RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition. He does have an amazing PATREON, but also *normal* ARTIST WEBSITE too.

Tuesday, October 1

25-Man Metaphysical Roster: TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR FC

{Harry Kane, nearly decapitated by nothing} 

[25-Man Metaphysical Roster is a football metaphysics methodology utilizing dork methodology of minutes played over the past 100 club competitive club matches to determine which 25 players constitute the strongest psychic force on a club’s current trajectory. Then intuitive analysis is conducted utilizing football metaphysics, performed from an un-American soccer fan’s perspective. We do this every 1st and 15th of the month, cycling through the 20 clubs currently in the English Premier League, because it is the top domestic league based in an English-speaking country, which as un-American miscreants, we were all born to be saddled with this limited, segmented tongue of the global colonizer, oppressor, and capitalizer. Also, it is what comes on TV here in the USA most prominently, where we live. And yet, it is really important we clarify we hate English, and also America. Maybe we hate ourselves. Our panel consists of chairman Raven Mack, director tecnico Paul Robertson, and director rudo Neil Bulson Our individual contributions to this 5000 words of gibberish will be noted by our name at the end of the blurb. If you enjoy this absolutely free internet content from an un-American soccer perspective, venmo us tips @ravenmack23. You may also enjoy the Sportsball 69 podcast.]

Let us discuss the footballing metaphysics of the Tottenham Hotspur club what which is considered to be part of the big six of English footballdom, but is by all historical and metaphysical means, not really on par with some of those other big sixers. But let's also discuss my own history with this club, and English football briefly, because it is the perfect tale to illustrate how metaphysics rises like psychic cream to the top of a cultural entity, whereas the momentary hotness of something in capitalist systems fades quickly. Because when I first flirted with abandoning American football and moving to the world's football as sporting spectacle to distract me from the mundane pointlessness of my everyday life, I considered Tottenham. Why? Because it was when Clint Dempsey had just signed for them, and as a world club football infant, I was still poisoned by the nationalism of my American meritocracy mythology. Clint being a success in England not only meant he was good, but that America was good, finally getting the credit it deserved on the world stage, and I wanted to ride that wave. Also, very simply, they have a fuckin' chicken on their crest, and at that point in my life, I did a lot of sitting around on a milk crate watching chickens interact with each other in my back yard. I as quickly saved from this by my previous histories with American football, because the very man who had ruined my American football experience on a personal level - Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington Racistteamname, had expressed interest in becoming part owner of Tottenham. I was like "whoa, fuck, wait a second." (I think it's also interesting to point out that I did not give up American football until I quit drinking, lifting the veil of drunkenness required to believe in concussing ourselves to belligerent corporate victories in the name of the Freedom Empire.) I gave myself some time for a more nuanced approach to club allegiance, and ended up aligning myself with Swansea City, because they had a good story, and my wife was Welsh so it made sense. Plus, lol I'm a contrarian so choosing the Welsh team in the English league was like following English football while also being like "man, fuck the English," which is a very American thing to do, even though essentially our nation is a more fuller realization of English Empire, like version 2.0.

Clint only lasted one year with the Spurs, before returning to America, as a hero, and also older. I still love Clint. He grew up in a trailer park and loves DJ Screw; that's the facets of America I embrace. Since him however, American soccer has claimed that Landon Donovan was great, for being a lackluster performer on a lesser club in the PL. And now we are supposed to be latched onto Christian Pulisic, who remains an extra sub choice for Chelsea, and people here act like this is an insult, over-estimating our importance on the world stage, because this place has been so overly poisoned by that American mythology, and even the soccer world is just a neoliberal wing of the American Empire.

So I almost was a Spurs supporter, but luckily pulled back on that one. Which is good, because as I've come to steep my consciousness in world football culture, the more Spurs don't look so wonderful. In fact, to some extent, they seem like the most perfectly English English club, in that there's a certain amount of overrated to their importance, and it's not a particularly beautiful club to watch either. It's also a club that seems to have hit a crisis currently, where Mauricio Pochettino's long tenure (third longest in PL, but the other two ahead of him are for clubs that have not been in top tier the entire time) seems to finally be threatened. This makes sense because they've never won any titles in this time, and in fact the closest they came - last season's unexpected Champions League final showing - is probably where the luster came off his management. In the lead-up to that final, Spurs got on a hot run where they were actually exciting to watch. This coincided with an injured Harry Kane. The club had a different chemistry without him being the mandated centerpiece, and everyone seemed to be playing with more passion. But the long layover between semifinals and Champions League final allowed Kane to be fit enough to get forced back into the lineup. The momentary magic was stifled, and that broken spell has continued to struggle in this new season, with Spurs even losing to League Two Colchester United very early in the League Cup last week. They are a club that is shaken right now, and there appears to be mutiny of players against manager.

