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jce83

Apr 152011
 

Ah, so this one has reared its head again, and not just on a fan forum, but with the official support of the club, who have backed the pretty feeble, miss-the-point entirely film offered up by the Baddiel brothers entitled “The “Y” word.

 This is a really complicated issue, and I’m not going to pretend I haven’t had my doubts and concerns about it in the past. I’m a passionate Spurs fan but I’m not Jewish, and so maybe I don’t even deserve to comment. But as someone who considers himself pretty enlightened, and who is very much not (as far as I am aware) anti-Semitic, but who does use the words “yid” and “yiddo” regularly at games, let me give a Spurs fan perspective into this sudden and unexpected media shitstorm.

 The film that has been released, written and directed by the Baddiels and with the backing of various Premier League Clubs and the FA, seeks to make a valuable point but is misleading and frankly, misled, in the clips it uses to illustrate the alleged prevalence of anti-Semitism in the English game, and in what it implies about Tottenham Hotspur and our fans. There are clips taken inside White Hart Lane and in a Spurs Pub, showing Spurs fans chanting “yiddo”, and the implication is that we are morons, unaware of the meaning of the word “yid”, who bleat it indiscriminately and are just as bad as the idiot, ignorant NF scum minorities from other clubs who sing songs about Auschwitz and make hissing noises to replicate the sounds of the gas chambers during the holocaust. The film is a deliberate barb at Spurs fans that could only have been spawned by Chelsea fans and  that makes no attempt to place in context the “Yid” chants, to explain how they started as a way of defying and rejecting anti-Semitic chants from other clubs, how they are a proud declaration of our north London identity and a way of showing that Jewish fans will always be welcome, and in fact form a key part of the fabric, at WHL, and that we have no time for anyone coming into N17 with an anti-Semitic attitude. (While I would never condone gratuitous violence, I am quite proud to be secure in the knowledge that if you turn up at WHL spouting anti-Semitc hate speech, you’re likely to leave with no teeth.) The film doesn’t explain that Jewish Spurs fans themselves use the “Yid” chant, and are proud to assert their own identity through Spurs. No. It’s easier to condemn all football fans as racist, Neo-Nazi cretins, and glide over all the details.

 Adding insult to injury is the nonsense being talked on the official Spurs website. Apparently these chants are the work of “a small number” of Spurs fans. Turn up at WHL and see whether this is the case. The club says it wants an open and honest debate about the issue. Fair enough. Then accept that it’s a huge majority, not a “small number”, who join in “yiddo” chants and songs. We do it because we are proud of the club’s Jewish identity.

 The funny thing is that I do think there are good arguments against the whole “yid” thing, and I have often thought about them and wondered whether I was doing the right thing by joining in these chants. But the film is way too sweeping and blinkered to explore them with any kind of subtlety. For example, you could argue that non-Jewish fans shouldn’t join in these chants, on the basis that it isn’t for us to decide what is and isn’t offensive to Jewish people. I can accept that. Personally, I have always felt ok about  joining  in those chants, and I have never felt that the Jewish friends who I am very close to, who I value greatly, and who I would never want to let down, would be offended.  But maybe that sounds like the kind of rubbish argument of people who say, “I’m not racist – loads of my friends are black”. Maybe I really am that bad. It’s a worrying thought. Do I have it wrong, Jewish football fans? Please feel free to comment and let me know.

 I also don’t personally like it when people fly the Israeli flag at Spurs games. I think it’s politicising the game unnecessarily, and I don’t think that being a Spurs fan automatically makes you a supporter of Israeli foreign policy.

 Maybe you do see my use of the term “Yid” as some kind of grotesque, well meaning but ignorant blunder. I can’t do anything about that. Please, however, accept that at the very least Spurs fans are well meaning but misguided, rather than evil. Don’t tar us with the same brush as the group of fucking Neanderthals (and I have to say, having been at Spurs games for the past 15 years, I’ve only actually heard this chant once, away at Elland Road) who are heard chanting about Auschwitz in the film. I might be an unwitting anti-Semite, but I’m definitely not a deliberate one. The film steam-rollers all these intricacies and makes sweeping generalisations about football fans and Spurs fans in particular. And all in the space of a minute! It’s impressive to fuck things up that badly in so little time.

