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Season Review, 2019-2020

Discussion in 'Spurs News & Views' started by DubaiSpur, 27 Jul 2020.

  1. DubaiSpur

    DubaiSpur Paul Walsh

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    Surprised this thread hasn't come up yet. It's been a tumultuous year - in a sporting sense, this sort of upheaval was something the club hasn't seen since 2008-2009, the famous '2 points, 8 games, 1 hero' season.

    In a societal sense, the onset of COVID-19 and the sheer scale of global pandemic are unprecedented, and probably has no equal in the history of football in Europe, outside of the world wars.

    Tottenham Hotspur can't really do much about the latter - but we can definitely talk about the former.

    So...what was the 'story' of this season? What, in the end, did it mean for this club?

    I'm going to suggest that this season is...*was* the end of a cycle. It's not a revolutionary thought, but it's the most accurate way I can describe what I've moodily brooded over. At the start of it, our optimism was limitless - we had just lost the CL final, but Liverpool had done that and gone on to win the thing the following season. There was no reason we couldn't do it - why couldn't it be us?

    The reason, as it turned out, was that it was too late for us to even dream about something like that. Liverpool reaching the CL final in 2017-2018 was right in the middle of their evolution under Klopp - and as soon as they lost that final, they went out and brought in Alisson, Fabinho and Keita pretty much straightaway - they built on that success, and their peaks were ahead of them, not behind them.

    For us, the peak of our evolution was in 2016-2017 - it was the season we reached our peak, and needed Fabinho/Alisson/Keita-like additions to keep going. The problem was, we then made some dreadful decisions, selling Walker and replacing him with Serge Aurier - and then we fell even further because of the chairman's parsimony and criminal negligence, spending 18 long months between January 2018 and July 2019 signing absolutely no one to reinforce a quickly ageing, tiring team that was losing belief by the week. Our peaks were behind us even in 2018-2019.

    Because of that, the CL final was our last gasp - the last feeble attempt at making real the five years of hopes and dreams that this group of players and the best manager we've had in 50 years had given us. When we lost it...the cycle died.

    And Poch was a victim of that. We spent two years from 2017 to 2019 outrunning our plummeting xG and climbing xGA figures, but they got us in the end. And we lost the best coach and man we'd had in charge for 50 years because of it.

    The best analogue to this season would be 2013/2014 - a season where 'slowly drifting' was the only way to describe what had happened to the club after the Bale sale and the Fab Seven. This was a redux of that season - matched it almost to a tee. And there's ultimately little to be said about this season other than that it was an aimless one that most at the club will want to put behind us, whatever comes next.

    Where we go now is an interesting thing to think about. In Mourinho, we have a manager who has won it all, a world-class coach who has a need to burnish his reputation after a couple of bruising spells. And in Levy, we have a chairman who is the worst possible one for an ambitious coach who needs backing to implement his vision. Coming into focus are the futures of Kane and Son, two of our bright stars in an otherwise grim tableau - how long will they stick around now that it's clear that a new cycle needs to begin, and that we need to go through our 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 equivalents *again*? Who will we buy to convince them to stay? How does Mourinho fix our mentality, our legendary spirit of failing at the death? And, looming over it all, the stadium - how soon do we get people back into it, to start paying off that gigantic place?

    Lots of questions. And as we head into a hopefully sunny ,hopefully healthier August, I'll leave you with some of the simple moments of happiness this year, that brightened up a lot of otherwise gray days, and made some of the absolutely heartbreaking moments (the night we sacked Poch, for instance) hurt a bit less.

    Kane's halfway-line screamer in that pre-season against Juve, making an absolute mug out of Sczezczczczeny. :)


    The Audi Cup victory - the end of our long trophy drought. :p

    Ndombele's thunderous debut goal, in his first game, all the way back when on a sunny August day. How hopeful we all were that we'd gotten a worldie!

    Those ludicrous 4 points against City - how we got away with the daylight robberies we managed against City over the past few seasons, I'll never know. They probably had 150 shots to our 15, and yet our record against them's excellent. :D

    Those easy thrashings of Red Star Belgrade - happily on-par moments in a below-par season.