Here is the thing I learned as I became not just an American newb but more metaphysically soaked in the history of football - a club is more than one or two players. In fact, the concept of not buying kits with names on them because you acknowledge the players are secondary to the club itself is a concept not entirely steeped in the American psyche of individualism, where collective bargaining is squashed from us early, to keep us fiercely independent, and thus easier to police into obedience. But I am as un-American as they come, and fiercely against everything at any time, so embraced the collective club culture of players not mattering above the crest itself. Nor do managers. In fact, owners don't either. Many clubs have survived multiple owners, some good and some bad. And in fact, when you expand your footballing metaphysics worldwide, many prominent clubs in other nations have existed longer than the nation they inhabit, sometimes multiple national governments have flourished and fallen around them. Club can be bigger than country, which may seem weird at first, but when you think about your local community being deeper part of your daily existence than larger abstract identities like national orientation, then it makes sense.

The spirit of Tottenham has been hijacked by Harry Kane's presence, not unlike Boris Johnson or Donald Trump in their respective political arenas. (I'll delve into that more with the Kane blurb later on.) And Pochettino has now been attached to this sudden realization of mutiny against crest, seemingly in allegiance with the Harry Kane aberration, which was a great boon to Spurs for a while. And then suddenly, wasn't any more. No science to it, no definite moment - just an accumulation of metaphysical data, and then the Champions League final where that accumulation turned into a glaring realization, and now the club is in crisis, metaphysically. Generally speaking, a great metaphysical crisis after period of golden age would've resulted in a new trophy cabinet, or amazing successes. Proving Tottenham's overstated importance, all it has meant for Spurs is that Champions League runner-up last season, and losing a League Cup final in 2015. That's it. That is Spurs culture. And here are the 25 men who have made up their metaphysical direction the most in the past 100 competitive club matches… [RAVEN]

#1: CHRISTIAN ERIKSEN (up from #3 last time Tottenham was metaphysically ranked on 15-Oct-2018; and HIS FIRST METAPHYSICAL STAR) – I always feels sorry for Scandinavian dudes named "Christian". Burn more old churches down, in my opinion. [RAVEN]

#2: HUGO LLORIS (up from #6 last time) – Hugo Lloris is a nice French boy, not just nice but raised in Nice, where he took to playing tennis and then football which is where he is now today.  He has competed for France internationally now for years and his lightning like reflexes are always welcome by the continental types. There is not much to say about Hugo here other than he was raised in a particularly Mediterranean way, which is different from the colder northern way. What does this Mediterranean energies bring to Tottenham?  I don’t know. All I do know is that Hugo Lloris should float himself out to sea instead of waiting here to be ripped up by the cold waters of the north sea. [NEIL]

#3: TOBY ALDERWEIRELD (up from #12 last time) – I can abide a post-colonial French national football team conquering the World Cup—I cheered them on in fact. I can support a German national team made up of Turko-Germans, Pole-Germans, and Ghanaian-Germans tearing up the World Cup before that one. But, along with the hated English, I cannot really make peace with ever backing Belgium. No matter how many Lukaku spirit strikers, goofy-ass Fellainis, or grind-warrior Boyatas, Belgium has that forever taint of the Congo, of King Leopold and the worst excess-atrocities of an already excess-atrocity colonial experiment in European “management” of Africa. I remind myself that I am an American white dude, and it’s not really my place of judgment—but I quietly despair of a Congolese-origin player opting to represent Belgium, born there or not. Metaphysically, I shake my head when some West Indian dude, or Irish diaspora dude, turns out for England. Metaphysically I get nauseous when a Congolese dude turns out for Belgium. In short, I don’t know how Belgium ever comes back from its sins. Kind of like the United States, now that I think about it. Alderweireld may be the most non-racist white Euro dude that ever kicked the round surface of the people’s football. But he’s still a Belgian white dude, almost certainly descended in some strain or another from a person or persons intimately involved with central African depredations. He does himself no favors with that undercut pompadour hairstyle so favored by American alt-right fashion-fascist shitheads. Maybe it’s different in Europe, like how German Nazis have apparently co-opted New Balance as their brand, because “N is for Nazi”. Here in the U.S., nebbish Humanities professors wear NBs while raging against Confederate statuary, so regional context matters, I guess. As far as actual footballing skill goes, Alderweireld is undoubtedly a solid central defender, at the peak of his career for that position. Not a bad scoring record either for a defender. But he’s also tainted for me because of his Ajax associations—don’t get me wrong, I pulled for them to upset the UEFA applecart in last season’s CL. But I still view them as a righty “cop” club, because of collaboration between their rabid-ass fans and Amsterdam police to beat on Celtic supporters a few years back. Do yourself a favor though and google-box “Fenian Lamppost” to see this dumbfuck Dutch cop get laid-out when chasing a train full of Celtic fans. I hope he fractured his skull. Alderweireld also got saddled with “Toby” for a name. Only cats and dogs can handle that name. Between those stupid anthromorphic porcelain drinking tankards that British pubs like to line their shelves with (tobys) and this dude that my wife used to date before I even met her (part English dude who liked to dress in linen suits with fedoras and have afternoon tea salons while a college undergraduate at a rural U.S. university—lolol, y’all know we would’ve got along just wonderfully), I’m not really going to give a pass to anyone with that anglo/euro-centric name, and that goes extra-double when they play for one of the “big” London football clubs.  [PAUL]

