Spurs are transformed under Ange Postecoglou (Picture: Shutterstock)
Tottenham are title contenders. Feel free to write in. We have three-quarters of the season to go, and ultimately Manchester City will win it. But with Spurs and Arsenal the only two unbeaten sides in the league now, Tottenham must be placed in this category.
I have previously observed it’s pointless to look at the league table until Christmas but I’m a Spurs fan and I hope you will give me a little leeway, given we have not been five points clear at the top since 1960-61. Ah, how well I remember it.
As a Tottenham correspondent and my new co-host on The Football Gods Tim Spiers points out, no team have earned this many wins (eight) from their opening ten matches of a 20-team Premier League season and finished lower than fourth.
To reiterate for the fun sponges, I’m not saying we are going to win the league. But I am very keen to know what’s going on. Because I like it. Performances of new arrivals James Maddison, Guglielmo Vicario, Micky van de Ven and Brennan Johnson have had me cackling with glee at various stages this season.
Guglielmo Vicario has been an inspired signing (Picture: Shutterstock)
But at the time Spurs fans weren’t charmed by their summer transfer window – and not only because of Harry Kane’s belated bolt for Bavaria. God, spare me another lederhosen-led insta reel.
Ange Postecoglou is, of course, the crux of this. And this intrigues me. Because the squad has undoubtedly been coiffed and enhanced but it’s not unrecognisable as a side. And, more to the point, many of the challenges in Tottenham’s executive set-up remain the same. I have been told in the past that Tottenham is a very hard place to work – its climate has been called dysfunctional.
And yet in comes Ange and, from what you see of the men’s first team at least, this is a group who are free, optimistic, as if they know they can try without fear. The weight has gone.
Of course, the winning does help. But there’s something else.
Talking to Under-20 England international Michael Olakigbe at Brentford about how he came to be a professional footballer for my BBC Radio 4 series How to Spot Potential (out this week and yes you can listen to it on BBC Sounds, thank you for asking), he defined it like this: ‘I think potential is what you have inside of you that needs to be brought out.’
He reminisced about his first elite academy coach, who told him he had ‘a gift’, explaining: ‘You’ve got a lot of potential – I think we can train this, to get this out of you.’
At risk of committing to paper the most obvious statement in the history of the world, Premier League footballers are all very good at football. Eric Dier is very good at football. Serge Aurier is very good at football. Phil Jones is very good at football. You get my drift.
Serge Aurier of Nottingham Forest (Picture: Shutterstock)
Whether or not all these very good footballers can fit together into the most coherent team is the major challenge, particularly given the half-baked transfer strategies of many clubs. But that coherence cannot exist if the potential within those very good footballers is not being maximised by the support of the people around them.
Hear Postecoglou talk and you know; he is a positive force, a humane guy and, perhaps most simply of all, he believes in the players and the potential of the team. I will leave you to draw comparisons with Spurs’ previous managers or to consider how closely this reflects the current status of your own team.
But what we’ve learned from Tottenham so far this season is that you might currently be supporting a side who have been hiding the potential to become a team.
We’ve not been five points clear since 1960-61. How well I remember it.