Well let me put this in context. First of all there was a brief time in the very early 70’s when Spurs were the last team to win the Double. Arsenal did it too in ’71 when Charlie George belted in an extra time screamer at Wembley but at the time the Double was a rare beast indeed, like an albatross in golf, or a decent cross from Shaun Wright-Phillips.
That 1961 double-winning team was captained by Danny Blanchflower, a man who turned down Eamonn Andrews on This Is Your Life. A hero of our age in other words. In the 70’s they won nowt as far as I can remember but David Coleman used to love shouting ‘Chivers… 1-0!’ on Match of the Day and they had a bit of that swagger about them.
A few years later and they were parading two members of the victorious Argentine World Cup winning squad. Osvaldo Ardiles was one of them. God it was exotic! Like opening your curtains and finding a flamingo trotting about in your water feature (I don’t have a water feature by the way but I hear North London is full of them). Bobby Robson managed a similar trick at Ipswich with the majestically spindly Dutch duo of Muhren and Thijssen. Ardiles spent that World Cup dancing about the Argie midfield as if he held the ball on a gossamer thread attached to his big toe.
Joining him at Spurs was a suspiciously elegant genius called Glenn Hoddle – one of those too talented Englishmen who, far from being celebrated for the nigh-on supernatural capabilities of his feet, was merely decried for not tracking back enough. (“So what if he can hit a seventy-yard pass onto Tony Galvin’s instep, can he outmuscle Claudio Gentile? Nah, I thought not. Poof!”)
With Steve Archibald and Garth Crooks forming a surprisingly sharp spearhead – Crooksy looks and sounds a lot blunter these days – this was the team to watch. It lacked pragmatism but more than made up for that with good old-fashioned flair. In essence they were a Cup team – which is football-speak for ’11 Fancy Dans who don’t like it much when it gets cold’.
From amongst the swirls of and spumes of Teesside, this seemed like glamour writ large. There they were in their spotless white shirts (apart from Steve Perryman who was the only bloke who liked a tackle in the whole team), the cockerel crowing cockily on their breasts, a bunch of lads playing continental footy the like of which we’d not really seen before. This was pre-Wenger, pre-Juninho… Spurs have always been a little bit bling, what with your Gazzas and Waddles and Ginolas.
There’s been some lowly and frequent hiatuses – Christian Gross wasn’t a name that promised much, indeed it sounds more like a couple of adjectives you might use when describing the American Republican Party, and Juande Ramos proved a Juan-day wonder, picking up a cup and then leaving Tottenham rock-bottom.It’s hard to believe that Daniel Levy has been a wholly beneficial force at the club. His policy of managerial appointments has too often resembled Graham Norton’s red chair. But the current occupant of the hot seat (and if his seat’s hot then the one at Leeds United must be a bloody inferno) Mauricio Pocchetino may just be lugging the club beyond its traditional position as Not Quite As Good As It Thinks It is.
Obviously Spurs were once just a botulism-infested lasagne away from Champions League glory – well, qualification anyway – and this may be the year they get there. Chelsea’s continued difficulties offer the opportunity to someone to get a top four spot.
Of course, Chelsea are helped in their cause when the opposition centre-half stinks. I believe Diego Costa. He didn’t spend nearly enough time in the opposition penalty area cos old Stinky Shawcross was there. And NOT because Chelsea can’t create anything much at the mo unless it’s a fluky own goal or a Willian free-kick. Seriously though, anyone who’s worn a football shirt for more than ten minutes knows they bloody stink of their own accord. At least that’s my excuse.
So can Spurs clamber higher? Well possibly. Citeh should really win it at a canter but much depends on the tweaks and twinges of Aguero who seems to pull up more often than a medieval drawbridge. Arsenal have their injury concerns too. If you’re English and wearing a first team Gunners’ kit the stretcher-bearers are virtually following you round the pitch.Leicester can’t possibly keep this up. Yes, I know it’d be nice. But it won’t happen. And Man U – well as a spectacle right now it’s like Crossroads - unwatchable and yet somehow always on. Spurs just need Kane to keep firing, Son to get fit again and Eriksson to maintain some brilliance for more than the odd half-hour and there’s a real chance for them.
So there… with the dizzying dribbling of Ossie and Ginola addling my nostalgia-ridden brain I’m going to say it. Spurs will do it this season. They’ll win the title……. of runners-up to Man City.