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19.07.2008

Is it just me or are you really getting fed up with football these days ??

I thought it was my age, but the endless childish antics off the field are replacing the joy and excitement we fleetingly get from what the players do on it.

The whole Cristiano Ronaldo saga through this summer has been one big bore, with Real Madrid trying to flex their muscles to show they are kicking sand from the summer beach into Manchester United's face.  So, moving further down the food chain, suddenly everyone thinks that Spurs are such a great team that they all want to have one of our players (or more in some cases) in their sides.

Alex Ferguson has gone on record as saying that Berbatov would noticeably improve his team.  Rafa Benitez tells the papers that Robbie Keane is an intelligent player who would fit well into his team, although looking at some of the Liverpool side, not on the intelligent premise.

For Benitez, this is nothing new.  With practice under his belt in tempting Gareth Barry through the media, his message going out to Reds fan Keane was like sending an Eros arrow to the Irishman's heart.  Maybe it is the way things are done in Spain (if the Ronaldo situation is anything to go by), but over here, it is nothing less than tapping up ... in the most public way.

Then a story about Sunderland making a bid for over a third of of our side (Kaboul, Tainio, Malbranque and Chimbonda) for anywhere between 12 million and 23 million hits the headlines.  And an interest in Darren Bent is added to the total should they be able to reach the price tag Spurs are asking.

So, Real start saying they want the winker, Ferguson gets all tetchy with them, Real bring out the disgraceful analogy to slavery, Ronaldo goes into hiding away from his red faced manager and all the time the price for United's prize asset rises.

With Berbatov and Keane, I would imagine that the actions of the interested parties were to plant the seed in the players' minds and to hold out until late in the window to force Spurs to sell cheap.  Tottenham's complaint is, I think, a warning shot across their bows to raise the price if the players do (as Levy stated in his website rant) leave.

Well, whatever the Premier League decide over Berbatov and Keane, let them all go.  Tottenham are bigger than them and although we are once more at a stage in the club's history, where it looked as though we had a decent side who might move forward, we will carry on without them ... and I, for one, will give them the boos they deserve when they return to White Hart Lane.  Whatever they have achieved for this club will be wiped out by their willingness to jump ship as soon as they get the chance.

Berbatov was shunned by United and other big clubs when Tottenham shelled out 10.9 million on him and gave him the platform to show what a good player he is.  Keane had been a wanderer and might well have ended up with a team like Bolton had Spurs not given him a home where he finally settled and was allowed to play to his strengths.  He, especially, has said that he was happy at the club and wanted to achieve more with Spurs after winning the League Cup in February.

The others are players who might be fringe members of the team/squad, so I can't blame them for going and the club were actively allowing Sunderland to speak to them.  Tainio and Malbranque have been good servants, while Chimbonda has been a disappointment in both attitude and application and Kaboul will, I think, be a good defender in time, but that is what he might not have at Tottenham.

I read somewhere on the Internet that if Tottenham are taking the moral high ground about Ferguson and Benitez publicly making their interests known about the club's players, that Spurs should look at their signing of John Bostock from Crystal Palace.  I would think a large number of fans, including Spurs fans, would agree that the player is worth more than 700,000, but, in my view, Tottenham have done nothing wrong in signing the player.  Yes, the tribunal decision might under-value the player, but he was coming to the end of his contract, he had turned down a new deal at Palace and would become a free agent (with compensation due to the South London club).  It may have been Tottenham playing the system, but they were at the whim of the tribunal and the price they put on Bostock's head.  Simon Jordan's beef should be with the FA, and the tribunal and not with Tottenham.

What Ferguson and Benitez have done is different and deserve thorough investigation.  The punishment will not match any misdemeanour they might have committed, but the one major charge that should be laid at their door would be them driving another nail in the coffin of the game.

No longer is there loyalty.  We have known that for a long time.

Now there is a lack of decency.

It might lead to a lack of interest with fans being sickened by the behaviour of many in the game.

Tottenham are not whiter than white, with their manoeuvring over the dismissal of Martin Jol and I suppose what goes around comes around. 

But when two of the four biggest clubs in the country resort to these tactics, it is not what is expected nor wanted by the fans I have spoken to.

Whoever wears the lilywhite shirt next season, they will get my cheers, while others may draw opprobrium.

Perhaps the game is not changing that much at all.

...

Keep the faith.


MY EYES HAVE SEEN THE GLORY OF THE CUPS AT WHITE HART LANE
MY EYES HAVE SEEN THE GLORY OF THE CUPS AT WHITE HART LANE
MY EYES HAVE SEEN THE GLORY OF THE CUPS AT WHITE HART LANE
AND THE SPURS GO MARCHING ON.

BRUCE CASTLE

 

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