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    Harry; Bale leaving would be wrong



    Harry; Bale leaving would be wrong

    Post by Guest on Fri Mar 01 2013, 08:32

    MARTIN SAMUEL: I don't know if you can play jinxed Bale... what Fergie told Spurs (but now the United boss must see potential for a deadly trio with RVP and Rooney)

    By Martin Samuel

    PUBLISHED: 23:02, 26 February 2013 | UPDATED: 07:18, 27 February 2013

    Paul Ince would never put his shirt on in the dressing room. Bobby Moore was last on with his shorts. Gary Lineker refused to shoot at goal in the warm-up. Rio Ferdinand steps over the white line on to the pitch and so does his brother, Anton. Laurent Blanc would kiss the bald head of goalkeeper Fabien Barthez before playing for France, Johan Cruyff always spat his chewing gum out in the opposition half.

    Emlyn Hughes never wore a long-sleeved shirt after Liverpool lost the 1971 FA Cup final, and ars*nal once started the second half of a Champions League match with nine men, because Kolo Toure had to be the last player on to the field and William Gallas was delayed.

    Superstitious lot, footballers. Managers, too. Steve Bruce never watches his team take a penalty. Giovanni Trapattoni sprinkles holy water on the pitch. Carlos Bilardo made Argentina’s World Cup- winning team in 1986 travel to matches by taxi, after the team bus broke down on the way to a group game and they won.
    Superstition: Laurent Blanc kisses Fabien Barthez on the forehead

    Superstition: Laurent Blanc kisses Fabien Barthez on the forehead

    Luis Aragones, former coach of Spain, has an aversion to the colour yellow, while Roberto Mancini puts his fingers in any spilled wine and dabs it behind his ears, for luck.

    So the question remains: had Sir Alex Ferguson been the manager of Tottenham Hotspur, would Gareth Bale have been given the opportunity to turn his career around? He may be the greatest coach in the British game, but not even Ferguson is averse to a dalliance with the irrational.

    When Tottenham lost 3-1 at home to Manchester United on September 12, 2009, Harry Redknapp was talking to Ferguson after the game. The subject of Bale came up — specifically the fact that he had made 24 Premier League appearances for Tottenham without finishing on the winning side.

    ‘I don’t know if you can play him now,’ said Ferguson. His opinion was that Bale’s presence might be seen by the rest of the players as a bad omen.

    Change of fortune: Gareth Bale was on a bad streak with Spurs but now is one of football's elite

    In a world in which a serial winner such as John Terry, the Chelsea captain, has to occupy the same place on the team bus while listening to the same music before games, Ferguson’s reservations were understandable. He imagined the Tottenham players seeing Bale’s name in the starting line-up and emitting an inward groan.

    Redknapp, however, did not have too many options. Ferguson had a point, he knew, but Redknapp had to change the narrative around Bale: two weeks later, he did.

    Tottenham were leading Burnley 4-0 at White Hart Lane when Redknapp introduced Bale as an 85th-minute substitute for Aaron Lennon. Not even a 24-game curse could turn that scoreline into a 4-4 draw. Sure enough, Robbie Keane added a fifth for Tottenham and Bale’s run of misfortune was officially over. Redknapp reinforced the pattern against Manchester City (Bale on in the 89th minute, Tottenham winning 2-0, final score 3-0) and West Ham United (Bale on after 88 minutes, winning 2-0, held out). Even so, the player still wasn’t worth a starting place in the team.

    ‘He had to get tougher,’ Redknapp says. ‘That was his main problem. He was one of those players who if he got a little knock or niggle in training, he couldn’t shrug it off. That becomes very frustrating for a manager. In the end you’d think, leave him, let him get on with it, he’s soft.

    ‘But he was a good lad and maybe he sensed it was getting to a critical point, and he got stronger and more physical. He put in the work, he began to stand up for himself and in time he became the player you see now.’

    As Bale submitted his latest claim to be Footballer of the Year on Monday night, Redknapp watched in admiration from an Italian restaurant in west London. When Bale stood over a free-kick, Redknapp’s hand imitated a balloon with the air shooting out, spiralling in crazy circles to explain the movement he gets on a dead ball. As West Ham’s defenders fatally allowed Bale to shift on to his favourite left foot in injury time, Redknapp anticipated the result.

    ‘Watch out,’ he said, any remaining advice redundant as the ball hit the net. ‘We’d see him do that in training every day,’ he enthused. ‘What a strike. There was nothing the goalkeeper could do.’ Over in Paris this weekend, some were waxing lyrical about one pass from David Beckham that set up the second goal in a match Paris Saint-Germain were already winning.

    For a player brought on to keep the ball, one third of Beckham’s passes in 15 minutes went awry. Bale right now is a genuine match-winner. Redknapp once said that if Tottenham sold him they would be finished and nothing he saw on Monday changed his mind.

    On target again: The Welshman struck the winner against West Ham

    Even so, it took an injury to Benoit Assou-Ekotto to give Bale a run in Redknapp’s Tottenham team in the 2009-10 season. Previously, he had even considered sending him on loan to gain experience — the story that he wanted to sell Bale is untrue as Redknapp’s statements at the time confirm — and Birmingham City and Nottingham Forest were among those interested.

