own eyes with his outrageous skill. A player, who seemed to exhibit genuine puzzlement when he saw his team mates actually running, could make it seem as though time itself was standing still while all around him was frenetic activity. Poetry in motion personified.
Why this is important is that I’ve interpreted life in that fashion; that is that some people had enormous natural talent while I just had the ability to keep going. Crucially, thinking that I had little such talent denied me the opportunity to develop any that I actually had.
Well, Spurs have undergone a massive culture change; a team in which Alex Ferguson’s only reputed team talk before a match against them was “It’s Tottenham, lads”. As if that said it all. Unfortunately, it often did. For my own part, having rescued a number of charities from closure, a process that required real cultural change, I know how difficult this can be. I also find a sweet irony in the fact that, for many years, I’ve helped other people and organisations to change relatively quickly while, for me, it’s been very much a work in progress. To be fair to myself there have been a great many changes spread over some years and perhaps what has happened recently is the culmination that I know it to be. However, much of it has been about applying sustained effort for myself instead of for others.
I now see the difference that this is making in my day to day work and that has helped enormously. So, if Spurs can change and be successful while remaining true to the club’s historic ethos of playing football that is good to watch, maybe I can do the same in my career. On the evidence of the last few months, it would seem that I may be able to. Still it was a very good scoreline.