If there is a moment that sums up Didier Zokora it's the run from midfield in the Carling Cup final against Chelsea. The run that should have ended with a goal, which would have put us 2-1 down. The run that had every Spurs fan in Wembley and at home or in the pub looking up to the heavens for an answer. Storming forward with the goal in sight, he smacked the ball with absolutely no direction. Hearts in mouth, followed by heads in hands. I just smiled reminded myself that the end product of a Zoko glory moment always ends up in row Z. But as much as I should hate the bloke for his rush of blood to the head incompetence, I can't.
Maybe it's the infectious smile. Or the after game dance, jigging up and down for the Park Lane. Or the fact that even though he has the discipline of a virgin on Viagra in a brothel his determination and effort could never be doubted. It's unfortunate that he wasn't as good a footballer as he was an athlete. But then, all footballer are (meant to be) athletes, so what we got with Didier was a player that was unable to fill a void left by the departed Carrick. The lack of that ever-so important footballing brain.
Its more so frustrating because there are certain players you want to see succeed more than others. Didier is one of these types of players. Honest to the bone in effort. At the Lane we've had far too many apologetic players in recent years. Players who are loved and hated. Players that always have excuses made for them by the ones that are hoping they see the person in question improve and prove the others wrong. Jenas is the most cited. But Zoko has far more in common with a certain Steffan Freund. An absolute legend of a personality, if lacking a polished touch. For all their hustle and bustle neither ever found the net for Spurs.
Zokora cost us £8M. And rather than take the game by the scruff of the neck in central midfield, he struggled to assert himself. Much like one of his locomotive runs, there was never any discipline or composure. Stick him into the right back position (or even left back) and it was like watching a Zen version of the same player. Calm, controlled and focused.
But alas, he is a central midfielder and when you compare him to Wilson Palacios your hope and aspirations to see the lad make it at Tottenham disappear faster than you can say 'no first touch'.
He's a decent bloke who quite obviously loves playing football and loves playing for Tottenham. He connected with the crowd (usually with a long range shot) and gave it his best. Unfortunately his best isn't quite good enough. Hopefully he does end up at Sevilla rather than a club in the Prem, because I don't know whether I could handle him scoring against us. Which you know would happen in one of those ridiculous footballing moments of oh my gosh irony.
Didier, wherever you ply your trade. Good luck and all the best.
Park Lane faithful, please close your eyes and pray to the Gods for a slice of good luck,
Because the swerving ball will probably hit you hard in the face if do not quickly duck,
But do not fret and do not curse,
For Zokos smile and jig will nurse,
He dances up and down which you can't help but love because he thinks he's so cool,
And as you leave the ground you'll find yourself singing all the way to the pub...Do do do.