It's that time of the year when most if us plan our summer holidays, feeling very disappointed that another season has gone by with very little happening on the football field. If you’re like me you’re already looking forward to the summer, hoping for more success in the summer sport you might or might not play.
The planning for the summer has begun in late April for the last couple of years, only occasionally watching ‘Match of the Day’ to see whether or not we had moved up the table after another 0-0 draw on a Saturday.
When I look back at my early childhood, things could have been a lot worse when I was faced with an important decision at an early age. The question itself was given to me by my dad, a life-long Spurs fan, which to me was a very easy question to answer. He wanted to know whether or not I was a Spurs fan or a Brentford fan, please note I did live half-an-hour away from the ground. It was a simple answer to a very worthless question. There was only one team in my heart, from the very first time I watched an old video or read a dated programme, let's just say that the answer pleased my dad.
I grew up watching the struggling Spurs team, the team that faced a number of injuries to a number of key players, Teddy Sheringham for example, who was injured at Old Trafford when the season had just begun. It wasn’t a great start to the season but little did I know how bad it was going to get. That season I saw my first match at White Hart Lane, a tense 6-pointer against a Sheffield Utd team also looking to avoid relegation.
I remember the game well and still feel gutted about it every time I look back at it. We were losing in the 91<sup>st</sup> minute and my dad and myself left the ground in deep despair, only to regret the decision when we equalised. That thought stands out whenever I attend matches now, thinking anything can happen if I leave. So far the decision had worked in my favour but only occasionally. That season I also saw my first North London derby, at Highbury against an Arsenal team doing considerably better than we were.
The funny thing about the match was the fact that we scored first, in a widely open game. It was Shaggy who scored the opener in the first half, with the ball hitting the back of the net. I can remember the Spurs fans going mad at the other end of the ground. I too was cheering but was outnumbered by the Gooners - I was sat in the Arsenal stand with my dad, who very smartly didn’t join me in the celebration of the goal. The enemy equalised in the second half but I can remember the feeling as I left the ground, reflecting on a good performance by our struggling boys.
But what’s gone wrong from there? The years have passed with us Spurs fans suffering the pain of another three F.A Cup semi-final defeats after the loss to Arsenal at Wembley in 1993, still wondering whether or not the glory days will return.
I’m writing this after the home game against Aston Villa, with a small part of me still suffering from the shattering defeat to the old enemy at Old Trafford. That day was the worst day of my football life and ended the season altogether. As I sat in my seat watching the Villa game and enjoying the half-time competition ‘Hit the Bar’. I look in the match day programme reflecting on the season that never was! The team that had no luck in areas they needed it the most, the injuries and the suspensions that always came at the wrong time, the endless number of 0-0s that could have easily been one-nil to the Spurs if we could hit the net with an ounce of luck.
Come to think of it, what actually came from this season 2000-2001? The departure of George Graham and the arrival of Glenn Hoddle stand out in my mind. I look back at his time in charge and think to myself he didn’t do too bad, but really it was his connections with Arsenal that done it for him and his unwillingness to spend money on top class players. Things looked so different after the arrival of the Worthington Cup in 1999. The funny thing about the games is that anyone who was there will remember the fan’s singing ‘There only one George Graham’ when the teams was carrying out their lap of honourÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦How things can change!
I sometimes wish I were born ten years earlier so I could have enjoyed the dazzling football played on the pitch by a side with confidence home and away from WHL. Being able to watch European football and the countless number of finals we reached in the early 80’s.
But I am safe in the mind that these days will defiantly return and the players will have a brim of confidence throughout the next couple of seasons. With the right man in charge of a promising team, I believe that in fifteen years time my son will be watching my tapes of a great Tottenham team that graced the field at WHL with the cockerel proud on their heart and the ball glued to their feet.
By Dean Lewis