Fairytales never used to happen to Tottenham Hotspur

Discussion in 'Tottenham forum' started by Craig Emanuel, May 10, 2019.

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  1. Craig Emanuel Member

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    At half time it was a lost cause. The Ajax fans were in party mode – soaking up every moment of a memorable night in which their fine young team were marching towards the biggest match in European club football at our expense. All of that hope and excitement, which had been building throughout our extraordinary Champions League campaign, had been ruthlessly extinguished by this highly talented Ajax team. Over the course of the first 135 minutes of the tie, Ajax had played the perfect game. They had navigated their way through the tie with minimal drama and were comfortably on course for a final showdown with Liverpool in Madrid.

    We needed three second half goals with no reply. I looked for crumbs of anything that might give me the slightest bit of hope. There were none.

    Our form on the road has been wretched this calendar year with 9 defeats in our last 10 away matches. We had scored just one goal in our last 5 and a 1/2 games. In truth, we have been playing on empty for the best part of the last two months, with a patched up squad riddled with injuries, suspensions and ongoing fitness issues.

    Ajax on the other hand were flying – top of their league, they have scored an astonishing 154 goals this season. Last weekend they won the Dutch Cup with a 4-0 win against Willem II and they had only lost one game at home all season – to Real Madrid, who they subsequently dispatched comfortably in the second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu. Furthermore, Ajax had never lost a Champions League game after scoring first, in 49 previous matches.

    Only one team had ever won a European Cup semi-final having lost the first leg at home, and ironically that was Ajax. Needless to say, on that occasion they didn’t give their opponents, Panathinaikos, a two goal head start in the away leg as well so that they had a three goal deficit to reverse.

    Liverpool had scored three second half goals to complete a remarkable comeback in the other semi-final the night before, but that was with home advantage at Anfield, with Liverpool already in the ascendency, having been the better team against Barcelona for most of that tie.

    This was unchartered territory. This truly was miracle territory. Despite appearing to be dead and buried on several occasions throughout this Champions League campaign, we had somehow dug in and found increasingly perilous ways to survive. But this seemed like a bridge too far. We had all given up hope. All of us. Apart from the people that mattered. The ones dressed in Tottenham green and the main man in charge.

    With Wanyama struggling with the intensity of the game, Pochettino rolled the dice. If we go out 4-0, 5-0, so be it. This is cup football and we had nothing to lose. He went all in. Llorente for Wanyama. If we go down, we go down fighting. We leave everything on the field and end the game with no regrets. That is his mantra.

    What unfolded over the next 45 minutes (plus 5, and the rest, added on) will live with me forever.

    At the start of the second half, there was no expectation – the pressure was off, the tension had gone. When Lucas Moura scored his first, which was a beautifully crafted counter attack, it was barely worth a celebration. A consolation goal, but at least we had registered. We had, at last, landed a blow. In hindsight, although this won’t be the goal that is replayed over and over again, it was perhaps the most significant moment of the tie. It was the blow that dazed our opponents and crucially reversed the momentum of the tie. It introduced the self doubt that was nowhere to be seen prior to that moment.

    Within four minutes, one became two. Onana’s heroics in denying Llorente from point blank range counted for nothing as he and Lasse Schöne got themselves in a muddle from the rebound and in the flash of Lucas Moura’s impossibly quick feet, it was level on the night and we were one goal away from qualification with half an hour to go. All of a sudden, this was on. I believed again. Why do they always do it to us?!

    Ajax were on the ropes. They were panicking. They dropped a bit deeper. They stopped asserting themselves on the game and sat back to a more counter attacking style, which actually would have rendered Wanyama redundant anyway. They started to play into our hands.

    We pushed forward relentlessly in search of the winner. Heung-Min Son, who had been billed as the returning saviour after his suspension, huffed and puffed but was trying too hard to land the killer blow himself.

    And as we pushed, we left ourselves open to Ajax killing the tie on the counter attack. Hakim Ziyech, who had assisted the only goal of the first leg and scored Ajax’s second on the night, let rip again from the edge of the box – the base of the post came to our rescue, just as it had in the first leg when David Neres went close to doubling Ajax’s advantage. Jermaine Jenas in commentary was telling us “something is happening here”. Could the footballing gods, who came to our rescue at the Etihad in the last round in the shape of a VAR offside call, be looking down kindly on us again?

