Tottenham Hotspur – a long and painful love affair

I’ve supported Tottenham Hotspur Football Club for nigh on 60 years.

That’s a long time to remain faithful.

We lived in south east London in the 1960s, so if I’m honest my youthful commitment to the north London club probably had more to do with their recent success, than with geography.

Crystal Palace would have been the obvious choice, but they hadn’t won the famous Double – the gruelling old First Division championship and the still magical FA Cup – as Spurs had in 1960-61.

Besides, Palace were rubbish, only ascending to English football’s top table in 1969-70, and then only for a few seasons, before yo-yoing back down to the lower divisions.

No, I had pledged my young footballing soul to the Cockerel of White Hart Lane, and there was no turning back.

Unfortunately, the last 50 years for Spurs fans have been as frustrating as waiting for a politician to speak the unvarnished truth: they did once, but don’t hold your breath waiting for the next time….

Sure, we’ve had some sporadic success since those heady 1960s Glory Days:

  • League Cup wins in 1970-71 and 1972-73. But it was only the League Cup….
  • winning the inaugural UEFA Cup in 1972 at least gave me some temporary bragging rights in the school playground
  • back-to-back FA Cup wins in 1980-81 and 1981-82. Argentinian Ricky Villa won the first of those with a dazzling solo effort, before opting out of the 1982 final because of the ongoing Falklands War

A couple more isolated Cup wins followed, but it’s largely been a fallow harvest throughout my adult life. And completely barren as far as The Big One is concerned…..

Liverpool dominated the First Division league in the 1970s and 1980s, Manchester United the Premier League in the 1990s and 2000s, with recent success also for Chelsea, Manchester City, and – the hardest of all to bear – was north London rivals Arsenal winning the Premier League three times in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

And through all those long, lean years, Spurs’ highest league position was 2nd in 1962-63. A few 3rds flattered to deceive, but for long spells we were condemned to mid-table mediocrity, the Final Score teleprinter churning out details of yet another humbling defeat at 4:45 on a Saturday afternoon.

But could that all be about to change….?

In a wondrously unpredictable season, and with only 12 games left, Leicester City stand – unbelievably – on the summit and Spurs are 2nd, a mere 2 points further back, after a dramatic away win against Manchester City on Sunday. And we have a much better goal difference than all the other contenders.

Could it really happen? Could my beloved Tottenham finally win the Premier League?

I hope so.

It would be a good morality tale. Commitment, love and loyalty are not always easy bedfellows, but if you remain faithful you will reap rewards over the long-term. The journey may sometimes be hard, but you will learn much about yourself and about the object of your passion during the adventure.

But if Spurs blow it this time, that’s it. It’s over.

I’ll support Leicester next season. I went there once. And blue has always been my favourite colour.

 

2 thoughts on “Tottenham Hotspur – a long and painful love affair”

  1. As a lifelong committed Spurs fan, I couldn’t agree more! I just love our team at the moment and keep pinching myself – am I dreaming or can we really be up there fighting to be champions? Hopefully top 4 but good on Poch.

  2. Sometimes it is best to be mid table than to endure the heartache of thinking right up to the slippery Gerrardesque end that your team might just win the title …..

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