#4: MOUSSA SISSOKO (up from #13 last time) – Another of those Afro-French players making their mark on world football, Sissoko is a confounding archetype. Not really a midfielder of any particular specialization (defensive midfield soul-eater, creative number 10, ball-winner, box-to-box), I have seen his like from time to time in my years of following football—a tall, gangly, surprisingly fit-as-fuck dude that just grafts around the pitch, making himself available, breaking up stuff to an extent. Sissoko got his start with Toulouse and those fly-ass purple jerseys, before moving on to Newcastle United for three and half solid years. I actually feel bad for any quality player like Moussa that ends up at Newcastle, because they seem like an especial waste of a club—noteworthy because of that nasty-ass brown ale that I think I’m allergic to, because of the three or so times I’ve drank it (not even to excess) I’ve gotten puke-everywhere sick as a dog. But they never ever seem to do shit in the English League System except not get relegated, or get promoted when they do get relegated. I won the FA Cup and the Community Shield with them in Football Manager, but only after I pretty much stacked the squad with Argentinians, which in real-life would probably result in right-wing riots. I can’t remember if it’s a fantasy, or if I actually saw this happen, but I always wished Argentine supporters at any England-Argentina match would do a tifo where they passed around one giant foil-covered Exocet missile. Sissoko gets his move to Tottenham, which I guess is a step up. But I don’t see him going on to bigger and better things at this point. [PAUL]

#5: SON HEUNG-MIN (up from #7 last time) – Started tacitly following the South Korean national team when Ki Sung-yeung was on Swansea City, and I sat a couple cubicles away from a Korean dude who loved football, during World Cup 2018 especially. He was giving me all the great details about Son Heung-min, and his pending national military obligations, and how they could be forgiven if the South Korean team won certain trophies before Heung-min hit a certain age. It made me start rooting for Heung-min, because by all accounts, he's a chill dude, and he's actually a pretty exciting player when he's getting enough time. This was actually fairly evident last season when Kane went down, because Son Heung-min was one of the big influences on the Spurs successes in that period. At the time of him coming to Spurs, he was the most expensive Asian player in Premier League history. But that hasn't meant he hasn't always been secondary to Harry Kane, and to be honest I'd love to see Son go somewhere else, maybe back to Germany, and get the shackles taken off his game. That being said, Son will be key to whether or not this Tottenham squad can get their shit together, and not be in this weird identity crisis mode they're in right now. [RAVEN]

