After sixteen straight years toiling in obscurity, plagued by the presence of *that* color on our kits, the club ownership finally addressed the gravest problem facing Tottenham Hotspur. Finally, for the first time since the 1996-97 season, Spurs would at last have a kit completely free of red. In one bold stroke Daniel Levy turned the club's fortunes around and helped us achieve the finest season the club has ever seen.
While some might say on-pitch results were perhaps underwhelming and two managerial disasters and player unrest threatened to derail years of patient build up towards the Champions League places, sartorially, at least, we were champions.
But it was all too good to last. Only a year later that same Levy, who had so recently been hailed as the club's savior for our red-less threads, has sold our soul to the reddest country on Earth. China.
Oh and there's three red letters on the kit too. This, for some people, is a problem tantamount to blasphemy, but worse because even the devil is probably at least a Man United fan. Why should three letters comprised of one of nature's three primary colors be so offensive to the Spurs faithful? Because these people are plagued by a small club mentality. The hashtag brigade furiously tweeting 140-character manifestos as they read this are crying out right now about history and pride and self-respect. But it's all a lie.
The history is a lie. The very first crest this club had upon its founding? Red, with a big H on it. For five years before the turn of the century we wore red home kits. And on no fewer than a dozen other seasons since then did we sport red kits. Well before the Woolwich Nomads decided to tacky up North London with their ugly kits, Spurs wore red with pride. But now we have to hide from a third of the color spectrum because Gooners enjoy the color? What right do they have to lay claim to an entire color? We wore it first. We have every right to wear it now.
But surely no self-respecting Spurs fan would be caught dead in Arsenal colors?! And when you see me in an Arsenal strip you can bury me where I stand. But a little red on our own shirts? I'll wear that all day. Why should we care?
The self-respect is a lie. It isn't pride but fear that drives us to define who we are in opposition to Arsenal. We are so afraid of losing our own identity and being swallowed by the other half of North London that we can't tolerate having a color in common with them (never mind that we both wear white and often navy and yellow too).
Tell me a big club that cares about the color of its shirt sponsor beyond its aesthetic value. I'll give you a hint. It's none of them.
For years Spurs fans built their identity as #NotArsenal. To fill the void where trophies and success belong (and unfortunately there are plenty of those voids in our history), we crowed about how un-Arsenal we were. Better trophies than dead but failing that, better dead than red. But this is the mentality of a fan base desperate to be proud of something when there aren't accomplishments to be proud of.
But its time we look beyond the Gooners. Our identity should not be defined as #NotArsenal. We are Tottenham Hotspur. Do you see Arsenal fans crying when their shirts have lilywhite on them? Do United fans live in an existential crisis because Liverpool wears red too? Can you imagine Real Madrid panicking over a bit of blue?
We mock West Ham fans for treating every Spurs match as a cup final. Because it's a ridiculous and desperate attempt to find success in a season otherwise devoid of proud moments. This is the small club mentality of a team that defines itself not on its own terms, but in opposition to its betters.
If we want to be the big club we claim to be, it's time to define ourselves on our own terms. We are the pride of North London and we can wear whatever we damn well want.