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.
Ramos' ruthless 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 !
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