Dubai: They were 1-0 up and dominating proceedings, but Tottenham Hotspur managed to throw away yet another opportunity to get their hands on some silverware at the weekend as they went down 2-1 to Manchester United at their Wembley ‘home’ in the FA Cup semi-final.
For a few years now, Spurs have claimed to be among the ‘elite’ or ‘big’ clubs in England.
They are not. Not without the honours. A semi-final here and a third-place finish in the league there does not make you a ‘major force’.
It is a familiar sight for the club’s fans, some of whom are too young to remember the last time the North Londoners lifted a major trophy (look, the 2008 League Cup does not count and we all know it).
Before their FA Cup triumph in 1991, you have to go way back to the early 1980s to find a time when Spurs were regarded as a ‘dominant’ force. They won the FA Cup in 1982 and the Uefa Cup in 1984 with players such as Gary Stevens, Steve Archibald and Graham Roberts in their ranks.
It has been the slimmest of pickings ever since and for that reason, they cannot be considered a force until the trophies come back to the cabinet.
With the advantage of being able to call Wembley home at the moment and leading a fairly average United, a distinct chance to get their hands on a coveted trophy was within their grasp. And again they chucked it away — 60 minutes of football epitomising nearly three-and-a-half decades of near misses and failure. Always the bridesmaid, and forever getting jilted when it matters.
And that is just domestically. They have not had a sniff at European success since that win over Anderlecht in 1984 (and even that was in a penalty shoot-out).
Unless they can start getting across the line and converting their opportunities into solid metal, they can wave goodbye to their one true star in Harry Kane, with Real Madrid reportedly preparing a bid in the summer.
Kane has scored 37 goals in 44 games in all competitions for Spurs this season, and he won’t hang around if there are no finals to contest or prizes to be picked up.
The same can be said for their other talents. Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli are both admired from afar by a number of teams who can promise a more realistic chance of trophies.
For all their mocking of Arsenal’s current plight, Spurs fans would do well to look at their own glass house before throwing stones.