I just want to go back to White Hart Lane and watch the football again. Because when that point arrives, some semblance of normality will be achieved.
Things have got surreal haven’t they? I have embraced a lockdown routine where I get my daily walk on mainly empty paths past closed shops and the stillness is both beautiful but surreal. That feeling that you’re walking through your own specific episode of the Truman Show, in the back of your head you’re saying, ‘this is proper weird, right?’.
Coronavirus has been and will continue to be part of the relentlessness that we call the news, which seems to find new ways every day to reflect how this horrible virus has affected people. It compounds itself when you couple in the lack of football. Please don’t get me wrong, this is not taking away the context of human tragedy and this piece is not some blustering support of getting back to normal unsafely or prematurely.
I just see football as the escape, so when Brexit, elections, riots or emergencies occur, football has been the welcome distraction. Going to a game of football is much more about seeing family, good friends and sharing the experience in all it’s glory or expletive filled disappointment and being away from the world outside.
We go to football or get involved because we enjoy it. That’s why we spend the money on season tickets or share the experience via Sky. Football is a world you can go in to for ninety minutes and turn off the rest of the world and just focus on your team. So when you lose that and you cannot avoid the virus in the corner of the room, it’s hard not feel more focused on the grave nature of all this.
There are of course much bigger subjects at play. Job security, healthcare and safeguarding over the short term and long term. Major industries threatened with financial hardship. There’s no way of underplaying the madness and we’re some way from formulating an exit point to normal life. Football is really just a drop in the ocean at the moment.
What hasn’t helped anxieties or creating any feeling of comfort is Tottenham Hotspur. The decision to furlough the staff was, at best, a money saving opportunity and at worst completely tone-deaf to societal perception of what a football club should be. Then add in the training incidents in Barnet and only this week Serge Aurier and Moussa Sissoko have been caught doing the same thing. In a desert of football news Spurs have made themselves the Covid-19 Black Sheeps.
The problem is that bad news outweighs the good. So Tottenham relented and removed the staff furlough, very much later than Liverpool’s reversal, but they did this at a point where reputational damage had been caused. However, on the flipside the ground has become an NHS outpatient maternity ward and a foodbank hub. The club are actually doing some very good things. There are good news stories to be had, that’s if we don’t continue to score painful own goals.
Looking at the Premier League, there are so many uncertainties to tie up and there are whole range of scenarios that have some feasibility in reality. When you take all possibilities in to account they tend to lead to the same line of thinking for me. I just want to go back to White Hart Lane and watch the football again. Because when that point arrives, some semblance of normality will be achieved.
We now have to find other distractions aside from football. Good books, podcasting, streaming and the world of Tiger King is where we all find our refuge. At least I do.
Having watched the Tiger King (Netflix) I have become convinced the whole virus has been caused by Carol Baskin when she fed a dead bat to one of her tigers (this may not be true). The truth is we need an escape from the misery of bad news and the lack of football. The good news is there are escapes. I have spoken on the phone more in the last few weeks then I do in a whole year. I have walked to the extent that my blisters have blisters. I have managed to remain in work and remain virus free and I take none of that for granted.
We help each other get through, we stay safe, stay sane and maybe at the end of this we’ll even find some appreciation for Friday night kick offs. I look forward to seeing you all at Beavertown at some point in the future, whenever that chance comes along.