Let’s face it, being a Tottenham fan is rough. I joined the Yiddos in the 2005-06 season, when Tottenham placed fifth with Robbie Keane at the helm. My dad had brought my brother to England for a graduation present, and caught a Tottenham game while they were there. They loved the style of Tottenham’s play, and were especially impressed with the speedy youngster Aaron Lennon. When they got back, my dad presented me with a Tottenham jersey (and subsequently bought satellite TV just for Fox Soccer), and I was hooked.
I got one more season of placing fifth, and then Tottenham hit a rough patch. In 2007-08 they placed 11th. They brought it up to 8th in 2008-09. Then, miraculously, they made FOURTH place in 2009-10, and my boys were in the Champions League. Suddenly, people started to know who Tottenham were when I wore my jersey around. A few years later, and I started meeting fellow Tottenham fans in the United States, and seeing Dempsey and Bale jerseys pop up around campus.
But there’s still a bit of a learning curve when it comes to being a Tottenham fan. Every year, when Tottenham manages to fall lower than they should, or lose seemingly guaranteed points, I hear new Yiddos crying out in dismay over our apparent failures. And frankly, I want to shake them. I want to remind them that merely five seasons ago, Tottenham placed eleventh – yes, eleventh – in the league. I want to remind them that our team is facing the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United, and Manchester City, all of whom have deep pockets and a bench that could start on our squad. And you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Call me a hipster, but I love that our team is not the most popular or well-known team in the world. I love telling my roommate, a Manchester United fan because of FIFA, about walking out of White Hart Lane, singing “Tottenham ‘Til I Die” and shouting “Yid Army”. I love the rollercoaster ride of being a Tottenham fan because the hurts that we feel when Tottenham strikes out make the highs so much better. I can’t imagine what it’s like to cheer for a team like Manchester United, feeling like every game should be a win. That’s fucking boring. I love knowing that every game with Tottenham is an adventure, because let’s face it: Tottenham can lose to anyone, but they can win against anyone too.
One of my best memories of Tottenham came from the 2009 season. It was my senior year in high school, and I was getting to the point where I was really obsessed with Tottenham. I watched every game. In March, Tottenham played Chelsea at White Hart Lane. Chelsea had a 100% win record under Hiddink at the time, and Tottenham had only won once in 37 league games against the Blues. All odds said Chelsea should slaughter Tottenham – but they didn’t. Luca Modric came through with a hard-fought goal, and Tottenham secured a deserved three points. I remember screaming as the whistle blew, totally shocked at what had just happened.
Sure, I remember some league placements. But the moments that really matter to me are these – those moments of pure joy when Tottenham pulls off the impossible once again. These moments only come to real teams, teams that develop players and build the club instead of buying up all the newest talent. The reason I’m so invested, and so passionate, is not because of wins. It’s because I’ve had the privilege of seeing this team grow, and of seeing the community of fans who stick by its side in rain and sun – and London gets a lot of rain. Tottenham may be one of the few things that makes me cry, but sometimes, those tears are of joy, and damn it all if that’s not worth it.
So to those who want a team they can count on to just win games, check one of the Manchesters. I’ll stick with my boys, the ones who take me on a new rollercoaster ride each season, and pray to Ledley that they never change.