    A fortuitous vacancy in the left-back position, however, halted any action in the January 2010 transfer window, and player and club have not looked back. ‘He’s 6ft 2in,’ Redknapp adds. ‘He’s got the most amazing physique. He can head the ball, run with the ball, shoot, tackle, the only problem is that he can get stranded out on the left if they double up on him.

    ‘So last season we started using him more down the middle, because if he comes inside defenders can’t pick him up as well. The fans didn’t like it. They used to sing Bale plays on the left. They seem happy enough now, though.

    ‘The two games against Inter Milan were the making of Gareth. Everyone remembers the game at White Hart Lane because of what he did to Maicon, but in the second half at the San Siro he was exceptional. He scored three goals and each one went in like radar.

    ‘I don’t know if Inter thought it was a fluke because they did not make extra plans for him in the second leg and he ripped them apart. He was a different player after that, so confident.

    ‘You get wingers who just want to stay wide, but that was when he started looking for the ball and if he could find it, and get it on his left foot, he became unplayable.’

    Stunned: Bale destroyed Inter Milan's Brazilian defender Maicon (right) in the Champions League

    What Tottenham and Bale are to do next is the key. If Bale’s head is turned by interest from the traditional strongmen of the Champions League, nobody will be surprised. Financial fair play is about to create an elite within the elite, an exclusive cabal of financial super-powers: Manchester United in England, Barcelona and Real Madrid in Spain, Bayern Munich of Germany.

    Having fought so hard to get into the exclusive Champions League club, Tottenham are about to discover that they are outside a small roped area reserved for the real VIP guests.

    Bale will now be subject to the same pressure as a thousand before him. It is all well and good getting into the competition, he will be told, but don’t you want to have a chance of winning it? The problem is made more complex by nationality. If the biggest honour in football is a World Cup winner’s medal, then Bale’s career must be defined by his club achievements.

    Northern Ireland’s George Best needed Manchester United’s success in the European Cup to take his fame worldwide and Bale is similarly disadvantaged.

    If he could inspire Wales’s first qualification for a World Cup since 1958 it would be a small miracle. Even UEFA’s expansion of the European Championship to 24 teams may not be enough. Wales are ranked 32nd in Europe.

    Unless Tottenham invest heavily, they will have to settle for a place among the top clubs rather than at their helm. Is it enough for Bale to be in the Premier League’s first four or the Champions League last eight? His current peers in European football — Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, even Robin van Persie — are not merely in the mix.
    Elite: Gareth Bale belongs to a select group of players that includes Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi (below)

    Elite: Gareth Bale belongs to a select group of players that includes Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi (below)

    How long will Bale stay happy at Tottenham as a member of football’s peloton?

    The position of his club is harder to call. Tottenham used to solve problems for Manchester United by selling them players like Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Carrick. Then they played hardball with Chelsea over Luka Modric. Then they sold him to Real Madrid.

    What will be Tottenham’s attitude to Bale? It used to be more palatable if a player moved abroad, rather than to a domestic rival. Yet with the same little band contesting the later stages of the Champions League, this no longer applies.

    If Ronaldo eliminates Manchester United from the tournament this season, a large chunk of his transfer fee will have been surrendered in lost prize-money. Selling Bale to a fellow elite club — even the elite of the elite — only distances Tottenham from the biggest prizes.
    Watch out: If Ronaldo (left) eliminates United, they will lose out financially

    Watch out: If Ronaldo (left) eliminates United, they will lose out financially

    Redknapp maintains that Tottenham losing Bale would be the wrong move for both parties. ‘He’s a family man,’ he says. ‘His grandad comes to all the games, he’s been with the same girl for a long time and they’ve got a kid. If he wants to go home to Wales he can. That all changes once you play abroad.

    ‘As for his football, right now, I’d say only Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are in front of him. He can do for Tottenham what Messi and Ronaldo do for Barcelona and Madrid. But if he goes to Spain, he can’t — because those players are already there, being the main men for those clubs.’

    The final unknown quantity in all this is the manager who once thought Bale hopelessly cursed: Ferguson may now spy the potential for a lethal combination in Bale, Van Persie and Wayne Rooney. Indeed, Bale’s similarities to United era Ronaldo are striking, a prolific goalscorer with a devastating shot from range, who switches between wide and central roles.

    He may have had reservations in 2009, but Ferguson tried to get Bale from Southampton two years earlier and was disappointed when the player chose Tottenham.

    Could he finally prise him from White Hart Lane this summer? He should be so lucky.

    Read more:
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    "We are ever ambitious for the club, driving all areas of the business and our focus continues to be the delivery of an increased capacity stadium. There is much work to be done refining the detailed design and resolving the final development issues. We intend to deliver this to the same high standards of the new Training Centre and to reward our incredibly loyal supporters ....
    Daniel Levy Jan 2013

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    Re: Harry; Bale leaving would be wrong

    Post by vis on Sat Mar 02 2013, 08:46

    Look on the bright side the genius Redknapp will "Bale" out from west London QPR to west London Chelski come this August . . . . . .

    “I have been here since I was a boy, I have always considered it my Club and have always found it hard to imagine wearing the shirt of another team," Ledley King 2012 (any Spurs fan would say the same)

      Current date/time is Thu Jun 21 2018, 04:30