And the award goes to....
Dear Mr Levy,
Happy New Year and I hope your Christmas was a merry one. Did you receive my gift? A bottle of Morgan’s Spiced rum. Slice of lime and coca-cola, brings out the vanilla taste wonderfully well. I’m doing good, if you were also thinking of my well being. Hence this correspondence. Thought it best to start the year off with a smile and the sharing of mutual respect. From fan to chairman.
I’ve included below a list of the winners from The Annual End of Year 2008 Honorary Special Awards from my blog. I thought it of great importance that you would want to see this as it allows you a looking glass view into the hearts of all Spurs fans who bare their souls online, in forums.
Please pass on my congratulations to the winners, and if possible, ask your PA to get some reactions and comments so I can include in a follow-up feature.
This is the only on-line honours list that matters IMO because it pays homage to the select few that deserve a special mention for an outstanding contribution to Tottenham Hotspur. It’s free of the bureaucracy, politics and corruption of football magazines and the more established sporting websites because there is no financial gain to be had or blatant punditry agendas. The winners were selected after painstaking market research conducted by myself. I spent over 200 hours reading through all the major Spurs message boards and forums and using Excel spreadsheet to input nominations (in the way of forum user reactions, comments and key words), allowing for easy calculations when it came to selecting the winner for each category. And unlike on-line polls, nothing has been manipulated.
I’m sure you will appreciate the effort. My parole officer is currently monitoring all outgoing mail and thanks to the injunction….how did the Judge put it again….oh, yes….colourful expletives and threats are unacceptable as much as balloons full of excrement and nude protests. So I wasn’t joking when I said Happy New Year. My resolution is to be far more constructive and positive, and as a result, at my next review, my community service will need not be extended and I'll be able to quantify genuine progress has been made with regards to anger management and public disorder. So Daniel mate, hope you appreciate the positivity and maybe see you soon for a round of golf? I’ll have my people call your people.
Here are the awards in full.
The Michael Malcolm Award for Most Promising Youngster
A pulsating midfield dynamo. Who else? Jermaine Jenas. Think Gerrard with bling. This wonderful box-2-box CM continues to show the potential that will one day make him a seasoned world-class England international. A player that has everything. Cheeky eye for goal, but as effective defensively as he is offensively. Much like Michael Carrick’s uncanny ability to read the game so well, getting to the ball before the need to tackle for it, Jenas too possesses a sublime, almost majestic stride to his game that sees him ghost around the boiling points in central midfield, observing play and then proceeding to allow it to flow so that he can find himself positionally effective for assessing the next midfield battle. Absolutely unflappable.
Tottenham’s MVP 2008
Unprecedented this. An award that is deservedly shared between Robert Keane (posthumously) and our returned on-loan striker, Jermain Defoe. Thoughts and prayers for our former Irish king-pin forward who is solely missed by all. The brilliant talisman was the tormentor of many and the scorer of many more. Football is a darker place without his smile and vibrant personality. Defoe is back from Pompey having been recalled from his loan spell at the sea-side club. He’s had a wonderful time there, scoring plenty of goals, and regaining his place as an England international. A year older and worth a few million more in value, the complete fox in the box striker is back in Lilywhite. The master of beating the offside trap, Defoe’s added ability of holding up the ball and playing neat one touch passes in and around the box will fill the void left behind by Keane and Berbatov. Unlike players of Darren Bent’s ilk that can’t drop deep or help out in midfield when teams overload that particular part of the pitch, with Defoe back in the side, there is no limit to the tactical deployment Redknapp can utilise in-game.
Most Shrewd Transfer Dealing
The riddance of Steed Malbranque. The duff jewel in the triple-play £17M transfer mugging we dished out to sorry Sunderland who also paid out for Teemu Tianio and Pascal Chimbonda. A superfluous player, all glitz and glam with no head-down work ethics. This French prima donna much preferred posing in front of mirrors in the changing room than working hard for the team out on the pitch. Best described as a quintessential highlights player, always looks good for those 20 seconds on Match of the Day, but lacked the presence for consistency over a prolonged period. A deserved victim of the Ramos/Comolli cull, which saw other players leave the club during the summer for far more realistic valuations. The income from this tasty bit of business would then be spent on David Bentley, banishing all memories of 'Steeeeeeeed' forever.
Best Heart-in-your-mouth Moment
Arsenal 4 Spurs 4. Simply put, one of the games of the century. What were you doing when Spurs scored in injury time? If you weren’t there or watching it in a pub or at home on tv, then the only way you could possibly excuse yourself for missing out on this effervescent NLD is if you were standing on the Grassy Knoll with a gun in one hand and a flux capacitor in the other. Spellbinding match, including possibly, in pure footballing terms, the finest goal scoring moment of 2008. A cracking effort, forged in the fire of £16M worth of ingenious quick thinking and electric natural ability. Bentley’s goal was sensational. The game should have ended right there on the basis of its undeniable technical beauty. Alas it didn’t. But nobody complained. At 3-1 down, it’s safe to say most Spurs fans had long ripped out their own hearts in poetic suicide, leaving the dismay behind as they began their journey home, pondering and practising their excuses for the morning after.
Those that hadn’t left, soon did when the score mocked them at 4-2. But behold, the last chapter of a modern day classic. Each page revealing a twist towards its audacious finale. Joyful to the small contingent left in the corner of the ground. Gut-wrenching to the masses surrounding them. Oh yes, oh yes indeed. 4-2 became 4-3, and in the dying seconds, became 4-4. The diminutive Lennon equalizing for a share of the points. Imagine that. A second earlier the ball struck the post from a stonking Modric shot, which had everyone frozen in time, hearts in mouth, all awaiting the final twist to an epic evening of football. And with a dink, a smile and a celebration that buried a fan, it was all over. Victory claimed.
