A New Dawn

Discussion in 'Columns' started by Allygold, Oct 7, 2009.

  • by Allygold, Oct 7, 2009 at 1:14 PM
  • Allygold

    Allygold The Editor Admin

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    The strains of Chas and Dave let me know I’d received a text message and the bedside clock informed me in no uncertain terms that it was indeed an ungodly hour of the night.

    My eyes struggled to focus on the phone’s display, but the words still hit the mark - ‘Ramos gone, Redknapp taking over’. What the hell? Was I even awake or was this one of those freaky twists dreams seem to take just when you’re getting to the good part.

    I have to lay my cards on the table from the beginning. For me, Spurs had lost a little of their lustre in the preceding months. I’d spent a year researching the life of Martin Jol for a biography I was working on for the Dutch market. I’d travelled across Europe, talking to his family, friends, colleagues and finally the big man himself after he offered to help me on my journey through his colourful past.

    I spent day after day at his home, talking football, talking life and enjoying his partner’s wonderful Dutch cooking. It’s fair to say I grew close to Martin Jol and my lofty respect for the grinning bear of a man was only reinforced as I listened to the good and bad times life had brought him.

    So the news that he’d been sacked on that October night hit me hard. I was recovering in a hotel room in The Hague after a day spent in the company of two of his brothers, Cornelis and Ger. At one point that afternoon, Cornelis’ phone had rung and he’d proudly shown me the name ‘Martin’ flashing up on the screen.

    He stood up and his immediate tone was one of affection, but he soon moved away from the table as his face grew solemn. I couldn’t work out what was being said, despite my recent delight at learning the numbers one to ten in Dutch, but it didn’t look good. When he returned Cornelis would only say, ‘It’s tough for him at the moment”.

    Martin was Spurs through and through. He knew the club inside out, from its history to every single person who worked at the training ground and the famous old stadium. He’d grown up idolising the double-winning side of the 60s - his first Spurs memory was watching the Cup Winners’ Cup final against Atletico Madrid on his black and white television as a child, sitting alongside Cornelis. Tottenham Hotspur represented the Dutch philosophy of football – it wasn’t just the sweeping play that defined them, but the way they carried themselves on the pitch.

    Having seen firsthand the passion Martin had for the club and listened to the struggles he frequently faced behind the scenes, it felt like I’d caught my wife cheating when I first heard about the sleazy Ramos hotel meeting and then finally the revelation that the Dutchman had been sacked amid the chants of 36,000 Spurs fans.

    Martin told me in the days after his departure: “It was and still is disappointing, because I still feel that if I could have done it in a different way, like Alex Ferguson, I could have gone on to do something.

    “If they had sacked me last year it would have been more of a shock, but not now. This year I guess I was waiting for it. It’s the same with a marriage. If it’s not right, you have to do something else.

    “In this structure, the manager is the scapegoat. I knew that, so it’s not a problem. I was expecting it to happen for months, but it was my mission to make Spurs great again.

    “I still feel that if I was solely responsible I would still be there. It was about making that next step and I could have done it. I miss people at the Lodge. I miss Chris. I miss the staff. I miss the supporters. I had a bond with them. Sometimes things happen and life goes on, but I will always remember them.

    “I looked back at the Getafe match in my home in The Hague. When I watched the scenes it plays like a movie. I look upset and the fans are all singing my name around the stadium. In Holland, they played it everywhere, all over the television. I didn’t know it at the time, but I could not have expected a better farewell.”

    So with that in mind I cut a forlorn figure during the ensuing Ramos era, torn between my love for Spurs and my displeasure at the events that had ousted the man who’d reinvigorated my club. It was strange to watch the Spaniard lavished with the type of players Martin had begged for each summer, but never received.

    I didn’t expect Ramos to fail or want him to – at the end of the day no man is bigger than the club, even a jolly Oranje giant. So to see that late night text last year made me think Tottenham Hotspur had finally lost the plot. Harry ‘Triffic’ Redknapp? How many fans would have been happy with it being Harry wined and dined in a South Coast hotel back in the summer of 2007?

    Ironically, Martin had talked up Redknapp to me as one of the few English managers who deserved a crack at managing a big club. Little did he know the affable Cockney would eventually be warming his plush dugout seat.

    Personally, I’d always liked Redknapp, but ultimately only ever associated him with mid-table mediocrity and wheeling and dealing. Yet his arrival offered me the chance to start afresh with Tottenham Hotspur, to wipe the slate clean with a wife who’d come back home repentant over her summer fling.

    And my preconceptions have since bitten the dust. With the director of football a thing of the past, the likeable Londoner’s vision is now the sole one at the club, which can only be a good thing in the long run.

    He does have the ability to say one thing with his hand on his heart one moment yet do the complete opposite the next, cue Carlo Cudicini waving a Spurs scarf behind Harry, who is strenuously denying any interest in the Italian stopper. However, there is no denying that he is blessed with the best group of players Spurs have employed in a long time and he is getting the best out of the majority of them.

