Shuffle served up The Killers’ Smile Like You Mean It on the way to the game. The line ‘Dreams ain’t what they used to be’ seemed apt. Spurs have gone for change, a break with all that has been created over five years that brought so much joy to so many. But no trophies. And it seems that is the only measure that matters. So we’d better get on with it.
On the concourse of the London Stadium, there’s a great deal of shrugging and strained pragmatism. It’s no secret Jose Mourinho’s approach has not been popular with many Spurs fans. But there are plenty who point to his record of winning trophies at every club he’s managed. The only measure that matters.
How this will be done is going to be the story we watch over the coming seasons. We’ll have to work that out for ourselves, because there’s been nothing from the club about how we will be developing, aside from some puff about “re-energising”. Have blind faith in us as we make our 11th managerial appointment in 18 years is the message. And hope the story is of how we win trophies rather than if.
Transfer windows will be interesting, that’s for sure.
The line up reveals a midfield shield of Harry Winks and Eric Dier in front of a back four. It’s hard to see exactly how they are operating from row six, but the team starts brightly with most of the play at the far end, inside West Ham’s half. The three attacking midfielders are buzzing brightly and Dele Ali looked more like his old self.
The ‘you sold your soul’ chant strikes up, directed at the home support. But it dwindles. A bit close to home perhaps. Then we score. We’re still just about at the stage where we celebrate as the ball hits the net, but with every week there is more hesitation. Sure enough, it’s VAR time. No goal. And also next to no communication. Despite pledges to improve communication to the paying punters in the stadium, the approach throughout the afternoon seems to be to bung something up on a screen if you remember but don’t worry about the quality of the information. So we’re left none the wiser about why decisions have been made. Maybe some of Karen’s Apprentice chums are running the comms.
This was no goal, but Spurs were soon ahead and by the start of the second half a 3-0 lead suggested it was game over. But this is Spurs and the old brittleness returned to provide a tense end and eventual 3-2 win.
More than a few of us stayed to see how players, new manager and fans would react to each other. Christian Eriksen was first over to applaud the visiting contingent —perhaps to register he’d actually been on the pitch. Then Dele and Sonny, applauding and throwing shirts into the crowd, the latter vaulting the advertising boards to step into the stand and hand over his shirt. A welcome touch of class.
Mourinho stayed on the touchline, seemingly unsure of the right thing to do was. His name was chanted by a good few fans, and he responded by applauding back. To me, it seemed he handled it well, showing an awareness perhaps of the controversy around his appointment. Of course, fans will support their team and their manager. As long as those trophies come.
But it is undoubtedly the start of a new era. This is the first Terrace Talk I’ve written after a Spurs win. This time next year...