Ink & A Stick

The ramblings of a man who should know better.

Archive for the tag “THFC”

Bale Sale: The shop window effect holds Spurs back

By George Ogier

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. The biggest star in the Spurs team signs a contract extension to stay at the club. This is reportedly on the proviso that they’re allowed to leave if certain “big clubs”come calling. Real Madrid do indeed knock at a well-worn front door and then all hell breaks loose.

Bale1If you believe everything you read – and you’d have some odd opinions if you did – Daniel Levy has been at it again. In 2011 it was suggested that Levy had persuaded Luka Modric to sign a contract extension with a gentleman’s agreement concerning the terms whereby Modric would be allowed to leave the club.

In that instance it was Chelsea who made the initial move but Levy stood his ground and Modric joined Real Madrid 12 months later. Another year on and Los Blancos are back, this time for Gareth Bale and there is a depressing inevitability about the whole situation.

“Sources” have been busy in the last seven days. The latest line to come from people buzzing around Gareth’s recently streamlined ears is that Bale only re-signed for Spurs when Levy said that the PFA player of the year would be allowed to join Real Madrid should they want him.

Whatever the truth of the situation it is one in which Spurs fans have plenty of experience and very little enjoyment. Once again, the team shows signs of really being able to push on and once again the club looks likely to lose its best player.

People have pointed to the departures of Dimitar Berbatov, Michael Carrick and Modric as a template for these wranglings but only the Modric saga is really applicable in this case. When Berbatov and Carrick joined Manchester United Tottenham were a very different animal.

When Carrick and Berbatov left Tottenham the club were routinely beaten by those in the sides in the top four. Spurs had almost finished fourth in 05/06 but that was due to the poor form of others as much a stellar Spurs season.

Last term Tottenham finished with their record points total in the Premier League. In any other year 72 points would have guaranteed a fourth place finish and even second place in some seasons. Spurs are now a match for any team in the top division and are in a position to build a team capable of great things.

This potential is brought into a slightly sharper focus when you consider the managerial changes at the top of the league. Four of the top six clubs and all of the top three have switched managers over the summer. It is reasonable to suggest that one of these changes won’t go as smoothly as expected and a talented but stable team could well take advantage of such upheaval.

Obviously I write this with a huge slice of bias but I genuinely think that Spurs are two or three good signings from being a real force in the Premier League. However, that claim comes with a large caveat and it is simply this. The club cannot afford to keep selling its star performers.

The idea of Gareth Bale playing alongside new signings like Paulinho, Nacer Chadli, and possibly Roberto Soldado is exciting for any Spurs fan. In a season where so many changes are taking place, keeping hold of a talented coach and a genuinely world-class player could make a huge difference.

Klins1Whilst it is easy to get carried away with such dreams there is an ugly reality to consider. Players don’t join Tottenham because they think they can win things. They join because, like it or not, the club are a stepping stone. You would have to go back to 1994 for the last time Spurs signed a genuinely top-level superstar, and even then it was the already 30-year-old, Jurgen Klinsmann.

Tottenham are a bridge between smaller English or continental sides and the huge teams of Europe. Players join Spurs because they can perform in a good side and get noticed by better ones. Carrick, Berbatov and Modric all came from smaller clubs and moved on to bigger things.

The players who join and don’t move up the ladder find their level – Defoe, Dawson, looking at his subsequent career, Robbie Keane – and stay. Otherwise they drop off and are moved on, David Bentley, Helder Postiga, Sergei Rebrov etc. Spurs are a perfect shop window for talented, driven players and Gareth Bale is both.

There is one big difference between the Bale situation and those which have gone before. Gareth is good enough to help Spurs make the jump from stepping stone to a side capable of great things, few of Tottenham’s past stars have had that ability.

Even with that in mind we have to accept that Bale knows his own worth. By joining Real Madrid he could have La Liga and Champions League medals in less than twelve months. The Welshman would be joining a team already capable of winning the lot. Staying with a team that is clearly a work in progress, even if it moving in the right direction, is hardly as appealing.

As a Tottenham supporter I would dearly love Gareth Bale to stay at White Hart Lane. The romantic in me dreams of watching a side built around his talents for years to come. However, the realist in me knows that it an unlikely outcome. I just hope that the situation is resolved as quickly as possible.


Twitter: Careful what you wish for

It’s a dance as old as time, or perhaps just as old as autograph hunting. Wide-eyed fan approaches sports star/film star/pop star and is met with a barrage of hurtful and utterly unexpected abuse. Everyone has story or knows someone with a story of being unceremoniously snubbed by a hero.

