Often afforded the honour of being the most delusional amongst football fans, which is no mean feat. The start of any season for a fan of Tottenham Hotspur inevitably starts with the profound statement; this year will be the year.
Now in most cases this year never ends up being the year. However, Spurs find themselves in one of the most enviable positions in memory. With a few tweaks here and there I truly believe this could be the season where the ‘lilywhites’ realise their potential and mount a genuine Premier League title challenger.
Not only do Spurs have the best manager in as many years, they possess probably the best squad. The “go out and enjoy yourself” nonsense doesn’t really cut it for me when it comes to battling for top honours. Fortunately in Andre Villas-Boas Tottenham have one of the most sought after tacticians in the game. I firmly believe that if anyone can get the best out of the current crop of talent, it will be this man.
The current squad is the envy of most managers across the continent. A midfield three of Paulinho, Sandro and Dembele is arguably the best in the League, and has the muscle to hold up even on a wintry night in Stoke. With Bale and Lennon on either flank, there is enough their to expose the shortcomings of almost any team. Spurs still do not possess a perfect squad and certain frailties must be addressed in order to mount a serious challenge.
Most urgently in the minds of most Spurs fans, is the remedying of the striking situation. Blessed with the likes of Rasiak and Bent down the years, this represents a chink in the armour of even the most optimistic Spurs fan. Whilst Adebayor is probably the best of a poor bunch in recent times, I doubt he can recapture any semblance of his top form. Bubbling beneath the surface will always be a degree of animosity between player and fan and I cannot help but think this will never work. Villas-Boas probably feels the same, and the hoards of players the club have been linked to would support this. A striker represents the most significant of outlays for a club and I doubt this decision will be rushed. Yet, the resolution of the striking saga is paramount to a Tottenham title challenge and something, which should be a matter of high importance for the clubs hierarchy.
I include myself amongst many Spurs fans that have a bit of a soft spot for a certain Cameroonian left back. However, I cannot help but think when it really counts he will do something utterly crazy. Branded a liability by many, I just wouldn’t risk his eccentricities when it matters most. World-class left backs are cheaper in comparison to say a striker, and therefore a bid for the likes of Baines/ Coentrao would not be out of the question.
Whilst Tottenham fans are often the first to talk up their chances to other fans, they are in many cases the most extreme cynics when it comes to talking to other Spurs fans. Too often last season this negativity was rife amongst the White Hart Lane faithful, invariably being exposed to the players on the pitch. Few would doubt that angst amongst fans was a contributor to early season poor form and nerves last term.
The traditional top clubs all appear to be going through a transition at the moment. Still they should not be underestimated, but also they should not be feared. If Spurs want to compete for the title next year they must turn White Hart Lane into a fortress. You only have to look at United’s home form under Ferguson to see the necessity of this. Whilst a lot of this allays to the teams performances, I believe the attitudes of fans that go to games is crucial. Frustration with the team is understandable at times, particularly Spurs. If fans want the club to succeed they should do everything in their own power to make it happen. I totally disagree with the ‘boo boy’ I paid for a ticket so I am entitled to do as I wish rubbish. If you disagree with something to do with the club, by all means write an agitated article about it later, but do not let it inhibit your team’s capacity to succeed.
When it comes down to it, the success of a title challenge will be much to do about how the team deals with adversity. How will they cope after conceding that last minute winner or when Howard Webb awards an unjust penalty in front of the Stretford end? If Bale is side-lined who takes up the gauntlet?
I firmly believe Spurs will allow Villas-Boas the personnel he desires, and with it the tools to challenge. Therefore there is absolutely no reason why the 2013/14 season cannot be the year that Spurs push the top clubs close and even win it.
Or am I just another deluded Spurs fan?