Football. The Beautiful game. And it is never more beautiful that when your team is winning. That is why it is sometimes hard to be a Spurs fan. But it is never dull.
This season was different. It felt different from the start. After the disappointment of narrowly missing out on a Europa League place last season despite a terrible start, there was a new feeling of hope for their Premier league chances. For once, everything seemed to fall into place. The season couldn’t have started better than the 2-1 win over Liverpool. A game that set the tone for a season that would eventually see Tottenham replace Liverpool in the Top 4.
Tottenham Hotspur have always been a great team. But they have not always been a successful team. They have always had the ability to contend with the seemingly unbreakable top 4, but have perhaps lacked that final part of the engine to drive them there.
That missing piece finally arrived in the form of Harry Redknapp in late 2008. Spurs have been through alot of managers over the past years, none of which really settled in or made a big impact. But Redknapp filled a void that no one really noticed was empty. They needed a rock, a solid leader they could anchor themselves to. A constant. Low and behold, in less than 2 seasons, Redknapp rallied Spurs from the Bottom of the League to the top 4 elite. An amazing achievement from a British manager, with a largely British team.
It is this British character that has always been with Tottenham and has always made them an entertaining team to watch. The Big 4 of Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea have dominated the Premier League for nearly 15 years. But these clubs have relied heavily on foreign talent to compete both domestically and on the European stage.
How apt it was then that at the end of the season, the battle for 4th place came down to the British character of Tottenham, versus the foreign wealth of a newly refinanced Manchester City. In the end the British core of the Tottenham team: Ledley King, Michael Dawson, Aaron Lennon, Tom Huddlestone, Gareth Bale, David Bentley, Jermaine Defoe, Peter Crouch and the rock holding it together, manager Harry Redknapp.
Despite the many millions spent on the new Man City team buy their new Billionaire owner from Abu Dhabi, they never really kicked into gear in the match, rarely gelling as a team. Tottenham however stayed strong throughout, with the two centre-backs of Ledley King and Michael Dawson never giving City’s Tevez or Adebayor a chance on goal. With the British striking force of Defoe and and Crouch up front it was only a matter of time before the plucky Brits got the ball into the back of the Manchester City net. Thanks to a Peter Crouch header, the night ends Manchester City 0 – 1 Tottenham, and with it ends Man City’s chances of reaching the Champions league.
It just goes to show that money doesn’t make a great football team. Regardless of reaching their 4th place target, Man City have achieved good things this year with their highest ever Premiership finish, and they are definitely a good team. But it was the years of character that made Tottenham a great team this season. So as Man City owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan sits on his flight to Abu Dhabi today, he should realize that you can buy all the great players you want, but you cannot buy history and character. Better luck next time City. Up the Spurs!