    Lamela for Trippier with ten minutes to go. All out attack. A reshuffle with Sissoko moving to right back, or right wing as that position had now become. Toby and Jan were now patrolling the back door with Eriksen just in front to recycle possession and feed the maelstrom of attacking players ahead. There was a sense that we would get one more chance. I’m on my knees. I can’t breathe. The tension is now unbearable.

    85 minutes and we get a corner on the right. With Trippier departed, it was down to Eriksen to deliver. A flick on at the near post and Jan Vertonghen is unmarked at the far post. My heart skipped a beat. I’m watching it in slow motion as he heads onto the bar. It bounces back. Jan gets a second chance but he can only make weak contact and it’s cleared off the line. Agony. That was THE chance. We’ve surely blown it. We’re not going to get a better chance than that. I lay on the floor on my back staring at the ceiling, staring into the abyss with my dreams in tatters.

    The sand continued to drain through the hourglass. 5 minutes of injury time. We’ll take that. Hugo made a diving save from Ziyech again. It’s still just one goal! One more push. Come on Tottenham!!

    And then, another corner. 94th minute. Everyone up. Even Hugo’s sprinting up the field to join in. Llorente gets his head to it but it bounces harmlessly over the bar.

    Resignation. That must be that. Onana will take as long as physically possible to take the goal kick, as he has throughout this two legged tie from the moment Van De Beek put Ajax ahead in the first leg, and it’ll all be over. And we’ll all be put out of our misery. We can be proud that we put up a fantastic fight after looking down and out at half time, but we’ve given ourselves too much to do. This was one slow start too many. A miracle too far.

    Finally Onana gets the booking that his time wasting deserved and play restarts. After some head tennis, it lands at the feet of Sonny. He lays it off to Moussa who launches one final “Hail Mary” up the field. Llorente challenges and it falls to Dele on the edge of the D. He’s flicks it forward. It’s Lucas. It’s Lucas!!! Oh my god! [Insert expletives.] We’ve done it! We’ve bloody done it! And then… absolute carnage. Limbs everywhere. I’ve completely lost it. This was euphoria unconfined.

    There’s no way back for Ajax. It’s the last kick of the game. It IS the last kick of the game, right? It must be. We scored in time added on to added-on time. Blow the final whistle ref!

    Ajax line up with eight players across the halfway line rugby style and launch it. The fabled philosophy has gone out of the window. It eventually falls to Dele in the right back position and he concedes a throw. Veltman channels his inner Rory Delap. Everyone up. How is the ref still playing? Cleared to Lamela. He’s dribbling it out of his final third and loses it – what are you doing you idiot?! Just f***ing clear it! The ball comes back to Lamela and he’s still calm – he plays it to Lucas who gives it to Sissoko. Go to the corner! Ref??!!! Blow the whistle! Sissoko turns back and turns over possession. What the… and he blows. He blows. The blessed shrill sound of the whistle that tells me the agony is over. It’s over! We’ve done it! We’ve done it!

    Poch collapses in tears. I collapse in tears. Jenas is crying too. We’re all crying. We can’t believe it. Fairytales don’t happen to us. They just don’t. They happen to other teams. Not Spurs.

    Pochettino warned us before the quarter final second leg against Manchester City that we would suffer. We would have to suffer for long periods. No problem. Our fan base is well used to that. We’ve been suffering for years. Suffering from disappointment. Suffering from inferiority. Suffering from a lack of belief.

    And that truly is the magic of Pochettino. How he has instilled belief in this group of players. Belief that with hard work and full commitment, giving everything for the shirt, that we will get our rewards and anything is possible. They never stopped believing last night. Not even at half time when it seemed that all hope was lost.

    Maybe the fans are still some way behind in that respect; just waiting for that inevitable sucker punch that has always floored us in the past. We are having to relearn the rule book of supporting this great club as Pochettino and his inner circle rewrite it.

    The raw emotion shown by the players, the coaching staff and of course the manager himself at the final whistle filled me with greater pride than the victory itself. Their passion for the club now mirrors that of those fans who were high up in the corner of the Johann Cruyff Arena last night, and of everyone else watching on television back home. There is a genuine connection between all of us. This is the magic of Pochettino. He has united our club. He feels what we feel. They all do. We win together. We lose together. We suffer together. We celebrate together.

