There is a myth purveying around the spurs supporting circles that we have always played free flowing football and that the current football being played by THFC isn’t reflective of our traditions. “Traditions” however do not translate into winning and nor into successful football and besides the game has moved on. There have been occasions in our history when we played people off the park. The early 60’s a case in point which barely any spurs fan under age 55 can properly remember. And the early to mid 80’s which even this period may not be in the memory banks of some of the serial “complainers” at the Lane.

Twitter and other social forums abound with moaning and groaning fans whose memories are blurred by the occasional good performance in the past. What Spurs have always had is good players. The list is endless and from the 80’s onwards alone you can list Hoddle, Ardiles, Gazza, Lineker, Waddle, Ginola, Klinsmann, and more recently, Berbatov, Modric, Van Der Vart and Bale. Over the years THFC has however, proven the fact that quality players alone do not make a successful team. For all our rose tinted view of the past we have been relatively unsuccessful. Teams used to play Spurs and feel that they could get something. Even more recently under Harry Redknapp, we were prone to losing at home to teams like Hull or Wigan, and struggling against Stoke.

In the past we would travel away to places such as Newcastle, Liverpool, West Ham and Arsenal without much hope of getting a point never mind a victory. Such was the feeling around the club, and opposing teams knew we were a soft touch despite our flair players. Our “free flowing” style of football left us open to be attacked. And of course we weren’t very successful as a club either were we? The 90’s are a blur of mediocrity when we would regularly finish in mid table and be knocked out of cups fairly early. In fact it would be feast or famine in the cups. We’d either get to the semi final and fail or get knocked out early. And oh how we celebrated when we finally made the Europa League in the mid 2000’s. We’d sing about going on a European Tour!

People’s memories are short. No doubt we reflect on our wonderful debut season in the Champions League and think that it was always thus. But it wasn’t. We caught many teams by surprise that season in Europe and we had Gareth Bale coming into his own and Luka Modric on form too. It is no surprise that both of these players are now at Real Madrid. But the Champions League run aside, do not forget our propensity at the time to “hit Crouchy” or the fact that we needed an injury time winner from VDV to get a draw at home to Stoke. It wasn’t always pretty.

But there has been improvement at Spurs. First under Jol, then Redknapp and now AVB. But what AVB is doing differently to the others is that finally at WHL we are changing our mentality. We are nurturing a winning mentality at Spurs and other clubs are finally sitting up and taking notice. Not just that, but they are lining up differently against us. Parking the bus as some would say and whilst I am in agreement that we need more guile to unpick these teams I believe this will come. Spurs need to score early in games in order to open the game up, but as it is we are scoring late as we have to gradually wear teams down with our possession. Players like Lamela and Eriksen will grow into their roles at the club and much the same way as Hugo Lloris wasn’t thrown into the first team straight away then neither will these special players.

The winning of games on a more regular basis than we have been used to in the past has raised expectations of the fans. Such expectations making them impatient and irritable. At the time of writing Spurs could go third in the premiership today. They have a home tie against West Ham in the Quarter finals of the League Cup and have breezed into the last 32 of the Europa League without getting out of 2nd gear. Spurs fans need to remember from whence we came. From mid table mediocrity; from almost extinction in 1991; from “2 points in 8 games” as we were often reminded; from battling for 5th place to battling for Champions League; from relying on players like Jenas, Bentley, Bent and Chimbonda to now having one of the strongest squads in the premiership.

So let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that we always had cavalier and exciting forward play. We didn’t. And no we wouldn’t rather play great and lose 4-3 and most fans know this. Great teams are built on solid foundations. A certain George Graham built a dynasty of team success on solid foundations at the other end of the Seven Sisters Road. AVB is not as defensive as GG was mind, however the hope is that in time the bigger picture will see Spurs click into the attacking force that we would like to see whilst at the same time remain a team that is difficult to beat and has that winning mentality.

Patience is the key. I would like to see us win games 3-0 or 4-0 but this is a season of bedding in a new team and we no longer can rely on Gareth Bale to conjour a long range goal. Perhaps AVB understudied Mourinho for too long and some of his tactical traits have influenced our young manager, but whatever the reason, our manager is just that; Young. He is still learning and will make mistakes at times and no matter how frustrating some performances will be (even for me), I for one am happy to give him the time and support he needs to see his ambitions bear fruit. We have one of the best young coaches in Europe at our club and we should value that. We can all play fantasy football and pick our preferred starting line ups (as most seem to do on twitter) but picking a team is not just about names is it? It’s never that easy.

Be proud to be lilywhite and hopefully we can watch our young team and our young manager grow into the finished article. We are just not quite there yet but the signs are promising.

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