Tottenham as Champions? Even Leeds United Would be More Authentic – by Rob Atkinson


Spuds – boiled twice until soft and mushy

If Tottenham Hotspur finish this season in a Champions League qualification place and – more importantly, in the eyes of many of their fans – above loathed North London rivals Arsenal, then this season will be deemed by the vast majority of those fans to have been a resounding success. This, despite the fact that, having failed last year to take their most realistic chance in over half a century to finish as Champions of England, they are about to repeat that failure. And that is why Spurs, despite their superficial glamour and appeal, cannot be regarded as a big club.

This might sound strange coming from a fan of 21st Century also-rans Leeds United. But, for all their recent woes and the chaos that characterises life at Elland Road under Bates, GFH and Cellino, Leeds remains a big club. The expectations are still there, the voracious hunger and imperious demand to be up there with the best. At some point, those demands will be met – because the expectations and desire of the fans are what, ultimately, define the size and potential of a football club. Leeds have all that – Tottenham simply don’t. A cursory scan of their Twitter feed, when Spurs capitulated last season, was ample illustration of this.

I was really expecting to find anger, dismay and deep, deep hurt among the Spurs Twitteratti, at the careless throwing away of a once in a lifetime chance. It wasn’t there. I thought too – equally erroneously – that there would be angst and an abiding sense of betrayal. I based this on an empathetic knowledge of how I or most other Leeds supporters would feel – how it would leave us bereft and fuming to see such a rare opportunity passed up. But then – we’re Leeds, and these people were merely Spurs. There’s a big difference.

Last time Leeds joined the big time, back in 1990 – and the time before that, in 1964 – the Whites wasted no time merely admiring their surroundings or being overawed by their new peers. They took a brief, almost scornful look around, allowed themselves the barest of minimum settling-in periods, won their opening fixture back at this new, rarefied level – and proceeded to dominate proceedings thenceforth. Don Revie’s wonders went within a whisker of the double first time out, and were the best team in Europe within five years. Sergeant Wilko’s Warriors were Champions inside twenty months. This is the mettle and appetite of a big club. “Keep Fighting” was and remains the motto. There is no fear and mighty little respect in the staff and players. There is an abounding self-belief and naked ambition among the fans. So it was with Leeds United. So it will be again.

There is none of this with Spurs, not last season and not this one either. Despite the excellence of their squad, they lack the inner conviction and the aspirations of Champions. At its heart, the club is effete and decadent, content to play pretty football while perceived lesser mortals – the Leicester City of last season being an excellent example – scrap and fight, working hard, giving no quarter, exerting every fibre of their being in the pursuit of victory. In a game of fine margins, it is this muck and bullets approach that can close the quality gap and make the difference when the prizes are handed out.

On the evidence of social media reaction, the Spurs fans are as much to blame as the soft centre of their club. It’ll be nice to finish second, they trilled last season (they actually finished third in a two-horse race, surrendering runners-up spot meekly to Arsenal with a thrashing at relegated Newcastle). We’d have snatched your hands off for the chance of finishing higher than Arsenal, they simpered (maybe this season then, lads). We’ll be favourites next year, they crooned, hopefully. But next year never comes – not when the real big boys can be counted on to wake up from their one season slumber.

Thinking back to the early nineties, when Leeds were the hungry new kids on the block – we hoped and craved for a chance to be the best again. Whether we really expected it to come along so soon is a moot point. But we were raucously demanding of it. And when that chance presented itself – especially at the expense of our most hated foes – there was no suggestion of “well, it’d be nice, but second wouldn’t be too bad either”. We’d have been gutted to the depths of our very souls, if our heroes in White hadn’t seized the day. It would have been impossible to express the wretchedness we would have felt.

The Spurs fans by contrast, with their mealy-mouthed acceptance of failure and honeyed words of congratulations to conquerors Leicester, betrayed their club and showed themselves, as well as their beloved club, unworthy of being regarded as champion material. It was a sickening sight to see, a betrayal of that competitive spirit that gives a vital edge to proper contenders.

In the end, any league gets the champions it deserves and, barring last-gasp miracles or Chelsea calamity, it’ll be no different this year. Spurs will have shown again why they haven’t been The Best since 1961, when JFK was president, the Beatles were playing beery dives in Hamburg and I was only just seeing the light of day. Chelsea, with their juggernaut self-belief and determination to make the most of every opportunity under the brilliant guidance of Antonio Conte, will thoroughly have deserved their Premier League Title. They will be deserving Champions, by far the best team in the land.

