BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - MAY 06: William Gallas of Tottenham Hotspur shows his frustration during the Barclays Premier League between Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur at Villa Park on May 6, 2012 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
I have never really supported a mediocre team. I half-support one mediocre team, but I can't really be bothered to watch all of their games. I don't really know what it's like to live and die with the matches of a team like Sunderland. I don't mean to disrespect Sunderland, but they're kind of just ... there. They are what they are.
Relegation exists mostly so clubs who deserve to rise through the ranks can make it to the top flight, but it also exists to make things interesting. Sometimes, a Sunderland can have a really bad season and be faced with the prospect of not being really average anymore. They might lose their right to be average in the top flight. This is basically the most interesting thing that can happen to a team like this, unless they make an improbable Europa League final run.
Tottenham Hotspur are not quite middling in mid-table mediocrity. They're in fourth place. If they win on the final day of the season, they will have a chance to play Champions League football next season. They looked like a legitimate title contender for much of the season. That stopped being a thing about four months ago.
The beginning of Tottenham's season mixed in with their last three months of play leaves a supporter with the feeling that they are extremely average. Of course, the table says they're better than that, but they feel average. They had a man sent off at Villa Park and drew 1-1 on Sunday. What could possibly be more average than that?
I'm really, really disappointed in this team. So disappointed that I'm finding it very difficult to write about them. I really want to ignore them until there's a managerial change, or one of the stars is sold, or another star is purchased. This team, as is, makes me feel indifferent to the game of football in general. It makes me actively dislike writing about football.
It's honestly worse than being total shit. If Tottenham were total shit, we'd crack jokes about it. We'd know that things were going to improve next season. We'd look back on it and laugh in a couple of years. But this? We're just going to remember this year as purely disappointing, unless Arsenal fall apart against West Brom and we finish third. Otherwise, we'll always remember this as the year we just failed to achieve, for no good reason.
I don't hate Tottenham Hotspur right now. I don't even dislike the club. I certainly don't dislike any of the supporters, they're all people who have been excellent to me. I just dislike watching the games and writing about them. I felt really, really bad about having to move while the game was being played this Sunday, but now I don't. The only thing I feel bad about is making Ed do my job for me. I'm happy that I missed the game.
I assume this is how my dad felt throughout my academic career, when my report cards would show Bs and a couple more absences than he thought I had. He couldn't really get angry. I wasn't a bad kid. He just knew that I should have been doing a lot better, and he was right.
Tottenham are underachieving without being terrible and without quitting entirely. I wish I had some insight to offer you, but I don't . I don't know why they're doing it, just like I don't know why I only did half my work and occasionally left the building in the middle of the day in high school. There was nothing I was mad at or nothing that I did or didn't care about. I guess I just felt like doing 80 percent of what I was supposed to do. I was apathetic about success, but I didn't want to get in trouble.
That average team I half-support is the Milwaukee Bucks. I only half-support them because they're so incredibly average. They're rarely piss poor, but they don't have any hope of competing for a title, ever. They're perpetually average. I can't bring myself to support a team that is perpetually average. Lovable losers, good teams that haven't gotten over the hump yet and great teams are all fun to support. Perpetual mediocrity? Screw that.
This is what it feels like Tottenham is trending towards. I sincerely hope that I am wrong, that they beat Fulham on Sunday, and that Arsenal drops points against West Brom. I hope that finishing in third place allows Tottenham to keep Gareth Bale and Luka Modric while buying a couple of quality players to compete for the Champions League knockout stages and the top three yet again. I'm not hoping for failure. I don't want it because I like bitching or because I want the writing angle. It sucks and I hate it.
Really, for my own well-being, I need Tottenham to stop fucking up. I know that it's generally what they do, but let's be honest. Those teams that Martin Jol got to 5th place were the 5th most talented teams in the league. They didn't really fuck up when they missed out on the top four and lost to Arsenal. Arsenal were a better team with better players, and it wasn't that close.
But failure to win against Villa and Fulham in consecutive games to end the season? That's fucking up. That's a choke.
I'm not going to stop supporting Spurs, but if they fail to win against Fulham and they fail to make changes this summer, I will care less about the 2012-13 season than I have ever cared about a Tottenham Hotspur season since I became aware of their existence.