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Hoodoo? Do me a favour!

The dawning of a new August, a new season is always a special time for football fans. All the hopes and expectations, the madness of the final weeks of the transfer window and the inescapable buzz that comes with hearing the click of the turnstiles for the first time in months.

    This August the sound of the turnstiles had an unfamiliar clunk for us Spurs fans. Wembley not White Hart Lane the destination for home games, getting used to a different matchday routine, a different vista from our seats, and for many of us different people sat around us.

    And of course, the media inspired Wembley Hoodoo tripe. 

    The cruel defeat to Chelsea, the last-gasp concession of an equalising goal to Burnley and the frustrating goalless draw with Swansea meant more fuel for the press fire - but as August gave way to September, the maturity of this Spurs team and the increasingly familiarity of the fans to our surroundings has seen to it that the hoodoo talk has if not been banished, then certainly taken a mortal blow following the pulsating win over Dortmund in the Champions League and the less inspiring but nonetheless victorious hosting of Barnsley in the League Cup. 

    The press obsession with the "hoodoo" may have done us a favour. Perhaps it's created a bunker mentality in the squad, perhaps it's ensured extra focus on how to get results on our travels, whatever the cause, the effect is that before the Yom Kippur clash at Huddersfield and without any meaningful recognition from the media, we have notched up six successive away victories - a 100 per cent away record (including a ruthless demolition of Everton at Goodison and the dispatching of West Ham at the Taxpayers Athletics Track Stadium).

    So despite the dropped points at Wembley, we find ourselves nestled snugly in the top 4 and nicely underway in the Champions League, despite a raft of missed games due to injury and suspension of genuine starters. We are travelling under the radar again this season whilst all the noise is on the two Manchester clubs. That may well suit us.

    Reflecting back, the win over Dortmund was impressive not just for its three points, Kane's finishes and the dismantling of the hoodoo but fundamentally it was another tangible sign of how our manager and team are hurtling along footballs maturity curve. A lot of pundits have pointed to last seasons Champions League Matchday One defeat to Monaco - a game Spurs dominated but lost to a savvy opposition who took their chances and managed the game.

    But for Monaco read also Chelsea in this seasons first 'home' league game. Chelsea had a game-plan, and executed it to perfection to take the points in a game that Spurs dominated almost from start to finish.

    Those types of defeats are sickening to take but the discerning fan can only but appreciate the discipline and acknowledge that those are the performances that mark out winners.

    The performance against Dortmund, notable for how the team adapted its philosophy for the opponents and the occasion (despite missing key players like Alli, Wanyama and Rose) was a watershed.

    It's early days in the season but it would not surprise me if we look back on that game come the business end of the season and say that was the moment we truly learned how to be winners. That feeling was only compounded when we notched the 3-0 win away at Apoel despite missing seven first-teamers. Whilst we are in no way the finished article, we are learning to become a team that gets the job done.

    As September turns to October we can revel in a having a deeper stronger squad than last season (the fiscal and squad management is truly impressive as is the fact that the manager seems to have rehabilitated Sissoko into being a viable if not inspiring squad member), and reflect on a creditable start to the season from a results perspective despite being nowhere near the levels we know we are capable of.

    To top it off, week by week the monster is rising in N17 - now just 15 league games at Wembley until we truly go home.

    As the Nike slogan on the billboards around White Hart Lane proclaim: Watch us rise!

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