Perhaps the Irish could be the Spur to build my team a brighter future?
DANNY Blanchflower, Pat Jennings, Gerry Armstrong, Robbie Keane, Stephen Carr and Chris Houghton are just some of the Irish footballers that have played for Tottenham Hotspur down the years. My favourites are Robbie Keane for his goals (and the fact I was lucky enough to see him score a good few in recent seasons) and Pat Jennings because, well, because he's Pat Jennings and that's enough for me.
While I began my occasional visits to White Hart Lane a decade or two too late to see Danny Blanchflower, his famous quote about football means he will be forever fondly remembered.
The captain of the heralded double winning side of 1960/61 proclaimed: “The great fallacy is that the game is first and last about winning. It is nothing of the kind. The game is about glory, it is about doing things in style and with a flourish, about going out and beating the other lot, not waiting for them to die of boredom."
Unfortunately on Saturday last the attacking verve at which this quote tilts was visible only for the first 20 minutes when Mauricio Pochettino's men were 1-0 up. It was downhill from there.
The Blanchflower philosophy also came to mind when I went to Wembley to see Spurs exiting the Champions League earlier this season, losing 2-1 to Juventus. It was my first ever Champions League experience and first visit to the ‘new' Wembley, and notwithstanding the result, the occasion was worth going to and magical to be a part of.
A fantastic game, missed chances, great goals, nervous excitement especially towards the end. It was a night to remember. and remember it I will. The staging of the event by the Spurs staff at Wembley, the London transport authorities and the Metropolitan Police was managed down to the last minute and the last detail. Fans were guided in and out of the stadium with maximum efficiency and minimum fuss.
Those Irish players from a bygone era had a huge influence on Spurs, and they were associated with glory days as well as disappointing ones. Gerry Armstrong was on the side that was relegated in 1977, and promoted again the following year. Pat Jennings won his share of major trophies at White Hart Lane to go along with his appearance in two World Cup finals with Northern Ireland, surely a feat which will never be repeated in the modern era.
Their presence and influence was huge. There are no Irish players at the club at the moment, and as far as I know, none making their way through the youth ranks. But that is not to say that the local influence isn't there.
At the end of last season Spurs left their beloved White Hart Lane and immediately, on the final day of the season, as the applause was still ringing around the ground and the tears of the fans were being wiped away, the builders moved in, and many of them were from Northern Ireland.
Of course the phenomenon of Irish builders in London is nothing new, and the well worn path has financially supported thousands of Irish families and even produced a few maudlin ballads. Many a student laboured in London over the summer holidays too, myself included, living and working for three months in Cricklewood in1988 (where, yes, the craic was good).
As you can imagine, the standard to which Spurs new stadium has been designed is state of the art, with innovative elements which are unique to this project. It is a £1 billion stadium and right in the middle of it are firms like RCDS from Magherafelt, who developed the initial 3D building model, in what was that firm's biggest contract up to that point.
Macrete Steel from Toomebridge is supplying all precast materials to the new stadium, and Smyth Steel based in Coleraine is supplying the steelwork for the roof, shipped to London on a carefully maintained time scale. Mind you its no ordinary roof, rather it involved high-tension steel cables the kind of which there are only two other examples in the world. This is world leading stuff, designed in Northern Ireland and built in north London.
Spurs' new stadium will transform the North London skyline and through the dramatically increased capacity will bring an extra 30,000 supporters to the surrounding area on match day, bringing a huge economic boost to the Tottenham area.
Complementing the new stadium, London Transport has committed to major transport infrastructure improvements at two nearby tube stations, new homes and business units are being built at the same time as the stadium.
This is economic and social regeneration, led from the ground up with investment in a new stadium. Oh how we wish west Belfast, on a smaller scale admittedly, was as far advanced with Casement as the Lilywhites are with their new home.
Despite the disappointment of last weekend and the FA Cup semi final defeat, the fans will always return to Tottenham. It's what fans do. The difference is that from next season onwards, we will pay homage at a stadium at which Irish firms will have had a major impact. Maybe that's just what the team needs too.
:: Brendan Mulgrew (firstname.lastname@example.org) is managing partner at MW Advocate (www.mwadvocate.com). Follow on Twitter @brendanbelfast
:: Next week: Richard Ramsey