Fans in pubs
Oh no, it's The Morning Line
I used to work with a fella called John Kehoe who had this great line about the way the company we both worked for at the time dealt with staff sick days. Or rather how certain senior characters within it used to talk about the staff absences due to illness.
‘Well, he didn’t sound ill…’
It is all about perception, John would occasionally remind me. The people we were dealing with, were petty and occasionally vindictive. So even if you were a straight goer and were genuinely poorly, your call-in needed to sound as if it was maybe your last.
The perception about Tottenham amongst other fans, I meet down the pub, never ceases to bewilder me. My fellow drinkers are supporters of midlands sides, mainly Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion, and Wolves. Blue noses are rarely spotted outside the capital and frankly, are held in the same esteem as sex offenders.
To these guys, Spurs are perceived as monied and successful. We never get relegated, we buy expensive players, and the stadium is taken their breath away. To the Villa, the Baggies, and Wolves fans, we aren’t living as they are, in a perpetual state of uncertainty. Indeed, most of these guys are if not season ticket holders, then they do go to games regularly.
For them, football isn’t cheap, but it is affordable. What binds them in my mind is the absence of division.
With Tottenham fans, it’s the division that defines us. For want of a less Jewish trope, routinely, Spurs fans are a gaggle of orthodox rabbis, politely bickering over the semantics of a piece of ancient text.
That said, whilst they treat their owners with suspicion, they don’t have the first-division grifters at the helm we do. Oh, that they could access the lines of credit ENIC have emersed us in!
My point with all of this is that perception is one thing, being in the trenches and understanding your chances of survival another, but to be on the brink of involvement in the European Super League ought not to preclude us from questioning and providing justified criticism.
Having all money that ENIC has borrowed in our name lavished upon us, is not a reason to be grateful, nor exercise care in what we might wish for.
Nobody asked for a soul-harvesting device of a stadium. Nor were we told that before the bloody thing had been operating for a few years, the Mk1 technology within the retractable pitch would need a further multimillion-pound investment because the 48-hour switcheroo time was prohibitive.
I don’t believe that on the rare occasions I needed to phone in sick that I sounded sick, because I wasn’t a child trying to bunk off school. Neither do I buy into the perception that mother, in this case, ENIC, knows best.
Spurs have the wrong end of £120 million in players on loan, that has depreciated in the last few years faster than a Jim’ll Fix Badge on eBay.
The stadium is no longer occupied by traditional fans, such as the bloke from the plastics company and the warehouseman I drink with.
ENIC’s client reference numbers are CEOs, solicitors, marketeers, and designers. and well-heeled tourists. Infrastructure junkies, if you will.
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My contribution to the footballing culture at this scruffy but honest drinker has been the friendly cry of Shit on the Villa! accompanied by a friendly thumbs up and a smile when a Villan is leaving the premises.
It’s a southern barb, and I noticed a few of the lads have now begun to employ it themselves. The man being heckled frequently has cause to turn whilst going out the door, so he can flip the bird, and it provides an amusing counter to the friendly cheerios and mind-how-you-go’s that preceded it.
He leaves in mild ridicule, where there had been mild kindness.