Tottenham’s interim boss Ryan Mason wants to reconnect disenchanted fans with their side following the sacking of Jose Mourinho.
The Portuguese was fired on Monday after a disappointing run of form scuppered any hopes of reaching the top four and the 29-year-old Mason, who retired three years ago after suffering a serious head injury, has been handed the job until the end of the season.
During Mourinho’s four-month demise since topping the Premier League table, fans were unhappy with Spurs’ pragmatic style of play and frustrated that attacking talent was left on the bench.
Mason knows all about what it is like to play for Spurs, having joined them as an eight-year-old and going on to play 70 times, and wants to re-engage the fans ahead of their likely return to the stadium later this season.
“I think my job is to prepare a team to win a game of football,” he said. “I know what it is like having the fans with you. I have felt it as a player – that energy is just incredible, it’s so powerful.
“Unfortunately, at the moment we don’t have any of them in the stadium, but I want a Tottenham team to make our fans proud so they enjoy watching us.
“Football for a lot of people is everything they have in life. To watch their team play, I want them to be proud and I want them to be invested, and I want the players to feel that energy as well.
“Obviously they are not in the stadium now, but when they do come back in, this football club needs to feel that energy. That’s how we work; that’s who we are.”
Mason’s appointment is something of a fairy tale given he was fighting for his life after fracturing his skull while playing for Hull in 2017.
Aged only 26, he should have been approaching his best years, but was forced to retire a year later before returning to Spurs to embark on a coaching career that has had a lightning-quick ascent.
“What I went through was huge. I represented my country on the football pitch, which is huge as well,” he said.
“I had to deal with an injury, a moment of health where there were a lot of difficult moments. But to play in the Premier League, to get to that level, to play for your country… it takes a lot.
“That was my preparation… my whole life I’ve been preparing for moments and you can only know how you’re going to react to moments once you’re in them.
“You can do all the preparation in the world but until you’re in that moment, then you’ll know. The most important thing, for me, has always been my attitude, my family, the people that care about me, the people around me that have been so humble and have helped me along all the difficult moments I had as a player.
“Then, obviously, having to retire as well. Which was a massive thing.
“But I just think the way I live my life, the way I think. I want to be positive, I want to be happy, I want to have experiences that I look back on when I’m older and enjoy the moment and work hard.
“Obviously, all the moments I’ve had in the last probably 10, 15 years as a player, maybe they’ve shaped me to where I am today.
“There’s obviously a lot of work to be done, there’s going to be some moments as well but listen, I feel good, I feel comfortable, I feel in a good place and hopefully that can transmit to the players.”