I keep finding myself staring into space, just shaking my head. It’s like a kind of Post Traumatic Stress syndrome. I’m trying to find an explanation for what I’m witnessing. Replaying in my head the moments that led to where we are today. Trying to make sense of it all. But I can’t. It seems unfathomable how I could even be contemplating the notion that my club could be better off parting ways with the best manager we have had in my lifetime. Just 10 months ago we were in a title race. Just 5 months ago we were contesting perhaps the biggest club match in world football. Now we find ourselves paralysed; an unrecognisable version of our former selves. Mauled 7-2 by a ruthless Bayern Munich team – our biggest ever home defeat in our 137 year history. Outplayed and comprehensively beaten at Brighton – our first defeat to them since April 1983, the month I was born. Dumped out of the Carabao Cup by League Two Colchester United. And most recently, second best at home to newly promoted Sheffield United. Unable to hold onto a lead. Defensively fragile. Devoid of creativity and, more worryingly, devoid of fight. For the first time under Pochettino’s tenure, we are under achieving and the collective no longer exceeds the sum of its parts. As well as the results and the performances, our identity has gone. The high energy pressing game that defined our early years under Pochettino is now a distant memory, like those halcyon days in 2016/17 when this group peaked. Those days when our marauding full backs were the envy of the league. When we were smashing teams up on a weekly basis, so much so that one opposing manager described us as “animals”. Our league record at home in that last season at White Hart Lane read P19 W17 D2 L0. We amassed 86 points – a club record, albeit there were seasons before the introduction of 3 points for a win that would have yielded higher totals. Mauricio Pochettino had assembled the most exciting young team in the country and, when on song, very few could live with us. In truth, looking back it has been a slow decline ever since. In today’s incessant world of social media post mortems and scapegoating, where should we place the blame for what now appears to be a deep-rooted malaise? Depending on your perspective, the fault lies with (a) Levy / ENIC; (b) Pochettino and his coaching staff; or (c) the players, with Eriksen and Rose coming in for particular criticism as two of the most seriously underperforming, want-away contract rebels. Or maybe, as I see it, it is a combination of all of the above and perhaps also Steve Hitchen, our chief scout since February 2017 and a key man on our transfer committee. Everyone is culpable, at least to some degree. But there is a growing swell of fans who are laying significant blame firmly at the door of the manager. The hashtag #BackPoch which was trending on the Spurs Twitter over the summer has now been replaced with #PochOut. How did we get here?! I’ll leave that question for another day. For now I want to focus on whether we have reached the end of the line with Poch or whether he can resurrect our fortunes. Until very recently I was of the firm opinion that we should stick with Poch until at least the end of this season. I felt that he had earned the right to try to turn the situation around and start to rebuild the squad. Of course he has made mistakes but I felt that his over achievements during the first five years of his tenure pointed to the fact that he was the right man to lead us forward. But now I’m not so sure. Recent Premier League performances have been so abject and the downward trajectory so sustained that even I am starting to waver in my belief. I’m deeply confused. I desperately want him to turn this around and build an even stronger team than before, finally lifting the silverware that the current group threatened but never quite achieved. But at the moment I can’t see any real signs of improvement and nothing to suggest that Pochettino has the answers needed to turn the ship around. Nothing seems to be working. He has tinkered with the formation all season, so much so that it has probably been detrimental in itself. He has changed personnel. In fact, an alarming stat publicised this week is that Pochettino has not picked an unchanged starting XI for 94 games in a row. Despite this, he still appeared very reluctant to drop some of the old guard – previously trusted mainstays in the team who have badly underperformed this season. In Belgrade he finally took the plunge and sat them out, giving us a glimpse into the future with his team selection. It appeared to make a world of difference as we played with a freedom and confidence that we had all but forgotten. Four days later and that mirage of an imminent bright new dawn came crashing down before our eyes as a largely unchanged team came a cropper against a very well-drilled Blades team. Pochettino seems unable to affect games while they are unfolding – either in closing out wins or finding a way back into games. His substitutions have at times been counter productive and all too often, far too late. This has been a criticism levelled at Pochettino throughout his time at Spurs – he’s more reactive than proactive. All of this paints a pretty damning picture and it is difficult to dismiss the #PochOut brigade as foolish reactionaries. This has, after all, been going on since at least January. Even before our results nosedived following defeat at Turf Moor on 23 February, the performances had already dipped alarmingly. Even our last away win in the league, 10 months ago on 20 January, was via a 93rd minute headed winner from Harry Winks, with an assist from outcast Georges-Kevin N’Koudou, at beleaguered and soon-to-be relegated Fulham. In the month preceding that game we had lost at home to both Wolves and Manchester United in the league and got knocked out of the FA Cup to Crystal Palace. Narrow, unconvincing home wins against Newcastle and Watford, courtesy of late winners, also