Driving back from Tottenham on Wednesday night, we were listening to TalkSport’s “Sports Bar” with Andy Goldstein and Jason Cundy. It’s a show that I used to listen to when I had to do late shifts in a previous role at work and one that used to make me chuckle.
I’m not really much of a TalkSport listener anymore as very often it could best be described as a staged argument between the two presenters. Adrian Durham and Darren Gough on “Drive” have taken this format and run with it for years.
Anyway, Wednesday night’s “Sports Bar” show was pretty much based around Spurs’ defeat at the hands of little old Norwich in the FA Cup 5thRound. There weren’t any Norwich fans ringing in though, just one after another of irate Tottenham fans calling in to vent their anger at Jose Mourinho and Daniel Levy for appointing him as manager.
What followed was an incredible sense of entitlement from these fans with one in particular stating that “The squad needs four hundred million pounds spent on it, to make it competitive.” This fellow was apoplectic with rage and went on for quite some time before Goldstein cut him off and played a clip of Chas and Dave’s “Rabbit,” which made me laugh out loud – the first time he did it, anyway.
That got me thinking a bit not just about how a club like Spurs, with individual players that cost more than the whole of Norwich City’s squad and stadium cost to assemble, but also how the fans of clubs like this just expect success to be given to them.
There always used to be a weekly caricature on Sky’s Soccer AM in which a cabbie in a Spurs shirt (Sheep Head) would do a little skit, always ending with “Spurs are a top six side, always have been, always will be.” That kind of sums this situation up, I think.
A certain sense of entitlement?
These callers are probably just working class fans, like you and I, with nothing else to do but ring in to a late night radio show to vent their rage to people who will argue back a bit, laugh at them and then cut them off if they get too boring and basically take the mickey out of them.
Why would anybody do that?!
They expect that because they now have a shiny new stadium which literally cost a billion pounds, and it is very impressive by the way, that the club should be challenging for top honours. Ask Arsenal, it doesn’t work like that.
From an outsider’s perception it appears to me that they have quickly gone downhill since the defeat to Liverpool in last season’s Champions League Final. They lack strength in depth, especially in the striker department and that brings me on to Troy Parrot.
The 18-year-old is currently the only fit striker in the Spurs squad and there has been something of a clamouring for him to play in recent weeks, since the injuries to Kane and Son. He was thrown on against Norwich in the 96th minute of this game and with the scores level at 120 minutes, he put his hand up to take a penalty, which is admirable.
However, one of these Spurs fans on the radio ranted that Mourinho should never have played him. “The stage was too big for him” he said. “He came on, did nothing and then missed a penalty. His confidence will be shot now, Jose should never have played him.” It seems you can’t win as a manager.
Contrast that with Norwich, who ended the game with five academy players on the field, two of whom took brilliant penalties in the shootout. Adam Idah is 19 and came on and played around fifty minutes before taking one of the most composed and unstoppable penalties you will ever see. Todd Cantwell also scored a terrific penalty and he made his debut as an 18-year-old in the FA Cup at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea, two years ago. The stage wasn’t too big for either of them.
Relive all the drama from last night's penalty shootout victory at Spurs ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/BQX0Jql4v2
— Norwich City FC (@NorwichCityFC) March 5, 2020
Alan Hanson once said “You’ll win nothing with kids” and that is more often right than wrong but in the years of people having experience, there was a time when they didn’t have any, which is why the blooding of these young players is so important. Yes, Tim Krul managed to clearly “get” to Parrot before he took his spot kick but it’s all crucial experience of the game for one so young and he’ll come again.
Mourinho has a record that isn’t exactly littered with youth successes, he would seemingly always rather buy a player for £50m than play a youngster, which is a reputation that proceeds him and riles him in equal measure. At Norwich though, that simply isn’t an option and the level of arrogance and entitlement shown by one of these Spurs fans on the radio, suggesting that their squad needed £400m spent on it immediately, underlines all that is wrong with modern football.
The fact that their billion pound stadium is situated just yards away from people living in what look like horrible tower blocks, overlooking a very down at heel High street with loads of desperately grim looking pubs, is another underlying issue that I struggle to balance in my mind. If you look past all the glitz and glamour of the Premier League, Range Rovers, Givenchy hoodies, Hublot watches and Louis Vuitton washbags, the balance in our society is horribly lop-sided.
Sorry to get all depressing there.
There are better ways to run things in society but as ever, the greed of man, whether it be for shiny material things or success, will always be around. Don’t get me wrong, I know the Norwich squad have nice cars and plenty of trinkets and they’re not exactly badly paid either but I just think it’s refreshing that in this part of the world, things are a little different, only a little, but it’s a difference of ideas.
The Norwich youth academy will need to produce more success stories, like the current five, if the Canaries are to regularly become a member of this elite group of 20 Premier League football clubs.
If you’re a Spurs fan reading this then I’m not just having a pop at you and your club and I recognise that these lads on the radio don’t speak for everyone. Modern football in general, it’s just not all that, is it?