Spurs have a rich history of popular players, from Jimmy Greaves to Gareth Bale and even in times lacking in quality the fans have had characters to idolise; however today Tottenham have become very difficult to root for.
Two weeks ago I was at White Hart Lane for the victory over Southampton that was depressingly unexpected. It was whilst munching on a suspect hamburger pre-kick-off that I was asked 'so who's your favourite Spurs player?' and, well, nobody came to mind. Finally, after a good minute's worth off struggling for names I could only reply 'er.... Lloris maybe'.
It's perhaps an odd thing to moan about, the results this season so far have been okay, we haven't been great but we haven't been terrible either. But football has such a huge fan base because it's entertainment and Spurs at the moment just seem like a club that has sold its soul.
Now don't confuse me for a fan who still hasn't gotten over Bale leaving. I've been a Spurs supporter all my life which has meant that until about five years ago my team has been as mediocre and almost as forgettable as Aston Villa. But there were always a number of players who I'd eagerly sort out for my sticker album over the rest.
One of the best examples has to be Steffen Freund who was a decent holding midfielder but never did anything special on the pitch, however he had just enough of an unhinged quality in his eyes to catch the fans' imagination. The crowd would roar for him to shoot every time that he got hold of the ball inside the opponent's half, not because we expected him to fashion a chance á la Bale but because we knew he would miss wildly and then we'd laugh. Entertainment.
Star players come and go, and that has to be expected, but a club needs characters that the fans can get behind. Since Harry Redknapp's reign, the life blood has gradually been squeezed out of Spurs. AVB played a boring style of play and ostracised the lovable/hateable figure of Adebayor, but he did have Bale to provide the spectacle and, on the whole, the results. That was until Bale was sold of course, along with fan favourite Tom Huddlestone. Huddlestone was another very much in the mould of Steffen Freund, a decent enough player but it was his heart and shooting ability, which was as poor as his hair was long, that sold the replica shirts.
Tim 'The Captain' Sherwood rode in with his particular brand of football for a while, bringing back the good old days of not knowing what was round the corner, but the transfer policy continued. The past summer has put the final nails in the coffin, though, as the heart of the team was ripped out. July saw the club dispense with the its fifth highest goal scorer ever, Jermain Defoe, August brought about the unceremonious departure of club donkey stalwart Michael Dawson and in September Sandro, arguably one of the Premier League's most likeable players, was put up for sale without much in the way of an explanation.
I'm not necessarily complaining about Daniel Levy here, though he gets a lot of stick, he sees the club as a business and financially has run it pretty well. I mean, he managed to get Hull to stump up £8m for Jake Livermore. But there comes a time when, sure, you could let someone whose best years have gone by move on for free, but in a time of transition maybe the likes of Dawson could be kept to help bed in the new recruits and provide the fans with a recognisable figurehead.
Levy has splashed out every now and then on glitzier names, but sadly the £50m duo of Soldado and Lamela haven't turned out to be the shirt-selling heroes that we had all hoped for. Generally though, the sale of fan favourites has led to the recruitment of unknown but reasonably priced players from Europe, like Stambouli or Fazio. Reasonable business sense, but you wouldn't replace Robert Downey Jnr as Iron Man with Shia LaBeouf and still expect people to go and watch the film.
It's hard to pick a player out to cheer for this season, partly because nobody has done anything spectacular, partly because the system played doesn't elicit excitement but mostly because all of the players, and even the manager just come across as quite dull.
Someone needs to stand up and show some passion, show some heart, it doesn't matter if they're useless, we're Spurs fans, we're used to that but if you just show us that you are trying we'll love you.