#6: HARRY KANE (down from #1 last time; thus also has ONE METAPHYSICAL STAR) – Kane was the metaphysical star of this club last time this ranking methodology was performed, which all of that predates the existence of this website, so that's hidden in internal Raven Mack records. But never before has the metaphysics and its star made more obviously a true methodology than with Kane. His 2017-18 season was dialed in, like completely dialed in, even if he was still shitty ass Harry Kane. He was their metaphysical star, and the force and face of the club. Generally speaking, for many clubs, your metaphysical star in this methodology is a GK or defender, with the foundation of existence being protect ya neck. Occasionally, for a better club, more fluent in energies, it'll be an attacking or defensive midfielder, depending on the historic style of the club, either of which indicate a more fluent flow of play. But to have an outright striker as your metaphysical star, guy with all the minutes more than anyone else in 100 matches, that suggests banking on an offense with all cylinders firing. And to be honest, it seems like that would depend on more than one guy to remain successful, and even that one guy would have to have been at the absolute unquestioned top of things for more than a single season. Kane had a great run, but he wasn't that level of dominant. I mean there was a short list of dudes you said "that's the best striker" but he wasn't alone in that discussion. This leads us to the issue with Harry Kane, and perhaps Premier League in general, and also everything else going on there in Britain right now - xenophobia. Harry Kane was loved because any supporter base that is "traditional" i.e. old school Anglo. And Harry Kane is great enough that combined with a bias towards anglocentric thinking, some would want him to be seen as the greatest, and hearkening back to greater days of English glory. Except he's not old school great, who powers through spearing cleats, mud-stained and bloodied, to drive home a victorious goal in the waning minutes of a torrent-logged pitch. He's fucking Harry Kane, falling down in the box if anybody gets within a penis's length of him, begging for penalties from worried officials, who often reward his behavior, because he's not a stereotypical dive taker (i.e. from South America), but a good solid English boy. Then, he converts the penalties, which drive up his statistics, and thus perpetuate the notion that he's out of this world great. It's all a manufactured cycle to a certain extent, which is not to say he's bad, but that's he's not as great as stats may lead you to believe. On top of this, he has traditional handsome appeal, if you like black-and-white pictures from the 1950s, but he also looks ridiculously stupid in 21st century color. It's the enigma of Anglocentric (or whiteness in American culture) thinking - it's greatness is reinforced by stacked systems which gives false positive results to itself, thus giving those who choose to believe in it a feedback loop of "logical thinking" that's all fucked up. Of course, this never lasts, and for Tottenham, Kane's injury period last season gave the rest of the team a chance to shine on a more collective level, which they did, wonderfully. But as soon as Kane was fit enough to declare himself fit, that beaming mug was injected back into the Starting XI for the Champions League final, and the magic that had been found was gone. And also, in terms of the methodology of what we do here, he was no longer the metaphysical star. That's fallen to Lloris, who is very much part of the same camp as Kane, but obviously the foundation is sliding back to a safer defensive foundation, to enable attack. Or it could be the transition to whatever is next for Tottenham. I don't know. But it definitely feels like a club with a pretty large metaphysical transition going on right now. The main issue here is where does Harry Kane even go if the club does not continue to put their faith in his promise of a bygone way? His pricetag is inflated as fuck, and though there were rumors of Real Madrid having interest, it's hard to believe anybody would pay that much for Harry Kane. Have the English excelled elsewhere on the continent recently? Even Welshman Gareth Wale has had injury problems and not been exactly the same force in Spain that he was in English Premier League. And this gets at the heart of xenophobic thinking - if you circle the wagons and erect fences all around yourselves, you create a diminished environment in global sense. And if the big clubs are looking to conquer Europe, not the Premier League, you can't do it with that mentality. But I find it hard to believe Harry Kane will go anywhere else, though players always do. I find it hard to believe Pochettino can survive too much more of this metaphysical transition. But anybody new is just going to give a momentary spike then back to the same issues if the squad retains this form. It will all be very interesting to see play out, and mostly I'm thankful when I first bandied about embracing the Premier League, I avoided falling into the Tottenham trap, because I'm fiercely loyal, even when it no longer serves me, and I'd be stuck worrying about this crap. [RAVEN]

#7: DAVINSON SANCHEZ (up from #8 last time) – My lust for Colombia, due to my psychic flirtations with a Colombian woman, should be no secret, so obviously I love Davinson Sanchez. In fact, I enjoy the spirit of Colombian football, and it's been easy for me to forget Sanchez is on Spurs, because the two don't seem to match well. During that last international break, Colombia played Brazil, and there was a wonderful moment where the forever flopping, overacting Neymar - very much like Harry Kane, to be honest - was running along the sidelines chasing a ball, and Davinson Sanchez came flying in and gave him a wonderful body block, causing a for real crash by Neymar, which you could tell because there was no theatrics, he just got knocked the fuck down and slid into the barrier around the field. It was beautiful and exciting. Due to the philosophical similarities of Neymar and Kane, I can't but help assume whether consciously or unconsciously, this was an expression of Sanchez's frustrations at White Hart Lane. A game of spirit reduced to feeding a clown, a group of men's physical efforts turned into a pyramid scam to boost the ego of the man forcibly positioned at the top of the pyramid. A simple hard tackle by Sanchez on the world's wonderboy Neymar was also a strike against that pyramid scam, one that positions shitheads like Neymar and Kane at the top of club and country, one that positions nations like England and Brazil on top of world football stage, and in fact national powers like those two on top of continental stage (in Brazil's case) and world (in England's). In our heads, even as we are distracted by this wonderful opiate of football, we still know in our hearts, "fuck all this," even if we can't express it all the time, or else we'd have outrage fatigue. But moments like that, when there is a barbaric (by corporate television futbol standards of pasteurized spirit) moment like that, our hearts overrule our programming, and we jump and go FUCK YEAH! because ultimately none of us believe in this fucking pyramid scam at all. [RAVEN]

