How I Feel
I’ve called this ‘How I Feel’ because, for me, football and the conversations around it impact on my feelings. What a snowflake. When Spurs were playing well and it felt like the club and its fan-base were together, I felt great! We all did. Now things are not going well and divisions have set in, I feel sad about it. I feel helpless, powerless, I’m not enjoying the football, I feel like part of my weekly or bi-weekly escapism has become a chore.
I don’t mean to be alarmist – I’m fine! Fortunately, I am a resilient person who has good mental health and I look after myself. But many fans are not, and this period is going to be difficult for them.*
I knew that José Mourinho was a divisive figure. But I didn’t realise quite how quickly those divides would appear. A large portion of our fan-base struggled with the idea of his appointment, not least because he followed an almost universally popular manager.
Our exit from the FA Cup at the hands of Norwich, as well as Mourinho’s handling of the Tanguy Ndombele predicament this weekend are allowing those who don’t want him at the club to vent with some legitimacy.
The position I have arrived at is that, without Son Heung-min and Harry Kane, and with other constant injuries cropping up due to a necessary over-reliance on other players, this season is not going to get any better. So I am over it. I have mentally moved on and accepted that this is a bad football team for the rest of the season.
I am ready for the summer, ready for our best players to get fit again, ready for us to sign a defensive midfielder, a centre-back, a couple of new full-backs and another striker. I am ready to see what team and what tactics Mourinho can put together for next season. I will judge him at Christmas when he has had a pre-season with his own squad.
But, in the meantime, the constant squabbling, finger-pointing and point-scoring amongst fans is almost as draining as watching this bad Tottenham team play 120 minutes against Norwich.**
It’s a bit like having a discussion about Brexit on Twitter: the two sides of the argument somehow become more entrenched, there is absolutely no progress towards a resolution and, instead, everybody comes away from the discussion feeling worse about it. So, ultimately, it’s probably better not to have it in the first place, or certainly not in this way.
If you think Mourinho is not the man for Spurs – and that’s absolutely fine, of course – then using the rest of the season as a stick to beat Mourinho with as if you’re some kind of soothsayer seems fruitless. We are playing without Kane and Son and with the decomposing corpse of Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur squad. It’s not like Mourinho is suddenly going to invent a new system which fixes these major problems and immediately turns around the mindsets of the players after a year of gradually declining self-belief and confidence. And, crucially, telling everyone else over and over just how badly you think Mourinho is doing is probably going to make you feel worse. And it’ll make everyone else you’re communicating with feel worse too.
Equally, if you feel that Mourinho is absolutely the best man for Tottenham (also fine) and you continue to beat that drum despite any tangible evidence that he’s actually making a positive change, then be aware that you are rubbing it in the face of all of those fans who did not want him in the first place and now absolutely do not want him.
The football is bad enough without two sides of an increasingly toxic debate splitting our (briefly cohesive) fan-base any further. Much like our society is bad enough without two sides of a toxic debate causing yet more division, more hate, feeding into a situation which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Or, frankly, maybe I should just mind my own business. Shout into the void if you want. Get the negativity out and share it amongst your friends and followers, watch it spread.*** Because my way of dealing with this run-in is, most likely, going to be to withdraw from social media anyway. I think we’re all going to need some coping mechanisms because it’s going to get worse before it gets better.
Enjoy your Spurs-free Sunday!
**I’ve already had my say on where I personally think the blame rests.
***Let it be said that I am stopping short of a Coronavirus analogy here because, frankly, some things are way more important than football.