    Fairytales never used to happen to Tottenham Hotspur. Not in my lifetime anyway. They do now. Against all the odds, we’re going to Madrid for the first European Cup final in our history. Thank you Mauricio Pochettino. He’s magic you know.
  2. David Berman Guest

    Reading your article brought it all back again! Love it, Love Tottenham.
    Shimon K and Craig Emanuel like this.
  3. Hotspur58 Guest

    You speak for all of us mate, Following Spurs is always a roller coaster ride but this season surpasses all other in its intensity. Spurs are in the Champions League Cup Final, It seems surreal, magic even. I couldn't wish for a better manager than Magic Pochettino.
    Shimon K and Craig Emanuel like this.
  4. Felon82 Well-Known Member

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    The way things have gone for us in this competition , makes you wonder if our name is on the cup this year.........
    notnats, burnt and Bazza47 like this.
  5. Paul Green Guest

    Wow! A brilliant and evocative description of an unbelievable night. So often I read stuff on these sites and it's illiterate garbage, but you my friend are a true wordsmith. I salute you and our wonderful club.
  6. peterG123 Guest

    Please refer back to comments posted just a few short weeks ago, on this site and many others by so called fans...
    "Levy / ENIC out"
    "We`ll never win anything"

    We have just moved into the best football stadium in Premiership (possibly the world)
    We have just qualified for the Champions League for the 4th season in a row (probably!)
    ......And we have reached the Champions League Final

    Football at the highest level is about very fine margins, and unfortunately with the advent of today`s online short term memory toxic fans (not just Spurs fans by any means) we are only a few results away from being a "club in crisis" again!!

    voiceofreason likes this.
  7. Cotswoldiver Guest

    What a lovely summary, the passion in the description sums up all we love and suffer following this wonderful team
    Craig Emanuel likes this.
  8. Cheshuntboy Guest

    Like Liverpool's comeback against AC Milan in 2005, our turnaround on Wednesday was nothing to do with tactics, or skilful use of subs (let alone 'philosophy') - it was 'throw caution to the winds, we've nothing to lose, might as well go down fighting", and it worked, gloriously, but it doesn't suddenly make everything alright. It's not the time to re-run all the old arguments about ENIC's priorities, or Pochettino's managerial skills, but they'll be back, without a doubt.
  9. peterG123 Guest

    "It's not the time to re-run all the old arguments about ENIC's priorities, or Pochettino's managerial skills, but they'll be back, without a doubt"

    ....this is exactly the time to re-run the old arguments! - that`s my point, post them now and no-one agrees with you, post just after we have lost 1-0 at home to West Ham and everyone does!

    To summarize: the ambitions and priorities of a football club don`t alter within 2 weeks, you have to look at the bigger (long term) picture,
  10. Simon Fraser Guest

    Hear, hear
    #COYS #LASpurs
  11. Cheshuntboy Guest

    I have to say that I'm struggling with your stance on this one; the critics of the status quo are apparently 'toxic' for not believing that every year under Pochettino has been better than the last, and you apparently think that victory in Amsterdam utterly destroyed their case, but you think that they should continue to put it anyway, to prove that it's not just about being on the winning side in the argument? Okay, I still think ENIC are in it for the money; I still think Pochettino has serious flaws as a manager, and I still think the team is in need of top-to-bottom rebuilding within the next year or two (and I was as blown away by our comeback on Wednesday as anybody else!).
  12. Remy Uwilin

    Remy Uwilin Active Member

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    Points about ENIC and Poch are all fair. Football unfortunately, is a business. It's a fact of life, ENIC is in it for the money. Then again, so are most of the owners of football clubs/ sport teams in general. Sound business practices should reflect a decent product on the field, but also goes a long way in making sure the finances of the club are in order. As fans, they'll never accomplish what we want in the manner/time that we'd expect.

    When it comes to Poch, of course he's a good manager; but as do all managers he has his flaws. I believe, of all the top managers in the world; he's the best that we can get/have. Other than, Klopp or Pep; there's no better manager. Criticizing his tactics or selections is always fair game, but hoping to replace him; that I don't get. Give Pep or Klopp the same constraints, I doubt they'd do much better than he has.

