That’s So Spursy
How Tottenham are changing what it means to be a bit ‘Spursy.’
The experts at Urban Dictionary say it all. To be Spursy as of late is about as fashionable as Ugg boots and Nike shorts. Tottenham’s consistency to come up short in the past has built this stigma. One that has stained their reputation and left their supporters gasping for breath as they drown in their own self-loathing and pity. However, time does heal all wounds, and Spurs have begun to change their own image in the league, being the most consistent side over the past two seasons and finishing 3rd and 2nd respectively.
Though trophies still aren’t being raised in this part of North London, they do appear to be on the horizon as Mauricio Pochettino has propelled his side to all new heights in his short time at the helm. While the likes of Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen, and company might prove a tough task to keep in North London, if Daniel Levy can keep this group together while pulling in a a few more pieces, then the sky is most certainly the limit for North London faithful.
Being “Spursy” is a concept that has plagued me — really haunted me — even in my moments of greatest joy or success.
My boys from the Lane could be up any amount, lads oozing confidence, controlling the game, moving the ball with purpose and creating chances at will, but still, floating in the back of my mind, prodding me endlessly, is the possibility that at any moment the tide could turn, a slip, a stray pass, an own goal, and Spurs blow the lead like Golden State when up 3–1. It’s like a curse, the kind that very few sports teams outside the Chicago Cubs can relate to. But like the Cubbies, as the times are changing, so are the results. With the group being assembled — amidst the rubble that will soon stand a new stadium — a new club is on the rise that is set to redefine what is means to be “Spursy.”
A New Ground To Walk On
This new stadium, whose naming rights are still under discussion with deals rumored to be in the range of £400m, is a major step in building the club financially to a point where they will be able to compete not only on the pitch, but in the transfer market as well. What has often been deemed a “feeder club,” the new stadium gives Spurs fans hope that not only will they have the funds to maintain the stars they create, but reach out and bring in proven talent to improve their roster.
Pochettino’s “Magical” Squad
The squad that Pochettino has put together is over-performing in the most magnificent of fashions, but as the transfer window approaches, Daniel Levy and others are being forced to work incredibly hard to ensure that this dream team they have constructed will not be picked apart by the big-spenders of the world like Barcelona and Madrid. One encouraging point is that many of Spurs foundational players have already signed lengthy contract extensions to keep them at the club, and the boys seem to have come to the conclusion amongst themselves that they want to see this whole thing through.
To quote a member of the Manchester United community, Charlie the Red, the way Spurs are playing at the moment is “11 best friends” and it is showing both on and off the pitch, with the entire team forming lasting bonds with one another. From Eric Dier and Dele Alli, Belgian teammates and Spurs centerbacks Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen, to Hueng Min Son and virtually any other member of the starting 11 — as evident with his goal-scoring handshakes — there are friendships all across the pitch when Tottenham come to play. It is thanks to this brotherhood that Spurs always seem to be on the same page with one another — a possible explanation for Spur’s stifling defense that only allowed 24 goals on the year (0.67 per match) and kept a total of 17 clean sheets.
This stringent defense is a key piece in the system that has propelled Spurs to their best finish in 54 years. Despite the recent success, however, the remaining issue of a lack of trophies does leave room for the term “Spursy” to still have relevance as Spurs have seemed to run out of gas in the final stretch of two consecutive Premier League title races.
Darkness (Money) Reigns
As Tottenham’s play has excelled, players like Harry Kane and Dele Alli have been high on the pecking order for big money clubs to come and cash-in on the talent that Spurs have produced.
With the summer transfer window on the horizon, Chairman Daniel Levy and Mauricio Pochettino are going to have their work cut out for them in fending off the vultures that are the Manchester Uniteds, Real Madrids, and Barcelonas of the world. These clubs are more than capable of walking straight into a Spurs training session and offering to double the wages of nearly every player on the Tottenham starting line-up.
The worries amongst club officials over holding onto Spurs stars are not without validation. With Real Madrid making moves to bring in previous Spurs standouts Luka Modric and Garett Bale in the recent past, the wounds that a small pocketbook has caused are still fresh in the minds of Spurs fans worldwide and only fuel their desire to better their team financially for the future to prevent future robberies.
Not only do Spurs need to try to keep their ‘Team of the Future’ together, they are still desperate to find that missing piece that could bring their team over the hump and not simply challenge for the Title in their next campaign, but win it. Vincent Janssen was a definite flop, so the need for another striker to accommodate and challenge Harry Kane is of upmost importance for Spurs. With the futures of Kyle Walker, Eric Dier, and Danny Rose unclear, Spurs must look at potential targets to fill those holes should they depart from North London. Kieran Trippier and Ben Davies have performed exceptionally well in those roles at fullback, but Spurs would lack the depth required to perform in both European and Domestic competition if they failed to secure others in this window.
A Glimpse of Hope
Mauricio Pochettino has been very open about Tottenham’s struggles to compete in the transfer market, but did offer some positives during his post-game interview following the 6–1 dismantling of Leicester City on Wednesday. When asked about Dele Alli specifically, Pochettino expressed great confidence that Alli will be in a Spurs shirt going into the 2017–18 season at Wembley, citing that Spurs were the team to give Alli a chance, playing him in big games when very few other managers in the league would have. Harry Kane being the hometown hero and the most likely to headline the opening of the new stadium, it is very unlikely that Kane wants to be anywhere else playing his football.
With players like Christian Eriksen and Hueng-Min Son improving everyday and the heart of the defense in Hugo Lloris, Alderweireld, and Vertonghen still intact, combined with a sturdy midfield consisting of Mousa Dembélé alongside Victor Wanyama, the structure of this dominant Spurs side is still there and still ready to make yet another push for the top this upcoming season. If the lads can overcome the mental obstacle that is the transition period at Wembley, then there is nothing stopping them from taking that last stride to cross the finish line victoriously.
Let’s Get Spursy
Tottenham Hotspur are doing marvelous things in North London. Under Pochettino, their ability to develop quality out of their youth gives them an unmatched ability to compete with the big-spending clubs of England and compete within themselves to build — not buy — the best squad possible. It’s a very admirable strategy that is tough to emulate. If they can put all of the pieces together and begin to lift a few trophies, then their could be a new switch in power in the Premier League.
Maybe being ‘Spursy’ wouldn’t be so bad after all?