(i will never be your) stepping stone



So, Spurs sit bottom of the league table and have a rag-tag bunch of players trying to get them out of this sticky situation.  But how did we get here in the first place ?  Maybe the statement that Spurs are not a selling club and will always hold onto their best players has turned out not to be true and is more dependent on how much people are willing to pay for them.

With the departure of Michael Carrick the tone was set.  We did not need to sell him, although the money his move to Manchester United brought in did allow us to go out and buy Dimitar Berbatov (more of which later).  He wanted to move to a bigger club, much as he did when he left West Ham for White Hart Lane.  His role in the team was a crucial one in providing the passes to the front two to score the goals that lifted Tottenham to fifth position and almost a place in the Champions League.  His passing and work-rate have not been adequately replaced and thus we lost an important cog in the team, albeit to a team we were not in the bracket of catching at the time.

So, when United needed a striker, where did they come looking ?  Oh. yeah, back to the Lane for a player they wouldn't shell out for when he was at Bayer Leverkusen, but after couple of seasons at Spurs he was good enough for them all of a sudden. Like Carrick, he wasn't a player that Tottenham had to sell as he was under a long contract, but Alex Ferguson is shrewd enough to know that without Champions League football and with United having won the title and the Champions League itself, the temptation would be too great for the player, who then went into a strop until he got his way.

I am not blaming Daniel Levy for having to sell Berbatov, nor Keane really, as both wanted to leave and it is no good keeping players who do not want to be at the club, but I feel that with Carrick, he sold the midfielder too soon.  I know he wanted to go to Man U too, but if we had stuck to our guns with him, we might not be in this position.  Already, Ferguson has been making noises about how good Alan Hutton is and the Scot is another who he would not pay big money for when he left Glasgow Rangers, with a similar story surrounding Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon when we bought them.

Now, these days, it is a fact of footballing life that if you have a place among the European elite, then you are a prospective destination in a player's career at some stage.  This will mean that only about four teams can hold the top class players, as they will have places in the Champions League and be in on the self-perpetuating gravy train that puts them out of reach of the other 16 Premiership sides.

And what it means is that Tottenham, as well as other clubs in the Premiership, must accept that their role in the food chain is to act as a stepping stone for players as they climb the ladder through their career in the game.

Never again will we see a Steve Perryman.  Never again will we see a Gary Mabbutt.  Never again will we see a Ledley King.

All we will see is players spending a few years in the Lilywhite shirt until they are able to bag a transfer to a top four club and all Tottenham will get out of it is a pile of money, but that needs to be spent wisely on players who will form the next generation of fodder for the Champions League clubs.

At the moment, that is unlikely, unless we get relegated, when clubs will come circling around our players, much as Tottenham have done with other clubs in the past.  So, the first step is to get off the bottom and then to start getting in players who want to play for Tottenham Hotspur ... come what may.


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