Recently, we have been privileged to watch some of the finest football that any team in the Premier League has produced …. comparable, perhaps, to the 60/61 team. And that is HIGH praise. Unlike the ‘Double’ team we have yet to win silverware and I think there are good reasons for this.
The Double team were consistently brilliant across three or four seasons. Our current team is capable of football just as brilliant but has been less consistent. Why? The Double team had a much superior first eleven than any of their opponents. The stronger teams that threatened Tottenham for supremacy were fewer than we face today and the majority of the lower first division clubs were not as strong as they are today, and less likely to provide ‘upset’ results to the top teams.
Throughout the 60’s the clubs at the top of Division One varied. During the 60/61 season, Sheffield Wednesday, Wolves and Burnley were our main opposition …. none of which had been at the top for long, or would be at the top for much longer. Burnley were always a danger and beating them in the 61 semi-final and 62 final were special victories for me. But having a better team allowed Spurs to be more consistent and favourites to win trophies.
Another major difference between the two sides in the quest for silverware is that the 60’s team had the same, or better, financial capacity compared to the other clubs in the first division. Today, the ‘level playing-field’ that all clubs should ideally compete on is slanted in favour of three of our main rivals due to their financial capacity to buy glory.
It is far easier to win a competition when there are only three difficult opponents that challenge you than, from our perspective, when there are five and three of them possess a huge financial advantage! We may not have the best squad of players on paper but, because of the way we are managed and the players we have, we are capable of playing better football. The reality is, however, that all top six clubs are capable of beating anyone ‘on their day’.
Today, the lack of consistency of the top clubs can simply be the result of so many clubs in fierce competition rather than a specific fault in the way they perform. This wasn’t so difficult for the Double team. Surely nobody, nowadays, expects that any one of the top six teams will beat the other top six teams home and away on a regular basis, do they? And surely nobody thinks silverware is a god-given right to any club, do they?
City, this season, are very much in the same zone as we were in the 60/61 season. It will be interesting to see how long it lasts and how their PL domination this season will affect the other ‘money’ clubs who are capable of catching up with them through the transfer market should they feel the need. The time between the sixties and now has seen periods of success and additions to the trophy cabinet but I have just focussed on comparing the Double team with the current team.
Age caught up with the Double team, and the tide went out. With careful management, the current Spurs team should not suffer in the same way. The THFC project is about building a successful future that is sustainable. Because of the strength of the top six clubs at the moment silverware might not be claimed on a regular basis by any one club but, like the points they play for, could be shared between them. We, at least, should remain in contention for our share of the spoils for many seasons to come. In the meantime, and irrespective of where the trophies come to rest, we will be fortunate enough to enjoy the amazing football and incredible journey the THFC project is taking us on.