Mauricio Pochettino has made it alright for grown men to cry at football games

Andy Dillon by Andy Dillon / 10 May 2019, 13:38

Harry Redknapp would not have done it. Bill Nicholson most certainly would not have done it.

But Mauricio Pochettino did and for some reason it felt like the right thing to do.

What we’re talking about is the crying game.

The pictures of Tottenham’s current boss blubbing after his side pulled off the most amazing comeback to reach the club’s first Champions League final will stick with Pochettino for years to come.

They may haunt him already. He may not be embarrassed at all.

As a player, Pochettino was an uncompromising centre half. He once confessed that while playing for Paris St.Germain he Kung Fu kicked an opposing striker in the ear - and got away with it.

Some years on and the man sobs like a drunken father of the bride at a wedding - tears of joy because his daughter’s married a billionaire.

There are some folk who will insist that it is simply not permissible to cry at a football match regardless of the circumstances.

Bill Nick didn’t when he led Spurs to the League and FA Cup double in 1961 - back in the day when it was a once in a generation achievement.

These days ticket prices can make the eyes water. As can the inflated wages some of those masquerading as footballers earn in a week.

But opinion is divided on genuine soccer-induced sniffles.


When is it ok to cry at football? If at all?

Breaking down if your team gets relegated or loses a cup final is simply not acceptable.

Crying over misfortune on a football pitch is downright immature. It panders to the diktat from TV companies who love nothing more than watching grown men weep at missing out on a throw in because of VAR.

Producers in hi-tech galleries zoom in on kids as their emotions go into meltdown. It’s good for viewing figures because we all love feasting on other people’s misery.

But when it comes to unbridled joy and watching the most amazing smash and grab raid come off, then letting go is fair game.

Even hardened anti-Spurs fans must surely have felt empathy for Pochettino when he dropped on all fours on the grass at the Ajax Arena, body shaking uncontrollably as the full impact of what had just happened sunk in.

Seeing one of the most charming and engaging managers in the Premier League unable to speak on the telly because his heart was pounding and his cheeks were soaking wet, is as beautiful to watch as the moment Lucas Moura stuck the killer goal in the back of the net.


Whether or not you love, like, disregard, even despise Spurs, there is no denying that Pochettino reached out through your screen, into your living room and prodded your own emotions ever so slightly. It did mine.

I’ve always dismissed crying over bad results in football as a load of baloney. A symptom of an age in which football is considered way more important than it really is.

A part of the no-blame society where anything bad that happens is someone else’s fault and as a result it’s got you in a bit of a state.

But the Tears of Tottenham reached across club divides. Anyone who says it didn’t is either lying or a chilling football equivalent of Hannibal Lecter - and I’m not coming round your house for a bit of dinner and watch the final.

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