Congratulations to Andre Villas-Boas on winning the December Manager of the Month award. I see the media are trying to stir up a war of words between him and Harry Redknapp ahead of the match against Queen’s Park Rangers. Gentlemen, don’t fall for it.
Queen’s Park Rangers
When I was a kid I lived in West London. I was not allowed to travel across the city to White Hart Lane until I was a teenager. My Mum came from Brentford and her cousins used to live nearly opposite Griffin Park. I remember sitting with a lemonade and a packet of crisps in the Griffin pub next to the ground. However, despite that my 2nd favourite team after Tottenham was actually QPR, followed closely by West Ham. We are looking at the ‘66 -‘68 period when they rocketed through the divisions, won the League Cup and Rodney Marsh was king. I used to hang off the chicken wire fence down by the corner flag at Loftus Road in what was fancifully called the family enclosure. I fondly remember one 5-2 victory when he faced us kids juggling the ball in the corner with his back to two defenders who thought they had him where they wanted him. He juggled the ball for a while, gave us kids a wink and then scissors kicked it back over his head for his colleague to score. One of those sublime moments. That’s entertainment, as Paul Weller would say.
Africa Cup of NationsThe Emmanuel Adebayor/Togo situation is an unusual twist on the club vs. country argument. I can’t normally sympathise when clubs complain about players going off mid-season to play in competitions like the Africa Cup of Nations. After all, you have normally signed a player knowing full well that this is in the offing and should be expecting to lose them. You should reinforce your squad in anticipation. If what I have been led to believe is correct, the position with Adebayor is different. When we were considering transferring him permanently from Man City, his presence throughout the coming season was a relevant factor. If I was negotiating with him, it would have made a difference as to how much I was prepared to pay him and even whether he was offered a contract. I know negotiations were complicated and I understand that Man City agreed to cover some of his salary because they had set them so high that hardly anybody else could afford them.
What I do remember is that public declarations had been made on Adebayor’s behalf that he would not be playing for Togo. His decision but surely that would have affected whether we signed him permanently in the summer and who else we let go… Now he has changed his mind and is going to disappear after all, leaving us with only Jermaine Defoe and Clint Dempsey as recognised established strikers. On the face of it, this is unfair and shows disrespect for the club. So far, our dealings in the transfer widow have been impressive. It looks like we may need to do another one for a striker. Adebayor should not expect to be treated with indulgence when he gets back. He’ll have a long way Togo to win me back over.