Tottenham Hotspur are a club going places. Or so we keep hearing. But it really is time their gifted squad converted promise into silverware. Any silverware, anyhow.
That’s not just the view of moaning media types. It is the opinion of the players themselves.
Spurs have not won anything since the League Cup of 2008.
Their last title win was in the “glory, glory” days of Danny Blanchflower, Bobby Smith, Dave Mackay and Cliff Jones in 1960-61, a group who were tremendous on the pitch — and often had a thing or two to say off it. When discussing an offside call, the brilliant but argumentative Blanchflower once famously remarked: “If he wasn’t interfering with play, he shouldn’t have been on the pitch.”
Since those days Tottenham have paraded the likes of Jimmy Greaves, Glenn Hoddle, Chris Waddle, Paul Gascoigne, Gary Lineker and David Ginola in their famous lily white shirts without ever calling themselves champions.
Now comes a generation lauded in rave reviews.
There is Harry Kane, the homemade cult hero who could top the Premier League scoring charts twice running. Dele Alli, the silky stylist picked up for a song from Milton Keynes Dons. Danny Rose and Kyle Walker, arguably the best full-backs in the league. And Toby Alderweireld, probably the classiest defender playing in England.
More Tottenham talent abounds: Moussa Dembele has rivals drooling over his strength and technique in midfield, Victor Wanyama is a forceful presence alongside and Hugo Lloris is a fine keeper.
Yet Spurs flattered to deceive again last season, folding in the final furlong to finish not only 11 points behind champions Leicester, but also behind bitter rivals Arsenal. So a lot of very pleasing football amounted to nothing, even if third was Tottenham’s best finish since 1990.
Once again this season, Mauricio Pochettino’s team are rightly winning friends and influencing people. At home, they seem unstoppable, outplaying leaders Chelsea and Manchester City in this their final season in their famous old White Hart Lane ground. But a patchy away record — witness the recent display at Liverpool — has left them 10 points off the top. The gap looks too big barring a dramatic turn of events.
Has this team really come of age? Or is there still a doubt about their ability to produce Chelsea-like consistency? In short, are Spurs a team who can be relied on to be ruthlessly efficient? There comes a point when they have to stop being a work in progress and become the finished product. That time is about now.
Then there is the calamitous European campaign when they crashed out of a manageable Champions League group (the only seeds who failed to make the knockout stages) and then contriving to lose to the modest Belgian outfit Gent in the Europa League.
Pochettino is a top coach and charming man who has embraced English culture — he relaxes by watching darts on TV — and has handled the media scrutiny, an intense spotlight that often undermines young coaches, with aplomb. But there are serious questions to be answered about that Euro nightmare. That is why this weekend’s FA Cup quarterfinal at home to Millwall is huge. This is the only trophy Tottenham can realistically win this season. They must go for it hard, picking their very best team.
Spurs are indeed a team and club ready for lift off. But until that trophy arrives, they remain on the launch pad.
Support InfoStride News' Credible Journalism: Only credible journalism can guarantee a fair, accountable and transparent society, including democracy and government. It involves a lot of efforts and money. We need your support. Click here to Donate