 To the Baddiels I would say, don’t bother Spurs with this shit. Clean up the disgusting, stupid, anti-Semitic element at your own club, and issue an apology to any Spurs fans who have had to soak up their pea-brained abuse over the years. Don’t deploy the moronic argument that us calling ourselves “yids” makes it understandable for your lot to sing about the death camps – it’s beneath all of us. If all else fails, come and support Spurs, because at WHL you’ll never have to hear the kind of abuse you’ve been complaining about hearing at Stamford Bridge in your interviews.

 As a hilarious footnote, check out Ledley King waxing lyrical about the evils of the word. I’ve never noticed him complaining when we’ve adoringly chanted “yiddo” at him over the years. In fact, he always seems to clap us back and love every minute of it. I guess it’s one rule when you’re living your life, and another when the FA shanghai you into making a rubbish public awareness video. Whatever.

 Posted by at 02:30
Mar 072011
 

Evening all. Wednesday sees one of the biggest games at WHL for a long time,  and to mark it there is a plan developing, initiated by a mate of mine, to organise a ticker tape welcome for when the two teams walk out. This will look phenomenal alongside the “wear white” idea of the club and is very easy to achieve:

1) Bring a Metro/Standard/ couple of sheets of A4

2) Tear them up

3) Chuck them when the teams come out the tunnel.

The idea is that this will happen in the South Stand but the more the merrier. Let’s do something a bit special that’s  genuinely fan-organised, and it will beat waving plastic flags handed out by the club.

It will look great if it works, so spread the word and bring a paper on Wednesday night.

COYS

 Posted by at 22:34
Feb 102011
 

I wrote a brief piece last night in which I said I was happy West Ham had won the OS bid. According to many of the responses to it, this means that I’m a moronic small time traditionalist who doesn’t care if the club succeeds, who has no understanding of football and who possibly molests small children. The same posters think the loss of this bid means that THFC is doomed to perpetual failure, that we will never again compete as a major force, and that the end of the world is surely nigh.

Chaps. Calm down for a minute.

I’m not going to repeat again all the reasons I didn’t want to go to Stratford – I’ve blogged about it ad nauseam. In today’s Independent an incredibly fine journalist who looks a bit like me but is considerably less handsome summed up my feelings on the topic:  http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/news-and-comment/tom-edwards-stratford-move-would-rip-heart-out-of-spurs-2209718.html

Instead, I just want to point out a few things that might put this all in perspective for you and help you to look to the future with a little more optimism.

1)      Six months ago you lot had never heard of the entire Olympic Stadium idea. You didn’t even know it was something the club were remotely considering. Now it’s not going to happen you’re treating it like the universe has imploded. It was an idea that was briefly mooted and hasn’t worked out. Let it go. In five years you won’t give it any more thought than you currently give that scheme to move into Ally Pally with Arsenal twenty years ago.

2)      Daniel Levy said the NDP was dead in the water because he wanted to strengthen our hand for the OS bid. It’s not dead in the water. It or something like it can and will happen if Levy, the club and all of us want it badly enough. Levy’s smart, as you constantly remind us. Too smart to put all his eggs in the Stratford basket. There are other ways for us to get our new ground.

3)      There’s this much-repeated idea out there that moving to a bigger, shinier, slicker stadium away from the spiritual home is guaranteed to lead a football club to unprecedented success. I don’t know where it’s come from. Tell it to supporters of Southampton, Coventry, Leicester and Derby who all got their dream new homes and have slummed it in the lower leagues ever since. Tell it to Gooners who have yet to win a single trophy since they moved to the Emirates (despite all the talk about how Ashburton Grove has sent them to different level, I seem to remember that at Highbury with its limited revenues and narrow pitch they used to win titles). Increased capacity is desirable but it is not the be all and end all. We are currently 12th in the global rich list. We’re playing Champions League football. And we’ve done it all without a 60,000 capacity. I’m not saying I don’t want a bigger ground, but I want it in a way that doesn’t fuck up everything that makes my team special to me.