#8: JAN VERTONGHEN (down from #2 last time) – It's amazing to me that Jan Michael-Vincent is still playing, so many years after his supporting role in the apocalyptic classic Damnation Alley. Recently was talking to my girlfriend, probably babbling about some shit, and she said Damnation Alley was one of her favorite books. She read a lot, including pulp novels, and I literally had no idea Damnation Alley was a book; I just thought it was a sick movie my dad used to always like to get from the video store when we finally got a VCR in the late '80s (somehow acquiring the new technology of a VCR at the same time we were relegated to living in a trailer). Because of Jan Michael-Vincent being in that, with George Peppard, I always thought he was also in the A-Team. But he wasn't. And in fact, he's not the same guy that plays for Tottenham Hotspur either. But at least George Peppard is British. I think. It sounds like he should be at least. [RAVEN]

#9: DANNY ROSE (up from #16 last time) – The house in rural America I lived at the previous two decades (but no more), it used to just be in a curve by itself, and I could piss freely off the front porch whenever I wanted. This is the essence of the American Dream. But then some upwardly mobile rednecks bought the pasture across the road and put up a shitty spec house, living the new American Dream of pretending having a shitty spec house in a pseudo-suburban environment is country. Their kids was a boy, and I can never remember their last name but the husband/dad - Danny - and I would always talk. For some reason at some point I got it in my head their last name was Rose, even though that's not what it is, and I've realized that multiple times. Each and every time, inside my brain, I go "oh their last name is not Rose, hahaha" but I never bother to replace that thought with the actual name, so I've literally had that process internally dozens of times over the past ten years. Anyways, their kid was just a boy, and he used to ask if he could slide down our hill in our field on his snowboard when it snowed, and we let him, and then he grew up, and turned 21, and had gotten drunk with his parents, because he still lived there, and then was in their field yelling about his horse, going "CHEYENNE! COME HERE CHEYENNE!" The boy is now a man, and well past 21, and still lives there, and flies confederate flags with spotlight in the front yard, and one time came over to ask us about his horse Cheyenne having her hair cut, like "who would cut a horse's hair like that? that's crazy?" he begged of us, but I had no idea what he was talking about, and to be honest he could've been making it up because he'd previously wandered the field drunk yelling the horse's name. Also sometimes there'd be big fights and we'd be afraid the dad was gonna shoot everybody. The boy (now a man, physically at least) has that blank gaze of someone who has learned too much by the internet, and he kept a Trump sign up in the yard except in the winter when he covers it with his phone number to sell firewood, which is unseasoned and green and not worth the money in my experience. They are ultimately more American than me pissing off my porch, which was a freedom America maybe once had but no longer does, because everything's parceled out and watched by the grid, and it's all either pretend suburbs or real suburbs or gentrifying urban locations or you are forgotten entirely in some abandoned corner. The son (now a man) who thinks he knows but doesn't know, and is mostly unqualified to live on his own, especially considering poor people have no hope of making a living wage in 2019 America, is perfect example of the younger white male generation - putting all his faith into a flag that he has misinformed beliefs about, because he fell down the wrong rabbitholes digitally. And the dad, working seven days a week at three different jobs, none of which help him make enough to survive, yet somehow he has that apple shaped diabetic obesity of America's overabundance of poisons lacking true sustenance, he is perfect representation of white working class - likely racist but stifles it around me because he knows I won't tolerate it, and we try to tacitly get along and laugh a little together instead of killing each other, even though we both know that's a possibility. But it's easier to pretend to get along and offer token acts of assistance now and then to initiate the final American ultimate conflict to end empire 2.0 that is likely coming. And his name is not actually Danny Rose, but I still think it is, and every time I see a Tottenham line-up, and there's Danny Rose, I think, "hahahaha, that's my neighbor." But of course I don't even live there any more. [RAVEN]

#10: DELE ALLI (down from #5 last time) – Dele Alli was born in Milton Keynes, which is why he shows up so heavy on their spirit warrior history bonfire. His dad was Nigerian but his mom moved him around some and he never got a good look at the world. He grew up worshipping Liverpool even though he knew was destined to be a Milton Keynes Don. Now he belongs to Tottenham. He reps England internationally, even though his Nigerian blood could probably help there. The Yoruba tribe would take him in a heart beat. [NEIL]

