Analysing The Tottenham Narrative

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 07: A dejected Son Heung-min of Tottenham Hotspur during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Second Leg match between Tottenham Hotspur and Juventus at Wembley Stadium on March 7, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Tottenham Hotspur lit a spark of hope at Wembley when Son Heung-Min scuffed home past Gianluigi Buffon. However, Juventus shocked them with two quickfire goals in the second half. As a result, across various media outlets and amongst many football fans, the Tottenham ‘narrative’ has surfaced once more.

The Tottenham Narrative: What is it and can Spurs ever Escape it?

What is the Tottenham Narrative?

This is a term referring to the plethora of Spurs-related insults and cliches relating to their lack of success. Immediately after the match, some fans questioned whether Spurs had hit their ceiling. This infers that the club has a certain level, aspiring for success and titles but always falling short. Falling short is something commonly referred to as ‘bottling it’ or ‘putting the pressure on’. These terms are so frustrating because they demean the progress that the club has made in the past five years.

Is the Narrative Grounded in Fact?

As the old adage goes, there is no smoke without fire. The club really has struggled in their pursuit of silverware recently. There are many matches that could serve as examples, whereby Spurs simply cannot hold a lead or a strong position. But, perception is important here. Take the season where Spurs supposedly ‘bottled’ the Premier League title when Leicester City instead took the title in 2016. There was no extended point in the season where the club headed the table. The title was entirely Leicester’s to lose.

This is a key part of the narrative, twisting each season, match or event in order to fit the larger mockery of the club. There is no denying that Spurs lack trophies, but what must be denied is the exaggerated claims that the club will always remain in mediocrity.

Putting the Pressure on ‘Putting on the Pressure’

Surely the answer to the Tottenham narrative would be to defy it. To win a trophy may well help relieve the criticism and abuse. Whilst this is true to an extent, if Spurs won the FA Cup this season, the narrative would still remain. Even if the club were to take a clean sweep of every trophy next season, still the claims would persist. Instead, comparisons would be made upon scale. For example, have Spurs ever won the Premier League? And how many Champions League titles have they lifted?

The only true way to escape it is to ignore the obsessions of the media and rival fans. Tottenham is once again becoming an illustrious club, no longer consigned to midtable mediocrity. This is only an indicator of the progress they have made recently. Pochettino’s project should be upheld and commended. His project is the divergent force which separates this bright, promising squad from the stagnancy of their late history.

Looking Ahead

Tottenham have two main focuses left this season, the FA Cup and the Premier League. Soon, they will have to face Swansea away, which will be no easy tie. The Swans have won their last seven matches at home, since Carlos Carvalhal’s revitalisation of the club. Falling out of the FA Cup at this stage would be a tragedy for Spurs since, in truth, the Premier League is all but wrapped up. The fans appreciate a top-four finish, but this alone is not enough to count as a good season. However, this is a reality that might have to be accepted.

Instead, it may be more important to consider the challenges the club have been facing this season. To progress as winners in their Champions League group against top opposition is outstanding. A faultless Manchester City are walking home the title with their mega investment. In contrast, Spurs have been extremely efficient in using their limited resources to build a squad capable of beating Real Madrid.

Thus, progress is slow, yet steady. Pochettino has finally brought stability to the club, inching ever closer to glory. Meanwhile, the Tottenham narrative persists, a norm which nervous rival fans adhere to whilst their clubs flounder.

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