May 19, 2024

A Tottenham vs. Chelsea game will, at any given time, feed the fires of one of the most intense rivalries in English football, evoking, to put it kindly, intense enmity between the two sets of followers.

Andre Flo’s hat-trick at White Hart Lane, Frank Arnesen’s money-lust, Lampard’s goal that went over the line, the Battle of the Bridge, nearly seventeen years without a Spurs league victory, and being the only team to miss out on Champions League qualification from a top four finish following Chelsea’s incredible Champions League victory.

More than any other team, Spurs supporters have undoubtedly suffered more at the hands of their West London neighbors.

10 Reasons why Spurs fans shouldn't boo Pochettino - VAVEL International

The most recent anguish is watching their most adored and accomplished manager in the Premier League era now play for a team he previously suggested was Tottenham’s real biggest opponent. Does Pochettino deserve to be ridiculed upon his return to a team he still has a strong affinity with because of this alleged footballing offense? These are my ten arguments against it, listed in priority order:

10. He passed Arsenal.

It may not have been the highest goal Spurs should have set for themselves, but since I hadn’t turned ten years old when Spurs last won the title in North London, I didn’t really remember Spurs defeating their main opponent.

What I did have was more than 20 years of Arsenal finishing ahead of Spurs, first with ease as the Gunners won leagues and doubles while playing magnificent football, but with a much narrower distance as the years went by.

The experience was rendered much more agonizing by the closing of the gap between the teams since Spurs started to accept that they would always be second to the team a mile down the Seven Sisters.

Then, after coming close to doing so the year before while chasing eventual champions Leicester City, Spurs emerged victorious in North London in 2016–17. Bragging rights are a major source of pride for football fans, and after defeating Arsenal, Spurs would go on to dominate for an additional five seasons before Arsenal snatched victory in their 2022–23 title challenge.

For this reason, the significance of chasing the demons of the previous 20 years and removing the chip from the collective fan base of Spurs should not be undervalued.

9. He kept the club united.

I can understand why some people disagree, as trophies are essential in football, but in just five years, the relationships that Pochettino’s Spurs team and supporters have forged have probably surpassed the number of truly beloved Spurs players in the Premier League prior to his arrival.

In addition to the obvious names, the Spurs supporters were proud to have players like Jan Vertonghen, Hugo Lloris, Christian Eriksen, the unstoppable Mousa Dembélé, and even Érik Lamela, who so many fans felt a connection with even though he never really developed.

Before Pochettino worked his magic, many Spurs supporters believed that these players varied from mercurial stars who couldn’t be relied upon to subpar players out of their depths. Less well-known players like Ryan Mason, Andros Townsend, and Nabil Bentaleb all made their names as players under Pochettino’s tutelage. Players like Eric Dier, Kyle Walker, and Danny Rose would have most likely had quite different careers as well.

Spurs had been a club with teams that fluctuated from poor to ok, raised by one or two stars, for far too long before he arrived. Harry Kane, the team’s clear star, sustained serious injuries multiple seasons in a row, but the team persisted in playing because to Pochettino’s coaching, motivation, and raising of standards throughout the group and rarely faltered.

8. He was not given the Spurs job offer.

Spurs lost Mauricio Pochettino in the fall of 2019. Despite the fact that the preceding five years under this ownership were the best in the club’s history, he was actually fired by Spurs, and fired following the first test of the team’s faith in him.

Three managers have been fired by Spurs since then, and none of them have been able to complete the season they started. On three occasions when Spurs’ management position became open, Pochettino was not contacted.

If he had been and he turned it down to sign with Chelsea, I would feel greater compassion for individuals harmed by his job decision, but in the end, this man has the right to pursue his professional goals in the same manner as everyone else.

Although he may have strong emotional ties to Spurs, it is unrealistic to expect him to be as devoted to the team as a supporter unless he joins Arsenal. Chelsea is one of the select few teams in international football that has a genuine chance of contending for a championship in a major league; they are also the only team where a managerial position became available this summer.

Who knows how long Pochettino would have had to wait for gainful employment if he had also had to take Spurs supporters’ sentiments into account when selecting his next role?

7. One hand was bound behind his back.

Pochettino faced opposition at Spurs, including teams who had a well-documented history of spending much more on player salaries and transfers.

In spend tables for that time frame, Spurs would often be ranked sixth among the “Big Six.” There were very few players brought in during Pochettino’s tenure that could truly compete with the first team.

I struggle to remember any after Victor Wanyama in fact. Then as that core of excellent players, many of whom I listed earlier in the article, began to diminish, so did the quality of the team.

Dembélé and Wanyama became Winks and Sissoko. Walker became Trippier who became Aurier. Dele, Eriksen, Lloris, Vertonghen and Alderweireld all became overused, and unchallenged they kept their positions far longer than they should have.

Eventually the strong collective of players I described became the ok bunch being carried by the couple of stars, Kane and Son, much like the teams of the pre-Pochettino era.

This is all before we consider that Spurs spent almost two seasons playing at Wembley Stadium, without a true home. That Pochettino achieved so much despite always sailing with a leak in the boat and sharks in the water was at times miraculous.

6. The last season.

Not his last season, but the last one at White Hart Lane, which was always going to be a bittersweet one for all Spurs supporters.

How did that season turn out? Spurs won seventeen games and were unbeaten at home. Spurs scored the most goals and gave up the fewest goals to finish second in the league. With Harry Kane as their main scorer, Spurs not only played the finest football in the league but also routinely destroyed other teams.

