End of Season 'awards'
I guess what with the World Cup and the summer transfer rumourwhoring we are about to ride on the back of, even though there is no Tottenham until the start of the 2011 season, I doubt we'll get bored anytime soon. In the meantime (courtesy of the thread by Park Lane James @ GG), feel free to agree/disagree/discuss the following season-review-of-sorts.
I'll be revisiting 2010 in more fragmented detail in the coming weeks, with blog posts concentrating on individuals and games. In the mean time...
Most improved player:
Tricky one this. BAE has improved from being a stop-gap player to a certainty in the first team. Okay, so he's sort of lost his mojo since returning from injury, but it's unfair to concentrate too much on his shaky moments when you consider the performances he's delivered for us. He's a renegade. Anti-football qualities off the pitch, but more than assured and focused on it.
Gomes has improved, mainly be ridding himself of the Paul Robinson curse before it weighed him down. The amount of BS in the press and elsewhere, you'd think there was no way back for him - much like Robbo found out in the end (at least re: his Spurs career). Clumsy silly mistakes no more from the Brazilian though. Flying through the air shot-stopping expertly the only order of the day. Mental strength and character. I'm getting married just so I can offer my bint to him.
Bale has gone on a proper journey. From no confidence to bursting through his skin confidence. He's turned into a marauding pulsating beast of a left-flanker. Better offensively than defensively, but boy, what an offensively it is. So, which one out of all of the above?
I'm gonna go for Bale. Mainly because he was buried under 23 or so games of no-wins and given zero hope of survival.
You could say Danny Rose. Because he broke through and smashed it past the red scum. But he's not exactly held down a place in the side (before or since). So even though he broke through, it might make more sense to hand his honour to (the man of the moment, of every moment) Gareth Bale. Okay, so we all knew he was a talent, but then again many had forgotten mainly because he was never quite the same when returning from injury and practically ruined for being part of a crap side (not his fault that every time he player we failed to win - 10 other players on the pitch, right?). What we saw this year, was Bale's resurgence back in the team and slowly working his way to full confidence. Granted, injuries elsewhere allowed his blossoming, but these things happen. For a reason. And suddenly the age old conundrum about Spurs needing a left-winger has been put to bed. He is quintessentially Spurs. Exciting, fearless. Okay, the latter isn't exactly a Spurs quality, but its one we love to see in a player. And he has it in abundance. Just have to work out whether his future is left-back or left-wing.
We heart you Gareth.
Most vocal/best leader:
Dawson I guess. He shouts. He's vocal. He leads by example. King when he stars is also a leader of men. Perhaps a bit passive in comparison to other captains the country over. Always thought (and still do) that we lack a Roy Keanesque type of leader. When Dawson smiles you want to hug the bloke, scruff up his hair and buy him a Cornetto. If Roy Keane smiled in your direction, you'd probably shit bricks.
Young player of the season:
Bale. Bale. Bale. This season is testament to why we made the investment in him in the first place. Whether the 'Bale to Birmingham' stories were true (do any of you believe we were ready to sell Dawson back to Forest?) the fact that he bided his time, took his chance and has completely consolidated himself in the first team says a lot about his strength of character and determination. There is little to dislike about this bloke. Improve his positioning defensively (will come with time) and we'll have a complete player. His offensive skills will no doubt continue to improve. Got to get him back in the zone with the set pieces also.
Player of the season:
Ah, you got me here. Gomes is a candidate. He arguably took us to 4th spot with his saves, mainly the gems against the red scum in that spell just before they scored their consolation goal. He has gone from calamity clown (Hansen: Worse keeper in the league) to the very best stop-shooter in the EPL. Brimming with self-belief. Selected for the Brazil WC squad. I once upon a time loved Paul Robinson. A lot. He buckled and died a death when his form dropped, and his confidence was unrecoverable. Gomes has gone from man to giant, proving that if you keep the faith, you get repaid.
Dawson is a good shout. Remember the days when he just had to have King by his side for it all to work? Nowadays, we sort of forget about Ledley in a complimentary way in that Daws can command the back four just dandy, along with his buddy Bassong. A year back I would have said 'we need a new centre-back'. Not so sure now. Perhaps a young(er) understudy. But you only have to look at our defensive record (home) to know we have a diamond at the back and can cope with most things, if Ledley is looking on from the stands.
Bale. Just because he is the sexiest of players to watch. Proper hands down your pants footballer.
I can't choose at the minute. All of the above.
