Even if you have no love for Tottenham, it’s been hard to overlook just how good the team have been under Argentine coach Mauricio Pochettino over the past couple of seasons.
He has drilled the team into hard work on and off the pitch. Bought some wonderful players. And installed a winning mentality to a team that have had a history of being in the shadow of their neighbors, Arsenal.
And, it’s that last line that resonates, because Tottenham are not in the shadow of the Gunners anymore. Make no mistake, Tottenham have pushed on and will once again finish the season ahead of their eternal rivals. Something, that only two seasons ago, they had not achieved since Arsene Wenger had been coach.
Of course, the one lingering doubt on everyone’s minds is that as good as Tottenham have been they have, trophy wise, nothing to show for it.
A switch this season from White Hart Lane which was being redeveloped to Wembley Stadium on the face of it didn’t help. Nevertheless, after some initial teething problems Tottenham have been superb at their temporary home.
Next season, the club return to White Hart Lane, which will have undergone a huge change and look unrecognizable.
It’ll be different than the old famed stadium that once hosted Barbara Stanwyck. It was a ground that resonated with the cherished memories of Jimmy Greaves’ goals, Danny Blanchflower’s tackling and Glenn Hoddle’s creative passes. Not to forget Paul Gascoigne’s dribbles and the international charisma of Ossie Ardiles amongst many others.
Time equals change
Tottenham enter the 21st century on equal footing as bitter rivals Arsenal did in 2005. When Arsenal made the move they were coming off of perhaps the greatest moments in the clubs history. The double came in 2002 (their third one overall) and the 2003/04 season saw the club go the whole season unbeaten.
The first time this had been done since Preston North End achieved an unbeaten record in 1888.
Then came the Emirates Stadium
The ‘Invincibles’ were soon to be no more. Patrick Vieira was gone, Thierry Henry left soon after for Barcelona. After which, the debts of the stadium started to take their toll. It was clear for everyone to see that this new dawn for the club was actually going to be a long and hard struggle.
In the years that ensued Arsenal reached a Champions League final in 2006 and have won 3 FA Cup’s. For this club, that wasn’t good enough and it’s now been 14 years since they last won the league.
Getting back to Tottenham, they will have their new stadium ready to play this coming season. However, new reports suggest that the cost for the stadium is spiraling higher and higher. So much so that close to a billion dollars at final estimate would not be a major surprise.
Pochettino has already been told that he must sell before he buys next season. This is depressing news for an EPL team that receives hundreds of millions of dollars from revenues and TV money each season.
The similarities from both clubs look very parallel.
Tottenham will go to their new stadium with wonder and hope and with their best key players. But, if their first season ends in disappointment and the club don’t challenge for honors, then, like Arsenal, they could well see their best players start to leave the club for better opportunities.
No one doubts moving to a new stadium or redevelopment, isn’t good. Notably, it has been proven that change and adaptation, not to mention the ever looming bills, does take time. Something that is rarely afforded in the world of football.
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