Sherwood-shaped clouds clearing over Tottenham

white hart lane_1017589c

There’s always that moment when you first wake-up when you’re not really aware of where you are.  Your eyes open, your mind recognises your surroundings, and gradually you settle back into the reality that you fell asleep in eight hours earlier.

And then you remember what’s going on in your life; it could be the stomach-punch of a work-deadline or a recent break-up, or it could be the short,sharp shock of adrenaline brought on by an approaching holiday or party.  Good or bad, that’s usually the way it works.

If you’re a football fan, then you’re team tends to feature somewhere in that sequence.  Maybe not as prominently as important life events, but you’ll certainly have a fleeting awareness of a recent good result or a painful cup elimination.  For a lot of supporters, the trajectory of a season has a hold over their general mood and, even though it’s a mainly a passive sensation, their emotional baseline is altered by whatever is happening at their club.

That’s really what football’s for: it fills holes in your life, it is the insulating foam that creeps into vacant space.

If something bad is going on in your life – not something as dramatic as illness but, say, a general negative like a big utility bill – you live under a cloud and your shoulders sag.  Situations like that temper your enthusiasm for everything and they are typically involved in that early morning flood of realisation.

“What a beautiful morn…oh, I still haven’t paid my council tax”.

That’s really what Tim Sherwood was to Tottenham supporters last season: less a manager, more an enormous bill that they knew they were months away from settling.

Meet a nice girl?  So what, Tim Sherwood is still the manager.

Paid-off your mortgage?  Yeah, but Sherwood is alienating more players by the day.

Finally fix the plumbing in your kitchen?  Good for you, but there’s no holding-midfielder in the squad this afternoon.

It’s very hard to quantify what the most dislikeable aspect of Sherwood really was, because so much of his odiousness occurred behind closed doors.  He said the right things in press-conferences, he generally made all the right faces on the touchline, and actually a lot of the results achieved under him were very decent.  Even so, there was a palpable distrust between him and the fans, and that bred widespread unhappiness.

Those good results weren’t imagined, either, because Tottenham did beat a very good Southampton side home and away, and they did go and win at Old Trafford, but three points last season always involved a horrible Sophie’s Choice between progressing up the league table and increasing the likelihood of seeing Sherwood on the touchline in 2014/15.  Limbo is a terrible thing for a football fan, and not being able to properly enjoy victories is a sure sign that something was very, very wrong – and that was Spurs last season.

The Tottenham Twitter community is, like any other club’s equivalent, diverse and so mass generalisations are unfair, but there were an awful lot of the clubs fans who, rather than taking any active emotional part in the latter half of the season, merely watched with a cynical indifference.  There was no real rage at Sherwood because it soon became clear that he was leaving, yet there was no real joy, either – that is the price of being in transition and knowing that, for all intents and purposes, you are really just waiting for time to pass and for the year to end.  There will be no pay-off, there will be no trophy, and there will be no battle for Premier League places, instead all you’re rooting for is the merciful relief of a new manager and a Summer of justifiable optimism – anything really, anything other than disaffected ennui.

How miserable.

But that period is over and it’s wonderfully liberating.  Of course, supporters in lower divisions or those whose clubs have real issues will sneer, but it’s a dreadful thing to have your enthusiasm for your team taken away.  To wake up on a Saturday and to not really be completely invested in the result, or to go to the ground and not really cheer goals with any conviction.  It’s footballing Purgatory, and in some ways it’s actually worse than witnessing something truly awful happening to your club.  Debt-crisis?  Best player being sold?  Relegation looming?  Awful, obviously, but none of those problems chip away at your affection.

Tottenham is a different place, now, and even in a few short weeks the animosity has all been washed away.  Amazing; all it took was a new manager, a couple of photos of the players smiling during pre-season, and the promise of a better left-back, and you’re back where you were before – hoping that it goes well, knowing that it probably won’t, be being all-in again on whatever does transpire under Mauricio Pochettino.

You’ll hurt me again, I know, but I like that you’re still able to.



14 Comments on "Sherwood-shaped clouds clearing over Tottenham"

  1. ‘You’ll hurt me again, I know, but I like that you’re still able to.’

    Yeah, I dig it. Sometimes an article is all about the pay-off.