Fan's player (who do you admire most in our squad):
King. How many times have we had to read reports about his impending retirement? Countless stories and whispers, always there, haunting him - us - and the club. And yet still her perseveres. He fights on. Okay, so his knee is shot and at some point the docs will tell him he has to quit before the damage is permanent. But until that day, he's a Spurs player and when called upon he is a monster, a colossus, an absolute professional who gives it everything for the team. He makes so few errors, you can actually cite them all (one hand mind you). I admire him because for someone who doesn't train, for him to do what he does every time he is called upon, it just staggers belief. It's no exaggeration or sound-bite to say that. Christ, if he didn’t have a dodgy knee…I dare not imagine.
Team performance of the season:
Daaaamn. You know it's been a good season when you have to stop for several minutes and think about this. I can drift off, day dreaming, remembering. The 9-1 against Wigan was stupendous. But I'm going to skip ahead to the final stages of the 2010 season. For me, the following games bucked the trend and showed us all that Spurs had matured and grown up.
W Arsenal 2-1
W Chelsea 2-1
W Man City 1-0
Three must-wins, none of which anyone expected us to claim victory it.
Out of the three, I'm going to go with the Eastland encounter. Yes, the NLD was majestic. The way we soaked it up, allowed them to play the ball around neatly, forcing them onto the wings and into nowhere land - then striking twice to settle it and just refusing to collapse, even when they scored after The Gomes Show had us all applauding till our hands were bleeding.
Chelsea at home was swagger at its best. We could have scored 5 or 6. They didn't turn up. We did.
But Eastlands, this game was akin to an FA Cup final. Such was the importance that I actually don't care about the semi-final disappoint. Honestly. Can't believe I'm saying it, but finishing 4th and doing so by avoiding any last-day must-dos was just out of this world. Everyone worked as a unit, all knowing the importance of three points and not settling for three. It was the day Harry was vindicated tactically and Spurs showed they don't always bottle and choke. Quite simply brilliant.
I hate this type of 'award'. How do you constitute an atmosphere? The one at home to Wigan was almost carnival in parts, disbelief at the number of goals being netted. The NLD is a horrid excruciating experience, because even though history tells another story, you long for victory and despise defeat. Squirming, biting of nails, you look but you can't look. Still, for how that game panned out, I'd give it to the defeating of the red scum. First time for so long, it would be rude not to. The singing, the feeling - it was different class and a perfect example why White Hart Lane remains the hottest place in London when the chips are down.
Best goal celebration:
Danny Rose. Something about that pumped up look and run facing the Shelf Side, running down the flank as if saying 'Did you just see that? Did you? That was me that was!' It was like a dance video. You know, how they always have someone running or being chased in it? Danny Rose, scored a belter against the scum. I half expected him to run out of the ground in celebration, Forrest Gump style, all the way up the Seven Sisters Rd.
Favourite night out after an away game:
Err. Away game? I remember those days well. It's been two seasons now since my last travels up and down the country, something I did for several seasons before being whipped into sharing my every other weekend with my partner rather than eating pie up at < insert random northern club here >. If anyone cares to suggest one here, please do.
Best away day:
Best visiting fans to White Hart Lane:
Chelsea. Not because of any other reason than seeing their stupid faces at the final whistle. It's so easy, it's so easy, it's so easy at the Lane. Indeed it is. Otherwise, Stoke (wasn't there, was told they were more than decent) and Man Utd (who always make noise).
Goal of the season:
For sheer magnitude. The much maligned Crouch up at Eastlands. For majestic qualities. Danny Rose versus them lot in the NLD. Because he hit the ball when he had no right to do so.
Favourite memory of this season?
All of it. You know how we struggle to believe? You know exactly what I mean. I refer you to when we had a lull this season, lost three points to a newly promoted side or lost a lead in a game we should have won. Those moments are hard to swallow because the obvious knee-jerk would be to say 'same old Tottenham'. And it's not our fault. We only have the past to go on and we know that in the past 10 years or so, we have flattered to deceive. But the progress made, the achievements gained - they have been such that we now owe it to the club and the team and players to believe in them because they have dared to get it right.
What I mean is simply this. Every time we were expected to drop down the table, we dug deep and we moved onwards. We never caved in. We showed bottle and guile and kept true to our style. The mark of a true unit, a team. Sure, we are in our infancy in more ways than one. But we have renewed goals to aim for. So when I say 'all of it' being the whole season as my fav memory - it's because every game, the bad ones and the good ones, seem to fit together like a puzzle. A complete puzzle. With no missing parts. And the final picture is one of hope.
Hope you get what I mean.
What are you most looking forward to about next year's campaign?
How Harry handles the new pressure on him and the team. The new signings. CL football. The way we deal with away games and the away games against the traditional 'Top 4'. The new Spurs shirt. Which I might actually purchase if I can get it without a sponsor on it. Bale's continued development. Another 6 points off the red and blue scum at home.