Lessons learned as we
dare to do something different
I remember reading
an article about Teddy Sheringham towards the end of United's
successful Treble season and, to this day, it still irks me.
It talked about the
chant we used to sing when we played United – 'Oh Teddy, Teddy.
He went to United and he won f*** all !' - and the journalist
pointed out that we may soon have to change the words to say 'He
went to United and he won it all.' As we all know, that
was exactly the case.
This awful memory
came back to me when Robbie Keane left to join Liverpool.
Would I again see a player who I held so close to my heart play
an important role in a successful side ? Will I then have
to endure the same player returning to the Lane, in some shape
or form, and gain adoration from the vast majority of fans
because that is the Spurs way ?
This time, however,
I think the situation will be very different. There is no doubt
in my mind that a player of Keane's quality will enhance an
already strong Liverpool side and, yes, they may well win
something next season.
But I really do
think that when we look back we may be able to thank Keane for
leaving. Why ? Because he's handed us a nice little
transfer kitty that will help Ramos shape the side in his own
way – a move that will lead to success for Spurs as well.
Unlike when our beloved Teddy cleared off, I think the blow we
receive from losing Keane will be met with a counterpunch from
Ramos and his team.
Our boss has already
shown strength and character not seen at the Lane for many
years. As soon as he knew Keane didn't want to stay at the
club, he didn't waste time playing him in friendlies.
Albeit meaningless fixtures, he shoved the usual sentimentality
to one side and looked to a future without the Irishman.
streak is being mirrored by Levy. Some have laughed at his
stance with regard to Liverpool and the acceptance of an apology
and donation to our charitable foundation. But I look at
it very differently. He did make a stand, but was also
realistic enough to know that the Premier League where not going
to go beyond the precedent of Chelsea's suspended three-point
deduction over the Ashley Cole affair – that is if they even
decided that Liverpool's public display of arrogance even
warranted a slap on the wrist.
No, he was realistic
enough to make the stand while also raising the stakes. In
the end he got a great price for Keane and considering that the
Reds were the only team interested in him, I think the deal was
a work of art and a lesson in brinkmanship. The same can
be seen with regard to Berbatov.
As much as I want
him to stay, to me there is little doubt the Bulgarian will not
be at the Lane next season. He is a world-class player who
will be missed and his place will be a lot harder to fill than
Keane's. But we WILL get a decent fee for him and I think
the benefit to the whole team will be huge.
While we will be
without a player who can change a game in the blink of an eye,
we will also not have to put up with his inconsistent attitude.
I applaud his link play, his ball control and his eye for goal
and last season I dismissed suggestions that he was off form as
his assist tally was one of the best around.
However, he does
have an attitude problem and there isn't any doubt that this
affects the players around him. A more consistent and less
temperamental player may be of overall lesser quality but, from
a team perspective, offer a better solution.
For me, our new
bullish attitude has created a new team ethic while also
highlighting that Ramos will not take any nonsense, no matter
who the player is or how highly rated they are.
That is a sign of a
club who want success, but are prepared to take the blows along
the way. In the same instance, we are not dragging our
good name through the mud and not stooping to the levels of
United, Chelsea or Liverpool (Arsenal can't be considered
because, let's face it, they don't do big transfer deals these
days). I think that we have learned from the Ramos affair
which tainted us last season, and no matter what happens on the
pitch, that is a major positive.
While I am still
angry at Keane's departure, I am far from despondent. When
Teddy left that proved a big hole to fill – so much so that we
had to take him back again ! - but this time I truly believe
things will turn out differently.
For Tottenham it is
very much a case of once bitten, twice shy. But while the
loss of Teddy can be compared to Keane's departure, United's
pursuit of Berbatov mirrors Carrick's move up north and the
Ramos Revolution reminds me of Jol's Jolly towards (almost)
Champions League qualification I think we have all - club and
fans alike - learned valuable lessons.
Instead of following
the tried and tested Spurs line of the last 20 years of being a
perpetual work-in-progress, we are daring to do something
different and, as we know, that can lead to great things !