Category Archives: Tributes

A Tribute to Jermain Defoe

Jermain Defoe is a legend, both as a person and as a player. He has a reputation as football’s bad boy. A completely fallacious reputation, needless to say.

THE PERSON

Most people would be willing to give a person a bit of slack, if they lost their cousin, father, brother, grandmother and within the space of 5 year. 3 of the 5 deaths coming in tragic circumstances.
Except, of course, if it’s Jermain Defoe. Obviously.
His response to all these bereavements was somewhat contrary to what those who subscribed to the tales of his bad boy mentality. 
The Jermain Defoe Foundation
He set-up, most notably, the Jermain Defoe foundation, which has done tireless work for the homeless, abused, disadvantaged and vulnerable children of St. Lucia and most recently raised 80,000 pounds for the cause in a Gala dinner 3 days before leading a Tottenham attack that put Tromso IL to the sword.The main industry in the West Indies is tourism, and St. Lucia is no different. such is the way of business, the St. Lucian banana industry was driven out of the market by larger countries capable of greater production. Tourism and Light Industry are now the two main sources of income for the pineapple shaped island. St. Lucia is now a terribly deprived country and then Hurricane Tomas struck the island in 2010 and Defoe was even more determined than ever to bring the country out of the gutter.
 
E18GHTEEN
In response to the murder of his brother, he didn’t feel vindictive, as the narrative would suggest. He set-up the E18GHTEEN Project in North London as well as giving his full support to The Prince’s Trust. E18GHTEEN in particular is doing immense work to ensure that young people don’t get involved in the more nefarious side of life.It aims to keep 16-19 year old’s, who are in care in school and prepare them for independence and adulthood.
make no mistake, making the transition for dependence to independence for these young people is incredibly tough. Not to generalise, but most of these adolescents would likely end up stacking shelves or involved in crime and the statistics reflect this. 29% of people who were in-care are not in any sort of employment, education or training by the age of 19. 23% of the prison population have spent time in care and 20% of women who have spent time in care and then leave between 16-19 are mothers within a year.
160 students every are enrolled into E18HTEEN, at least 80% leave with a qualification selected from 18 different academic training course and 18 different sports training courses and at least. 75% of them will have at least 18 hours of community work under their belt.
They, otherwise, would have been pretty much unemployable but thanks mostly to E18GHTEEN and Jermain, are very employable indeed.
Genuine Concern
Unlike a lot of wealthy sports-people who set up charities, Defoe actually takes an active interest in the charity. He has a genuine concern about the people that the charity helps. It’s nothing new to perpetuate some good PR with a foundation or charity and Defoe gets this. He spoke to the media saying; “But this is not a case of me thinking I’ve got to do something positive to turn some negative press around. This comes from my heart and even if the press didn’t know about it, I’d still get the same great feeling inside.” I believe him because all of his charities have been, in some form, influenced by his life. It shows that he put thought into what his charities would do.
Defoe isn’t even a particularly rich sport-person, he was reportedly earning 3.12 million pounds a year under his current contract. Plenty of sports-people earn well in excess of that and haven’t done anything near what Defoe has done for the less-well-off. 

 THE PLAYER

Fifth highest all-time goalscorer for Spurs.

Thirteenth highest  Premier League goalscorer.

One of four players to score 5 goals in a single Premier League match

Highest scorer in Europe.

10 years of a 13 year career spent at Spurs.

Only player in the history of ever to score in 10 consecutive games.

He has scored 21 goals as a substitute, more than any other player during the Premier League era.

When David Pleat signed Defoe, it was a massive statement of intent. We were a god-awful mid-table club at the time. We went ahead and said ‘F*** You’ to the world and signed the hottest prospect in town at the time. Pleat spoke at the time, saying; “I hope he will have a fine career at Tottenham.”

Defoe has been used as a substitute player for much of his career. He’s never really been given a fair crack at the whip at Spurs, and yet he’s still the fifth highest goalscorer in Spurs history.

The only time that Defoe was given an extended run in the team was in 09/10. This was the season we qualified for the Champion’s League as everyone knows. Defoe was directly involved in a goal every 104 minutes this season and the partnership Peter Crouch and Jermain formed was the lynchpin our attack was built. 56% of our goals in the Premier League during 09/10 Crouch or Defoe were directly involved in. This very much dispels the myth that Defoe is incapable of forming a partnership with someone.

To put this context, the formidable Adebayor-Van der Vaart duumvirate of 11/12 contributed to 66% of our goals. Remember good that duo was?

Synonymously, Defoe hasn’t been involved in any of the build-up play. He was a striker who play on the shoulder and looked to finish the chances, that they were created for him. There is no problem with this because Defoe was really, really good at it.

People ask where Defoe got a reputation and being England’s most natural finisher. It’s because he was, at the start of his career, a brilliant finisher. That started to desert him as he got older. Then he re-invented himself. Whenever he played, he was immensely involved in the build-up. And this is what cements Defoe’s legend status. For all his career he played a certain way, and that type of play has become redundant. When it became obvious it was ‘Adapt or die’ Jermain did his utmost to change his style of play, and did so successfully but by then, it was too late.

