Being a Tottenham Hotspur supporter is difficult to describe to those who are not in the congregation. My experience has been 32 and a half years of fleeting moments of joy, against a wider backdrop of disappointments, some of them bitter. That's a long time. The innocence of being an obsessive is that there is always hope. Every day there is optimism, but as Mark Lawrenson once remarked to me: "Spurs will always let you down in the end."
The sinking feeling began for me in my first season as a Tottenham fan, when Coventry City shocked us 3-2 in the 1987 FA Cup Final, Glenn Hoddle's last game for the club. Most of the 1990's was a write off. Arsenal were a better team and I am not afraid to admit I shed some tears when we were on the receiving ends of defeats to the Gunners. In the new millennium, Martin Jol and Harry Redknapp improved matters on the pitch, the latter guiding us into the Champions League for the first ever time.
He has had his critics, but Chairman Daniel Levy and his ultimate boss Joe Lewis have done a fine job. The new 62 thousand seater stadium is fantastic, Mauricio Pochettino was an inspired appointment and his teams have flirted with Premier League title challenges. In the 1990's, Spurs were a mid-table club, a cup team. There remain obstacles to progress at the elite level; the cost of the stadium, the wage structure, the lack of signings. It all means Spurs' progression to being a consistent fixture at the top table is in the balance.
The remainder of the 2018/9 season is pivotal, starting with tonight's Champions League quarter final second leg against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. Spurs carry a 1-0 lead into the game, so an away goal could have them on the brink of playing Ajax in the last four. City have the ability to turn on the style and blitz teams at home, so Pochettino's tactics without Harry Kane will be fascinating. Spurs then return to City on Saturday for a Premier League game with the stakes also at a critical level for both clubs domestically. It's make or break, in every way.
Tottenham's only European Cup semi final appearance was in 1962. Bill Nicholson's double winners from the previous season lost 3-1 to Eusebio's Benfica in Lisbon, on the wrong end of some questionable refereeing in the first leg. They won the second leg 2-1, but agonisingly, it wasn't enough.
Pochettino has done everything bar win a trophy, and a couple of League Cups in 1999 and 2008 is a paltry return since the last FA Cup triumph in 1991. Back then, Gazza and Gary Lineker shone off the back of England's display in Italia 90. There have been 7 World Cups since then. It's time Tottenham broke through, and convinced everyone that the mental fragility, the brittleness, the weakness of their character, their lack of resolution, their lack of bottle, their 'Spursy' nature is gone. I never want to hear 'Lads it's Tottenham' again.
I am nervous, giddy with anticipation for this one tonight. I just hope the players do themselves, the fans and the club justice. Come on you Spurs!