The curse of Tottenham between history and myth

History and mythology of the Spurs(y) curse.

What is a curse? For modern man, this question makes us smile. There is a curse, he will say, only for the ignorant who believe anything. The curse in this sense is nothing more than the – more or less conscious – reflection of our frustrations, fears, apprehensions and weaknesses. But this Security it stops as soon as There it affects personally. when we are We To become the victim of a curse, we discard the robe of reason and willingly slip into the robe of feeling. Something tells us that for now it’s better to proceed cautiously, even if there has to be an explanation.

Being superstitious is ignorant, but don’t be Bad luck.

Eduardo DeFilippo

Different attitudes can be adopted with a curse: mockery, respect, determination. However, nothing changes in substance: the longer the misfortune lasts, the more horror takes the place of doubt. This is what happened to Benfica fans, for example, after Bela Guttmann’s famous curse – first a simple news story, then an odd coincidence, now an established fact. Speaking of: That’s why Tottenham curse, it would be dangerous to answer with a raspberry. Few have spoken of it, but in England, the empire that makes Reason (Humean) the only categorical and geopolitical imperative, it has caught the eye. Here and there, maybe still timid, you start talking of Tottenham as a cursed team. The problem is, by whom, whether that’s true all the great athletic curses they start with a anathema or a case Specific.

But only for those who watch without see. Of course, to delve deeper into the curse Tottenham Hotspur has been suffering from for several years, we have to start with its history. The club was founded in north London in 1882 by a group of boys from Saint John’s Middle Class School and Tottenham Grammar School belonging to Hotspur Cricket Club, two years older than the football club. What exactly does Hotspur mean – hence the still existing abbreviation of spores? The most correct translation in Italian is “spores”. The reason? honor a Sir Henry Percy, the indomitable (hence the nickname Hotspur“Hothead”) Knights in the service of Henry IV of England, including William Shakespeare offers a portrait be worshiped in the work of the same name (Henry IV). According to the story, he owned much of North London, including Tottenham’s Northumberland Park – the site on which the Cricket & Football Club of the same name would later grow.

Sir Henry Percy (1605-1659), painted by Sir Anthony Van Dyck (Antwerp 1599 – London 1641)

Tottenham is therefore derived from the name of the London district school children who founded a football club there, and Hotspur, nicknamed after one of his popular heroes, Henry Percy. Hence the abbreviation in spores – literally spores. But what does all this have to do with the club emblem Hahn? A curious choice, especially when we consider which nation (historical enemy of the British) this animal is a symbol of. According to the folk tale Sir Henry loved cockfights – who, in this specialtyare often equipped with spores (actually spurs) under the paws. The boys who chose this symbol proudly standing on a soccer ball in the shape of imperial rule obviously – because of their age and possibly their culture – could not know the ambiguous meaning of this very ancient animal:

Herald of shocking events and at the same time “guardian” of the realm of the dead [1].

The aura of mystery surrounding the rooster is a structural part of the story of Tottenham Hotspur, whose curse – now at the height of its violence – is very old. We are thinking here in particular of the episode known by the name Payne Boots Affair (October 1893) when Tottenham were accused of bribing a Fulham player who subsequently went on to play for FC spores. Word is that Tottenham managers fell victim to a curse on the occasion. Eight years later, however, Tottenham will win their first title (notably the FA Cup) but will continue to carry the reputation of a smart club – a cliché (stupidly) reinforced by that deep connection of Tottenham with the London Jewish community, which is firmly rooted in north London.

Damn Tottenham
Northumberland Park, 28 January 1899: Spurs vs. Newton Heath (later renamed Manchester United)

Speaking of North London, let’s go back to the 2005/06 season. Arsenal fans will have to wait until the final day of the league to celebrate St Totteringham’s Day – the day that sanctions a part every year batthe mathematical arrival before to the Spurs’ cousins. Tottenham are a point above the Gunners with 90 minutes left of the season and entry into Europe is being sought with Arsenal. Spurs simply need to win their game against a very modest West Ham, which isn’t that dramatic, at least on paper.

Except that the night before the game, some players in white uniforms had done it indigestion lasagne at dinner together at the Marriott Hotel in Docklands. The day after, Tottenham will lose 2-1 to West Ham, to the dismay and dismay of Spurs fans, while Arsenal will find Wigan easy (4-2) and Europe against the players’ eternal (and eternally ridiculed) rivals will conquer .

