For our loyal readers out there, you may remember about 9 months ago I decided to broaden my sports horizons and choose an EPL team. After countless hours (maybe 15 mins) of deliberation, I made the decision to take my talents to North London and cheer on Tottenham Hotspur. I decided to go on this journey into the depths of the Premier League for a few reasons:
- I needed something else besides Pittsburgh sports to follow.
- All my basketball teams are garbage.
- I work in tech and it’s basically a prerequisite to like soccer.
I’m writing this post as a chance to give you all an update on how my year with Spurs has been. Needless to say, it’s been a lot like following the Steelers or even the Pirates. And that’s not a good thing.
Things started out well
When I first took to the pitch back in February, I told Turf boss and fellow Spurs fan, Kevin, that I think I was the good luck charm the club needed. Tottenham took down Burnley easily 4-0 on that brisk February morning and then went on to win their next 3 fixtures. I really thought I had chosen the right team for the season. After the London derby, things went downhill, quickly.
Again, this was my first season watching EPL soccer, so I didn’t fully grasp the intensity level of that match. But wow was that meeting between Arsenal and Tottenham intense. I feel like I saw a match that fully epitomized Erik Lamela’s style of play. Lamela came on at the 19th minute for a hobbled Son Heung-Min and picked up what would be the goal of the season. I’d never seen anything like it live before.
That goal would put the Spurs up 1-0 in a game where they seemed overmatched but somehow might have been able to pull it off. However, right before halftime, Arsenal picked up a goal to tie it up at 1-1. Then after halftime, Arsenal got it together and scored another quick goal to make it 2-1. Spurs never had a chance from there.
Lamela picked up a yellow card at the 69th (nice) minute, then another at the 76th so he was subsequently thrown out of the game. I feel this is a metaphor for how my season went with Spurs. They built my hopes up constantly only to self-destruct in terrific fashion.
Out goes Mourinho, in comes Mason
After a loss to Manchester United and a draw with Everton, ownership decided it was time to go another direction and fired manager Jose Mourinho. To fill the role for the rest of the season, they brought on former Spurs academy graduate Ryan Mason. At the time, Mason was 29 years old and would be the youngest coach in the Premier League. He compiled a respectable record of 4-3 to finish the season, so some thought maybe they’d give him a chance at the job for the upcoming season. Unfortunately for Mason, that wasn’t the case.
Out Goes Mason in comes Nuno then comes Conte
The musical chairs continued and Spurs decided to bring former Wolverhampton manager Nuno Espírito Santo on to become the manager for the 2021-2022 season. Nuno would go on to become manager of the month in August, probably just because he was able to take down Manchester City. Spurs fans thought he might be the guy to lead them to the promised land. After August ended, the magic ran out and Nuno subsequently lost 5 Premier League matches. At the beginning of November, Nuno was let go and Antonio Conte was brought on board to right the ship.
Fresh off a 2021 championship with Inter Milan, Conte and team ownership decided to mutually part ways. Things moved pretty fast as Nuno was fired on 11/1 and Conte was hired by Tottenham on 11/2. It seems like Conte was ready to go on speed dial as soon as the news broke. If the true problem is the manager, then Conte is the guy who can hopefully turn things around. Spurs currently sit in 7th place in the standings so, as usual, they’re still in it. However, if the manager isn’t the issue, then it might be time to blow the team up and start over.
So, final thoughts?
I can’t say my first year of following Spurs has been the easiest. There were the aforementioned management changes, Harry Kane turmoil, and underperformance. I’m used to this with my current sports team selections. It’s not something I enjoy, but I’m used to it. I’m not ready to say I’ve made the wrong choice. I think this team still has a chance with the current squad, there’s just a lot of work that needs to be done still. I’m going to stick it out with Spurs as long as I can because that’s what you do as a sports fan. Although, after the Steelers’ loss to Cincinnati over the weekend, it might be time to reevaluate all of my sports decisions ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. But for now, come on you Spurs!!!
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