Leicester City, Chelsea, Leeds United – Champions of England. Each has a ring of authenticity to it that’s been hard fought for and deeply merited when it’s come about. Whereas “Champions Spurs”? – well, it just doesn’t sound right. It sounds instead faintly ridiculous, like cheap fiction; and, as long as the club and the fans retain their current losers’ mindset, that’s just how it will remain.

19 responses to “Tottenham as Champions? Even Leeds United Would be More Authentic – by Rob Atkinson

  1. Masked one

    So true, apart from being able to live in London you wonder why players in demand sign for spurs when it’s almost 60 years since they won the title. They are the newcastle of the south.


  2. Philip of Spain.

    When ” Come on you Spurs”.sung very very slowly is your team National Anthem then you can’t win the league,surely.I remember Brucie being in the directors box at Elland Road,a big Spurs fan.They just don’t have it,do they,they are not right somehow.


  3. Think some of the points you make are complete rubbish. Tottenham don’t scrap & fight? Did you see the Swansea game?
    We play with style and flair but have shown this season we have the grit and determination to see off games. Chelsea have had a great run and it will take a lot for us to win the league. Most seasons we would have been top of the league at this point. But the fact we are in with a shout is great testiment to us. We have a great crop of English talent and a manager who is in my opinion the best in the world. So I would argue that we wouldn’t be worthy champions. Because I think most football fans out there would like us to be champs.


  4. Probably the most hated London club, in a poll of other London clubs fans.


  5. The same spurs who were the first english club to pick up one of the European trophies, the same spurs who were the first to get the double in the 20th century, the same spurs who were the only non league club to win the FA cup, why should they not add the premiership title in the next few years or so?


  6. Nick Braidwood

    What a bellend I am to follow Spuds.


  7. Leeds have won 9 major honours to Tottenham’s 25. This is such a poor article.


  8. Tottenham will have to win it this year as the Premier League big hitters will come for Harry and Deli. Tight-wad Levi will not / can not pay 300k a week salaries, the new stadium needs to be funded.

    Most Leeds fans would love Spurs to overhaul the detested Chelsea, but I’m not that fussed.


    • Completely wrong, the stadium is paid for and we still have 100 million coming from the naming rights. No one from the Spurs team will be sold, Levy has only sold players in the past when they’ve forced the issue, Bale, Modric to name the most recent two.

      The so called big hitters are below us apart from one, we have probably the best team in the league and by that, I mean ‘team’. They are the best coached and drilled unit in the Premier league and they have all bought in to Poch’s philosophy. The only reason any of them would leave, is if Poch leaves and he’s stated he’s there to see it through to the end. He’s never won a trophy as manager but he knows he can win more than just the FA cup with this current team.

      Plus, Levy has stated many times that he will not sell to a direct rival, he turned Manure down when they bid more for Bale, he also turned Chelsky down when they bid for Modric. So Citeh and Manure have no chance of buying anyone from Spurs 🙂


      • MH Leeds

        So when City, Man u, Chelsea are paying £250k + a week and Levi is paying £100k, the spurs players heads will not be turned.


  9. Got to say rob,,, Chelsea or spurs ?!!
    Go get your father’s gun mate

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This is a silly article Mr Rob. There was nothing ‘effete or decadent’ about the wonderful Spurs club that won the double in 1961 (was it !). Furthermore didn’t Leeds fans pay theirs the compliment of adotpting the rhythm of their ‘anthem’ after we played them recently in the FA Cup. No, I am afraid your admiration for the ‘Bank of England Club’ (Arsenal) – in itself odd for a self-confessed ‘leftie’ – has blinded you to the merits of a club that inspired the first and stil the best film about football fandom in this country (the one about the Danny Blanchflower adoring Jewish girls). And last but not least how dare you insult a club for whom this country’s greatest goal poacher and brilliant fellow Jimmy Greaves played for ?!! ‘We hate Chelsea’ not Spurs.


    • Ooh, where to start. Well, Jimmy Greaves began at Chelsea and he’s a twat who never won the league and hates Leeds anyway; the greatest film on football fandom is the Arse-related Fever Pitch, not the one you admire so much you can’t remember its name (do you mean the Julie Welch thing Those Glory Glory Day’s?) – and I do take my hat off to the pre-Greaves team that won the double in ’61, but as a club, Spurs have decayed ever since. Maybe your tongue is firmly in your cheek – it’s unlike you to get so much wrong.


  11. What a crap article. We hate Chelsea not Spurs. If you know your history….

    Liked by 1 person

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