Me? I was once told to “fuck off” by a star of Emmerdale in a nightclub in Leeds. She wasn’t a hero of mine and I certainly wasn’t after an autograph but to a degree I wear my “abused by a celebrity” badge with pride.

It is perfectly normal to be shocked in those situations. The personality of well-known individuals can often be just a media construct but as is the way these days, we often feel as if we know each of them personally. Twitter has broken down barriers even further and has been a remarkable tool in public relations.

Many “stars” from various fields of achievement now use social media to interact with their fans. It allows the famous to build a never before seen rapport with those that love them. In marketing terms it can be a dream too. Fans feel far more connected to their idols and are far more likely to buy into the idea of brands surrounding the object of their affections.

However, as recent events have shown, this can be a two-way street. Twitter has created a world where the disgruntled or the merely plain stupid can directly address someone in the public eye and be pretty sure their remarks will be read.

Olympic diving star Tom Daley was the subject of trolling on Twitter after failing to secure a medal at London 2012. The boy responsible for the abuse of Daley was arrested and received a formal warning for harassment.

Every day seems to bring a new “Twitter storm” and yesterday’s happened to involve the football club which I support, Tottenham Hotspur. We are currently in the midst of the usual pre-season transfer quagmire. Every team is trying to improve their squad are Spurs are no different.

One of the ongoing soap operas of the summer is the “will he, won’t he?” tale of Emmanuel Adebayor’s move from Manchester City back to Spurs, a club he played at on loan during last season. The major sticking point appears to be Adebayor’s wage demands.

Last season, the player’s parent club subsidised an enormous pay cheque. Adebayor was reportedly on £170,000 per week, £100,00 of which was being paid by Manchester City. It is no secret that Tottenham employ a rigid wage structure and fitting the Togolese striker into that as a contracted Spurs players has been tricky.

Understandably there are many Spurs fans that would love to see Emmanuel Adebayor sign permanently for the club. At times last season he was excellent and the club is currently down to Jermain Defoe and teenager Harry Kane as their only recognised strikers.

However, there are also fans that think Adebayor’s wage demands are too high and that the player who scored 18 goals in all competitions last seasons should take a huge pay cut to join the club. One fan, Dan Cohen felt so strongly about this matter than he decided to contact Adebayor directly via Twitter.

@Sheyiadebayor why don’t you u come to work with me for a few ‘years’ to really see what it’s like to earn your weekly wage #greed #COYS”

Rather than just ignore this seemingly inoffensive request, Adebayor fired back with a less than refined response.

@DCSuperSales because u shit and stupid that’s why you earn that!”

Taken at face value this would seem like another footballer acting like a complete moron but I’m not entirely convinced that’s fair on Adebayor.

Had Mr. Cohen merely suggested that Adebayor join him to see how fans get by on much less money there would have been no response. As soon as he accused Adebayor of being greedy there was an element of “baiting” about the tweet. Lo and behold, Mr. Cohen gets a rise.

Suddenly there is a sweeping “we don’t want Adebayor at our club” sentiment from Spurs supporters. “Look how he talks to Spurs fans!” some wailed. Adebayor’s sentiments might have been crude but he was merely responding to an unsolicited remark about the way he chooses to act within his professional life. It’s not really anyone’s business what he gets paid.

Football fans are always at a disadvantage in situations like this. Primarily because of a love for the club involved. Most fans care little what a player earns turning out for another team. Conversely, when it comes to their beloved outfit there seems to be an assumption that anyone would and should crawl across broken glass to don this particular shirt.

No football club is unique or special on a wider scale. Of course it appears that way to its supporters but the rest of the world couldn’t give a rat’s . I love my daughter very much and think that she might be the most amazing addition to the human race, ever. Nonetheless, it is just me and her mother that think this, nobody else is obliged to care. The same applies to supporting a football club.

Why shouldn’t Emmanuel Adebayor hold out for as much money as possible? He’ll be long time retired and once he is, in the minds of those who praise and abuse him now Adebayor will be a distant memory. I’m not particularly fussed either way if he rejoins the club. I trust in Daniel Levy to do what is best for Tottenham Hotspur, I’m certainly not going to get my undies in a bunch about wages and loyalty

However, Adebayor’s wages are not the issue here. The issue is social media and how fans choose to use it. This episode can be summed up in one sentence. Fan baits Adebayor, Adebayor responds, fan runs off whining about mean old footballer.

If you address someone directly, whether it be face to face or on the Internet you clearly intend for them to be aware of your opinion. If you make derogatory remarks about a person in the same circumstances it is churlish to then complain if they react in a way in which you find distasteful.

Twitter has been fantastic at opening up avenues of discourse in ways we could never have imagined and we have a responsibility to use those avenues carefully. By all means criticise someone but don’t be surprised if one day they bite back.

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