4)      We won’t be able to compete with City, Chelsea, United or Arsenal financially whether we get a bigger ground or not. They have things like multi-billionaire oligarch owners (City and Chelsea), immense global fan bases (United and Arsenal) and monumental merchandise sales (United) that are way out of our league. The increased revenue from 20,000 extra tickets a fortnight might be worth tens of millions a season, sure, but it wouldn’t make a blind bit of difference when City can drop £400 million of oil money on 10 players without blinking. They’re going to have more money than us until WE get bought by a billionaire. That’s it. We need to find other ways to compete, like good practice in the running of the club. Stratford would not have made us Real Madrid overnight, so stop acting like it.  

Meanwhile, we’re playing AC Milan at the San Siro on Tuesday. Let’s enjoy that first and foremost, remembering all the while that we got there with N17 and a 36,000 capacity as our base.

 Posted by at 22:40
Feb 092011
 

IT’s being reported that West Ham have won the Olympic Stadium. We’re staying where we belong, for the time being at least, and head to the San Siro safe in the knowledge that we won’t be an east London team any time soon. Meanwhile, a good few years of comedy are guaranteed as we look forward to watching the Happy Hammers screwing the entire thing up and trying to entice 60,000 people to watch Championship football from the far side of a 10 lane running track. Let the good times roll! COYS!

 Posted by at 22:55
Jan 262011
 

Wow. Viability disappears fast. It was only five days ago that Daniel Levy merely expressed “concern” over the viability of the Northumberland Development Project. Yet since the 21st, we’ve obviously frittered away the last little bit of viability, because he’s come straight out and declared the scheme officially “unviable”. It sounds like something that Arnie would call someone in The Terminator before training his little red crosshairs on their forehead.
 
Look, enough’s enough. He can’t just casually say it’s not viable without saying why this is categorically the case. As recently as December the club were still releasing updates on the progress of this scheme – they’re still on the OS and you can read them here: http://www.tottenhamhotspur.com/futureplans/news.html
 
This means that just over a month ago, the scheme was still deemed worth pursuing. Levy has to come out and explain exactly why the plans have ceased to be viable at some point in the last five or six weeks. And he has several other questions to answer, not least why, if the scheme really is a wash-out, he made such a terrible error of judgement in spending so much time and money on it. The following open letter, by Spurs fan Martin Cloake, was already linked to by Spooky at Dear Mr Levy yesterday. It’s a brilliant summation of everything that doesn’t seem to make sense about the position Levy is now adopting, and every Spurs fan who cares about the future of the club should read it:
 
http://martincloake.wordpress.com/2011/01/25/an-open-letter-to-daniel-levy/
 
Whatever your views on the stadium debate, surely you want the club to be completely transparent and upfront about the options available, so that you can make a properly informed decision. All the signs are that we are not currently being treated with honesty on this issue. This isn’t about whether you want to move to Stratford or not, it’s about the board being honest with the fans who are the lifeblood of the club and deserve to know the facts.
 
According to some, we’re not allowed to question Levy on any of this, “because he’s done more for this club than you ever will do. Just shut up and trust him.”  Total nonsense. I am hugely grateful for what he’s done in bringing CL football and a great to team to Spurs. He’s done a very good job. It doesn’t mean I can’t question his motives and actions as he prepares to totally and irreversibly change everything about the club. I was here before him and I’ll be here after he cashes in on his admittedly hard work and fucks off for cocktails with Joe Lewis in the Bahamas. One season of Champions League football does not make irrelevant 128 years of history. You want me to place unquestioning faith in one leader, and follow his every whim,  simply because he’s had some success and restored some pride…hmmmm, I seem to remember from my history lessons that doesn’t always work out too good. Think for yourselves, for crying out loud. Yes, Daniel Levy wants what’s best for the club, but as a business, not necessarily as a community and an institution. His treatment of Martin Jol showed that he doesn’t always do things the right way or the honourable way. The man’s no saint, and I think he’s treating us like idiots on this particular issue. He’s making Stratford seem like the only option when actually it’s just his favourite option. I want him to explain why the scheme we’ve backed through two years of planning, research and promotion has miraculously become “unviable” as soon as a cheaper option arrives. “Unviable” and “not what Daniel wants to do any more” are two very different things.