  2. The problem with the internet is that you can’t have a simple opinion without people being jerk offs to you, like Canadian Chris here
    I started following Spurs in 2002, around the time Levy took over, when we were mid table marauders, and it is clear to me that budgeting for a buy in January to is the difference between a top 4 finish and an anonymous year, all the other top 4 teams do it
    But for some reason the last 3 years Levy has invested in January, even when we had a world record sale, it and we have suffered
    If you can’t bash your own team, then apparently you aren’t paying enough attention to it
    Because that is what a fan does

  3. No team anywhere would not be troubled by facing a Tottenham side that had Adebayor and Bony playing up front together,

  4. Tottenham Lee | Jul 10, 2014 at 5:30 pm |

    Nothing has changed from the feeling i had last year- i still hate us . we desperately needed to get louis van gal signed up as quickly as possible and considering the club were not intending to keep sherwood as manager this should happened in good time.. typical spurs miss the boat entirely and end up hiring a fella who has been no where won nothing managed only mediocre non challenging teams and sounds like he’s come out of a kids disney film … pochahonkis or something like that. its another massive gamble by levy and after the gambles with avb and a temporary manager who has no qualified coaching badges this is another disgraceful decision and a gamble too far for me… LEVY GET OUT!

  5. well thought out and wrtten

  6. Mattspurs | Jul 10, 2014 at 4:02 pm |

    Good bit of writing. It was a strange place to be last season, here’s hoping we play some sexy football. I just want an adventure. Let’s aim for the top!

  7. keano would you prefer to go back to mid table? me I prefer being in the top six. its been said so often but I am going to repeat it if a player wants to leave there is nothing levy can do about it. that’s called player power

  8. spurgatso | Jul 10, 2014 at 3:46 pm |

    What exactly did Sherwood do wrong,apart from tell it like it is.If Poncho gets better than 8th this season I’ll be very surprised .Expect mid table till he’s gone at Xmas.

  9. That was a good article… It will be nice to put my heart back on my sleeve and offer my undivided support for the actual one this time!

  10. Great piece. My recent apathy towards football was largely down to Tim Sherwood being involved in my club, and I see I was not alone!

    How can someone ‘coach’ at a top club like Spurs for 6 years, and still not have a UEFA pro licence? Its speaks of a fundamental laziness or unjustified arrogance, either way I was so happy when he went.

    Pochettino was on to a winner from day one, just by not being Sherwood!

  11. Great writing!!!

  12. Canadian Chris | Jul 10, 2014 at 2:59 pm | are out to lunch.
    Go back a few years and it was juts one deal that kept Spurs from going broke. Ask El Tel about it!!
    Levy runs a tight and profitable ship…nothing wrong with that.
    Yes some of the players brought in and let go have been a bit strange but check out Utd, The Arse, and Chelsea, they have all done the same thing..and Liverpool will be doing it again…..let’s think Pogba, Utd want him back!
    Liverpool so many bad signings, Chelsea..Torres? There are many more. The Arse just try to keep there mistakes quiet…there are loads!
    So Levy makes some mistakes along the way as well..but he’s not alone.
    I hope we keep Soldado..he WILL score goals for Spurs. A lot of goals given the right service….it’s not rocket science!
    Lamela will be a different beast this year. The manager speaks his language..he will be given freedom.

    Rose, Dawson, Siggy, Townsend, Naughton, Kaboul (he’s injured all the time) should all leave town. Not later…now!

    One more striker…I would go for Bony wanted him last year!!
    Sorry but Ade has to go as well. Young good striker vs old good but lazy striker!!
    Must get a left full back…looks like Davies may be coming.
    I thought Ashley Cole on a free would have been a great move for a year, maybe two!
    Two centre young one (please get Caulker back) and one experienced one to play next to Verts.
    We have a wealth of talent in midfield but if Draxlar could be got for the right price then one of them would have to move out.
    Don’t think that’s Holtby…he has a great chance of playing with the new manager. Could be Chadli, although he quietly improved as the season went along last year.
    Pre-season is under way and there’s still lots to do…and yes Levy could move a bit quicker in this department but he has to look after the financial situation of the club. A poorly run Spurs will slowly fall down the Premier and there would be nothing to chat about!


    Canadian Chris

  13. Yeah
    Levy is not a football guy.
    Teams in the EPL all get more television revenue since he took over.
    Yet he still plays cheap, look at Liverpool the team was willing to take a big loss for a few years and now they are top again. Levy won’t take a big loss or hang onto players so we are stuck at 5/6th, as opposed to mid table when his parasitic firm took over.

  14. Anonymous | Jul 10, 2014 at 2:12 pm |

    Hear, hear. And great writing.

Leave a Reply