There was a time when cup competitions meant something but that was before the premier league and champions league years after which success ceased to be measured by trophies and started to be measured by how much money a club made in order to sign better players. It’s almost as if success is now measured by how good a transfer window a club had when in years gone by signing a player meant adding to the squad occasionally in order to tweak what you had.

But I miss the cups and as a Spurs fan I miss them more so of late than ever before. FA Cup third round day used to be huge. The one fixture you would really look forward to because that is when the dreaming started, of a final appearance at Wembley in May. I get that many fans talk about the “magic of the cup” but in reality it probably had more to do with the fact that the FA Cup Final was the one live game on TV each season. The over saturation of live football coming in to our living rooms in recent years means that there’s nothing pretty special at all about a live game anymore, apart from the exorbitant monthly subscriptions we pay for the pleasure!

In recent years the cup competitions have become devalued as teams with “more important” things to worry about like European qualification or avoiding relegation, use the competitions to keep the squads happy. But as there are only three domestic trophies to win each season then it should mean something to win one of them, rather than pass the opportunity over to teams with the biggest squads and most money so they can just throw their medals into the crowd at the end.

Spurs have often been heralded as a cup side and we seem to have lost our way in that regard in recent years too. A sporadic Worthington/Carling/Capital one cup appearance (delete as appropriate) has only punctuated many a mediocre season from a trophy aspect for us. Granted too that since our last FA cup win in 1991 we have lost six semi-finals. We never used to lose semi-finals, the last of which was a hammering at the hands of Chelsea and the one before an abject failure against what should have been a gimme versus Portsmouth under the man Arry! And did I just say 1991? That’s far too long a gap between FA cup wins. 24 years for goodness sake.

I remember leaving Wembley at my first ever final in May 1981 (the replay) and from ground level looking up at a jubilant Spurs fan leaning out of a window from one of the stair wells and him screaming “Fourteen years I’ve been waiting for this!!.” I wonder what he’d be thinking now.

Regardless of how teams approach cup competitions now, you can rest assured that a tie against the arch rivals will always have a special feel about it, and so it will on Wednesday night when we face the squatters from Woolwich. There’s been some special cup games between the two teams over the years. The first I remember in the FA cup on my birthday in 1982. A third round fixture that saw us on the road to retaining the trophy. A 1-0 home win courtesy of Garth Crooks in a heaving White Hart Lane on a bitterly cold day.

Since then there has been a number of encounters with that lot. There is the glorious FA Cup semi-final in 1991, which we couldn’t dine out on for too long as fate had them reversing the result two years later and again in 2001 when an abrupt managerial change left us ill prepared. In the league cup we lost an arduous semi-final in 1987 over three games which we should probably have won quite easily but decisively allowed a two goal aggregate lead slip. Clive Allen netted in all three games. But of course the 5-1 victory at WHL that set up our win of that trophy in 2008 will live long in the memory. (The 4-1 extra time reverse five years ago has been expunged from my memory).

Is it me or is there a pattern here? Beat the Goons and you win the trophy? Well whatever happens I will be just happy to beat the goons for now. And then perhaps we can get back to what Spurs used to do best and that is win trophies. The football landscape has changed and probably for the worse. It has always been about big spenders, but the gap in spending has become a gulf; a chasm so large that to bridge it requires engineering of the highest order. So much so that priorities and planning need revisiting.

For many a Spurs fan the game is indeed about glory. And there’s no glory in finishing 4th in the Premier League, only a recognition of a participatory achievement. Glory comes in the form of trophies and I want one badly.

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