“Nothing like this has ever happened to me. “We would have liked to have postponed the game by a day, but that wasn’t possible,” said then-Spurs coach Jol, who apparently didn’t know Tottenham’s history well – he had never been in the Champions League before. Some Arsenal fans even started a magazine (una fanzines whose founders we interviewed some time ago) with a rather clear name: Toxic Lasagna. The list of absurd events that shaped Tottenham’s history it is very long and if we’ve chosen the above, it’s only because of their intoxicating peculiarity. Let’s go to our day.

Only in recent years have Spurs returned to a high – even very high – level and are on the verge of winning the Premier League (lost to Ranieri’s Leicester: in such a fabulous and special year, Tottenham could only win the hated and eventually of eclipsed by all) and in the Champions League (in this edition notorious for hosting the worst final in 15 years: Liverpool-Tottenham, which the Reds apparently won without worries). Spurs have grown a lot with Pochettino – but they haven’t lacked here either Bizarre traffic accidents. In terms of squad, of course, but also in terms of structure. The new stadium (also damn, say some) and the company’s renewed organizational chart heralded – in name and deed – a golden age sporeswhich, however, have not only disappointed expectations, but also currently have a negative balance sheet among the worst in the entire football world.

The engagements of Mourinho and Conte had exactly that goal: reverse the course of history, change fate by punching it in the face. But the result was even more disastrous. As he wrote Jack Pitt Brooke on the athlete“Nothing has corroded the club’s culture more than having two managers who are so important that outsiders believe they came to Tottenham by pure chance.”

But the point is just that: the fact that there are two coaches as successful and dictatorial as Mourinho and Conte failed at Tottenham did that neologism Spursy – from which unevenness, “ability to betray expectations” – coined by fans across the Channel (and now included in the Collins dictionary) growing increasingly amused by Spurs’ misadventures. let’s talk clear There are no stains in Mourinho’s career. He won everywhere, always and everywhere. Above all, he never failed to transform a group of players into a men’s dressing room. But not at Tottenham:

“This is a team of Good people, a team of nice guys“But what they can win at the end of the season is only the Fair Play Cup. A trophy that I never won and I was never interested in winning.”

And with you? Where did Antonio Conte ever fail? Answer: Never, nowhere, in any league and on any team. Except one. “The club is responsible for the market, the coaches come here and are responsible. And where are the players? You don’t want to play under pressure. You don’t want to play under stress. The story of Tottenham is thisIn 20 years [15, ndr] Nothing has ever been won. Why?”. A question that seems to come back years later, the observation Giorgio Chiellini after the Champions League double with Spurs: “That’s the story of Tottenham. He plays great games, but there’s always something missing in the end. And I believe in history.

New Spurs coach Ange Postecoglou (photo Tottenham/Twitter)

Perhaps not surprisingly, patron Levy decided to place a bet once again to a “general” in the dressing room, to a “man” with square balls and not to a football champion: Ange Postecoglou, a 57-year-old Greek-Australian with a gruff and outspoken character. We’re not talking about a gamer here, quite the opposite. Ange learned to love and know football through her father unique life teacher. “When people ask me what football philosophy inspires me, people are very disappointed with my answer. I wasn’t inspired by Barcelona or Liverpool, nor am I inspired by Cruyff or Guardiola.

The answer instead lies in three little Greek words: “Κάτω η μπάλα”, “put the ball down”. They were my father’s mantra.

So that’s why Charlie Eccleshare has spoken A real ‘bet’ from Tottenham who have backed him: ‘Things could go very well with Postecoglou.’ But they could also go horribly wrong. Some coaches are considered “safe options”, while Postecoglou is the complete opposite. He’s a visionary, he’s deeply empathetic. But at the same time it is inflexible (uncompromising). He follows his principles with an almost evangelical devotion.” The former Celtic and Australia manager looks like a holy man. Better, like a prophet. It all depends on whether it’s about ‘misfortune’ or ‘redemption’. But one thing is certain: only something like this can reverse the course of Tottenham Hotspur’s ‘lopsided’ history. Bearing the name of a great leader, who in the darkest hour counts on a great leader to break his curse.

[1] In Christian culture (West and East), the rooster is best known for the episode known as “Peter’s Denial” (Mk 14:66-72; Mt 26:69-75; Lk 22:56-62; John 13:37-50; John 18:15-18:25). 27) where the beast performs a function that is anything but subordinate in the sense of the Lord’s passion – a story in which everything is sacred and carefully thought out on a linguistic level. In Norse mythology, on the other hand, which, like Christianity, shaped Anglo-Saxon culture, “the rooster presents itself not only as a symbol of warlike vigilance and announcing the entry of crucial moments, but also as an animal connected with the world” into the realm of the dead, that is, into the darkness of which he is ruler because he knows their secrets». G. Chiesa Isnardi, Norse mythsLonganesi, Milan 202117p.550.

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