NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 26
Submitted by Norman Giller
As Michael Dawson prepares himself for footballing pastures new, I would like to 1) pay tribute to the Yorkshire lionheart for his service to Spurs, and 2) point out a major problem in letting the likes of Daws go out of the door.
Michael would be the first to concede he would not feature in any lists of “most skillful and imaginative’ defenders in the world, or even at White Hart Lane. But he would come very high in any parade of players judged on enthusiasm, effort and total endeavour.
For all your Fancy Dan players, you need a Dawson to give the team motivation and drive. For every one of those skill merchants who can unlock a defence with a single pass or dribbling run, you need a Daws to keep the discipline and defiance at the back.
I have noticed that since it became obvious Spurs were prepared to let Michael go there has been a sort of sneering campaign against him, keyboard warriors pointing out that he was not really good enough for Tottenham.
The feeling against him crept into a lot of forums last season, as his sometimes- clumsy challenges were compared with the more finely tuned tackles from the expensive imports from overseas. Daws was not always pretty. But he was always totally committed.
And so another piece of British beef is shown the exit, following in the path of the likes of Scotty Parker, Steven Caulker, Jake Livermore and Tom Huddlestone.
When will people wake up to the fact that Dawson has that priceless commodity that money cannot buy: SOUL. Every time he put on that Lilywhite shirt he really cared about the team, and it shone out in every performance.
He was not one of the foreign mercenaries here just for the money, and who have not got a clue of the club history or the competition in which they are playing. Daws gave his all in every match, and never ever came off the pitch with a dry shirt.
Even when he was fully stretched by players with superior skill he was giving every ounce he had, and encouraging and cajoling his team-mates. What he gave the team was spirit, and this not only rubbed off on his colleagues but also on the crowd.
Call me old fashioned, but I really worry about the dwindling influence of British players at the club – at all clubs, in fact. Most clubs have thriving academies, and they brings boys along at a nice pace until they reach 18, Then in most cases they are kicked out before getting a chance to establish themselves in the first-team. Harry Kane is one of the few bucking the trend, and I don’t sense unanimous approval from Tottenham fans.
Young Brits are not being given the chance to learn the game at the highest level. Foreigners replace them before they have had time to develop their talents and gain crucial confidence. No wonder England struggled in Brazil. I would like to see a rule enforced for a minimum six home-grown players in every Premier League team. Perhaps we should try to get Nigel Farage to take over the club from ENIC ?
Now for something to get you thinking here in Spurs Odyssey land … see if you can match my top 10 list of of post-war Tottenham Heart And Soul players, selected for their powers of motivation:
1. STEVE PERRYMAN
2. DAVE MACKAY
3. RON BURGESS
4. GRAHAM ROBERTS
5. GARY MABBUTT
6. CLIFF JONES
7. LEDLEY KING
8. ALAN MULLERY
9. PHIL BEAL
10. SCOTT PARKER
Notice that the only out-and-out forward among them is the Welsh wing wonder Cliff Jones, who had a heart bigger than his head and would always run himself into the ground for the sake of the team.
Over to you. Who would feature in YOUR top ten list of Tottenham players that you know would give sweat and blood for the shirt?
You will have noticed that I have not included Danny Blanchflower in my list of Heart and Soul players. Tottenham’s greatest ever captain motivated by example rather than exhortation. He left the fire and brimstone to Dave Mackay, who used to shame team-mates into greater effort by his shuddering power and atomic energy. A brandished fist from the Great Mackay frightened the opposition and breathed new life into his team-mates.
Tragically, Dave cannot remember any of his incredible achievements on the footballing battlefields north and south of the border. He will always be a legend both at Hearts and Tottenham, but now is one of the many old footballing soldiers lost in the fog of dementia.
Dave is among the old heroes that the Tottenham Tribute Trust quietly helps with medical bills. So many of them missed the gravy train, and only earned peanuts while thrilling we spectators with their power and skill.
Dear Danny Blanchflower passed on not knowing his name, a victim of the old footballers’ curse of Alzheimer’s.
All profits from my book on his remarkable life and times – Danny Blanchflower, This WAS His Life – go to the Trust, and is available here at www.normangillerbooks.com
Please support this great cause. I get only good feedback from those who have read the book. Buy it and see if YOU agree with my assessment that Danny was the most influential player ever to pull on the Lilywhite shirt. Thank you.
My regular reader will know I am keeping count of the players the KnowItAlls on Twitter and Facebook say Mauricio Pochettino is planning to buy. Last week the count had reached 29.
It is now up to – wait for it – THIRTY-SIX! If all the rumours are right, you will not be able to move for players at the Lane next season, and at least 24 of them featured in the World Cup finals.
I repeat: don’t believe a word of what the ITKs are saying. They know nowt. Only accept the deal is genuine when the player has signed a contract and is wearing a Lilywhite shirt.
The only story that concerns me is that PSG were making noises about signing Hugo Lloris. Hugo is hugely important to Tottenham, and I hope Mauricio can convince him his long-term future is at the Lane.
And while on that theme, I wish the same for Mauricio! Let’s all get behind him, not in his way.
We are now entering the Pochettino Period. Enjoy.
THE GILLER TEASER
Each week here in my Spurs Odyssey home I test your knowledge of Tottenham. Last week I asked: Which Tottenham defender won 36 caps, and played in the 1998 World Cup finals in France. He has since managed in the Football League.
This caused more problems than any previous teaser I have set, and the majority of you came up with England players like Les Ferdinand, Darren Anderton and (ouch) Sol Campbell. Sorry for leading you down a blind alley. The answer was Scotland’s Colin Calderwood, who was a member of the heart-and-soul club for Spurs.
The first name chosen at random from the correct entries: Tom Johnston, of Welwyn Garden City, who wins a signed hard-back copy of Bill Nicholson Revisited.
This week’s teaser again has a World Cup flavour: Who was the only Tottenham player selected for the 2002 England World Cup squad? And please don’t say Sol Campbell!
A signed Bill Nicholson Revisited book (one of the few remaining hardback versions) to the sender of the correct answer whose name is randomly drawn first. Email your answer please to firstname.lastname@example.org
The book is now available in paperback, with profits going to the Tottenham Tribute Trust: www.normangillerbooks.com
Thank you for joining me. COYS!
The "Giller Index" - listing all Norman's articles for Spurs Odyssey
Top of page | Spurs Odyssey Home Page