Tottenham sucks


Photo by Features Section

There’s nothing to gain from sticking with Spurs, who have proven themselves more likely to ruin than make my weekend. Still, I’m not going anywhere.

Youqi Huang, Copy Editor

It’s not easy being a fan of Tottenham Hotspur. They’re a soccer club that plays in the English Premier League with a reputation for bottling. Spurs just got knocked out of another tournament? Won’t place high enough in the league to qualify for European football? Don’t worry, it’s just the history of the Tottenham, as put by veteran footballer Giorgio Chiellini. Fans, neutrals and haters alike use the phrase liberally, and comments about the cobweb-covered trophy cabinet phase no one at this point. 

Beyond choking in key moments, Spurs frustrate fans with their inability to perform consistently — they beat Manchester City, the current league leader who also won the league last year, one week and get knocked out of the Football Association cup by lower-division Middlesbrough the next. Combined with a continued decline following the 2018-19 season, the first and last time Tottenham reached a Champions League final, it’s clear that there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Even their archnemesis Arsenal, a team entrenched in a period of decline arguably perhaps more serious than Spurs, are coming together this season, while Spurs continue to struggle. 

I was drawn to Spurs by their ridiculous, posh-sounding name and their mascot — a chicken standing on a soccer ball — and rewarded with a world of pain once I became too invested to abandon them for a more successful team. But it’s not like I enjoy watching losers. When it comes to national teams, I’m a fan of France, who won the most recent World Cup and have an undeniably star-studded, young roster. Though I don’t keep up with La Liga, I always find myself cheering for Real Madrid when I’m watching the Champions League now that Tottenham rarely make an appearance. Watching that team full of senior citizens continue to prove their dominance against new generations of footballers is always satisfying. 

Still, supporting a team of champions or even challengers is an incredibly different experience than supporting a team struggling against the weight of its own status like Spurs, paired with expectations that come with high-levels of spending and having talents like Harry Kane and Son Heung-min. Even the smaller victories, like our 6-1 thrashing of Manchester United last season, have to be celebrated like we’ve just won the league because that won’t be happening anytime soon. 

With Spurs, what there is to be learned is unfounded optimism, perhaps, but also patience. Club leadership has declared with each new manager we’ve hired in the past three years a new era of rebuilding, where we can restore the club to the glory it should have as one of the Big 6, but we don’t move forward at all. Seasons end, managers are fired and we slip further down the table than we did last season. Yet, I don’t think I’ll be abandoning Tottenham Hotspur anytime soon, and I don’t think anyone is more surprised than myself.

I’ve always been a bit impatient and had little appreciation for the underdog narrative — why wait for a miracle that could never happen in my lifetime if I could just support proven winners, labels like bandwagon or plastic fan be damned? Still, spending the rest of my life looking on as Tottenham struggle while measuring and toasting to the most minute vicissitudes of their fortunes in my heart while pundits push the narrative of an never-endingly incompetent, stagnant Tottenham really doesn’t sound so bad to me. Sometimes good, sometimes terrible; that’s the story of Tottenham, but it doesn’t mean we’ve never got better just because we end up exactly where we started or even lose progress in the long run. There’s nothing to gain from sticking with Spurs, who have proven themselves more likely to ruin than make my weekend. Still, I’m not going anywhere.