Tottenham ‘Spursy’ Hotspur Who Consistently Failed

Each club casts stereotypes on themselves depending on their on pitch performances. Results always have to do with reputation. One aggravates the other, and vice versa. For Tottenham Hotspur, the reputation earned in the past three decades is quite annoying.

The Spurs are known as a team that has consistently failed. Failure to meet expectations and fall down when achievements are in sight. Tottenham’s consistent failure has even triggered one adjective to describe them: Spursy.

The term has long been recognized in the vocabulary of English football. A word, although slang and a mockery, reflects a state that is understood or assumed to be common in a society. And Spursy’s taunts were synonymous with the shocking defeats that waved Tottenham Hotspur’s failure.

An example of the right case for understanding Spursy occurred on Friday. Playing the second leg of the Europa League last 16 at the Maksimir Stadium, Croatia, Spurs got a comeback from Dinamo Zagreb. Harry Kane and his friends lost 3-2 on aggregate via extra time.

Jose Mourinho’s men failed to take advantage of the 2-0 advantage in the first leg. Miroslav Orsic, an attacker with a unique jersey number, 99, beat the Spurs with a hat-trick. The striker, who once traveled to Asia defending Jeonnam Dragons, Changchun Yatai and Ulsan Hyundai, has become the hero of Dinamo Zagreb’s victory.

The defeat was very sad. Not only did Spurs fail to hold on to the aggregate and fell over to embrace the status of a superior team; but also because Dinamo Zagreb is having internal problems. Zoran Mamic, the head coach of the Croatian League champions, resigned just four days before the match. He was found guilty of corruption and sentenced to four years and eleven months in prison.

However, Dinamo’s squad was not discouraged and faced Tottenham bravely. After the match, Jose Mourinho railed against the attitude of the Spurs players and praised the hard efforts of Dominik Livakovic and his friends. “Football is not just about players who think they are more qualified than others, the fundamentals of football go far beyond that. “The basis of football is attitude and they beat us in that,” said the former Chelsea manager.

“Before the match I said to the players the risk of bad attitudes. “I said at half-time the risk of the way we played, and [defeat] it happened because I believe the players only realized that this match was threatened when they scored the second goal,” he continued.

Mourinho is of course upset. But, like the players, he was part of this defeat. The coach who once led Inter Milan to a historic treble cannot keep blaming players, as he did at Manchester United. As a manager, Mourinho is also responsible for building the club culture and he should have a part in stopping the Spursy “culture”.

Mauricio Pochettino has brought promising changes at Spurs. The highlight was the club’s first participation in a Champions League final. That success was marked by a stunning comeback against Ajax Amsterdam in the semifinals. Pochettino also managed to bring the Spurs to the 2016/17 Premier League runner-up after finishing third in the previous season.

However, Pochettino’s era at Spurs ended bitterly and trophyless. This club has not won a title since Juande Ramos brought Robbie Keane and his friends to the 2008 League Cup title. Even without a title, Pochettino’s work could not be said to have failed. He took the Spurs to a new level, consistently challenging the top flight. The Argentine coach recorded 1.84 points per game during his time in charge of the Spurs, better than his predecessors in the Premier League era and Jose Mourinho.

Even though Pochettino took the club to the next level, Tottenham never got rid of the taunts of Spursy. Big clubs always keep them from trophies. Liverpool thumped Spurs’ dreams in the UCL final; Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal took turns eliminating Spurs from the domestic cup. In addition, surprising defeats such as opponents of KAA Gent (Europa League 2016/17), Colchester United (League Cup 2019/20), and Norwich City (FA Cup 2019/20) added to the Spursy label that the team wanted to get rid of.

Every team has failed, lost humiliatingly, and went through years without a title. However, in the case of the Spurs, people want to lock in their destiny as a team that always fails. As long as Tottenham are not yet a significant football force, the taunts of Spursy will always stick with them.

Tottenham are now an elite club. But they are still linked with Tottenham who lost in the 2010 FA Cup semi-final to Portsmouth; a team on the verge of bankruptcy and relegation with 19 points.

Sir Alex Ferguson, the legendary manager of the Red Devils, even once used the Spurs’ reputation to lift his team’s fighting spirit. “Friends, this is just Tottenham…”, he said before facing Spurs. Sir Alex understands his squad and knows their perception of Tottenham. He tried to emphasize that Arsenal’s rivals were destined to lose. So, there is no reason for the Red Devils to give up when left behind. Sir Alex once led United to win a comeback 3-5 after trailing 3-0 at White Hart Lane.

Tottenham may have an elite squad and a manager chooses to compete, but the awareness of the people who coined the term Spursy will always overshadow. No matter how good Harry Kane is, no matter how beautiful Son Heung-min plays; as long as Tottenham haven’t won anything, they’ll always be linked with Tottenham who, to borrow Gary Neville’s term, are “boneless and flabby”.

“Guys, this is Tottenham.” Sir Alex’s team-talk shows exactly what Spursy is; something the club has tried to get rid of through years of development and performance in the competition. Jose Mourinho has now inherited the relay to turn the Spurs into a meaningful force. To erode stereotypes, he must bring Tottenham to the top flight. Also, the first step you can take is to win a trophy. Spurs are likely to win their first trophy after 13 years in the League Cup. They will face Manchester City in the final on April 25.

Trophy success, despite the League Cup, is a great start to eliminating the Spursy term forever. “Guys, this is Tottenham.” They too could distort the meaning of Fergie’s phrase and pronounce it with pride. To improve the reputation and make the Spurs project a reality, the challenge lies with Mourinho and his men.


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