Yes, still no trophy, but for supporters who had endured so much disappointment across the previous three decades, there was a sense of pride and level of joy which was almost alien.

That final home victory against Manchester United, before the cranes and bulldozers started working, might have been just as emotional in any other circumstances, we’ll never know, but fans had never felt so connected to the club and this cannot be disassociated from Mauricio Pochettino.

It was he who turned something that would would have been a funeral under any other modern Spurs manager into a celebration of everything it meant to support this club.

5. Hoddle, Allen, and Hazard
Clive Allen, Micky Hazard, and Glenn Hoddle. There are no men more inscribed in Spurs history than Pochettino, and I say that with all due respect.

Our greatest player ever, a key player in our final European trophy victory in 1984, and the man who, for us, set a goals record for a top flight player that stood until a certain Erling Haaland (son of our great double winning forward) came to the fore while wearing our colours.

After Spurs, all of them would play for Chelsea, and Hoddle would manage them too. To be fair, they are all still cherished and revered members of the Spurs family.

The argument that Pochettino, a foreigner who lived in Spain for the majority of his career, is a traitor while those players are not implies that Pochettino was even more significant to Spurs than they were.

This is blatantly false, therefore even if it’s obvious that Spurs supporters shouldn’t love him anymore, why should they give Pochettino any less grace than was previously extended to Glenn, Micky, and Clive regarding his decision?

4. Burkinshaw, or Nicholson, is the Spurs’ most successful manager since. I should note that I say “in the league,” as Burkinshaw won three big trophies and wasn’t too awful in the league.

But unless we’re going to falsely claim that players like Juande Ramos, Terry Venables, and George Graham were all huge successes who won one trophy apiece, then Pochettino is among Spurs’ most successful managers—certainly the most since Burkinshaw and possibly even more so since Bill Nicholson.

At the time of writing, Pochettino is without a doubt the most successful Spurs manager of the Premier League era, arguably the most successful since Bohemian Rhapsody was released, and absolutely top four Spurs managers in almost every Spurs fan’s living memory (and outright number one in mine). Given that Nicholson left in 1974 and that Spurs never finished fourth or above more than twice consecutively in the four decades prior to Pochettino, it is remarkable that he achieved five consecutive top four finishes in a row.

3. When did fans start criticizing opponent managers?
Okay, so there are occasions when Spurs supporters will jeer the player in the opposing dugout. Naturally, Mourinho, Klopp, and Wenger will have been given that treatment.

In every case, it will almost totally result from that manager acting loudly, haughtily, and, given that Spurs were typically the inferior team, without generosity.

Still, we never jeer managers for the simple act of running a competitor, and I’ve been a Spurs supporter long enough to have a decent sample size.

3. When did fans start criticizing opponent managers?
Okay, so there are occasions when Spurs supporters will jeer the player in the opposing dugout. Naturally, Mourinho, Klopp, and Wenger will have been given that treatment.

In every case, it will almost totally result from that manager acting loudly, haughtily, and, given that Spurs were typically the inferior team, without generosity.

Still, we never jeer managers for the simple act of running a competitor, and I’ve been a Spurs supporter long enough to have a decent sample size.

The trip to N17 had been a chore for the previous four seasons, but it is now once again enjoyable. That is the fault of one man, Ange Postecoglou, the new manager.

He’s the reason Spurs play thrilling football, they lead the league, and, most crucially, he’s the reason Spurs fans have rekindled the bond that appeared to have vanished with the firing of Pochettino.

Thus, Spurs fans might find greater delight in focusing their attention on and emptying their lungs for the guy who has restored their team’s success than in criticizing the previous manager to make them happy for the crime of accepting a job they would have wanted him not to take.

The trip to N17 had been a chore for the previous four seasons, but it is now once again enjoyable. That is the fault of one man, Ange Postecoglou, the new manager.

He’s the reason Spurs play thrilling football, they lead the league, and, most crucially, he’s the reason Spurs fans have rekindled the bond that appeared to have vanished with the firing of Pochettino.

Thus, Spurs fans might find greater delight in focusing their attention on and emptying their lungs for the guy who has restored their team’s success than in criticizing the previous manager to make them happy for the crime of accepting a job they would have wanted him not to take.

In a short period of time, Postecoglou has forged a connection between the squad and its supporters. He has also adopted all of Spurs’ core beliefs and has always conducted himself with grace and gratitude. Therefore, the double Manager of the Month is undoubtedly the only manager on Monday who deserves recognition.

1. Here’s Lucas Moura…here’s Dele Alli…oh, they’ve done it!
I flew to Madrid in 2019 to watch Spurs play in the Champions League final, as the opening jingle of my weekly podcast, The Spurs Plus Dave Podcast, serves as a constant reminder with that bit of commentary.

This was a low point for a Spurs fan who had grown up almost entirely in the Premier League era, had witnessed state-owned clubs change the landscape of football with grotesque spending, and had spent a childhood being mocked by supporters of those clubs that wear red. It may not have had the fairytale ending that all Spurs fans both craved and deserved, and it may have covered up the widening cracks in the tenure of the man this article has spent defending.

This was a low point for a Spurs fan who had grown up almost entirely in the Premier League era, had witnessed state-owned clubs change the landscape of football with grotesque spending, and had spent a childhood being mocked by supporters of those clubs that wear red. It may not have had the fairytale ending that all Spurs fans both craved and deserved, and it may have covered up the widening cracks in the tenure of the man this article has spent defending.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *