One more year of promise could see Harry’s men claim the ultimate prize

Much has been made of whether Tottenham can win the Premiership.

The talk of Tottenham as champions has made me revisit an interview I did almost exactly a year ago with Heurelho Gomes. Remember him? He was then Tottenham’s No. 1 goalkeeper.

Then, as now, Tottenham promised much. They were having a great run in the Champions League and Gareth Bale had his magical night against Milan. When I suggested to Gomes that the Tottenham performance was a bit of a surprise, the Brazilian fairly bristled, “Ever since I came to this club two and a half years ago, this was already a big club, they’ve been working hard throughout the years for this goal of getting to the Champions League, so we don’t see it as a surprise. Maybe you journalists don’t know about that, but for us here, we knew our time would come. We knew we had already a strong club, a strong team. This is work that has been going on for a long, long time in this club, so the natural consequence would be also we get to where we wanted to be.”

Indeed, at that stage he could see Tottenham even winning the Champions League, arguing that the Tottenham side was better than the PSV one that had gone to a semi-final in the Champions League in 2005.

Just before I met Gomes, Harry Redknapp had said that Tottenham could win the Premier League. So did the players, I asked, share the manager’s belief?

Gomes’s answer was very interesting. “Well, it’s not easy of course, but if we think about the five big clubs here in England, Manchester United, maybe is a little bit ahead of everybody else. But we believe that we are still in the fighting. I believe that if my manager says we can win it, of course the players have to follow his lead and to believe as well. He is the one who guides us to everything we achieve. You may think we’re not at the same level as Manchester United, but we are there in the fighting. We have to believe and if we don’t believe, then what’s the point.”

Gomes saw red against Inter before Gareth Bale stole the show. Image courtesy of PlayUp

And he also went on to say that the players had discussed it, “Well of course, we talked about that because we know there is a chance, there is a possibility that we can get there. Our mentality is we have the chance we are going to give our best and never give up on that until it’s over.”

Well, we all know what happened to that chance. Within weeks, Tottenham’s season collapsed, both in the Champions League and in the Premiership, so much so that they did not even qualify for the Champions League. And poor Gomes cannot even get into the side.

I do not read into the draw against Wolves that a collapse is imminent. Of course, this Sunday’s match against Manchester City will tell us more, but I believe that Tottenham this season will have learnt from the failed promises of last season and this makes them, I think, more resilient.

But champions? No. I stick to the view that it is between the two Manchester clubs. I personally see Manchester United having the edge because they have been there, done that, and collected any number of T shirts. For City, this is a very new journey. At this level, where the difference in ability can be so slight, the inner belief that comes from having been a champion can make all the difference. Recall how, back in 1992, Manchester United stumbled and let Leeds take the glory of the last First Division title.

I would love Spurs to prove me wrong, but Tottenham, I feel, need another season of promising much before they deliver.


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