I want to believe
Some time between 11pm and midnight last night I was alone with my thoughts, on my back on the floor in the living room in the dark, drunk, listening to the rain. My mind racing into the heart of darkness, muttering quietly to myself.
"I want to believe...I want to believe"
Thanks to the wonders of modern technology I wasn't alone for too long. In the grip of my hand, I held the thoughts of hundreds. Thousands. A touch of a button and I was able to share my musings and listen to theirs. The voice in my head was no longer alone.
I was better off in my solitude.
So much fragmented opinion regarding the politics of football and the greed of the modern game, a reflection of modern life where everyone wants to better themselves. That isn't a bad thing, is it? To want the very best?
Ask Gareth Bale.
Ask Tottenham Hotspur supporters.
I've been consistent throughout the summer until the past week or so, always believing he will stay for another season. Why the sudden wobble? Perhaps I'm reminded by the promise I made myself with the departures of Modric and Berbatov. Never to attach myself emotionally to a player in the same way I do unequivocally to my club. The game is about glory and not profit margins, however it's the latter that allows us to compete and progress. It's the latter we tend to dismiss as a lesser important. The reality is, the business engineers the opportunity for progression, to continue to compete in the top tier.
Most of my thoughts are on my Twitter timeline - @Spooky23 - if you want to revisit my philosophical breakdown, minute by minute. I don't want to repeat myself too much here. Who am I kidding? Of course I'm going to repeat myself.
Fact is, all I seem to write about at the moment is Bale. It's still worth noting (repeating) that the current meltdown (of our fan-base) is because our own media (UK) are repeating what Marca said the other day, with a variety of spin and hyperbole, each one contradicting the next. Made up quotes from conversations that obviously didn't take place. All with one unified clear message. Screw Tottenham over. Well, that and Bale is furious and crazed and in turmoil that he has been imprisoned by Daniel Levy and not allowed to escape to Madrid. How very dare we, he, us - want to retain our best player. The privilege of sides keeping their best players and being supported by the press is one that is shared by the sides that sit above us. It's not an honour bestowed on little old plucky Spurs.
Our media however, unlike Marca, can't seem to gauge consistency with the figure, ranging from £50M to £100M. Obviously, they've been given creative license to fill in the blanks in amongst the private internal memo, that Bale's agent has shared with them. Allegedly.
Sure, on the basis of 'once in a life time' or career progression going from Spurs to Madrid is a no-brainer. Equally so the profit to be made on a £7M acquisition, when he could be sold for a stupendous amount of money. Except, we don't really know how much money Madrid have and are willing to pay upfront and if we plan to spend it on replacements. Two or three new players won't equate to having a player every bit as good as Bale. It might however equate to a team stronger than the one we have with Bale.
Ifs. Buts. Mights. Coulds.
Bale won't care about this and neither will his agent - if he moves on. Not to say Bale doesn't care. He's always struck me as level-headed and respectful.
Fact is, the player wont hand in a transfer request because he's not that desperate to go (his contract has a few years left on it) and it will weaken the position Spurs will have in negotiations. It would cause a touch of controversy too. Not great publicity for his image.
If Jonathan Barnett (Bale's agent) really wanted to stir up trouble, he'd get Bale to go on strike. Does Bale strike you as a person that would do so? No. If he did hand in a transfer request, then it's all null and void. The detachment kicks in like it did with Luka and Dimitar.
So Bale is in contract. He harbours ambitions to play for RM. But this remains - as ever - a decision that has to be made by Spurs if and when Madrid bid and if the bid is worth the impact it would have on Tottenham's stature and competitiveness for the new season.
The cynical might say that Levy and Madrid and Bale are already all holding hands and it's a matter of time. It's all been agreed. But then if that was the case, why the constant creative cluster****s in the Spanish press and the repeated regurgitated nonsense in ours? If Barnett has called in favours and asked journalists to push this 'Bale Out' agenda, then doesn't that say more about the difficulties he's experiencing in forcing a move or even a bid?
If Madrid want Bale, bid. They've had all summer to do so. And yet nothing. Instead we get ridiculous statements from Zidane stating 'we won't give up' and that 'we have a good relationship with Spurs'. Are these negotiations on-going at the Comedy Store? Who needs a football agent when the worlds media want to broker the deal themselves? "Let's make sure one of the brightest stars in the Premier League leaves to ply his trade abroad". Theo Walcott obviously safe as houses.
