In the immortal words of failed British songstress, Gabrielle: “Dreams can come true….you know you gotta have hope”. When this song was released I was a naïve, gangly 10 year old boy who was probably inclined to believe anything that a grown up told me….especially one that looked like a singing, black pirate! But now, with the benefit of hindsight and the soul-destroying cynicism that only comes from a lifetime of supporting Spurs, I am fairly certain that she was full of crap. After all, she must surely have had a dream to get her eyesight back at some point? So I can only assume that the operative word here is “can”. I have no doubt that dreams can come true. It’s just that for Spurs fans and Gabrielle in particular, they invariably don’t. God is too busy giving bottomless pits of money to Chelsea and undeserved, last minute winners to Arsenal to care about our little club (to be fair, we did kill his only son). And it is not like we really ask for that much, just a 4th place finish and a bit of a cup run every now and then. But you know what? Fuck it. If we are going to dream, we may as well dream big! Why shouldn’t we be (hesitantly) dreaming of winning the title? After all, Mauricio Pochettino has dared us to…..and how can you say no to that face?
As anyone who has ever read any of my previous blogs will know, whenever I dream about Spurs it never ends well. This is not because I feel uncomfortable with 22 sweaty men invading my thoughts …..I am surprisingly alright with that. It’s more because of the fact that all of my dreams, which may well start with the best of intentions, very rapidly descend into nightmares. One minute, we are winning the Champions League Final against Barcelona with seconds left on the clock before the scene shifts dramatically and a salivating Arsene Wenger is desperately trying to lure me into a white paneled van with an assortment of Haribo Tangfastics, which thankfully is when I normally wake up, covered in a cold sweat.....at least I hope it is sweat. In all honesty, this probably reveals more about my deteriorating mental state than it does about Spurs or our chances of success this season. However, as our old mate Gabrielle quite insightfully pointed out back in 1993, dreams are essentially a manifestation of hope. And with hope, comes expectation. And once expectations have been set, it becomes infinitely easier to be let down by those you love. Which is why I have always found it easier to support Spurs by setting my expectations artificially low and then being pleasantly surprised when we achieve something of note. And it is because of this attitude that I firmly believe we do our best work when flying under the radar, much like Harold Shipman. As soon as the media start to cotton on to what we are doing and makes a big deal out of it, everything seems to fall apart pretty quickly…..again, much like Harold Shipman. But that was the old Spurs. The “Spursy” Spurs of seasons gone by. Somehow, Mauricio Pochettino has eradicated the soft centre that has plagued our club down the years and epitomized the many different Spurs teams of my youth. He seems to have instilled a resilience this year that we have never previously shown and I only hope we can maintain…..for another 12 games at least!
But nevertheless, I still think that we fare better when we are regarded as the underdogs. Which is why in recent weeks I have been hoping for something to happen in the footballing world that would take the emphasis away from Tottenham being potential title contenders and focus everyone’s attention on something far more intriguing and newsworthy. And just like that…..enter Adam Johnson. Obviously, this is a very sad story that will no doubt ruin not only Johnson’s career but probably his life. And I can’t help but feel a little bit sorry for the guy, as from what I can see, all he has done is grossly misinterpret the terms of his new boot sponsorship deal with Adidas Predator. It’s an easy mistake to make, I suppose. But to be fair, even if Sunderland didn’t sack him for his behaviour, he would certainly have been going down at the end of the season anyway. And it’s not like he gave them much of a choice…..they could hardly ask him to go and train with the youth team! As distractions go, that will do quite nicely. Thanks very much.
But anyway, back to Spurs. After a very impressive and satisfying victory at the Etihad on Sunday afternoon, it is fair to say that no amount of high profile, celebrity grooming is going to distract the media from the inevitable narrative of a Tottenham title bid. If we were flying under the radar after the Watford game, we have well and truly broken the radar after beating Man City! Which is great news for us because historically, as most Spurs fans will testify, only good things tend to come from beating Man City. And in fairness, based on the last 7 games, there is no reason why we shouldn’t be considered title contenders. For God's sake, even Paul Merson thinks we can do it and he tips us for relegation every year! Just bear in mind though that this is also a man who thinks that the plural of goose is sheep, so we probably shouldn’t read too much into his professional “insights”. And from my perspective, the rarefied air that we are enjoying near the summit of the Premier League is a totally unfamiliar and alien experience. I go into every season praying to God/Allah/Kanye West that we will finish in the top four and return to the promised land of the Champions League without getting embarrassed by Arsenal or Chelsea. But maybe I have been selling us short? Even as a battle hardened veteran of these normally fruitless campaigns, I am really struggling to find faults with anything or anyone associated with the club this season…..except for Ryan Mason of course. Our once lamented back four is now one of the best defences in the league. We score goals for fun. We play football “the Tottenham way”. Our team spirit appears to be fantastic and our manager genuinely seems committed to making Tottenham Hotspur great again. With so much bloody positivity in the air, I am finding it increasingly hard not to get my hopes up. And as we discussed previously, hopes and dreams are essentially one in the same. So maybe Poch is right. Maybe we should finally dare to dream. After all, Ossie Ardiles once had a dream…..and we all know how that turned out! But then again, so did Martin Luther King…..and he got shot in the face.