Hidden amid the cliched nonsense of modern football lingo, the hours and hours of interviews where absolutely nothing is said, you do get the occasional nugget of wisdom.
A personal favourite is managers insisting on using ‘in this moment’ as a timestamp. It’s usually from coaches whose first language isn’t English, and yet it’s somehow more clear and coherent a saying than anything British coaches and players come out with.
But the ultimate football cliche is that ‘anything can happen’.
We’re repeatedly forced the notion that nothing is impossible in life and in sport, and that this is what makes the beautiful game so beautiful.
Before this gets all philosophical for no reason, let’s narrow that notion back down again. It’s so hard to plan in football. There is no one model club, no right or wrong way of going about your business on the pitch or in the transfer market. A football timeline is not as straightforward and linear as fans think it is.
When Tottenham replaced Gareth Bale with seven signings from across Europe (selling Elvis to buy The Beatles, as it was otherwise called), Spurs were expected to push on and become Champions League regulars with their new core, the burden now taken off of one star player and spread across the pitch.
Just over two months later, manager Andre Vilas-Boas was sacked.
Well, that didn’t go according to plan, did it?
You could rationalise all of the seven signings, too. Paulinho was one of the stars of the 2013 Confederations Cup; Nacer Chadli was coming off a great season in the Eredivisie; Roberto Soldado was seen as one of the most lethal strikers in Europe; Etienne Capoue looked promising in France; Vlad Chiriches had a stellar Europa League campaign with Steaua Bucharest.
And then you had the two marquee signings, the two that eventually outlasted the lot: Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela.
But Spurs’ horrendous attempts to replace Bale should give them hope for the future, even if the club choose to sell Harry Kane this summer.
The realistic best-case scenario to come from a team containing the ‘magnificent seven’ would have been a side that was still inferior to the one Mauricio Pochettino assembled in the following years. They would have done very, very well to earn more than 86 points in a Premier League season and reach a Champions League final.
Football is cyclical. Sir Alex Ferguson preached it (and Pochettino tried to follow but his pleas fell on deaf ears). Tottenham weren’t going to be underwhelming forever, and they won’t be underwhelming for the rest of their existence. They’re just in a bad way ‘in this moment’.
The ‘winners of the transfer window’ rarely meet expectations, anyway – Spurs topped our ranking following the summer 2020 window and went on to have their worst season since 2009.
Spurs fans need to look at the positives, because believe me, it’s been exhausting having the negatives punctuated for the last 18 months.
Nuno Espirito Santo is at the very least a proven head coach. Fabio Paratici is working day and night to improve the playing squad. For all of Daniel Levy’s flaws, the new stadium will help finances and reputation long into the future.
Eight years on from the arrival of the ‘magnificent seven’, the lesson for Tottenham supporters is that good times will come round again. We just don’t know when and in what form.