Every so often, a game will come along that reminds you why you do it. Why you spend your money on tickets and trains, food and drink. Why you do the early starts and late nights. Why you put yourself through the stress and the heartbreak. Nights like this are why.
Seven years on from one of the best of those nights, Spurs brought us another, with its own quirks and memories. This was an altogether different occasion to that win over Inter in 2010, but will be intrinsically linked as one of those games. Something to revel in while the exhilaration of last night still breathes, something to cherish when it fades to a memory in the coming years.
Mauricio Pochettino is absolutely right to remind his players and ourselves that beating Real Madrid is no trophy. However, it is something. It is significant. This group of players deserves some marker of their ability. The possibility of a trophy is there, but at the very least they have this win. At the very least, Harry Kane, Hugo Lloris, Harry Winks, Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen, Dele Alli and co. will have the night they conquered the double European champions.
And maybe that’s not enough. In 2010, that landmark win against the then champions of Europe was the pinnacle. Now, as Pochettino alludes to, there is much more that this team can accomplish. But even if the worst happens, and this special group do not reach that summit they have been striving towards, it is a deep relief that their names will forever be linked with one of the great results of Tottenham Hotspur.
Non-Spurs fans will gleefully use that as a stick to beat us with – let them. Because our club went to the Bernabéu and faced up to the best side in the world. Then we took them back to our unfamiliar home and we didn’t just beat them, we embarrassed them. We out-passed and out-ran them, out-thought and out-fought them. Real Madrid, the most famous name in football; taken to Wembley and given a lesson by our club.
At 3-0 up the fans greeted each Spurs pass with an ‘ole’ and the players responded with football matching this outrageous bravado. I couldn’t stop smiling – partly from sheer disbelief at the ridiculousness of ‘ole’ing Real Madrid, partly at the little bit inside me that said ‘we’re going to regret this’.
Much like ‘Taxi for Maicon’, those few minutes of mocking the world’s biggest club will go on to characterise this night. There was that, there was the image of Luka Modrić hopelessly chasing down Eriksen, there was Winks screaming like he was one of the 80,000 in the stands, there was Mousa Dembele kicking Sergio Ramos six feet in the air. Small features of a famous night.
At last, there was something about Wembley too. It is a shame that White Hart Lane did not get to host another European ‘Glory, Glory’ night and truthfully, the vast bowl of the national stadium could never match the atmosphere of that Inter game. But with it being Real Madrid, with it being their first trip to Wembley, another layer was added to the grandiose narrative. The history books will remember when Tottenham destroyed the biggest club in football at the home of football.
Trophies are quickly becoming the be all and end all for Pochettino and his team. Spurs have progressed so much in the last few years that rival fans are desperate to put this shortcoming in front of us to undermine the force Tottenham are becoming. Not all generations of players can win silverware though, not all teams get to celebrate those achievements that are a normality for others. However, all fans have those certain games they remember. Do not underestimate those one-off nights where it all falls into place. Never forget the night Tottenham Hotspur beat Real Madrid. Nights like this are why we do it.
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