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10 April 2016

Thirteen unlucky reasons why Spurs have failed to win the League – again

A rubbish league, the Southern media, and. . . Mourinho?

By Hunter Davies

It’s 15 May and Leicester have won the Premier League. Spurs have collapsed – same old story. Fortunately, we know who or what to blame. Spurs fans, feel free to cut out the following reasons and rearrange them in any order, mixing and matching, coughing and spluttering. We all need explanations in life.

1 A rubbish league

It was the worst Prem season in the history of civilisation. Come on, have you ever known Chelsea, Man United, Liverpool and Man City all to be useless at the same time?

2 Cheapo Leicester

When you spend nothing on your players, get them off the scrapheap, pay them in washers, there is no pressure. It doesn’t matter if they fail. No one will notice. So Leicester are the lucky ones. Poor old Man United and Chelsea, paying £50m for some lumps. You have to feel sorry for them.

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3 The southern media

Almost all of the world-class back-page pundits in London – the biggest voices in sport, blah, blah – have been rooting for Spurs. They don’t know where Leicester is, feel giddy north of Watford and have been following Tot-ing-ham since they were boys at prep school, so they were blinkered. Spurs have had this awful burden since Christmas. Leicester were fortunate in being zero-rated, adored by nobody. They crept up, crept in, crept on.

4 The Dele Alli love-in

The greatest new player in the world since John Stones. Goodness, was it only last season that Stones was the saviour of our souls? How could a lad of Alli’s age (just 19) keep it up all season? But he wasn’t given a break. Too much was expected of him.

5 Four-letter words

Such a coincidence, having Kane, Alli, Rose and Dier playing for England in the same game, all from Spurs, all with four letters in their names. So we read the runes, believed the portents – it all made sense. What a mistake.

6 Beating Germany

The biggest mistake of all. Spurs, I mean England, thought they were world beaters, with these lads hardly out of nappies.

7 Europe

If only Spurs hadn’t spent so much of the season traipsing to the back of beyond in Europe on Thursdays, with hardly any time to get off the plane and put their boots on, they would have won the Prem by Christmas.

8 Starving Vardy

Leicester kept him in a cage all week, not feeding him until after the game (look at those matchstick arms and weedy legs), so unfair and cruel – just to have him ravenous for match days.

9 Jock groundsman?

Who cuts the Leicester City pitch in a tartan design? It’s so disorientating. The away side gets totally confused, thinking it’s playing Brechin City.

10 Years ending in one

Spurs win something in years ending in one, such as 1901, 1921, 1951, 1961, 1971, 1981 and 1991. Chas & Dave even immortalised this in their 1991 Cup final song, “When the Year Ends in One”. So what went wrong ? Some idiot started a rumour that if you reverse 2016 it becomes 2061. I blame modern education.

11 Mourinho

Hmm, I’ve not quite worked this out but no one has been giving him a kicking for some time, so take that, José.

12 New stadium

In the background, the cranes are flying. Will it be an albatross? Where are we going? You can’t expect fragile, innocent minds to concentrate on the here and now with these uncertainties hovering above.

13 Arsenal

Scheming scum, pretending they were finished, their fans shouting, “Wenger, out, out, out!” while he was unable to zip up his jacket, his face twitching; Sánchez lost it, he never recovered from that injury; and Cazorla, what happened to him? Bye-bye, Arsenal, end of an era, har, har, Spurs will now be top dog for ever! But it turned out to be a ruse. None of it was true. Sneaky bastards. Now they’ve beaten Spurs into second place. It’s not fair. I’m going to cry. Good job we know who the guilty parties are. Definitely Mourinho . . .

Hunter Davies’s memoir of life in the 1950s, “The Co-op’s Got Bananas!”, is newly published by Simon & Schuster

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This article appears in the 06 Apr 2016 issue of the New Statesman, The Tories at war