told a story of a team clinging on to former glories. The excuse at that time was Wembley and the uncertainty hanging over us with respect to our return to N17. Pochettino spoke of “circumstances” last season that worked against the team – alluding to our lack of pre-season due to our players’ success at the World Cup, no signings, a plethora of injuries and the stadium debacle to name a few. Unsettled, want-away players was the other circumstance that perhaps proved and still proves the greatest obstacle to any turnaround in form. But there comes a time when the hard luck stories must stop. If you give players readymade excuses then they become a self fulfilling prophecy. Talk of a painful rebuild gave those players a get-out clause. Maybe he saw this coming or maybe he helped to unwittingly engineer it. Pochettino’s demeanour over the past year or so probably provides the most compelling argument that a change could be in everyone’s best interests. A football team is usually a reflection of its manager, and the 2016/17 team certainly demonstrated the same ferocity, energy and passion of our Argentine boss. But as his mood has darkened and he has seemingly grown weary of the uphill task he continues to fight at Spurs, his team have mirrored him and that is perhaps why we are seeing uncertainty and disharmony on the pitch, where previously we saw clarity, fight and incision. Maybe he needs a break himself. Given the duration of this downturn, it is hard to argue that questioning the manager’s future is knee jerk. However, the thing I feel deeply uncomfortable about is that sections of our fan base (perhaps more the keyboard warriors than match-going fans) appear comfortable throwing Pochettino under the bus – questioning his ability, his tactical acumen, whether indeed he was ever “that good”. They throw at him everything they’ve heard from rival fans on Twitter over the past few years. “He’s a bottler”, What has he won?” and he’s not a “winner” is the most popular refrain. “What success?” is a common retort when you try to defend his record and some even look to diminish those achievements by attributing them to luck or claiming they were in spite of him. In my opinion the least he deserves is some respect. Of course he’s made mistakes but he’s got more right than he’s got wrong in his time at the helm. Let’s not forget the transformative impact he has had on our club. The highs that his team have given us. A first league win at Stamford Bridge in 28 years. A 3-0 demolition of Manchester United at Old Trafford and a 3-1 demolition of Real Madrid at Wembley. Countless victories over that lot down the road and three consecutive seasons above them in the table having not done so since season 1994/95. Four consecutive seasons in the Champions League having only qualified once before he arrived. A second place finish in the league that was our highest since 1963. And then we come to *that* run in the Champions League culminating in one unforgettable night in Amsterdam. And all on a shoestring budget compared to the clubs we were going toe-to-toe with. No silverware but, for me, the essence of being a football fan is more about the journey you go on than the destination. If you think that makes me part of the problem then so be it. I don’t support Spurs so I can go into work on a Monday morning and gloat to my colleagues, or troll rival fans on social media. Yes, a nice shiny trophy would be lovely and I have fond memories of us lifting the League Cup in 1999 and 2008. But neither of those days out at Wembley come close to the elation of that Lucas Moura winner and the weeks that followed, leading up to the final. The sight of Mauricio Pochettino crying uncontrollably on that pitch, as the magnitude of the achievement sunk in, cemented him in my heart forever. We were all crying. He was one of us. And still is. And always will be. When Pochettino walked into our club in 2014, he told us at his unveiling that he wanted to make us feel proud. Well, my god, he has absolutely done that. He gave the team a new identity and forged a remarkable bond between all of us. The Battle of the Bridge showed us that those players were going to fight with every sinew for the badge. And we adored them for it. The spineless Tottenham that we had become accustomed to over decades of under achievement were no more. No more “Spursy”. No more “Lads, it’s Tottenham”. It was Pochettino who built that team in his image. All of that seems to count for very little nowadays in an era where fans have an insatiable appetite for sustained success. Any drop off and we’ll dispense of you and bring in the next name on the conveyor belt. Let’s just ignore the fact that Pochettino could have jumped ship to Real Madrid or Manchester United at various points over the last five years but showed us his loyalty by staying at our club to advance the “project”. Now perhaps it is time for us to repay that loyalty by reciprocating. By standing by him through his darkest period. I’m not advocating blind faith and I won’t back him indefinitely. No one is bigger than the club. But perhaps he deserves time to rebuild. I understand that for some, his time has already run out. I’m still torn. And whatever happens I will look back on this era with fondness and gratitude. If we do stick with him, it is likely to get worse before it gets better. It’s a mess. And it was entirely avoidable if the squad transition had been managed via a gradual evolution rather than a desperately required and overdue revolution. In reality, the reported payoff for Poch and his staff is likely to deter Levy from pulling the trigger anyway so I think we’re stuck with him for the time being at least, unless relegation becomes a real prospect or he decides to walk himself. So buckle up and prepare for more anguish and soul searching over the next few months. I’m no longer #PochIn but I’m not #PochOut either. I’m just deeply confused. Staring into space, still shaking my head.