Yes, a bid that amounts to £80M or more would not be turned down. Levy and Lewis unlikely to turn away from their prized asset making a hefty chunk of money for them. But again, there's nothing stopping him moving next season if he still wants out. Once in a lifetime? Give over. If Bale is worth £80M that means he'll get even better next season in the Prem and still retain his value next summer. If he's good enough he's good enough, today, tomorrow, whenever.
I've seen some Spurs fans take the apologetic route saying he should go as he's 'outgrown us'. Let's not get stupid here. Let's also not underplay our potential. The media in England don't want us to succeed. They want the usual suspects to dominate. Retaining Bale and adding in the new players gives us an edge to keep up with the uber-rich that are depth-heavy in world class talent. Not to say it's a guarantee, but it sends out a statement. You know, the one about us not being a selling club. Unless we are and Levy just has a handle on it with how to soften the blow diplomatically when we do accept bids for our star players.
Best to also remember, we're in this position, competing, because of ENIC. Love 'em or hate 'em.
Is the chance to challenge, to create history, not worth the gamble? The result of such an extraordinary feat will transcend any record breaking transfer fee. It's a gamble, but one with the safety that the player (only 24) will still not be in his prime next season and therefore still profitable if transferred. If his form drops, if he fails to ignite the same dazzling skill he's displayed then no doubt the egg will be on our face and the sweat wiped off the face of Zidane and Perez. Is second-guessing destiny another mechanic of succeeding in football?
Perhaps my delusion mocks me and I refuse to stare back at it and accept it's dark reality. Perhaps the progression of this club has to be taken in very calculated steps and not based on any potential for glory on the pitch. We simply have to sell our best players. Or maybe ENIC simply have to make profits.
A 36k stadium will always mean we have to look at selling on these players and rebuilding. But on this occasion (IMO) we can wait another season. And within that season, how about placing the football above the business because if you achieve something truly great, that can lead to maximising profits - if that is what ENIC are all about - then it serves us a greater purpose to hold onto Bale.
A season with Bale and CL qualification means losing him next summer is far easier to take, knowing the pulling power CL (and Bale profit) would bring.
I guess we always seek to rationalise and always take the negative above the positive because in some ways we like to ready ourselves for the worst. AVB didn't want to directly answer questions on Bale and this automatically led to suggestions that he knew Bale was off - as opposed to being completely fed up with the questions.
The silence is deafening because saying anything only adds fuel to the fire. Or there's nothing to say because nothing is being said. Aside from the made up stuff. And with Bale, he can't say anything because he's doomed if he does and doomed if he doesn't. Spurs continue to have the upper hand in this. It will come down to the chairman and the owner and what they choose to prioritise. Some saying the clue is in our spending (Paulinho, Chadli, Soldado) - that we wouldn't be signing any of these players if Bale wasn't off. The art of footballing logic. If there was no Bale, would we be penniless? Is the TV money paying for another Joe Lewis yacht?
What is best for Spurs right this moment? In purely footballing terms? Backing our coach and keeping Gareth Bale in the Lilywhite of Tottenham. Any chance of me mocking the delusion?
If Madrid actually, physically bid £100M for the player than I doubt any Spurs fan would object. We'd be too busy laughing. But that's as likely as Marca reporting something factually.
Saying it's inevitable so we may as well cash in now is also gutless. How about another full season of wonder goals and brilliance from one of the most explosive players I've seen in a Spurs shirt? Players do come and go and the only loyalty in the game is the one that the supporters give to their team. We've survived with losing players as good or better than Bale and we'll survive again. That doesn't mean we, that I can't fight this inevitability. For one, it makes me feel alive. Others might just accuse me of not accepting the truth. For being naive and fanciful. The truth being the examples I've given above in how business is football and players are assets, and money is the prime objective for all concerned. **** being associated with the truth then. Give me delusion.
Money electronically transferred from one account to another doesn't do a thing for me. It's hardly going to warrant a page in the next revision of Glory Glory Nights.
This is about Spurs. This is about being Tottenham. I want us to hold onto our best player. If that makes me foolish, so be it. If I'm waiting for the announcement of a new Spurs contract for Bale over an accepted Madrid bid, then foolish I remain. Rather believe in this than the hypocrisy of rumour upon rumour telling us the deal is already done/being done/will be done/done and dusted.
Which is why tonight I'll be back on the living room floor, drunk, and hopefully listening to the rain again. This time, I'll be leaving my smart phone beyond reach.