Cartilage Free Captain is the ultimate blog for any Tottenham Hotspur fan looking to catch up on player news or match-day analysis. This blog, which is hosted by SB nation, is named for long time Tottenham hero Ledley King, who captained the team from the central back position for many years despite severely injured knees, containing no cartilage, which often times prevented him from even practicing. His outstanding achievements and long time relationship with the club placed him in the hearts of the fans, which they seemed to express in the name of a blog.
The blog itself provides a wide variety of information, from the Hoddle of Coffee articles, a daily update of news surrounding Spurs, to the fun videos of players and the transfer speculations found in the Rubbish section. Unfortunately these sections are fairly general, but more in depth information, pertaining to both individual players and the team as a whole, can be found in the Tottenham Hotspur News section. One interesting article currently in this section pertains to a controversial issue surrounding the Tottenham Hotspur fan base and its use of the Y-word. The Y-word is a derogatory term aimed at the Jewish community, but has also become a term used by the Tottenham Hotspur fan base to describe themselves. The belief is that this action was taken as an attempt to own the term after it had already become negatively associated with the team, due to having a large Jewish fan-base. But despite its use as a mechanism of pride of being a Spurs fan, it still waivers on the lines of controversy, and has yet to be resolved.
The blog also provides extensive match analysis, both statistically and opinion-based, for each and every match. I found the analysis section quite interesting for it attempts to quantify, through man of the match awards and player ratings, all of the important aspects of the previous match. Although one may disagree with some of the conclusions, the writers present their reasoning in a manner that is both clear and fun. An example of this was the player ratings article for the Norwich City match, where the ranking system is based off of the comparative rankings of the Fast and Furious movies. They run through the players one-by-one providing a rationale, or sometimes an excuse, such as illness preventing Hugo Lloris from having a great game, for a rating that a player receives. Furthermore, they attempt to give the rating a meaning by using it in more common forms. If you find something you disagree with you can always voice your opinion in the comment section below, although it is not uncommon to see that someone else has already expressed your sentiment.
However, this brings up another important point about the impact that the non-staff fans have on the site. In addition to commenting, there are two sections that are left open to fan contributions, Fan Posts and Fan Shots. The Fan Posts section is typically more abstract in nature, due to small restrictions on who can and can’t post, but one can find several relatable or interesting articles in this section. One such example of this is user spurheartlane’s post about the amount effort Tottenham should put into the Europa League. It is not uncommon for a fan, such as myself, to feel like the Europa League is a competition below Tottenham, and only serves as a risk to player fitness. This feeling is compounded by the fact that Arsenal fans always seem to hold Champions League over our heads. However, spurheartlane suggests that the only way to succeed in Champions League is to succeed in all European competitions. Using statistical analysis, he emphasizes the importance of Club Coefficient, which is a score based off of a team’s success in any European competition that determines relative club ranking. If Tottenham were able to succeed in this “low” tournament, it may put them in a better position when they do make Champions League. So spurheartlane used sound reasoning to make an interesting and persuasive argument, and thus revealed the true benefit of fan additions to these blogs. The Fan Shots section provides another set of means for a fan to express oneself, but this area is restricted to quick videos or short quips. It allows one to navigate quickly through interesting compilations of player highlights, or fan interactions with the players, and is a nice touch to connect the community of users.
Overall, this is one of the more successful blog based fan sites for the Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, and definitely provides the user with many options and pieces of information that will keep one updated. So if you’re looking for some player information, or just looking to get some analysis on the match, you should definitely stop by.