 Posted by at 09:41
Jan 222011
 

First off, I have great respect for Daniel Levy. I think that, all in all, he’s done a good job for this club and can take a good chunk of the credit for the happy position we now find ourselves in on the pitch. And I know that, as an incredibly shrewd businessman, he is doing what he thinks (and, in purely financial terms, what may well be) best for the club by steering us ever further away from the NDP and ever closer to Stratford. But at the same time, I would hate to think he is putting a slick New Labour style spin operation in motion in order to make fans think that Stratford is the only conceivable option. And judging by his latest friendly, fireside “open letter”, that’s exactly what’s going on.

The letter as good as announces that, should we secure the rights to the Olympic site in Stratford, we will be moving there. It not only details at length the myriad benefits of the new location, but it also seems to write off the NDP as not remotely feasible:

That said, I must once again repeat the concerns we have about the viability and deliverability of the NDP. The cost of consent has been high. This is not attributable to any one stakeholder, but is rather the result of the cumulative nature of the various obligations… No progress has been made with the remaining land owners and this is a potentially costly issue. As such, we have yet to conclude the site assembly. Compulsory Purchase Orders are of course one route to resolving this, but that process is uncertain and can take years to conclude.

Well. It’s a no brainer, isn’t it? The NDP is never going to happen at an affordable price, so everyone grab a JCB and head to the Olympic Stadium, and let’s bulldoze the bastard and get cracking in earnest.

But imagine, just for a moment, that London had never won the Olympic bid, and that the Stratford option did not exist. I firmly believe that Levy would still be totally committed to making the NDP happen, and that his comments regarding it would be a great deal less negative. Has anyone else noticed that Levy’s mood about the NDP only seemed to become more downbeat once Stratford became the number 1 target? Until then, we were being kept in the dark about all these terrible problems with landowners and CPOs and the “cumulative nature of the various obligations”, as Danny mysteriously puts it in his letter. Why did he not mention any of these problems as potential obstacles on October 30th, 2008, when he announced the NDP plans and stated:

 “Following discussions with council bodies, the London Development Agency, Transport for London and local and central government officials, redeveloping the existing site emerged as the most viable route.

 “I am personally delighted that we have been able to put forward a viable option which we know to be the fans’ favourite – remaining at the club’s spiritual home.”

 Hmmm…viable route…viable option…no worries about viability back then. Plus, unequivocal recognition from Levy that staying was the preference of the fans.

Now, I’m sure DL, and any pro-Stratford readers, would claim that this statement was true at the time, and that it’s only in the two years since that these chronic problems with the scheme have become apparent. Maybe that’s true, and I’m just cynical. But the truth, I believe, is that the NDP is no less viable than it ever has been. It’s always been a problematic plan, don’t forget – I’ve always wondered how a stadium that struggles to cope with the transport demands for 36,000 could handle 60,000. And there’s always been land to buy up and potentially high costs. We always knew about these issues. But in the past, before the idea of Stratford reared its ugly head, Levy seemed less bothered by them. And the collective mood amongst everyone associated with the club was, it seemed to me, “Yes, this will be hard, but it’s going to be so worth it.”

Let’s make no bones about it. Levy wants to go to Stratford because he thinks it will be tens of millions cheaper (which is something that we HAVE to see evidence for before we can take it as gospel) and because it has a ready made transport infrastructure. That’s fine. But it bothers me that he’s now portraying NDP as an impossible pipe dream. If that’s really the case, why did he bother getting us all so bloody excited about it in the first place?

 Posted by at 01:07
Jan 122011
 

Take your seats please. Sit down guys. Sit down, take your seats please. Lads, sit down, take your seats please, sit down lads, fellas, guys, take your seats, sit down, take your seats, guys, sit down…

And on and on and on until you want to tear off your own ears and throw them at someone.

I don’t know if it’s the same in the rest of the ground, but the stewarding in the Park Lane end has been getting ridiculously heavy-handed recently. The nagging starts 30 seconds after kick off and never stops. I think they must be trying to do some kind of stamp-down on persistent standing. And then they constantly wander the aisles, peering so suspiciously at everyone that you’d think they were doing night shift on the nonce wing. Occasionally someone gets dragged off downstairs by the portly bloke with the unfortunate glasses and never comes back. I don’t know what happens to them, but I imagine it involves being fitted with a ball gag and tied into a chair while the stadium manager calls someone called Z and tells him that the spider just caught a fly. Meanwhile the away fans don’t seem to get nagged at all. The simple-minded enjoyment of the mutants from Charlton went totally undisturbed from what I could see, and they stood the whole time.

