Tottenham Hotspur

Life, death, and the drifting Tottenham Hotspur

Jude Summerfield
Tottenham are just drifting
Tottenham are just drifting / Harriet Lander/Copa/GettyImages

By and large in football and in life, you have your drifters.

The difference is some people in life are happy enough being drifters, and that should be accepted. Being comfortable and happy to live life in your own skin without leaving a humongous dent on the planet can be a good way to go about things. There should be no judgement from others, because nobody has a right to instruct another on how to live their life.

In football, and for players in particular, however, there is no time for drifters. The window for success is so short for the idolised stars of today that to simply plod along is not an option.

That is what makes the situation at Tottenham so odd from a football perspective, and this idea of ambling along, simply waiting for things to resolve themselves, has hit this writer quite hard.

If you've had problems in your life with untimely bereavement, this is your trigger warning.

You see, my mother passed away just over a month ago, and unfortunately the circumstances around it have left me questioning my outlook. Should I have been more proactive in helping her? Should I have tried to take on some of her burden? Should I simply have been more present?

Thankfully, I know that eventually I will sleep fine at night. While those questions and doubts pop into my head regularly throughout each day and her absence continues to destroy me, I know I did everything I could to help her before her passing. Each day, I manage to piece myself together a little easier, even if it feels like a massive part of the jigsaw is missing.

It's a life experience I will have to deal with forever, and while there are many things to learn spiritually from such an ordeal, I just can't help but see the parallel between how I was drifting and what Tottenham are right now. Yes, it might be ridiculously unfair to equate the loss of a loved one to the constant missteps of a football club, but what we all want to see from the teams we invest our time and love into is a basic level of competence on a football level.

This current Spurs team is indefinable. How do they attack? How do they build phases in the middle of the park? Who takes charge at the back? There simply aren't obvious answers to those questions.

In the summer, we heard it all from Daniel Levy, who said in a very proud and chest-out way that the club would go back to its 'DNA' with attacking football high on the agenda, while when Nuno Espirito Santo was appointed he promised he would make the fans 'proud'.

If the 'DNA' snippet was a hint Levy wanted Spurs to go back to their 1990s midtable selves and again become the flaky, ill-disciplined, 'Spursy' side every other fan in the world loves to point the finger at and say 'it could be worse, we could be that lot', he's gone the right way about it.

Shortly after that, a director of football was brought in but nothing that has transpired since the summer has suggested Tottenham are any closer to becoming an attacking beast like they were towards the end of the 2010s.

There just aren't teams around anymore who thrive off being idealess. Chelsea might be a tough watch, but their patterns of attack and the quality from wide positions is joyous. The way Manchester City craft goals is so slick and enviable. Liverpool? Jurgen Klopp might be a grouch every now and then, but how can you fail to enjoy Mohamed Salah right now?

For the past two years, Tottenham have been drifting. They abandoned a man so gloriously at peace with his ideals after an exhausting run to the Champions League final and replaced him with someone who simply doesn't know how football works anymore. More recently, Nuno looked clueless on the sideline whenever the cameras turned to his magnificent beard with his side 3-0 down.

Where is the accountability? Who looked at Jose Mourinho's spell at the club and decided Nuno's appointment would be a step in the right direction? It shows a basic lack of understanding of how modern football works.

Some things in life are final, and that just has to be accepted. People can't be brought back when their time comes. It's the most tragic and heartbreaking thing to come to terms with, an affair no one should have to go through, but we all do. And most of the time, people come through such times stronger than before.

Hugo Lloris
Tottenham were abject in their defeat to Manchester United / Catherine Ivill/GettyImages

But football clubs don't have to work like that. Instead, they can offer hope and inspire those who have struggled. When bad times come, they can rebuild, and if the right people are in charge, change can come pretty quickly.

Tottenham do not look like doing that though, and I can promise you they are not a good team to support for those who are prone to a little bit of anxiety.

More than that, those in charge have stoked apathy and indifference. Nuno was booed by supporters during the loss to Manchester United, and they also called for Levy's removal.

Mourinho lasted a little longer last season as there were no fans in the stadium to heckle him during these turgid losses, but Nuno didn't have that benefit. As we know now, he's been booted and Antonio Conte is being prepped to come in as his replacement.

What we can't now say is Tottenham is a 'well-run club' from a football perspective - they pissed around during the summer appointing someone so far down their list of applicants that every Twitter user was wheeling out the 'I've turned down the Tottenham job' gag.

When everyone is pointing the finger and laughing at you as a club, it's probably a sign for some deep reflection.

The atmosphere on Saturday night was akin to Andre Villas-Boas' last game, a 5-0 defeat to Liverpool. I half expected to see Eric Dier scaling the stands to confront a supporter. It was toxic and fitting for a club ambling from A to B without any idea of how to get there.

It's a club with such undeniable potential. The business infrastructure is there, and the stadium really is a work of art. But it has to start treating its fans with some respect.

They pay some of the most expensive prices for tickets in the country and consistently pack out away ends for games like Burnley away in the Carabao Cup, and in return they have been handed some of the most lifeless football the club has ever produced. They deserve more than an insincere 'Together' social media post after each dismal performance.

We've seen in the past few years that a side like Spurs cannot afford to stand still, as other clubs who are on the ball can rapidly gain strides and leave you in the lurch. They've paid the price for their indecision and thoughtlessness, and now is the time to truly get serious and stop drifting.

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