#11: LUCAS MOURA (up from #19 last time) – Despite playing for Tottenham, I can’t find any points of disparagement in writing about Moura—maybe the not insubstantial PSG association, but I look at any player getting out of there as a rescue project (except Neymar, who should be associated with that bullshit plastic-fascist Monopoly money club for the rest of his days). Goalscoring winger, probably more of that “inside forward” type, smiling male-pattern baldness Brazilian dude. I’d have him in my team. But Tottenham is one of my shit list clubs. A big rooster on their crest is chill, true. And Clint Dempsey, the only American outfield player that could’ve possibly saved the psychic soul of USMNT and maybe football in America overall, like a trailer park purple Houston-Furman Jesus, come to redeem us from our sporting sins, shunned by a crowd demanding “Landon!” as loudly as their precursors shouted for “Barabbas!”, he played for Tottenham and did ok. But this is how important being a good “ambassador” for your club is—something I hear about all the time in British supporter discourse. I was working at UNC (which y’all know is about as soccer-football mad as an American institution can get) and I was in some kind of training seminar and sat next to this hipster dude wearing a Spurs track jacket, and there I was, happening to be sporting my own Celtic track jacket. This was when Robbie Keane was on loan to Celtic from Spurs, during the Tony Mowbray never-let-an-English-dude-no-matter-how-well-meaning manage Celtic interregnum. So I try to start some conversation with my man, something to the effect of “really glad y’all sent Keane to us on loan this season” (cause for all the other misery, Robbie really was one-man wrecking the SPL) and he responded with this loaded-but-glacial-proper “yes…he does seem to be doing very well for you” before immediately getting up and moving to another seat across the room. What a fuck. I have hated Spurs ever since, because of some turd American hipster probably supports them because he stayed in a Tottenham Air B n’B for two weeks on his way back from Glastonbury on his summer break from his UNC graduate program. Someone get Wanyama out of there—and I guess my man Moura while you’re at it. [PAUL]

#12: HARRY WINKS (up from #17 last time) – Yung Winks here was born and bred to be a Tottenham boy. He was basically born on White Hart Lane and he’ll probably die there. That is all there is to say about Harry Winks, may he rest in peace. [NEIL]

#13: KIERAN TRIPPIER (down from #10 last time) – Much as I’d like to cuss about picking another English white-boy defender, Trippier intrigues me. First, because I always do wonder at English white-boys with French-sounding names. I’m guessing this is some Norman Conquest throwback filtered down through the generations. Or fuck, maybe his grandpa was some French soldier that actually managed to haul his ass onto a British ship at Dunkirk. Still, to be ostensibly English as fuck and carry around a French-sounding surname makes me wonder how tough just chilling around town was for these guys. Do they have an especial hatred for France? Did their other schemie scumfuck friends harass them with Franco-denigrating slurs? And then his parents also throw an Irish proper name into the mix? Perhaps all of this explains the other reason I half (well, maybe quarter of the) way give a fuck about Trippier—an English (or really any kind of British) dude playing in one of the Continental big leagues, in this case his move to Atletico Madrid. I can’t recall this happening at this level since Beckham fucked around with the other Madrid, or when that disgraced English goalkeeper (whose name I’ve forgotten, and I’m not looking it up, because most English goalkeepers deserve to be lost to history) that went on loan to Italy where he probably continued to overhype suck, just not so bad. I naturally assume that English white boys are too high and mighty in coveting their own League setup that they can’t be bothered with potentially even starring somewhere else, no matter how reputable the league. And as odd as Spain or Italy is, can you imagine some former glory English dude trying to hack it in Liga MX? Although I did read this article a few months back about this former halfway mediocre English player with anti-social issues that had ended up in Bhutan, of all places. I don’t know, props to this KT for giving it a go in another language. Wonder if it’s going to affect his English Three Lions career? [PAUL]

#14: BEN DAVIES (down from #9 last time) – Welsh defender and former Swan, including time at their youth academy. I am hopeful we maintain our current form and get promoted (so long to go in Championship though, god what a godless season they have), and Davies will come home, although Davies also just signed a new 5-year contract, so I doubt we could afford to bring him home even if we do get promoted. Most likely, we'll sign a couple dudes from relegated clubs, and take our chances at surviving the bottom three spots. Sadly, all my preamble discourse about being an American and loving English football also involved me cursing Swansea City, because my psychic attention caused them to flare up in America enough that a couple of shitty American dudes bought controlling stake in the club, which has sent the club into a spiral. Well, actually the previous director was fucking everything up, but he found some money marks to help cover his ass for a season before cashing out. America - we are good for money marks. [RAVEN]