 Anyway, it’s annoying, and it’s starting to create a really nasty mood in South Lower. What they can’t seem to figure out is that there’s an ebb and flow to football which means people will sit down of their own accord when the run of play dictates it. And that some fans react a bit childishly to authority, so being told to sit down makes them want to stand up. This leads to the really tedious routine of everyone having just sat down when the stewards start nagging the few who haven’t yet, which makes them sing stand up if you hate Arsenal which means everyone has to fucking stand up again. It’s boring.

Personally, I’d rather stand the whole time (and in big games like the one coming up on Sunday that often happens anyway). But if that’s not an option, I can’t be arsed to be up and down like Vanessa Perroncel’s nightie all game just because fans and stewards are involved in an endless mutual wind-up. Maybe some fans need to get the chip off their shoulder a little bit and stop standing just for the sake of it, but more importantly the stewards seriously need to give it a rest and stop the endless nagging. They’re making it worse – if they left everyone alone we’d all sit down quicker anyway.

 Posted by at 20:26
Jan 062011
 

Darren Lewis of The Mirror predicts Tottenham will win the title. On Sky’s Sunday Supplement, the miserable old bastards that make up the panel select Tottenham’s revival as one of their highlights of the year and wax lyrical about the atmosphere at the Lane.  In The Independent, Sam Wallace selects Bale as his player of the year, the win against Inter as his game of the year, and Rafael Van der Vaart as the bargain of the year. Alan Hansen has, for years, acted as the pantomime villain on MOTD. Every time the boy Lineker loyally talks up Spurs, Hansen looks at him as if he’d like to flick him in the face with a leather glove. Now, he says Spurs have arguably one of the two best squads in the division.  Over in Spain, Bale is named in Marca’s team of the year, the only British or premier league player included. Interviewed on Sky, Dave Bassett sums up the situation: “I think you’ve got a system with Tottenham where this is the club at the moment, the one that’s got the glamour, they’ve taken over from Chelsea and everyone wants to be part of Tottenham.”

What is going on? The media, who for two decades have enjoyed nothing better than pissing on our every move, now have us down as the team who can save football. They love our cavalier style, our exciting young players, the way our team spirit represents the antithesis of the “every man for himself” culture at City and Chelsea, and they even seem to have finally noticed that, contrary to popular belief, WHL on its day has one of the best atmospheres in the country. They like us! They really, really like us!

Or are they just winding us up? Over the years, the press have made it their mission to build us up, only to kick us down. Then batter us about the head with a bottle of Buckfast. All Spurs fans are more than familiar with the red top favourite, the old “Spurs to sign superstar” ruse. Here’s how it works:

 1)     Papers claim Spurs are set to sign some impossibly talented Brazilian, despite no confirmation of interest from anyone at either club. Lots of feeble speculation from a “club insider” is bandied about without any actual quotes.

2)     No-one ever signs.

3)     Press have a field day ripping the piss out of Spurs for their “failed attempt” to sign Carlos Kickaball even though there’s no proof we ever tried to in the first place.  

4)     Time for an editorial in praise of Arsene Wenger, in which there will be at least eleven references to the “Arsenal kids”.

Is the current love-in just another spin on the old classic? Having portrayed us as the planet’s greatest side, will they turn round as soon as we slip up and stick the boot in, wetting themselves over the fact that we haven’t lived up to the expectations they themselves set for us? Will they start making totally false claims that “the notoriously hard to please Spurs fans are calling for Redknapp’s head” as soon as we lose two on the spin? Will they lose interest in us as soon as Bale goes off the boil and go back to writing about how Newcastle have the most passionate fans in the country? I never paid any attention to all the bad press my team got, so I find it hard to take the good press too seriously. Especially since they don’t seem to actually be watching the games – Gareth Bale gets an “8” rating in every paper after every game, even when he’s had an off day, while Assou-Ekotto always get a “6” and goes unmentioned even when he’s been the best player on the pitch. Do they really pay attention to what’s happening on the field, or just make a decision about who they like and bend the facts to fit the policy? Spurs, and Bale in particular, are in fashion right now, and we can’t seem to put a foot wrong.

