There’s a reason why the word Spursy is in the urban dictionary.
The noble art of bottling it, falling at the last hurdle and making a hash of things has, perhaps unfairly, become synonymous with the North London club down the years.
These days, however, it’s not the club in general that is coming under scrutiny for not winning trophies – it’s the gaffer, Mauricio Pochettino.
Debate has raged in the past couple of years about whether or not the Argentine can be consider a top manager if he continues to not win any silverware.
But is it really fair to judge him in such a way? Well, there’s only one way to find out – wade into the debate ourselves.
So without further ado, Dream Team‘s Andrew Butler is going head-to-head with Spurs expert Sean Cook (@TalkingTHFC) to argue the toss.
Andrew Butler: Hi Sean, thanks for doing this. I felt a great urge to call you by your Twitter handle for a second.
Sean Cook: Hi mate – yeah, it’s hard to know where @TalkingTHFC stops and Sean starts sometimes.
Butler: Yeah, great small talk. Anyway, Pochettino needs to win a trophy to be considered a top manager, right?
Cook: Wrong. There’s a clear mentality shift from the Spursy days of the past and it’s quite staggering just how far he’s brought us in such a short space of time.
To think that four years ago that shambolic Tim Sherwood team would now be competing for titles and trophies is mindblowing.
What he’s done has far wider implications than simply how the team is playing.
Ryan Mason has spoken fondly of the gaffer since retiring, often saying that what he can offer to a player as a human being often does far more than anything he could teach them about football. If that doesn’t warm your heart, nothing will.
Butler: That’s the problem with you millenials, you’re just after heart-warming stuff. Why don’t you care about winning trophies?
Cook: You’re a millennial too.
Butler: Fair point. But you said the word yourself there though – Spurs are competing for trophies, not winning them.
It is impressive for Poch to have done with basically the team Tactics Tim put together, but as a football fan, will I remember ‘nice football’ in 20 years time, rather than trophy-winning teams?
Cook: You’ve got to remember it’s also harder to win these days. In an age where Man City’s defence budget is bigger than 16 countries, Spurs are massively punching above their weight.
To be competing with the likes of City, Man United and Chelsea for top four places with the wage structure and transfer budget capabilities in place, it’s rather staggering.
We saw in the FA Cup semi-final last season that Chelsea’s subs changed the game.
Their starting XI was strong enough to combat Tottenham for most of the game, with the double blow of Eden Hazard and Diego Costa coming on ending the tie.
Much like Andy Murray playing in the most golden age of tennis ever, Spurs may be playing some of the best football of their lives but it still isn’t quite enough to battle with the big boys for silverware.
Butler: So Spurs are the Andy Murray of football? I quite like that.
Cook: It’s a slightly stretched metaphor, granted.
Butler: But it makes sense – Spurs are now playing in arguably the most competitive period of English football, so that should be applauded.
But the problem is that yes, it’s all well and good to play nice football, have a club structure that isn’t financial ruinous, a clearly talented manager, but isn’t that basically what Arsenal are now?
Cook: We’re looking at a potential third successive season in the Champions League, something no Spurs manager before him has managed to achieve.
We’re an established player in Europe now, with our run this season showing that we can rub shoulders and beat the very best.
Butler: You’re really starting to sound like Arsene Wenger now.
Cook: I’ve never been so offended in my life. Look, on the night of the defeat to Juventus, Massimiliano Allegri gave Pochettino a lesson in how to be an elite manager.
There’s no denying he’s got some way to go until he can consider himself part of the elite, but what he’s done for us in Europe this season cannot go unnoticed.
Butler: OK, but it’s hard to get past the idea that for all their attractive football and togetherness, will this team be remembered?
In some ways I do think that sometimes football is more than just about the stuff you win…
Cook: You’re a Leyton Orient fan, so that makes sense…
Butler: … but the idea of looking back on this period and having nothing tangible to show for it, I would find quite frustrating.
Cook: Overall, he’s created a group of players that just love playing together and that speaks volumes about the man we have at the helm.
From the poisonous atmosphere that Sherwood left behind, it looked like rebuilding Tottenham would have been an incredible task. But Pochettino’s done it, and it’s fantastic.
Butler: Fair enough. Still, if he doesn’t win a trophy I can’t see myself remembering who Heung-Min Son is in 20 years’ time.
Cook: We’ll agree to disagree.
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