Aaron Lennon cost us £1M. Undoubtedly, for a short burst of time, he was one of the most exciting players I've seen at the Lane in recent years. The electricity he produced when running from his own half into opposition territory, terrorising defenders with his pace was fantastic to watch. Proper bum off seats, fist punching 'Come on son' football. The sparks was enough to light up the Lane like Tesla bulbs dug into the ground. He ignited something out of nothing. Raw energy. Sadly the time we spent excusing his less than refined final ball and shot placement seemed to grow old with him whilst those pulsating accelerations became less frequent. That spark was lost a fair time ago.
Lennon is still only 27 years old. That fearless pace replaced with dogged defending. I'm not going to underplay the fact that he was still important as a team player but in terms of comparing him to his early years, he matured into a right-sided midfielder rather than the game-changer he could have been.
Maybe he was never destined for that. Maybe that consistent end product was an ability that would forever remain disjointed. After-all, any footballer can be an athlete - it's the decision making and vision that sets the best apart from the rest. He didn't seem to have that energetic hunger. There was also a fear. At least that's how I saw it. I remember his time with England, cutting into the middle and going nowhere rather than taking to the wings. Instructions or simply a lack of self belief?
Maybe it was the comfort of nine and half years at Spurs, surviving every managerial turmoil and never adapting enough to stand out more than he could have. Lennon is experienced yet isn't if you care to compare his personal progress. He's aged, his football hasn't. He's like the kid at the back of the class with all the talent but knows he can get by using half of it.
Still, I can't help but smile thinking back to that goal against Chelsea, losing myself in the Park Lane Lower. The impossible equaliser in the epic 4-4. His run and assist away to Milan for Crouch to score. The frantic brilliant movement for the goal in the 2-1 win against Arsenal at the Lane. It's a shame I can pick out these moments. It's a shame there wasn't more. But then regret is something we know all too well at Spurs and rather than bemoan his failures I prefer to celebrate the memories.