    That debut victory for Mourinho against Spam, and the topsy turvy attacking abandon of his first few games.

    That hilariously effective ballboy against Olympiakos. Got to have breakfast with the players, which was great. :)

    That Sonny goal (With bonus excitable Korean commentators) - goddamn, what a goal, and what a player.

    Jan's last-minute winner against Wolves - au revoir, SuperJan! :(

    Smacking Arsenal down - North London is ours, again. Back in your holes. :)

    Blowing Leicester away in the first half - revenge, and a catharsis for a lot of pent-up anger.

    And finally...this picture of this group of boys at the end of this long season, and longer decade. They're not the greatest team in the world, they ended up having sexy mentalities...but goddamn, did they give us a great ride in the glory years of the 2010s. :)
     
  2. DubaiSpur

    DubaiSpur Paul Walsh

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    And lastly....this has been a terrible season, but for me, it was unforgettable for one simple reason.

    In December 2019, I was sent to Europe for three days on government business. It happened very quickly, in response to an urgent priority, and I had no time to plan anything - barely had time to pack.

    The stopover was in London - I had a day in the city before the next leg of the trip out to the continent.

    That day, we played Chelsea at the new stadium.

    And, miraculously, through one of the oddest sets of circumstances I can imagine...I got a ticket.

    For the first time in over 5 years, I could see my team - our team - play, in person, with all the other Spurs fans. Taking the bus to the ground, and walking up the road I'd seen so often in documentaries - from Away Days in the 1980s, down to the modern day...

    80416215_465797684136539_3343405450346364928_n.jpg


    ..to the stadium I'd watched on TV so often....

    81024280_1456036904562930_5420019006931206144_n.jpg

    ....to the noises and roars, the excitement I'd dreamed of as a kid...

     
    Last edited: 27 Jul 2020
  3. DubaiSpur

    DubaiSpur Paul Walsh

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    ...and, after a limp defeat where I shouted myself hoarse...the walk of defeat back down the Seven Sisters, which I figure is a constant in every Spurs fan's life. :p

    80904098_2528893804066328_875833008060366848_n.jpg
     
  4. DubaiSpur

    DubaiSpur Paul Walsh

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    It wasn't at all perfect - as I said here after the game, there was a lot of racism I overheard on the way back to the tube that depressed and angered me. It shocked me that the club I love had fans who were saying things of the type that they'd never say to my face, if they'd known my background.

    But, reflecting back on it, despite that...I was home.

    And, for two hours on a rushed December evening in the middle of a rushed trip out to Europe, far away from my home, to deal with an urgent priority that would end up causing countless late days and nights...

    ...I felt at home. And I honestly felt as contented as I could be, among the folks who made this team what it is. Not the chairman, not the players, not the glitz and the glamour...but the folks who hurt in defeat and celebrated in joy, who would walk up and down the Seven Sisters no matter what, because Tottenham was their club. My club.

    Our club.

    And I'm thankful for that. :)

    Have a happy and safe August, everyone - in these tumultous times, know that all of you brighten my days and make me proud to be Spurs, even if we vehemently disagree on many things.

    And, in closing...
     
  5. DubaiSpur

    DubaiSpur Paul Walsh

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    ..here's to @Yermiyahu - wherever you are, mate, you're Spurs now and forever.
     
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  6. metalgear

    metalgear Jack Jull

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  7. scaramanga

    scaramanga Mel Hopkins Staff Member

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    I have to admire your optimism, even though I cannot fathom why it existed when it did.

    We'd been utter turd since the autumn and on a worsening trend before that. Our players spent most matches looking lazy, confused, exhausted, frustrated or a combination of all of the above. We'd just out-bottled football's biggest bottler in front of the entire world in a match he and his team didn't even bother turning up for.

    Our manager had run out of rational explanations for what he saw in front of him and had resorted to the use of auras and bad vibe absorbing fruit.

    And on top of all of that, Sissoko was inexplicably still first choice in our central midfield.
     
