Credit where it's due. We spend plenty of time mocking and slating the press, especially when they seem to desire and demand a move away for Gareth Bale when they should really be doing their best to perhaps support and fight for the belittled English club trying to hold onto their prized possession.
The media might simply be lazy rather than agenda-driven, but you'd like to believe they might tune into the bigger picture every so often and tackle a story from the other side. So kudos to Oliver Holt of the Daily Mirror, not someone I've agreed with in the past, but on this occasion, he pretty much nails what many of us have been saying (including myself).
"If Tottenham sell Gareth Bale they will be selling their heart, their soul...and a golden future" - http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/gareth-bale-transfer-tottenham-sell-2106285
Football, pure football, should always take precedence above business and the practicalities of profit. Of course, what with player power being more forceful and powerful than a club, the player (the pivotal element in all this) will always opt out. It's far more of a risk to stay and attempt to become a legend than it is to take the more traditional route to success by joining a club that already possesses it.
Talking of Tottenham legends, I want to share this email sent in by reader Mark Holman that gives another perspective to all the rationalising on Bale staying/leaving.
Subject: Bale, brilliant but not a Legend
Message: Spent an hour last night explaining to my 7 year old what it meant to love the shirt. He is distraught about Bale’s imminent departure.
I have supported Tottenham all my life, first game with my dad when we were in the old 2nd division in 1977. I followed them everywhere in the 80’s, sometimes going to matches on my own. Season ticket in late 90’s early 2000’s and try to go whenever I can now, young family permitting. I took my son to his first games last year, Stoke and Everton at home, I was so proud walking down the high road, him wearing Bale Number 11 on his back.
I was gutted when Hoddle left, in turmoil when we sold Gazza. The difference was that Hoddle had given us his best years and Gazza was sold out of necessity, not because they wanted to leave….. Which brings me to my point. Modric, Berbatov, Bale all great players NOT legends! Bale’s brilliance is not in dispute, but Legends love the shirt, if he leaves now he will never be remembered as a Legend.
This is why my favourite players are the likes of Perryman, Mabbutt, Dawson, King, not as talented, but played for the shirt. Listening to Micky Hazard recently talking about Tottenham almost had me in tears.
One more season from Gareth might make the difference, a glorious season, perhaps even challenging. ( I can dream ) We finally seemed to have the squad I have been waiting for after all these years, but no, taken away from us again as the player we have planned around seemingly wants to leave.
No doubt this evening I will be still trying to explain to my son why Bale is leaving, probably easier if I explain what makes a Legend.
In some ways it ties into the Holt Daily Mirror article. Bale, at 24 years of age, does have time on his hand. Another year to truly cement his place as a Spurs great? It's easy for us to ask that. It's more difficult for the player because he has no idea what the next year will bring. Injury. Real Madrid cooling their interest. But then he won't truly know the pressures of a £100M transfer fee either until he moves and there is no guarantee he will find his feet from the off in La Liga (personally think he's more than capable of settling in).
Which is why, as much as we want to retain the clubs heart and ambition, if the player is already elsewhere in mind, if his heart is elsewhere then he's already been lost to us.
In other non-news. Bale arrived at training today at the Spurs training ground, which was breaking news on Sky Sports. Bale without unicycle, juggling balls and goofy smile, proving he's desperately desperately unhappy. Also, new BT ads going up around London that don't include Bale but instead have Defoe plastered on them. Also on the billboards, Andy Carroll. I think we can scrap this as evidence of his departure.