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

  1. Riandor
    I think that's the key aprt, Levy messed up, but was quick to man up and rectify it.

    BMJ gave us back self respect... but when players started to leave that never should have (like Carrick) I started to fear that BMJ would never take us on into the top 4.

    But I still liked the man immensely.

    His time with other clubs will only strengthen his managerial skills and experience and I would love for him to come back one day a better manager into a better club!

    I love Redknap and am sure he will do us proud and after he has retired, lets bring back the bald one.

  2. grittyspur1
    Let's hope that the reports on Spurs Odyssey and Harry Hotspur that claim that 'Arry was interviewed for four hours by the police this week, and that he is currently out on bail are untrue. To loose 'Arry right now would be a disaster, after the 'Triffic job he's been doing at Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.
    Welcome back, Ally!
  3. mawspurs
    How we've missed your column Ally. Welcome back. Great comeback too.

    Apparently Jol is on Levy's list for when Harry eventually goes. He'd be my first choice.
  4. SouthLondonSpur
    As many have said, it's good to read your articles again. It was those post match write ups which also got me hooked to SC. I hope you have the time to submit more, but we understand you now have an elevated status!

    It's interesting to know you had that time with MJ and his family. That must have made it all harder when he got sacked. He seems pragmatic about it, but then he would have to eh? Ode to MJ is a great book, thanks for that.

    Let's all look forward to beating the Ar5ena1 eh?
  5. striebs
    I even enjoyed the Season before with Pleat as caretaker , the 3-4 against Man City and Michael Brown scoring the goals to keep us up . Praying that the Ginger Pele would be fit .

    Can remember roaring "We've got a manager" repeatedly in the car when Santini was appointed after so many months without anyone at the tiller .

    The influx of new players Arneson brought in like Pedro Mendes , Taino and Stalteri and marvelling at Freddie Kanoute jumping over 3 feet in the air to catch a ball on his velcro chest .

    And who can forget the swan song for Super Simon Davies who has beaten the injuries and is playing so well at Fulham .

    All great times and with plenty of emotional highs and lows which being a Tottenham supporter is about .

    Not so under Ramos , I only enjoyed two of his matches , the first one being his only emotional high during his tenure - the final .
  6. Robelito
    Ally, It very rare that I register a post but your article hiot the spot. I still miss Martin and feel very strongly about how badly he was treated. And when King Harry was crowned I had concerns but for now they are on the back burner.

    In Harry we trust but one day, one day in the future, I hope Martin returns!:beer:
  7. newbie
    Your articles are always fantastic, i often use to think why are you not writting for a big news paper.

    however i feel depressed right now and really miss Martin Jol :(

    They were good times, 3 fantastic seasons.

    And to the guy who said Martin was tactically rubbish up yours i dont personally belive that at all.
  8. Allygold
    Simon Davies was always a favourite of mine. I remember thinking the double signing of him and Matthew Etherington from Peterborough would turn out to be one of the bargains of the century. In a way it still wasn't bad, we must have made a good profit.

    Davies, while not quite on the same level, was another Darren Anderton for me. A player with the potential to be a top top player, but knocked back by so many injuries. Wasn't it shin splints that kept Davies out for so long?
  9. Insomnia
    me too

    Ally great post,brought a tear to my eye
  10. SpurSince57
    You say, 'tactical shortcomings', and one could indeed criticise him for being too cautious and employing tactics that weren't 'the Spurs way' (although you arguably have to be into your mid-30s to have witnessed that). You would hardly accuse HSV of being a cautious side last season, though, especially if you'd watched them over the previous couple of seasons. The fact is, Martin made the best of what he had—we didn't have the players to succeed 'the Spurs way', but we could play well-disciplined if largely unexciting football that pushed us into a top six place, and almost the CL. No-one expected too much of the 2005-2006 season, and, sadly, unforeseen success bred unrealistic expectations, not just amongst fans but at board level.

    Like Ally, I was somewhat dubious about Harry, but virtually anyone would have been better than an overhyped Spanish journeyman who'd somehow won us a cup but been an ocean-going disaster in the league. And yet here we are, just over a year on, pushing for a top six (maybe even a top four?) place in what promises to be the most open EPL season in many years, playing 'the Spurs way'—great going forward, but dodgy at the back.

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