Best Official DVD Release from the Spurs Shop
There have been some quite magnificent games in the year that was 2008. But there’s no doubting the best 90 minutes that found itself neatly wrapped, with additional ribbon, sitting in everyone’s Christmas stocking. That’s right. Spurs 5 Roma 0. I’ll repeat it in case you momentarily went blind or blinked when reading the previous sentence. Spurs aka Tottenham Hotspur 5 (five) Roma 0 (zero). How can anyone ever forget that balmy Sunday afternoon in August?
Incredible performance from the Lilywhites, one that any young football scholar, not old enough to have witnessed the great Spurs side of 1961, would have been drooling over. A sexy, sassy mixture of push and run and deflowering free flowing play that saw the Italians decimated in 90 minutes of golden football. Roma experienced a Vikingesque rape and pillaging that had grown men in the stands tonguing each other in celebration.
The DVD includes plenty of special features, including ‘director’s commentary’ from David Bentley who talks us through his brace, including Thunderbolt Cam, which allows you to relive David’s 20 yard first-half stoppage time classic from 5 different angles including a specially devised ball-cam animated segment which shows the ball on its journey from his foot to the back of the net from the perspective of the actual ball. There’s also an interview with Dider Zokora on his monumental midfield dust-up with Roma winger Marco Cassetti, that captured the hearts of all that witnessed it. Terry Venables discusses and compares the incident to the legendary Mackay v Bremner ding dong from yesteryear and reveals how, in essence, this modern day tussle between two players at the top of their game was better. Don’t miss out on the limited special edition of this DVD which includes additional highlights from the 5-1 away day demolition job of Norwich City including the documentary ‘Foursome’ about Darren Bent's double brace and also the stunning holographic Star jump cover of David Bentley.
The Crowning Glory Award 2008
No doubting the moment. The magnificent 2-1 Carling Cup Final victory at Wembley against Chelsea masterminded by double UEFA Cup winner, Juande Ramos. Football is sometimes like an ocean. Each wave fading into the sand, while you wait for the next one, hoping the tide will reach your feet, soaking them in glorious salt water. It takes a man of great presence to guide you closer to the waves and allow for you to dip your feet ankle deep into the sea with no further frustrating need to wait for the tide to come to you. Ramos bought the tide to us. And we almost drowned in its beauty. Berbatov, in what would be his last significant performance for Spurs, along with legend Robbie Keane, were outstanding on a day that saw us fight back from 1-0 down to claim an extra-time 2-1 win thanks to the clever header from our defensive rock’n’roll centre-back, Jonathan Woodgate. But much like the ocean, football can sometimes produce the perfect storm. One with tragic consequences. Juande peaked too soon. Our ocean covered in an ugly slick from an exploded French oil tanker. As you know, Ramos has since moved on, but credit where it’s due. He led us to Cup glory and a safe passage back into the UEFA Cup. Not since the famous George Graham side of 1999 had we witnessed such giddy heights of progression.
The Tanner Literary Medal of Honour
One word has been on everyone’s lips this past year. Opus. This breathtaking collection of high definition photographic gems, some never seen before, and sharp incisive words detailing the history of our great club from year zero to the present has captured the imagination of the Spurs faithful. Such is the demand for this top-heavy must-have, that the club have taken the step to bring it to the fans by wheeling a copy out at every home match half-time interval. Why go to the Spurs Shop or even submit your interest on-line when you can be in its very presence at White Hart Lane? But that’s not all. Amazingly, the club is selling raffle tickets allowing one lucky person per week to pick up a copy at a cost of a couple of quid. And with around 4000 of these events scheduled into its White Hart Lane roadshow, you might just strike lucky. If you prefer not to gamble, for personal or religious reasons, don’t hesitate to order an Opus directly from the club. You’ll find the price competitive and if you are a keen investor, this purchase has mouth-watering sell-on value.
The Irving Scholar Lifetime Achievement Award for Astute Boardroom Tactics
Ridding the club of the leprosy that was Martin Jol and inviting Juande Ramos to offer his services to the club was textbook professionalism in the name of evolution. Daniel Levy directing Comolli and Kemsley masterminded a dizzying moment that won’t be forgotten for a very long time. The dissection of Jol’s football soul, publicly exorcised for all to see during the Getafe defeat at WHL, was Machiavellian magic at its finest. A true tour-de-force in power play politics. With Jol burning like a fly caught in a night lamp, Levy unveiled the Spaniard to much acclaim. The result? Silverware. European qualification. The dismantlement of the DoF system followed, allowing for a more traditional manager to take the place of the departed Ramos who has gone onto a new challenge, to help a team who play in white reclaim some past glory. It’s an obvious speciality that we tapped into first. How can one possibly follow on from such an appointment? One does not because one can not. Not yet. Levy must once more begin his search in earnest for the next man destined for the White Hart Lane helm and this is no easy task. It will take time. For now, we have our esteemed interim manager Harry Redknapp steadying the ship in perpetration for the next bottle to be smashed against its hull.
While Jol huffed and puffed for more than two seasons, Ramos, swiftly showed us all how it’s done. Credit to the chairman. Not since the day Alan Sugar pointed at a young Nick Barnaby and proclaimed ‘That’s our new East Stand!’ have we witnessed such a magnanimous display of commitment to all things Tottenham.