    It'll be a tough final, but in a one-off game; we certainly have a chance against Liverpool!
    Last edited: May 11, 2019
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  13. burnt Well-Known Member

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    That will certainly be the narrative if we manage to pull it off and you believe in that sort of thing .. The amount of late goals just to stay alive is anything but " Spursy " one would have to say ... Let's hope it continues and we don't have a " Spursy " moment like at Anfield a few weeks ago .. All things being equal we have a sniff of pulling this off .. C.O.Y.S ...
    Felon82 likes this.
  14. palmover Active Member

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    Great summary of the tie Craig.
    If you can't be good be lucky, comes to mind with the Cl run. At times Spurs have been good, however, have needed a lot of luck including relying on Psv getting a draw at inter, which got spurs out of the group. Spurs Pl form has dropped off and is a fairer barometer of how well spurs are doing, that being said getting to CL final is a massive achievement, i'll settle for a lucky win in the final. Coys
    Craig Emanuel likes this.
  15. Craig Emanuel Member

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    Very nice of you to say so Paul. I try to articulate the emotions I go through and I can’t recall a more emotional Spurs game than this one. Certainly not the explosion of emotions we all felt in minute 96.
    Bazza47 likes this.
  16. So this was a magnificent evening, apparently fueled by a Kane halftime earful (according to the Daily Mail.)

    Now ‘pool are clearly favored, their form seeming to be at its peak now, and also advancing without star strikers available.

    But if you look at this season’s two games, while both were 2-1 losses, there was good fortune for Liverpool resulting in a goal in each contest. In other words, I think we gave them a pretty good run for the money, and there’s that old saying that it’s hard for one team to win all three times they face each other in the same season.

    Count me in on an ounce of optimism June 1.
  17. P reed Guest

    just seen poch interview and at last he has come out and said what we wanted him to that things must change for us to continue at the top table.levy is now being tested and if he doesn't produce then the supporters will know that we don't intend to compete and should show their displeasure with their feet.it is very clear from pochetino comments that he has been hanstrung byLevy for a while now and will no longer accept it
  18. Spurporter Well-Known Member

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    Oh, just don't hold your breath, P reed.
    A year ago MP came up with strong message as well. It resulted in 2 windows with no signings. Although Levy, admittedly, adjusted Wage Structure, boosting pay for Kane, some other lads, as well as for Poch himself. It is still far off compared to even just other London competitors, let alone Manchester FCs. But it was a first move in right direction.

    Is Levy just stingy, like most believe? He was not at all when it came to New Hart Lane stadium. He's also known as someone who went on shopping spree with Bale money. So to me Levy is neither stingy or disciplined. I think he finally figured out that he himself is not as good at recruiting as THFC currently require. So he shutout for two windows.

    Spurs need Director of Football who can work with Levy AND Pochetino, IMO. I think Levy is ready to give up his close involvement in buying new talent. Thoughts?
    Last edited: May 13, 2019
  19. Felon82 Well-Known Member

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    So we end the season in 4th.

    As seasons go in the Premier LG this was as back to square 1 as it could be , 13 losses, sloppy defending, struggling to score goals, taking an age to do anything match after match.
    Some extremely boring, disjointed, uninventive displays ude be forgiven for getting it mixed up with any of Pochs predecessors especially AvB....

    Now in true spurs style wel have an abundance of fans wetting their selves over top qualification but there's a big difference between fluking it and earning it , this year we fluked it and it should not be glossed over !

    What the club did last 2 windows was negligent and it was a pure gamble of our position , they cannot be allowed to get away with it again.

    This team needs some major surgery and some proper investment at least of a top 10 club level minimum!

    Now that that shambles of a season has ended there's just 1 huge game left.
  20. palmover Active Member

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    Spurs gambled by not strengthening the squad, imo it is too small to handle 4 comps.
    Spurs also knew they had several players who haven't played much football and are prone to injury, further weaken the managers options.
    That being said spurs just about got away with it in terms of achieving top 4 and an added bonus of a Cl final.
    There is no excuse for not to strengthen the squad for next season, imo the foundation of a good team is present and spurs need to add a mix of Marquee, good and poetential buys to this squad. Spurs will have to bring in at least 5 players to balance the squad. Coys
    Bazza47 and Felon82 like this.

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