#15: ERIK LAMELA (up from #18 last time) – Like Moura, another South American player in the Spurs ranks with whom I can’t find fault. Reading about all the financial complexities of payment here and payment there during his youthful move to Roma, particularly that the Argentine government itself got a cut, serves to highlight in commendably stark terms that some nations can and do view footballing talent as an exploitable natural resource—particularly South America, who I guess have the most cause and opportunity to roll this way. But I suppose this dovetails with one of my meandering thoughts above—how do Argentinian players get on in the U.K.? That Falklands shit never actually got much resolved and it is one of the last middle white fingers that the flat-white-girl rump English Empire gives to the world—a bunch of rocky barely suitable for sheep islands they insist on holding onto. A final redoubt for when most everyone and their dog across England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, Mercia, Northumberland, the Channel Islands, whatever gets guillotiney for some Windsor-Saxe-Coburg neck? Maybe the Falklands will end up like one of those Nazi eugenicist children of the damned white worm inbred Amazonian-Bavarian jungle villages, but for Etonians. I guess most English/British people are over their general Argentina hate (but I hope that Maradona still weighs on them like a psychic cinderblock full of quik-set and rebar). Lamela looks like an ok player—talented movement midfielder, but with a mediocre scoring record and an ugly injury history. As much as he seems like an Argentinian homeboy, he named his son Tobias which is again recursively suspect—though maybe it’s ok for non-Anglos, I can’t say. [PAUL]

#16: ERIC DIER (down from #4 last time; also previously has ONE METAPHYSICAL STAR for this club) – Eric Dier is another Tottenham boy through and through, which is weird because he tried to rep Portugal back in the day but was denied and so is now a good English boy again I guess. Beyond that what is there to say about this club? [NEIL]

#17: SERGE AURIER (down from #14 last time) – Ivory Coast player who reps them despite growing up in France. I’ve not heard an audio commentary to know if his name is pronounced “sir-gay” or “surge”, but either one works sweet with that Aureeaa. Beat a cop’s ass outside a French nightclub. Making me an instant fan to be honest. Seems like Serge has been a peripheral at best Tottenham player, although he’s made a significant impact with the Ivory Coast national team, particularly in the African Cup of Nations, which as y’all might guess from reading this ongoing project, is a fuck-ton more important than the Premier League anyway. This season, he looks like he’s getting a chance with the departure of Norman-English dude Trippier, although I see Serge got sent off in the recent Southampton match. I hope he turns up somewhere outside of England eventually—Spain maybe, or Celtic when he hits 30. [PAUL]

#18: VICTOR WANYAMA (down from #15 last time) – Victor Wanyama is the Kenyan captain who stands in front of the nice French boy Hugo Lloris, throwing his Spirit Warrior energy onto the field. He had a stint at Celtic which should make Paul happy at least. He seems to be a good boy more or less which is good for the people of White Horn Lane, who should shower him with gifts to take back to Kenya. [NEIL]

#19: FERNANDO LLORENTE (up from #21 last time) – Llorente was briefly with Swansea City, and played above his level in my opinion. Of course the club immediately considered offloading him, because strangely there was a lot of interest from big clubs. Some Swans supporters were like "BUT WHO WILL BE OUR STRIKER?" but lolol man, Llorente was better than anybody expected him to be, cash that fuckin' transfer check and send him on his way. AND DON'T TRY TO RETRIEVE HIM EVER (aka pull an Andre Ayew - when you find a rube to offload people for a profit, don't then turn around and become the rube 18 months later). Anyways, somehow Llorente has performed above his level at Spurs as well, very solidly eating up clean-up minutes at the end of matches, even contributing a goal every now and then. But he's a handsome Spaniard entering the twilight of his striking career, so a move back to La Liga seemed natural, except he went to Italy instead, now with Napoli. I think the fun fact I enjoy most about Llorente is he is from Basque Country, which of course wants independence from Spain, and Llorente actually played for the Basque Country national team, which competes is not part of FIFA, and previously competed in the CONIFA World Cup for autonomous zones and teams unrecognized by international politics. Llorente's time with them is part of their recent decades goal to play against FIFA national teams, to improve the national team's image. Football is a key foundational aspect to independence movements, and getting recognized by FIFA is huge metaphysical step towards nationhood actually. Think of Kosovo national team gaining recognition by FIFA and UEFA, which angered certain neighbors, but was important early step in Kosavar people having their own nation. Same is true of Palestine, which oddly has been drawn into World Cup Asian qualifying groups with Saudi Arabia again, which means they're supposed to play home-and-aways, except going to Palestine to play in the Palestinian national stadium (which is a big deal in Palestine) would require the Saudi team to land in an Israeli airport, which would require them to acknowledge Israel's existence, which they won't do. So they can't actually travel to Palestine without acknowledging the political existence of a country that it won't acknowledge. And Israel won't allow Palestine to have an airport and infrastructure like that for the same reason. So even though they have a match in about two weeks, where Saudi Arabia is scheduled to play at Palestine, there's is absolutely no fucking way that match ends up happening, unless they suddenly agree to play it in Jordan, or southeast Asia (like they did four years ago), which Palestine doesn't want to because the existence of their national football team is important foundation for Palestinian independence. And Israel plays in Europe. Lolol football metaphysics man, it's fuckin' wild. [RAVEN]

