The national stadium dolled up and resplendent. The fans, the passion, the occasion. The floodlights (this time). The shot at glory.
It’s the mythical Wembley days that Spurs are supposed to live for.
As a club, they are known for their classiness and perhaps that’s why Wembley suits them. The big stage has often been good to Tottenham: mythical performances in the ground are what they’re known for.
As a club, Spurs have won the league only twice, but they have won 15 cup competitions – three in Europe. Eight FA Cups and four League Cups have been won at Wembley and there have been many stories written along the way.
This season, there have been plenty, too. This is a different example, of course, a one-off where the national stadium plays home to the club for one season and one season only, but if their Champions League history in the ground is anything to go by, Spurs could be in for yet another magical night.
Both Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid have been dispatched at Wembley this season as Mauricio Pochettino’s team have grown into the stadium. They’ve become used to it and accustomed to its charms, so much so that Juventus probably doesn’t scare them.
Madrid and Dortmund haven’t had vintage seasons, in fairness, and with hindsight Tottenham definitely should have been beating both sides at home. But that’s hardly the point: what matters is the myth.
Indeed, myth was incredibly important when analysing Tottenham’s chances of competing this season when we looked at it in the summer. The problem that everyone foresaw was Spurs’ Wembley record and how they’d only won one game in the ground since 2008. After the first two months of the season, the same stats were still being talked about.
At the time, it was right to ignore history. You couldn’t say that Tottenham would be fine at Wembley because they won there in 1991 when Paul Gascoigne’s thunderous, era-defining free-kick beat Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-final, or when Ricky Villa danced through the Manchester City defence in 1981. What mattered then was the current players, and how they felt about the ground.
But now, that history does matter. It matters now because there is no Wembley hoodoo, no mental block. Instead, there is only glory to shoot for, for these players to have their names etched into club history just as Gazza and Villa did years ago. Perhaps on an even grander scale if they go onto Champions League glory – the only major club competition Spurs haven’t yet won.
Against Juventus, history and glory come together for Spurs in another Wembley night. And mythical performances at the national stadium have often been the club’s stock in trade. Why not on Wednesday night?