Not guilty

Any news?

Not a lot going on in the Spurs sphere in the last week, eh? Sol Campbell finally made his expected move from Spurs, somewhat unexpectedly to local arch-rivals Arsenal.

When I wrote my previous column on Sol, I expressed somewhat restrained anger that Sol had dicked around the fans with his empty declarations of loyalty to the Spurs cause, but I still tried to see things from as unbiased a view as possible. This column is going to display less of the pragmatic approach and be more emotive and from the heart.

Criticism

Tottenham fans have come in for a lot of criticism in the last week or so for the constant and steady stream of bitter whinging that have appeared in the media. Fans of other clubs have basically told us to wise up and get used to our crappy club being crappy for years to come. We’ve been informed that Sol was right to walk away from the muck that is Tottenham Hotspur FC and that we should just accept that he moved to a better club, something he was entitled to do as he wasn’t under contract.

Well allow me to fire back at these people with a tirade of my own because I’m sick and tired of my club taking the abuse it does.

Charge #1: Stop whinging

Why? Because it annoys you? Tough luck. I think with all the money we fans spend following our club, we are entitled to moan until the cows come home (and get up again the next morning). I’m not going to be a hypocrite and pretend I’m there week-in, week-out. The only money I spend is on my sky subscription, merchandise and occasional flights/tickets across the Irish sea to see a game or two a season. There are many people who spend thousands of pounds over the course of the season on merchandise, tickets, travel, programmes, food and other associated costs.

Charge #2: Sol did nothing wrong by refusing to sign a new deal with Spurs

Technically, no. But “technicalities” do not apply to football in the same way that they apply to other careers. Football is about loyalty, it’s about passion, it’s about romance. You can’t say the same when a chartered accountant moves companies. Sol got paid a lot of money every week, money that was contributed by us fans. I think we deserved a little better than what we got in the end.

Charge #3: He joined Arsenal. Big deal.

Well now your argument reall does fall apart. Big deal? I can only assume you are a somewhat sheltered football fan if you don’t understand what local rivalry is all about. The famous “it’s like sleeping with your best friends wife” analogy jumps to mind. That’s exactly what Campbell did. No one understands the ramifications of moving from Spurs to Arsenal more than a local boy who has been at the club since Schoolboy level. Whatever the rights or wrongs of doing what is right for his career, he has indicated that he has nothing but contempt for the fans who idolised him. Well I reciprocate that contempt.

Charge #4: Spurs fans say Campbell is not that good!? Bitter rubbish.

Well here’s an argument that works both ways. Suddenly Sol Campbell is England’s top defender. This is the same Sol Campbell who got slagged off for being included in England squads since 1997. Now he’s world class in the eyes of many (Arsenal, Manure, Liverpool – whichever fans fancy rubbing Spurs fans nose in it).

Admittedly, some Spurs fans have gone over board and declared that Campbell is not really that good. It is true that he can’t take the ball out of defence, has limited ball control and gets dominated by big men (Hartson and Heskey have made him look ordinary at times). But he’s a class defender and now gets a chance to step up to the plate in the Champions League next season. That will be the acid test for his future career. I think he’ll turn out to be a great acquisition for Arsenal.

Charge #5: So Idiot, who is better than Campbell??

An argument I made (and got called an ‘idiot’ for on the football365 website) is that Spurs will get over the loss of Sol as he wasn’t our best player, or even defender.

To hammer home the point, Spurs best player is Steven Carr, who it seems is a defender (at least that’s what the Panini sticker album says so I’ll take their word for it). The basis of my argument is that Campbell was not our best player, nor logically is he the best player in the Premiership. We have to fill that center-back slot I know, but I think we will do so quite effectively. Anyone who saw the quality performances of Tony Gardner and Ledley King last season came to the conclusion that both have developed past the stage Campbell was at when he was 20/21 years old.

In addition, Gary Doherty made huge strides last year and is in contention to start alongside new signing Goran Bunjevcevic next season. Chris Perry and Luke Young are capable central defenders as well and Spurs are well covered in that position. There’s no doubt Campbell will be missed but we did without him for large chunks of last season and were no worse off than the previous 12 months come the end of the campaign.

Hopefully those of you who choose to disagree with me will do so with a bit more class than the rather charmless gentleman on F365!

Charge #6: You’re just a crap club.

Few Spurs fans actually think their team is any good, but hearing a constant string of abuse from fans of other clubs (who obviously have nothing better to do than elevate themselves by slagging off others) only motivates us to shove it back in your face some day. I don’t rate half the first team (and that’s being kind), I think we’ve got a pretty crappy manager and don’t trust our board, but it’s all I’ve got and I have to stick with it.

Whether you think we’re crap or not is of no consequence to us. We know we are but we dream that someday we’ll be proud once again, even if you’re not. Enjoy your own club and stop being so damn boring and pathetic, slagging off others all the time.

Consequences

Sol is gone. He is a Judas. I do loathe him. He was wrong to join our bitter rivals. He knew the consequences of making that choice so let him damn well suffer them. At the end of the day, his ludicrous pay packet will more than make up for the hundreds of thousands of friends he lost world wide. Bitter? Damn right and I have every right. Now get out of my sight.

And finally…

If I read one more headline along the lines of “Walker Walks”…

Ian Walker has left in a reported 2m-plus deal that sees him battle for the Leicester goalkeeper slot with Tim Flowers and Simon Royce. I can’t say too many Spurs fans will be particularly bothered by his loss as the money is ample compensation for someone who was mediocre at best.

I’d be happy with the (projected) capture of Alan Kelly of Blackburn for £600k. Having seen virtually all his 30-odd performances for Ireland, I can say that he’s always been a consistent performer at international level and a model professional. How he lost his place to Brad Friedel (and before that John Filan?) is another thing, but he is a better keeper than Walker and we get to bank almost 2m in profit.

Now, which injury-prone veteran will we get to spend that profit on?

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