protecting your assets

For the past few decades, Tottenham Hotspur Football Club jave seemed caught in a cyclical pattern.

Bring along a promising player, developing them into a highly prized commodity. Fail to convince them the club can match their needs/ambition/desires/etc. Receive repeated and increasing bids for their services from those in greener pastures, eventually culminating in Spurs folding to the player’s demands to sell them on. Rinse and repeat.

Tottenham's Jan Vertonghen

is super jan super sad?

All of this in spite of repetitive public declarations of the club’s desires to challenge for Champions League places and domestic glory. And it doesn’t take a genius to know that regularly selling on your best players and hoping to replace adequately them with cheaper options is a risky approach.

Notable recent examples include Gareth Bale and Luka Modrić’s protracted transfers to Real Madrid for an estimated £140 million. Before that were Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Carrick’s sales to Manchester United. The sale of Paul Gascoigne to Lazio in 1992 and the traitorous move of Sol Campbell to Arsenal — though not a sale but a free transfer — are further examples.

Simply put, Spurs just have a hard time retaining their finest talents.

Exceptions exist, of course: think of someone like club legend Ledley King who spent his entire career with the club. But then again, you could be forgiven for wondering if he would have moved on too had his knees been more reliable.

But this is all old news, right? Why harp on about it now?

Because one of our most valuable assets is once again publicly complaining about his experience at Spurs. And as we’ve seen before, that’s usually a bad omen for their long term prospects in North London. And this time, it just so happens to be our superhero-esque Belgian defender Jan Vertonghen.

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ten words or less #73

Sir Alex Ferguson

as we say goodbye to one of the legends of the game, i can’t help but hope the door hits him on the way out.

Ever since the rumors of his imminent retirement in the early portion of the week, I’ve toiled in vain to write the perfect opus for Sir Alex’s career. Yet with all that is being penned on the great Scotsman in the time since, it’s been hard to find not only a unique angle… but also an appropriate way to express my feelings towards Ol’ Red Nose. On one hand, I have mountains of respect for a man that’s won more titles than entire leagues of clubs combined, has managed to adapt his game several times over to match the prevailing playing styles of the time, and has corralled egos larger than your average Walmart Super Center. On the other hand, I hate Fergie for his influence over the FA, the fear he invokes in referees, and the times he’s pried away Tottenham’s best players.

So since I’ve been unable to tap out an appropriate homage to the greatest manager I’ll likely ever see, I’ll do the next best thing and link to the best piece I’ve read about him so far. And that’s how I’m starting off the latest edition of TWOL.

Fair well, Fergie. Here’s hoping you have a long and lovely retirement… and that Moyes drives United to hell in you absence.

Even receiving a hairdrying invokes respect for Fergie. – sportsjournalists.co.uk

Hey… this looks familiar! – theoriginalwinger.com

Kobe Bryant’s new kicks looked to on-pitch inspiration. – thebeautifulgear.com

The Vatican not only has a league, Americans boss it. – wsj.com

Despite erratic form, I still love me some Benny Assoun-Ekotto. – guardian.co.uk

American soccer re-imagined… a familiar design for Over-the-Rhine.
– pcgdstudios.com

Nike’s updated R9’s will hit you right in the 90’s. – nikeinc.com

Stellar MLS art: For Cub and Country. – behance.net

Cool… until they use it to buy Bale next year. – theoriginalwinger.com

One of the most important debates in American soccer. – mlssoccer.com

ten words or less #57

As you might have been able to tell, things have been hectic around WSOTP Central of late. Between two trips to New York for real world work, a family vacation in Charleston, South Carolina, and out-of-town weddings, it’s at least felt like a struggle to find the time for the blog. Which is odd, because I’ve actually done a lot for it lately.

Tottenham's Gylfi Sigurdsson

i know it’s only preseason, but gylfi is already looking like one hell of a signing for spurs.

While in New York I was able to sit down with the guy who runs the country’s greatest soccer pub. In Charleston, I had a chance to meet the awesome travelling support from the Orlando Ruckus when the Battery hosted recently-crowned USL Champions Orlando City. And I’m also running a giveaway for some swag from Storelli, and all you have to do is Like my Facebook page to be entered!

And believe it or not, there’s still more exciting stuff on the way. So hang in there a little bit longer for some of that delectable original content that keeps you coming back for more… or something like that. These links should get you your fix in the mean time…

It seems like D.C. wants to lose United to Baltimore. – washingtonpost.com

Would a Boca return to MLS be worth the investment? – theshinguardian.com

“Please please please please don’t call me a racist”. Brilliant. – fitbathatba.com

Did Chevy’s Manchester United Deal get their CEO fired? – adage.com

Glen Johnson’s claim to be an American sports fan debunked. – youtube.com

Continuity under Tito seems almost assured for Barça, right? – reddit.com/user/Atald

Settled on the new Vapors… then Maestri III’s came out. – soccerbible.com

A foosball badass, too? Disco Benny is a legend. – hamhigh.co.uk

“World’s first bio-engineered soccer ball, grown from living cells.”
– pigsbladderfootball.com

And first to market with a GLT-compatible ball is… – select-sport.com

ten words or less #38

sadly, this is how i probably appear to anyone from europe.

Between the Euro qualifiers, friendlies, the League matches and the Champions/Europa League qualifiers, I have to admit that I’m having a hard time following this season. Everything feels so… disjointed.

If it weren’t for Rooney being an idiot and Tottenham throwing away a winnable match, I wouldn’t feel like I know what’s going on this season at all.

Assou-Ekotto always tells it like it is. – mirror.co.uk

Another game for the soccer bar I’ll probably never own. – theoriginalwinger.com

The science is in: football is good for men. – independent.ie

The Brasileirão’s in danger of becoming a two-horse race. – theelastico.com

Ever wanted to know why random strangers wear certain jerseys? – footballists.wordpress.com

Today I Learned: Liverpool’s Pepe Reina has OCD. – dirty tackle @ yahoo.com

Paying Modrić what he deserves could be very dangerous. – telegraph.co.uk

wrong side XI: left back

this is part III in the “wrong side XI” series, where i’ll be selecting my very own starting eleven, assuming of course that i could choose any player from any team in the world. you can read the rules i’ll be following to make my team selection, and what formation i’ll be squeezing them into, on the first post in the series.

benoit assou-ekotto of tottenham, patrice evra of manchester united, marcelo of real madrid, ashley cole of chelsea, gareth bale of tottenham

which one of these fine defenders will receive the honor of making my squad?

Regardless of whether you want to call the spot a left “wingback”, “full back”, or the rarely-used-on-this-side-of-the-pond “outside half”, I love this position more than any other.

Of course, that may have less to do with my mastery of the position, but more to do with the old adage of “put your worst player at the place they’re least likely to hurt you.” (I might have just fabricated that adage, but it seems like something my youth team coaches would have done.)

Whatever the reason, left back is by and far away my favorite position to play on the field. A big portion of why I even chose the 4-5-1 as my formation for this imaginary team is to allow the backs to play as I like to play, getting into the attack down the wings. The choice to go with two defensive center mids instead of just one gives them even more freedom to move forward, as a the extra man in the midfield can always provide quick cover.

So as you might expect, the players that I considered for this spot must have a good attacking acumen, particularly with taking on players and being able to serve a good ball in from the flank. But let’s not ignore the fact that this is a defensive position, and that it’s primary responsibility is still to neutralize the opponents attacking threats down the wings. In short, this player must be able to attack and defend at a world class level. Slouches need not apply.

So who was considered and who made the grade?

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