a
freund in need - the crowd's captain fantastic


23.1.2003

When Steffen Freund was first brought to Spurs, the signs were that it was another typical, dour GG signing. No skill, touch or vision, but a blocker, possibly in the mould of Ian Selley or Steve Morrow. And during GG's painful stay at the club, this was proved correct. But under the tutelage of Hod, "Shep"  has blossomed into the ball-playing, instinctive, inspirational leader that was quelled so successfully by Graham. So while I understand the club's stance on out-of-contract players, especially in the current financial climate, there has to be one exception to the rule.

It was only natural for the club to want to see if he had fully recovered from his serious injury before offering a new contract, but surely Freund's magnificent performance in his first game back against Cardiff was enough. For 70-odd minutes, with absolutely no football behind him, he showed firstly how much he loved the club - putting his body on the line in an injury crisis - and how much we had missed him on the pitch. While many of the 'traditionalists' will claim to dislike Freund, I would be amazed if there wasn't a part of them that absolutely loved him. How can anyone not smile when he thumps his chest and the club's crest? How can anyone fail to cheer (apart from the West Stand, obviously) when he waves his arms, whipping the crowd up into a frenzy?

On a more practical level, who would replace him? We already need another squad player to cover for him when he's injured or suspended (Guardiola, perhaps?). To lose him would be a tragedy. You may only rarely walk away from The Lane thinking, "Blimey, Steff was different class today," but you notice him far more when he's not there. How many chances to West Brom (yes, West Brom) create against us? Jason Koumas had the freedom of N17 to do whatever he wanted.

I couldn't believe it when it was revealed that Freund was out of contract this summer, and even worse that he would have to consider moving should a contract not be offered soon.  So this is a plea to Daniel Levy, David Pleat, to whomever it concerns -sign that man up. At least give the crowd the chance to witness a first goal for the club. Freund is a hero, a footballing genius, and the fans' talisman. May he always tread the hallowed turf that is White Hart Lane.

John "Bebeto" Nicholson, Brazilian Yiddo

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