Another amazing week in the life of a Tottenham fan!
Having previously written about the art of juggling family life, business life and the oh so important football life, the last eight days has tested even my undisputed circus skills.
A relatively business-focused week was punctuated with the last minute attention to a media event my company was sponsoring – helping Zapsportz very own Harry Harris to launch his new book about Spurs, “Down Memory Lane”.
Now any new book about Spurs gets my attention but being asked to help launch it, and being in it, and knowing that several boyhood heroes would be at the launch meant that keeping focused on business (and if I’m honest family) was a tough task.
I think I coped but I would say that. I apologise to the salesman who tried to sell me something and probably didn’t get my full attention and as for the guy that came to pitch for a job with us … well I kind of switched off after about 2 minutes of listening to how good he was … to me the only people allowed to tell you how good they are have winners medals and are in the Hall of Fame …. they are not “resting between jobs”.
Saturday and it’s Leicester at White Hart Lane. I’ve managed to sell the wife that it is important for me to be in London ahead of meetings on Monday and Harry’s book launch on Tuesday. I know she doesn’t truly believe me and a few emotional cards are traded – I’m sure like many of us we know it will come back to hurt and be used against us in the Court of Marital Inequality but the reality is that I’m resigned to losing a future battle over a new kitchen, or new car, or holiday I will hate and I’m already picking my team against Leicester just in case Pochettino suddenly requires my input!
Only a football fan would get this but the pilot on the flight from Prague was called Nigel Pearson – why do they announce pilots names, and tell you the route, and what runway they are going to use? I never understand this. I’m literally not interested and just want to get to where I’m going on time. At 37,000 feet telling me which lovely city I’m flying over is about as useful as Aaron Lennon & Jermaine Defoe in a two man wall, and don’t get me started about when on a delayed flight the pilot says he will take some ‘short cuts’!!!!! Anyway today’s pilot is Nigel Pearson … same name as the former Leicester manager …. it must be an omen.
I’ve now got a 90 min flight to decide if it is a good omen or a bad omen – oh and apparently we are just over the beautiful city of Frankfurt!
I watch the game from the Directors box (I’m lucky to know and be friendly with a couple of very nice gentleman who happen to be in the Spurs Hall of Fame), it’s not a classic. I’m almost sympathising with Lord Sugar who manages to spend most of his 70 minutes every week Tweeting (I said almost). One day somebody must tell him a game is 90 minutes! We get away with a 1-1. There is no ‘game changer’ at Spurs at present.
For all the talk about Spurs being title challengers we have no depth to the squad. The media major on injuries to Kane and Alderweireld but the reality is that is just two players. A serious team needs a squad that has game changers on the bench, or the ability to alter that shape of the team. Despite some high price signings I can’t see any progress from last year’s team. £30m for Sissoko in the summer seems unusually poor business from Mr Levy. I have nothing but respect for our Chairman and one only has to look at the financial credibility and stability that Spurs enjoy to know our business helm is largely very well steered. The purchase of Sissoko at £30m though does look to be an iceburg Captain Levy didn’t spot.
My usual unusual week is about to go into overdrive … Monday comes & goes. I do actually manage a family moment by having lunch with my Dad. He’s very good at many things, two of which are choosing the Red Wine, and refocusing me, and we chew the business fat over some decent Malbec.
I have Harry’s book launch tomorrow so there are some final checks and tweaks to the presentations, and I also remember to phone home and be interested in whatever domestic issues have cropped up since the draw with Leicester – isn’t that how everybody measures time?
I have a Board Meeting to attend and it takes every ounce to stay focused and concentrate. Odd isn’t it that largely the reason I’m so driven in business is to ensure that I have the means (both financially and time wise) to watch Spurs …….. I bet the economist, Maslow, didn’t consider that in his pyramid of needs!
Tuesday is just the day boyhood dreams are made of. Harry’s book goes down a storm, Planet Hollywood provides the perfect venue, there are beautiful girls walking around wearing our tight fitting company shirts, and all our sponsorship and branding goes largely to plan …… but that is not where my mind is (not even the beautiful girls … well maybe a bit).
My mind is on sharing a microphone with legendary commentator, John Motson. I’m 47 years old, I co-own and run several international businesses, I have most things in life one could want, I’ve travelled extensively and seen a lot of the world but …… I’m sharing a microphone with John Motson. Let me repeat in case you didn’t get it – I’m sharing a microphone with John Motson.
That’s definitely just ‘upped the bar’ for my usual unusual week. Oh go on then lets up it further … I’ve now just presented an award to Glenn Hoddle … yes the person every boy my age in the 80’s wanted to be in the playground and the single biggest reason I support Spurs. In some ways I should be angry with him – its largely all his fault that I go through this pain and agony and therefore his fault for the thousands of rows I have with my wife and the next few thousand that haven’t happened yet. Of course I’m not angry with him as he has just agreed with me on Spurs tactics, the squad, and various anecdotes I’ve thrown out there … see I could easily be a pundit, or a manager, I’ve already proved today that commentating is easy.
This is perhaps a little more unusual than usual as I now find myself sat having lunch and a glass of wine with Glenn (we are on first names now – well I am with him), Ossie Ardiles, Paul Miller, John Pratt, and Pat Jennings. All very normal of course – I’m not even batting an eyelid. I’m actually hoping that nobody notices that I’m completely star struck and contemplating whether this ‘life moment’ is as good or better than my wedding day and the birth of my daughter …… oh my god I’m actually thinking that. Never tell that to anyone please.
All of this makes the following day at Wembley just a “normal” day … lunch and a few business calls rapidly make way for the fast approaching Champions League game. Spurs lose. I genuinely fear for Spurs next year playing at Wembley. White Hart Lane is a fortress – it has atmosphere and it helps the players. Despite club rivalry my non Spurs friends always concede that ‘The Lane’ is one of the best grounds for atmosphere in the Premier League. I’m 100% in favour of progress and the new White Hart Lane or whatever it is finally named, (no doubt dependent upon whichever Emirate or airline stumps up the most cash), will be fantastic, but let’s just hope we are still in the Premier League to enjoy it.
The more immediate fear and the preoccupation for the next two days is that any similar performance in the North London Derby on Sunday will see the old enemy run out comfortable winners. In Financial Services a very large proportion of the industry, especially in the City of London, supports either Spurs or Arsenal and while it is a fixture we all look forward to we also dread the potential aftermath of a loss – I know of many deals that have gone off the rails over the result of this fixture!
Back at home my wife wants to know about the trip and the week I’ve had …. “Just the usual darling, lots of meetings and lunch with my Dad…… oh and I shared a microphone with John Motson.”
Sunday’s North London Derby finishes 1-1. Honours even. My wife commits one of the ‘eight’ cardinal sins, (yes there are eight), “oh well its only football and you didn’t lose”, I consider responding with “oh well its only lunch at least you didn’t poison us” but tactically that’s like playing Barcelona without any defenders so I bite my lip and regroup to plan my reasons for being at the West Ham game in two weeks.
So there you go, another usual unusual week. I watched three matches, (did I mention) I shared a microphone with Motty, I had dinner with half the Spurs Hall of Fame including the Greatest Spurs player ever, I stayed married, and all the business’s are still running successfully – easy really.
By the way we are 6 miles above the lovely City of Nuremburg (great if you are long sighted) and we will be landing in 30 minutes on runway C … hope that’s OK with everybody?