Jermain Defoe, a Spurs legend. Jermain Defoe, a legend.

Jermain Defoe, he’s a Yidoo. Jermain Defoe, he’s a Yiddo.

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A Scapegoat goes for a Walk

An Ode to Kyle Walker and a brief note on scapegoating

is Kyle walker British? Check.

is Kyle Walker young? Check.

Is Kyle Walker more brawn than brain? Check.

Unfortunately for Walker, he has all the makings of a Spurs scapegoat.

You won’t see it written on his contract, but when Kyle Walker signed for Tottenham Hotspur, he was signing up for a torrent of abuse.

He was just plain bad in 11/12. Sure, Walker did stuff that sticks in the mind, like scoring against Arsenal or that free kick against Blackburn. I remember distinctively Walker running from his own box, the whole length of the pitch and into the opposition’s box. Often this would lead to a dangerous attack down our left. Walker has always been a physical specimen, something you’d expect to be the by-product of selective breeding in humans. Even in the 90th minute of games, he’d sprint to overlap Aaron Lennon or Niko Krancjar.

Unfortunately, he was more brain than brawn. he’d make mistakes almost weekly. More often than not, he’d recover thanks to his specimen like physicality. Sometimes he was punished for these mistakes. A lot of people wrote him off.

Others kept faith in him, whenever you have a player so young (20/21 at the time) with such athleticism there is always the chance that he’ll make it as a star. On the other hand, he could also turn out more like Ade Akinfenwa. The majority wrote him off.

12/13 started brightly but it was only a flash in the pan. The year continued in much the same vain as the previous. The quiet rumblings about a player lacking ability boiled over and they became louder and louder. It all culminated in October when Kyle walker was forced off Twitter by a minority of asinine fans who blamed him for the 4-2 against Chelsea, and made those feelings known.

They blamed Walker solely as opposed to Friedel, Sigurdsson or Gallas who were far, far worse. They blamed Walker in a game where we were missing Bale for personal reasons and Mousa Dembele through injury. It was asinine to blame Walker but blame Walker they did. And I know exactly why. The first three sentences of this blog post. Walker is everything that makes a Spurs scapegoat. so, although, his performance didn’t merit it, he was the player who was sent into the forest through land-mines for sustenance.

Then the proverbial lid was put on the pot. Walker went through a patch of consistent play, nothing spectacular, nothing hand-bashingly stupid.

Until March 10th. Until the pot  boiled over, again. This game was against Liverpool at Anfield and it was probably the nadir of his career. Walker received a pass and attempted a back-pass to Lloris which Lloris mis-kicked. Stewart Downing latched onto the ball and hit the ball through Jan Vertonghen’s legs from 12 yards away. I’ll guarantee you that Downing will never do that, or something similar,  again but he was playing Spurs so he had to pretend he was Arjen Robben in disguise. 

Then Defoe and Benoit Assou Ekotto combined to give a head-bashingly dumb penalty. That was never mentioned because everyone loves Benny. I love Benny.

As a person.

Not as a player, in fact, I don’t even like him as a player. I quite dislike him, to be truthful.

Then we played Inter Milan and they wiped the floor. we got through. Somehow. walker played as well and played badly. He was dropped for Kyle Naughton, who, to be fair, was playing quite good at the time. Then came the international break. Walker returned to side vs. Swansea. less than month after that happened at Anfield, Walker took to the field vs. Everton.

Leighton Baines and Steven pienaar at the time were the best attacking left side in the league.

Walker single-handedly shut the two of them down. He hasn’t looked back since.

Then Man City came to the Lane.

It isn’t very often that you can attribute the rise or the fall of a career to one incident. You can attribute the fall of Kolo Toure’s career to an incident in the 2008 African Cup of Nations . Amr Zaki turns Toure inside out. He has never been the same since, although he has shown a little spark this season with Liverpool. With walker you can attribute the rise of his career to one incident in his career.

It was the 75th minute, the ball comes out to Walker and he has about 10 yards of room. Sound familiar? Arsenal at the Lane in 2011. Everyone though the same thing. “SHHHOOOTTT!!!!” But no, Walker saw there was a better option. Bale was to the right with space to run into. the closest City player was Nasri.

The old, impetuous Walker would have shot. It might have went in, it probably wouldn’t have went in.

He played another blinder versus Chelsea.

This season has been continued in much the same vein. Defensively speaking Walker has been rock solid. He has never been caught out of position, the odd time he is, he always recovers. We concede very little goal-scoring opportunities but if it’s down the right hand-side, Walker is always there to save us. He has bulked up and now rarely losses an aerial duel. Offensively, walker has been phenomenal. He created 6 chances versus Fulham from right back. he had the most final third passes versus Fulham from right back. FROM RIGHT BACK! He also managed the most passes over the course of the season and has created the most chances.

Kyle walker hasn’t had it easy over the past two years but he got through all the baseless criticism and impetuous dismissals. This is my tribute to him, a player I’m proud to have on my team.

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