#20: JUAN FOYTH (up from #22 last time) – I don't write these in order, so I already wrote about Gazzaniga being part of Pochittino's Argentine posse of homeboys to build a little safe space for himself. Basically, Foyth is another one of these guys, and I'm currently getting caught up on Club de Cuervos (I'm on season three, and fuck do I lust after Isabel aka Mariano Trevino.) I kind of imagine Pochettino and his Argentine boys out drinking like Chava does with the players in Club de Cuervos. This is of course ridiculous on my part, but also perhaps entirely possible, because none of our institutions are as precious as we like to pretend. (Also of note from Club de Cuervos, if you try the fucking a melon thing that Aitor does in an earlier season, you really have to drill an air hole in the other side of the melon, or else the suction can become painful. That's your melon-fucking protip.) [RAVEN]

#21: KYLE WALKER-PETERS (up from #25 last time) – Walker-Peters grew up in London, and signed with the Tottenham youth academy when he was 16. His entire professional career has been at White Hart Lane, and there was a confusion during this entire time, up until 2017, when the senior club had a Kyle Walker at right back, and then this younger Kyle Walker-Peters as a defender. As the older dude was taller as well, I really hope they utilized this opportunity to refer to them as Big Kyle and Little Kyle, and even though Big Kyle is now gone to Man City, I also hope people still call Little Kyle "Little Kyle" even though he'd now be Big Kyle. Hopefully it's done lovingly, like a bunch of doomed drunks on at a pub after a long day working on the data docks underneath the industrial black clouds of global surveillance systems, and not just Harry Kane going, "Oh hey Little Kyle. I need to use the steam sauna." [RAVEN]

#22: PAULO GAZZANIGA (up from #23 last time) – Every manager shall keep a couple of old boys around he has known and loves, generally speaking compatriots who speak the same language to secretly conspire with when necessary, to blow off steam and just keep a little safe space of loungedom even amidst the heavy demands of top-flight English Premier League around-the-clockness. Gazzaniga is one such old boy for manager Mauricio Pochettino, whom he played for at Southampton previously, and both are Argentines. Gazzaniga has been the second-minder of the posts for the past two seasons, mostly playing in League or FA Cup matches, but with a Champions League throwaway match last season as well. Even at Southampton, he barely started. But he remains a guy at White Hart Lane, part of the young manager's posse of Argentine back-ups. [RAVEN]

#23: MOUSSA DEMBELE (down from #11 last time) – FYI, this is the Belgian Mousa Dembele, who has since left Tottenham for a Chinese club, not the French Moussa Dembele, who once played for Fulham but now is at Celtic, which is Paul's club. Both men have Malian heritage, and I'm kinda bummed they didn't both get signed to Tottenham so they could've had a Big Mousa/Little Moussa thing going to match the Big Kyle/Little Kyle thing. Be right back, gonna simulate a new sixth-tier club in Football Manager 15 that only signs guys named some variation of Muhammad, and see how far up the pyramid I can go. [RAVEN]

#24: TANGUY NDOMBELE – Look man, what we have here is a dude with a Democratic Republic of Congolese heritage, who is named Tanguy. This is automatically my boy in the midfield, because true metaphysical greatness requires an African midfielder's raw talent combined with lack of European fuck giving sense of attack. Of course he was born in France, and has played all his previous professional life there in the French leagues, before coming to Spurs this past transfer season. But I think all the nationalism/community talk I've scattered throughout this has made it clear that even in the oppressive shadows of nationalism, very diverse communities can grow, and it seems the French national team is full guys like this, who grew up impoverished suburbs full of their own kind, who are technically French, on paper or passport, but feel a psychic allegiance elsewhere, to a certain extent. Post-empire/colonialism nations have never fully embraced those they once conquered and were forced by moral obligation to accept when the things all fell apart. [RAVEN]

#25: OLIVER SKIPP – Another home grown young boy, Oliver Skipp is destined to be Eric Dier or Harry Winks, they are all the same. [NEIL]

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