    In the soon to return Luka Modric, Harry boasts a playmaker who could comfortably slot into any team in the world. I’d still like to see the diminutive schemer run the game from the middle with action man Wilson Palacios alongside him, rather than trying to influence matters from the touchline. He proved against the brute power of Stoke last season that he won’t be bullied in the engine room and he’s had 10 months of further settling in since then.

    With everyone fit, there are at least two quality players coveting every position on the pitch, meaning there are far more debates to be had than the old Keane-Defoe one – although that still appears to have spawned a much-talked about sequel.

    The starlets of yesterday are growing up. Aaron Lennon is finally learning that simply speeding along like Road Runner is not enough to sustain his reputation and Tom Huddlestone no longer has the turning circle of an articulated lorry.

    We’ve come up slightly short against Manchester United and Chelsea in recent matches, but the Liverpool victory and the merciless crushing of weaker sides show we’re slowly closing the gap that had re-opened between us and Sky’s beloved ‘Big Four’.

    Our ruthlessness and physical strength will be tested in the coming weeks before another chance comes to finally turn over that lot up the road in the league. If we can go one better than last year’s thriller at Cashburden Grave, then it could take more than a dodgy lasagne to dent our aspirations. It’s a new dawn, a new day and I’m feeling good.
     
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Comments

Discussion in 'Columns' started by Allygold, Oct 7, 2009.

  1. Coyboy
    Nice read, out of nowhere took me back to that painful day two years ago or so. When's the book out?
  2. tttcowan
  3. Coyboy
    I thought he was talking about a new book, biography of Jol.
  4. gloryglory
    Very astute.

    Though there's probably a flipside in that many of those who loved Jol probably wanted Levy out, took against every Comolli signing on principle, wrote off Assou-Ekotto, booed Zokora for not being Carrick and Bent for not being Berbatov, chased some of those players away, and punched David Bentley in bars.
  5. Allygold
    Yep, that one came out in the Netherlands last year.
  6. tttcowan
    Oops, is that going to be publshed in the uk?
  7. Allygold
    I don't reckon so unless he returns to the Premiership one day.
  8. Son_Of
    Jol himself, said: "I can understand the position of the club in light of the results. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here. Tottenham Hotspur is a special club and I want to thank the terrific staff and players.
    "For me the fans were always amazing with their support so I would also like to say thank you - I shall never forget them."
    ================================
    I love martin jol, martin jol loves me. (all together now)

    if he ever comes back to the Lane managing the opposition in a european game it's gonna take a fuckload of loyalty points to get a seat :)

    glad the DoF was scrapped eventually
  9. Son_Of
    I don't care one jot about his lack of hair.
  10. gloryglory
    I was in his army. White and blue we wore.
  11. Spursyid99
    BMJ to come back one day?...as he would doubtless say, "but of course"...taken from us in his prime and maybe, one day after Harry's won the Premiership and the Champions League he'll come back and make up for lost time by doing it all again...dream on you crazy cockerel.
  12. KenilworthSpur
    Despite Jol's tactical shortcomings, I cannot help but love the big man. I must admit, I miss him stood on the touchline scaring our players into playing well! It wasn't until after he went that I appreciated how much of a top man he was (and is).
  13. jamesc0le

    not really a big if, is it!

    come back to spurs bmj we loves youuuuuuuu
  14. jimtheyid
    Ally,

    It's great to have you back.As many have said, it was your articles on Newsnow that drew me to this site in the first place. Like many fans, I don't think I will ever truly get over the departure of big Martin. Hopefully he will return one day. Whenevr I watch the Gatafe video "Stand up for Martin Jol" I cry like a big girl :-(
  15. Destroyer
    Nice article Ally - Good have you back :)

    I can still remember that article you wrote about crossing a field to find a small pub in the middle of nowhere to watch the match - Classic !
  16. southlondonyiddo
    He didnt have any hair

    He was a proper Tottenham man who loved the club

    Too honest for some at the club

    I loved him and he loved me

    Would have brought us some glory had he been backed 100%

    What a shame for us

    :cry:
  17. spursintheblood
    Welcome back, your eloquent words have been missed.
  18. psturdy
    Great to have you back Ally - I credit Jol with restoring my interest in Spurs after the Badger, GG, Glennda and all the messing around with Pleaty and Santini.

    During the Jol era, I can recall on BBC606 message board an "I love Martin Jol, Martin Jol loves me" Thread that ran into 1,000's describing his special powers in all their diverse curiosity.

    Some of those posts just made me snigger uncontrollably. That sort of affection transcends the money and politics in football.

    It's just something that will never happen with Harry.

    One day when the time is right BMJ will return and many a tear of joy will be shed at WHL.

    Neither has he any hair, nor do we care.
  19. CityYid
    Great read. Loved the quote "to wipe the slate clean with a wife who’d come back home repentant over her summer fling." as that's how I feel every summer with Tottenham.

    I thought BMJ did a great job for us and I think it would have been a different story had he been given complete control a la Redknapp, but we'll never know. I think Harry is doing a fantastic job and, although Levy has made mistakes in the past, he was quick enough and big enough to realise it was wrong and change it. I think the future is looking very bright for us. 3rd in the league having already played 3 of the "big four" and with the Woolwich Wanderers later this month, it's looking good. If someone had offered me this in August, I would have bitten their hand off.

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