How are fourth-placed Tottenham a ‘distant sixth of the big six’ and yet still deluded?

Antonio Conte and Mauricio Pochettino laugh at Tottenham Credit: Alamy
Antonio Conte and Mauricio Pochettino laugh at Tottenham Credit: Alamy

The media want to put Tottenham in their place and berate the fans for wanting more while calling for Antonio Conte to be sacked. It’s confusing.


Silly Spurs with their silly Spurs delusions
Can we have a little reality check? Tottenham did get dumped out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage but that literally equals their second-best performance in Europe over the last decade. Last season they were dumped out of the Conference League at the group stage, FFS.

And they are fourth in the Premier League. Fourth. And on exactly the same points as the same stage last season, when they finished fourth.

Now Antonio Conte is clearly not their long-term manager and there will be few tears shed when he inevitably leaves at the end of the season, but on paper this is still a decent season from Spurs. On the pitch it has largely been sh*t, but they are still fourth. So this from Dave Kidd in The Sun seems a tad odd:

‘That they failed to score in either leg was a damning indictment of Conte’s regime, under which Spurs have failed to thrill and struggled for identity.

‘Now chairman Daniel Levy must decide whether to keep Conte in charge until his contract expires at the end of the season or make a change now.

‘Either way an ‘arrivederci’ is coming soon.’

Mediawatch would be truly astonished if Levy made a change now. In March. With Spurs still in the Champions League places. It would be unprecedented. And it would cost him money it would be ludicrous to spend.

And then Kidd writes:

‘At half-time, there was a fair amount of booing from home supporters. Really? With their team just one goal down in a Champions League knock-out tie?

‘What sort of club did they think they were supporting? Presumably one which had won the title more recently than the Kennedy assassination or Beatlemania.’

Ah, so you want your cake and eat it? You want to be snide about Tottenham fans for having expectations beyond their status but still suggest the manager should be sacked when they are fourth and above both Liverpool and Chelsea in the Premier League. What sort of club do you think you are writing about, Dave?


A hint of what’s to come
But the idea that Tottenham might sack Antonio Conte is the kind of nonsense that drives publishers to employ Trending Writers. And those Trending Writers are deployed to find otherwise-hidden hints and messages.

And so to the shameless for this:

‘Tottenham hint at Antonio Conte sack decision amid Mauricio Pochettino return links’

Now you and I know there is no ‘Antonio Conte sack decision’ to make; Tottenham are in fourth and Conte’s contract expires at the end of the season anyway.

But let’s humour them; what is this ‘Tottenham hint’?

‘The club appear to have made a decision regarding his short-term future.’

No decision to make but carry on…

‘Despite calls from some to make an immediate change, no action seems to be on the cards as it has been confirmed his Friday pre-match press conference will go ahead as planned at 1.30pm.’

So the whole story – designed to hoover up ‘Conte sack’ traffic – is based on Tottenham confirmation that their manager’s pre-match press conference will be at the same time as his pre-match press conference every week. More as we get it.


He’s magic, you know
Over on MailOnline, Matt Barlow would like you to know that Mauricio Pochettino might not be the answer.

‘Twenty minutes to midnight and a crowd of weary Tottenham supporters growing in number as they wait for the Victoria Line platforms to reopen at Seven Sisters started to sing about Mauricio Pochettino.

”He’s magic you know’, the song goes, and that would help, but is he, really?

‘Pochettino could not conjure a trophy in five full seasons at Spurs, and ultimately became exasperated by the same limitations Antonio Conte was grumbling about as they slithered feebly out of the Champions League, on Wednesday, unable to score a goal in two games against AC Milan.’

The ‘same limitations’? In his five full seasons in charge of Tottenham, Spurs had a net spend of less than £30m. And since the summer of 2019, Tottenham have boasted a net spend of well over £300m. And no, the number of zeroes there is not a mistake.

He could not ‘conjure’ a trophy but he ‘conjured’ a Champions League final, which absolutely was pure sorcery.

Barlow then – as is customary – denigrates Spurs’ standing in the game, writing:

‘They may have the best stadium with Beyonce, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and go-karting on the way. But they trail a distant sixth of the big six. Quite possibly soon to be overtaken by Newcastle.’

Erm, they are fourth. And if you look at their points total since the day that Pochettino walked through the door in 2014, they still sit fourth ahead of Arsenal and Manchester United. So ‘distant sixth’, our arse.

Barlow might well be right that Tottenham and Pochettino should not be reunited but let’s not pretend that he did not produce some magic along the way and for f***’s sake can we stop re-writing history?

‘Tottenham ought to think about their level instead of the next one,’ he writes. Well, Tottenham’s level is fourth and the last 16 of the Champions League. And Spurs fans might actually be content with that under a manager who does not bore them to death.


Crouching ace, hidden icon
Warming to a Tottenham theme, The Sun website have absolutely stitched up Peter Crouch with this headline:

‘I’m a Spurs icon…why do they even bother qualifying for the Champions League?’

Clicking in, it changes to…

‘I’m an ex-Tottenham ace.. I don’t understand why Spurs bother qualifying for the Champions League if they play like that’

Has Crouch referred to himself as either a ‘Spurs icon’ or an ‘ex-Tottenham ace’? Has he f***.


That’s made my day, that has
We’re not saying that British newspapers are stuck in the past but this is what the Daily Mirror‘s Mike ‘Wacky’ Walters deemed topical for his piece about Tottenham’s Champions League exit:

‘For Antonio Conte, back at the wheel after his medical timeout, a fraught journey to the biggest game of Tottenham’s season was not the episode of On The Buses he would have chosen.

‘And what dear old Stan Butler and Olive Rudge would have made of all the cycle lanes, ultra-low emission zones and congestion charges boggles the mind.’

The final series of On The Buses ended 50 years ago. Even Spurs have won something since.

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