  8. DeanoAustin

    DeanoAustin John Lacy

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    We had the second best squad in the league and a manager who, despite losing the plot a bit, was still surely better than the one dimensional, gurning, kick and run merchant at Anfield. With a better squad and a better manager, how on earth could we do anything other than finish ahead of them whilst pushing Emirates Marketing Project?
     
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  9. StephenH

    StephenH David Ginola

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    D+

    Mourinho is now the necessary evil we have to get behind used to going forward.
     
    Last edited: 27 Jul 2020
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  10. braineclipse

    braineclipse David Ginola

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    The second best squad in the league, but one that had just picked up about a point per game on average for quite a while in the league.

    A manager that looked increasingly like he couldn't get the best, or improvement, out of the players.

    I find it strange how people are still dismissive of Klopp. What he's done is exceptional.
     
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  11. Jurgen the German

    Jurgen the German Jimmy Cantrell

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    And claim his teams play nothing but long ball football. Watch highlights of his teams at Dortmund to see that’s nonsense. Liverpool don’t play quite as good football as Dortmund did but they still dominate possession against nearly everyone. Klopp is the best manager in the game today easily.

    Poch has the potential to be a great manager but he’s got a little way to go to be talked about in the same breath IMO.
     
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  12. JerusalemMan

    JerusalemMan Nick Barmby

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    Summary of the season?
    Hope from ashes.
     
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  13. ricky2tricky4city

    ricky2tricky4city Rafael Van Der Vaart

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    Don't we just watch Amazon All or Nothing?
     
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  14. scaramanga

    scaramanga Mel Hopkins Staff Member

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    Bottling of the highest order.
     
  15. ShipOfTheseus

    ShipOfTheseus Roman Pavlyuchenko

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    D- Completely implausible, from the Mourinho-joins-Spurs plot twist through to the deadly pandemic. If this gets renewed for another season, new writers are a must.
     
  16. Jurgen the German

    Jurgen the German Jimmy Cantrell

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    Don’t agree with all of this but enjoyed reading all the same.

    Fully agree the turning point was when we didn’t invest in the team in 18/19. Could set us back years.

    My views on Poch are he did fantastic with the resources but should have won a trophy with the players at his disposal. Too many times we froze in big winner take all games or win and go top games, the quintessential example being Arsenal at home against 10 men and we ended up hanging on for a point despite being 2-1 up. Some of the signings are also on him, not Sissoko but definitely the likes of Aurier, Janssen and worst of all; Davinson Sanchez. I can’t believe Poch wanted to play out from the back with Lloris and Sanchez as two of the spine of the team. Sanchez May be the only ex Ajax player who isn’t good on the ball.

    As much as the lack of investment killed us, Poch should have had us challenging for the top 6 with this squad. At the end I couldn’t see any improvement from the previous 12 months.
     
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  17. Legohamster

    Legohamster Les Ferdinand

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    When one of the seasons highlights is Leicester bottling CL, you know it’s been a brick one
     
  18. Kandi1977

    Kandi1977 Les Howe

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    Still pretty funny though, that they managed to finish 5th, in a 3 horse race.
     
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  19. DubaiSpur

    DubaiSpur Paul Walsh

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    Looking back, a lot of us were optimistic given that Liverpool had come back from their CL defeat in 2017-2018 to win the thing the following year. And in Lo Celso and Ndombele, we had signed what were then thought to be two of Europe's most energetic pressing midfielders to add to existing pressing machines like Dele - there was a Statsbomb article from July that highlighted that exact fact. And, of course, we tried for Dybala.

    No reason we couldn't do it. In hindsight, however, you were right - our cratering xG and xGA numbers meant doing a Liverpool was almost impossible, especially given the mental blow of the loss and the preceding 18 months of utter stagnation. I think you're being unfair on Poch, though - he didn't just start with the lemons and auras, he was always enamored with them, mostly to great effect. :p
     
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  20. DubaiSpur

    DubaiSpur Paul Walsh

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    Mmm. But I get a feeling that, like Sunderland Til' I Die, they've got enough to focus on off the field that they won't be too bothered remembering the memorable moments on it. :)
     

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