Saturday, 2 April 2011
Spurs are beyond good and evil
The game itself isn't worth an extended discussion. We never looked like scoring, but rarely looked like conceding. A draw was a fair result, although if either team deserved to nick it, it would have been Wigan. Bollocks, basically.
What was more interesting than the game was... well, pretty much fucking anything and everything. I've been to some of my children's school plays that were more interesting than that - and I regularly self harm at those things.
But what was more specifically and relevantly interesting was the afternoon's dynamic between positive and negative attitudes. It manifested itself on the macro level of Spurs as a whole via Twitter, and on the micro level of Jermaine Jenas in the pub where I watched an illegal feed.
Let's deal with JJ first. He's not the most popular, we all know that, even if some of us find his pariah status a bit baffling.
I'm a fan. Okay, maybe not a fan, but certainly a supporter. Okay, maybe not a supporter, but definitely a defender. Okay, maybe not a defender, but unashamedly an apologist.
Okay, how's this: basically, if the average Spurs fan's regard for Jenas is here (I'm holding my hand out flat at about the level of my belly button), then my view of him is here (I'm holding my hand at the top of my chest/bottom of my neck).
On Saturday though, I found myself in the same pub as a few lads who clearly didn't give a fuck how Jenas played, they'd already decided he was shit. It didn't help terrifically that, on this particular afternoon, he was actually pretty shit. But I was still kind of narked by it.
Because whilst I can groan and grumble about our collective performance with the best/worst of them, I do take umbrage at giving stick to individual players - at least on a blinkered, relentless and vitriolic basis. I've sat with friends and strangers over many years who you just know, however certain individuals play, are going to lay into them.
It becomes incredibly tiresome. They ignore nine instances of perfectly fine or even pretty damn good play, and then, when the player under the spotlight fucks up on instance number 10, they find their voice. 'Typical fucking xxxxxx!' they suddenly pipe up. And by pipe up I mean bellow like morons. Well, yeah, but statistically it's not, is it? It's more: 'At last, an example of play that backs up my pre-determined view of xxxxx'.
I'm not going to analyse the pros and cons of JJ himself, because that's not what this is about. It's about the difference between saying 'Fuck me Corluka, that was a shit pass' and deciding, before every game, that Corluka is a useless waste of space, no matter what he does, and heaping pretty personal abuse on him from start to finish.
Okay, next up, the more general, more understandable and more subtly nuanced conflict between those who got fucked off/frustrated with yesterday's result and those who tried to look on the bright side: no easy games, we were away, kept a clean sheet, not bad when you look at what rivals did, etc.
There was a tiny bit of push and pull between the two camps yesterday on Twitter.
But I think it's perfectly valid to hold both views simultaneously. To some extent I think we all do.
I never expected us to win and I was massively disappointed that we drew. This makes no sense, I realise that. It is, in fact, DoubleSpeak of the highest order.
I can point out Spurs' failings for hours on end. I can explain in great detail, using Powerpoint where necessary, why we'll never qualify for the Champions League again. But if anyone else suggests that maybe we're punching above our weight at the moment, then I'll immediately start sticking up for us.
We may be simple folk, but our relationship with Spurs is complicated. It is multi-layered and it is contradictory.
On a recent podcast, Word founder and Spurs fan David Hepworth said something along the lines of: 'Before every game I always mentally rehearse every worst case scenario. I think that by doing so I can make myself immune from it when it actually happens. But of course it doesn't work. The pain still pierces.'
The pain still pierces. It really does.
These positive and negative feelings of hope, adoration, despair, dejection, anger, frustration co-exist within all of us simultaneously. (The subtitle of this blog, of course, is : Nobody loves Spurs more than me. Nobody hates Spurs more than me). Never mind Mourhino or Ferguson, it's football fans who are the masters of mind games. We play them on ourselves all the time.
It's our state of normalcy.
Football isn't rational, logical, predictable or, let's face it, much of the time, enjoyable. Our relationship with it is bound to be volatile.
Those who are constantly negative or relentlessly positive are the weird, deluded or, let's be honest, stupid ones.
If our relationship with Spurs was with another person then, yes, we'd need counseling. Actually, we'd probably need to split up. As it is, all we need is a win.