Admittedly, this time people at the club are talking us up almost as much as the papers are. Maybe Harry and the boys think we can win the league, but I don’t know a single fan who has actually dared to dream about anything other than getting back in the top 4. If you offered me 4th now I would bite off not only your arm but most of your face. I love what is happening with this team but as last night’s defeat at Everton suggested, I don’t believe we have, as yet, the depth and experience to win the title. (And 8 points off the pace with a game more played tells its own story.) Our forwards are not consistent or dynamic enough, we need an Essien-type player and too much depends on the holy trinity of Bale, VDV and Modric.  But I never expected us to win the title, and as long as we keep playing great football, I won’t be bothered in the slightest when it doesn’t happen. Darren Lewis might look like a bit of a twat, though.

 Posted by at 22:25
Dec 082010
 

I normally love watching the latest act of idiocy on Tyneside, be it calls for a “boycoutt” or another fumbling screw-up from Mike Ashley.  I hate the ongoing media love-in over the Geordies and their football, the way we’re always being told we “don’t understand how much football means” in the North East, and I enjoy watching them being taken down a peg or two. But the sacking of Chris Hughton has absolutely appalled me, and not just because of Hughton’s Spurs past. It’s such a ridiculous decision that I can’t help but be outraged, and for once, I really do feel sorry for Geordie fans, who had thought there was finally some stability and pride back at their club, only to see the chubby purveyor of jockstraps who calls himself their owner needlessly ruin it all again. And their obvious confusion and anger sent me on a trip down memory lane to our own dark days of “we want our Tottenham back” misery. Haven’t heard that sung for a while. Remember singing it at Leyton Orient before going absolutely mental when Gary Doherty scuffed an injury time winner? God, we were pathetic.

Football is a fickle game, and as we cruise into the CL knockout stages, we should remember one thing – until very recently, we rivalled Newcastle as the biggest circus in the Premier League, and one day we probably will again. Right now is an absolutely sublime time to be a Tottenham fan, and we should enjoy it while we can.

Just in case you’d missed it, take a look at Pot One for the upcoming Champions League last 16 draw:

Schalke 04, Manchester United, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Shaktar Donetsk, Tottenham Hotspur.

There we are, one of an elite eight clubs at the pinnacle of global club football. It’s what we’ve been waiting for, for years and years and years. Who would have imagined it that day on the terraces at Brisbane Road?And yet I’ve noticed that some fans seem to have already started taking it all for granted.

Against Werder Bremen a couple of weeks back, I was stunned to see fans leaving in large numbers well before the final whistle. We were about to qualify for the Champions League last sixteen, having never before been in the competition at all, and yet people thought beating the traffic was more important  than clapping the team off? Are we already so infected with “Big 4” arrogance that we can’t appreciate what we’re seeing, and give this side the love they deserve?

This season has seen us come from behind to beat the Scum away, destroy the reigning European Champions at the Lane, witness one of our players become one of the most talked about midfielders in the world, top the Champions League scoring charts, break records and set Europe’s top club competition alight. It is, to borrow a phrase, Schoolboy’s Own stuff. Let’s make sure that the atmosphere at the Lane reflects that, and let’s think very, very carefully before we bitch about anything, because before you know it we could be appointing Alan Pardew.

Nov 192010
 

A couple of hours ago, Daniel Levy released this statement on the official site: http://www.tottenhamhotspur.com/news/articles/club-statement-on-stadium-plans-191110.html

He gives David Lammy a fairly severe tongue-lashing, complains that no public money is being made available for the NDP scheme when it would regenerate a deprived area, presents a very gloomy picture of the costs associated with staying in Tottenham, and eagerly points out that it’s only five miles from N17 to Stratford. If I was a pessimist, I’d say that the unwritten message is, “pack your bags, we’re moving to Stratford.”

Are we about to become an east London team or is this yet another attempt to put pressure on and get NDP underway? Ever since the talk of the Olympic Stadium went from unsubstantiated press specualtion to a serious bid with AEG on board, I’d began to doubt the whole “putting pressure on” theory. And Lammy’s comments earlier on, combined with this statement, have added to my unease. At the very least, I think it’s becoming clear that this idea is being seriously considered. However, I think there is enough evidence here that Tottenham remains his preference if local government (Haringey and Mayor’s Office) are willing to do what must be done.

