What goes down, must come up?
There was never a lack of excitement, despite the mediocracy. We’d always have one hero player, one genius, one poor bastard who’d somehow ended up playing for Tottenham when they could've been at Real Madrid (Ginola, Sheringham, Klinsmann) nestled amongst a team of nice, but fairly average players. Every season there was renewed hope and promise, we’d caught the tail end of the Gazza and Lineker years and we’d all heard plenty of stories about the glory days of the sixties. Our era was the comedy era, the dreaded “spursy” decade and looking through a pair of strong prescription nostalgia glasses we can be proud of it. It was difficult at times of course. Turning up to school on non-uniform day in your Pony shirt having only just finished above Wimbledon took a certain amount of thick skin, but we look back with fondness. Remember Andy Turner? He was brilliant! What about Ruel Fox or Stephen Carr, it certainly wasn’t all bad, it was just, well, consistently mid-table. Back then it was about getting in the car on a sunny but chilly Saturday (the sort where you can see your breath), getting in your dad’s car (in full kit, with Spliffy bomber jacket of course) and driving through the traffic to White Hart Lane. You’d park somewhere near the ground for a fiver and march in unison, undercut feeling the chills towards Chick-King for the usual, two pieces, chips and carton or Ribena. Obligatory programme and into the ground. For some reason ‘Looking back over my shoulder’ - Mike and The Mechanics was always playing before the match (Alan Sugar must've been a fan) and that was it, the stage was set for a probable 2-2 draw with Sheffield Wednesday. Sure, our teams didn’t have any cohesion, we weren’t anywhere near pushing for european qualification and we didn’t have a Nike kit, but it was the best and it made what has gone on to happen in the two decades following all the more enjoyable.
It was around the time that Marin Jol took over that our fortunes really started to change. The beautiful, unexpected chaos of signing loads of players all at once. “Who’s Zokora?” “I've signed Mido on Champ Manager before and he was class”, “Rodrigo Defendi is meant to be the next Roberto Carlos and Berbatov is well good” “f**king hell, Martin Jol’s brothers are called Cock and Dick!”. The Sugar era was over and it actually felt like we might start moving forward. We had Frank Arnesen’s little black book and we weren’t going to let anyone else anywhere near it.
It was sad to see Jol go and Ramos really didn’t go to plan (despite actually winning something), so when Redknapp came along there was a sense that it was all going to go tits up again...but no, far from it! The stars finally began to align. Three seasons of finishing in the top 5 and the football was majestic at times, we watched Modric, Lennon, Pav, Crouch, Defoe, VdV, the beginnings of Bale (taxi for Maicon) and heard the Champions League song.
AVB saw the best of Bale but the football was occasionally unbearable, without Bale we would’ve been toe-poked back to 1999.
Then there was Poch.. we still haven’t got over it. That ‘One Night In Amsterdam’, Harry’s Kane’s “Big Big Balls”, Walker and Rose tearing up the flanks. Champions League on the regs. He was magic and he’ll come home some day.
The rest is very recent history... So after all of that, what is Pleatees you ask? Well, it’s David Pleat and t-shirts innit.