I was wondering the other day when exactly Spurs fans became so toxic in their criticism of the club, players, performances or anything else associated with THFC that it became acceptable? It seems as though being unhappy with certain aspects of the on field or off field performance has to be followed by plenty of dummy spitting and utter contempt to such a polarised degree that if you don’t agree with someone’s extreme point of view then you are a “happy clapper” as if it’s a bad thing to stay positive about aspects of the team you have chosen to support.

It could just be that this is a reflection of society, or footballing society more relevantly. Or it could just be the social media generation where the easily disgruntled have a platform from which to speak quite loudly that isn’t quite a “consider the lilies” type moment. Or has the money game infiltrated our desires to the extent that if a team isn’t winning or competing that it ceases to mean anything? Or is the “FIFA generation” so used to venting their spleen if their real life controllers don’t work in the same way as their Sony or Microsoft ones? Has the digital non reality just blurred the realism that used to be attached to supporting a team? Perhaps the pay per view generation see the likes of SKY waxing lyrical about the “best” teams in the “best” league that nothing else matters other than being “the best”?

We had the rather shameful incident recently in the away match at Stoke where Spurs fans were arguing and fighting with each other. Now this is not the same as arguing over social media, which is bad enough, but this was face to face verbal and aggressive. It did not last long thankfully from what I understand, but for it to have happened at all should embarrass us all. We ought to be above these types of things. It seems that some were happy to “sing” at the top of their voices that “we’re f***ing shit” over and over and some of our more seasoned fans took offence to it and I have to say that I would have too had I been there.

Do fans really comprehend what it means to sing that about your own team? You can adjust or abandon how much you care or how passionate you are I suppose, but one thing you should never abandon is your pride and your dignity. And I get the self-deprecating cynicism that some choose to hide behind when things aren’t going well, but even if the team were utter garbage that day (which by all accounts they were as I still haven’t seen the game or the highlights having purposely avoided it) what possible point can there be to revelling in singing about it in that way? It is embarrassing and I would hazard a guess that this flip flopping from rapturous support one minute and reckless abandon the next is likely to stem from a breed of fan who’s memories perhaps do not extend further back than maybe 2004 so that all context of where we are as a club is lost. Moreover it illustrates a total incomprehension of what the badge should mean to US as fans, and how we should carry ourselves as fans.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t look at things through spurs tinted specs (as I am often accused) but I like to believe that there is another side to a situation and no matter how angry I may get about something to do with THFC one thing I will not do is sing that “we are f***ing shit”. Because the badge on that shirt is what identifies me. It identifies all of us, because most of all a club is about people. It is about us as individuals and not the money men or even the players or coaches, it is about us supporters because when all of these guys have been and gone, we will still be here.

You see, the toxicity and hysteria in the knee-jerk levels of supporter reactions are incomprehensible to me. Player X has always been useless because he has had a poor month. Player Y has been awful because his stats prove he is awful. The coach is out of his depth because he doesn’t play this way or that way, or have a plan B or C or D. The board are just in it to line their own pockets. And yet none of us live day to day in the training camp or dressing rooms or board room of our club and so we will never know what really happens or what the backdrop may be to a certain situations. All we have are rumour and conjecture being passed around as fact in an inane attempt to be the one that told us all so. Let’s consider a recent example of Emmanuel Adebayor who has made clear that he has had some unfortunate familial issues that would no doubt impact the best of us in our daily lives; and it was only when some of this stuff came to light that people started cutting him some slack or showing an understanding of his predicament.

I think that many of us take our role as fans for granted. We somehow believe that what we think or what we want matters more than anything. That we as fans should be empowered by the club’s predicament and our perceptions of what should be and thereby allow us to discard our responsibilities as fans because we don’t agree with any number of issues. This is idealistic and irrational. Let me tell you why. Because since the dawn of time club boards have made mistakes at football clubs; managers have made incorrect tactical decisions; players have been good, poor or indifferent and no matter how much time passes these things will always be the same. All we as fans can do, regardless of our level of unhappiness or disagreement, is remember what made us into Spurs fans in the first place and what it means to wear the colours as a fan of any team.

I am old enough to remember Spurs being relegated in 1976/77. Just a mere three years following a UEFA cup final and five years after winning that same trophy (in the days when winning the UEFA cup was harder than winning the European Cup – now Champions League). The season before being relegated we had finished 9th and we didn’t get relegated by a point or two; we were dead last. The following season Spurs fans filled stadiums everywhere and pushed the club back to the old First Division at the first attempt. Not that it is likely to happen today but would today’s fans react in the same way?

I recently spent a day at WHL for the Hull City game with a group of fans that came over from Dallas, Texas. For all of these guys and for one of the fans at least it was a day so filled with pride that he had actually made it to WHL that he welled up on entering the ground. We have just completed an end of season tour in the Far East and Australia and we have seen images of Malaysian fans in their spurs colours singing “Oh When the Spurs Go Marching In” and we have seen thousands upon thousands of Spurs fans in Australia watch a game in Sydney. It is likely that there will be a few thousand American Spurs fans at the MLS All Star game in Denver come July. This thing is global. And no matter how cynical you may be about the Premier League branding, remember that these fans could support ANY club. They could support a club that is successful, or buys the best players, or maybe has a richer history than Tottenham Hotspur, but they don’t. They support the club with the Cockerel Crest and they are without question Spurs inside. They are part of our sporting family.

My Texan friend that shall remain nameless has so deeply immersed himself in the history and meaning of Spurs in what is a relatively short period of maybe three seasons support that he probably feels something about Spurs right now that many don’t or have forgotten about. The backdrop to “being spurs” is fresh for him. So much so that on Dave Mackay’s passing he wrote a piece so moving that it made me well up. He could have chosen to support anyone but didn’t. He chose Spurs. Like you did. He is Spurs, I am Spurs, you are all Spurs and we all will be until we die. So go ahead and moan and disagree and criticise if you want. It’s an opinion everyone is entitled to but just consider the context. And when the unhappiness leads to tirades or hate fuelled responses to other fans, to players or to the club over social media, or indeed cause you to revel in the self mocking “we’re f***ing shit* sing song; just pause, have think, take a look around you and have a word with yourselves and remember why you are Spurs in the first place and what being Spurs ought to mean.

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