 Here’s a sentence I never thought I’d write: The future of Tottenham Hotspur might depend on Boris Johnson.

Oh, and come on boys, beat the Woolwich scum tomorrow.

COYS

 Posted by at 20:02
Nov 162010
 

I posted a link to the petition against a move to Stratford, and I’m surprised to read that there are some fans who have no problem with this mental idea.

Everyone is of course entitled to their opinion. I know that people have their own personal reasons for choosing to support a club, and it’s for not for me to tell them what should be important to them, but speaking from a personal point of view, here’s why I’d want no part of a THFC based in east London.

To start with, it always tickles me when people claim that “history” and “emotion” are stupid, unimportant arguments when it comes to football, and try to act as if fans should look at everything from a business point of view. There is nothing about being a football fan that makes business sense. There’s not even anything very logical about it. You go and watch eleven blokes you’ve never met kicking a ball around, and the result matters a lot to you. You spunk away your time and money in the process.  That’s not sensible. The only thing that makes it meaningful is your emotional attachment to the club. The history is the whole point. It’s not just eleven men, it’s eleven men representing something important to you. And for me, a big part of what’s important about Spurs is that they represent north London, the specific part of the world that I come from.

Someone left a comment that I found absolutely bizarre. They said “Stop supporting Spurs if north London means so much to you.” You might as well say “stop supporting England if England means so much to you.” THFC is north London – the whole identity of the club is wrapped up in the area. If north London doesn’t mean anything to you, I have to ask why you’re supporting Spurs in the first place.  Aren’t we always critical of all those Surrey Man United fans, supporting a team from a city they have no affinity with? We sing about being the pride of north London. We’re named after Harry Hotspur because his family owned the area which is now Tottenham Marshes. The most important game of our season is the north London derby (which we play against a team who we hate mainly because they moved across London to steal another team’s fans – er…) For decades we’ve competed against Arsenal for north London bragging rights, and now you’d be happy to just vacate the area and leave them to it for an increased capacity and an easier tube journey? I can’t understand that at all. If it costs us an extra 200 million, so be it…even if it bankrupts us, I’d rather stay in Tottenham because in my eyes if we moved to Stratford the club as I know it would cease to exist anyway. I’ve barely ever been to Stratford, except passing through on the Central Line. I don’t feel at home there. I don’t know anything about it. If I did, I’d probably support Leyton Orient.

I understand that lots of our fans are from Essex and Herts, and all over the world  (although surely a lot of the fans who no longer live in north London support Spurs because their family were originally from there) and that maybe for them the area is not as significant as players past, the culture of good football, the glory, glory nights and all that. But you could go to Barcelona on holiday and see those things. Surely what’s special about the great Tottenham teams is that they did it not just anywhere, but on the High Road in Tottenham. Players change, so do managers, so do styles of play and levels of success.  But the geography doesn’t, and what else is there apart from the name and colour of the kit that makes the Spurs of today the Spurs of 50 years ago?

Then there’s the people and businesses in the area that depend on the club. The Two Brewers, The Bell and Hare, all your favourite pre-game pubs and restaurants – I doubt any of them would survive Spurs leaving. All the kids who work in the club shop, and benefit from the club’s community work – it would all end, and Haringey is one of the most deprived boroughs in London. Whatever you think about the council, it’s not the fault of the local people. Stratford will be fine, they’re getting West Ham anyway.

On top of all this, I think there are practical reasons against the move too. We’re told that the plan would be to demolish the Olympic Stadium, months after its completion, and build a whole new one in its place. This just sounds to me like a totally ridiculous idea that I can’t believe the IOC would even entertain. And there’s no way that I’d want to play in the soulless bowl that is the current Olympic Stadium – the atmosphere would be terrible. West Ham are happy to take the stadium as it is, and I say we let them get on with it.

If you don’t agree, don’t sign the petition. You don’t have to sign anything you don’t want to, that’s why it’s fun to live here and not in Burma. If you do agree, sign it and make your feelings known. Let’s hope that, as some of you have said, the whole thing is just a ploy to put pressure on and get the Northumberland Park deal through.