Gareth Bale Please Don't Go
By Alex Fairchild
Gareth Bale is the most important figure in British football.
Without the Welshman, Tottenham would be an average English side. That being said, Spurs are not a one man team. The likes of Clint Dempsey, Jan Vertonghen, and Moussa Dembele are no slouches and with that trio alone, Spurs would have a strong bit of ammo to fight in the top flight. But, it had to be Bale that attracted them to the club. His pace on the left flank excites all those who have had the privilege to view an appearance from the left back turned winger. But he is an attacking center midfielder now right? Who knows? He just does it all and quite well may I add.
Be it on the television or in person, Bale is Spurs' centerpiece. He gave them the flare which was needed for the North London team to become one of the league's more glamorous sides. However, that sparkle is fading, and fast, as they failed to qualify for Europe's most prestigious club competition yet again. One can only imagine how different all would be had Arjen Robben struck from the spot at the Allianz Arena nearly a year ago today. In addition, as hard as it is to believe the Dutchman blew another cup final, it is bewildering that Tottenham were considered title contenders in early 2012 under Harry Redknapp.
If Spurs were in this year's edition of the Champions League, it may be that better signings would have arrived to aid Bale. Perhaps a more talented striker would do the job or a solid center back that could be a fixture in the Spurs XI, as opposed to an occasional patch in the team's ultimate line of defense.
Tottenham seem to be in a phase in which they look to take the best player from lower level sides. In other words, these players are ones that the hardcore fans respect, but whom the casual viewers glance over. Liverpool tried that last year with Charlie Adam and they continue to do so with Jordan Henderson, as well as Stewart Downing. Andre Villas-Boas robbed the Fulham midfield this summer, running off with Deuce and the Belgian, while Gylfi Sigurdsson was poached from Swansea. Manchester City looked at this approach upon building their way to the top. Gareth Barry was poached from Aston Villa and compatriot James Milner was driven up north soon after and look where it got City.
A few years ago, even after his first PFA Footballer of the Year win, Bale would have been considered one of those players - the star of a not so popular side, despite their Champions League prowess, which tunnels through to Bale's magical performances against Inter Milan, which may have been the greatest individual outings of any Welsh footballing product. He rocked the San Siro and did so in England as well, treating Maicon, one of the best right backs in the world at the time, to a night of horror that one would not wish for their worst enemy. How the Brazilian can even show his face in England will remain a mystery to me.
Sure Robin van Persie is a joy to watch. His volley against Villa in United's league clinching demolition displayed a technical ability and mental focus so far out of this world that it made Rooney's volley against City appear easy. Luis Suarez is controversial. He is the best player on the turn that anybody has ever witnessed. His quick thoughts and skill see him pass defender after defender like a youngster ripping through a line of cones. After he rounds you, his speed and deft touches will see him put the ball through the legs of your teammate before he finds a teammate or the back of the net.
Bale is just simple though. He rarely pulls out the trickery of Suarez or the power of RvP, unless one speaks of his ability to pass defenders. The Spurs man's trademark is knocking the ball by his opponent and beating him to the other side. So much goes into that simple move though, as hitting it a second to early or a blade of grass to hard could see him look like a fool. When he is not dribbling, he is chipping the ball over the keeper or putting Spurs supporters in emergency wards before curing their ails with heart-stopping winners. Against West Ham, Southampton, and Sunderland, the legend had a go from distance, while against Arsenal he dominated in Spurs' biggest win this term. That performance saw him grace the cover of The New York Times tablet edition the following day.
Some days though, he is not involved in the match. He takes the back seat, but that is bound to happen no matter the player. Sometimes that is a footballer having an off day, suffering from fatigue, or brilliant tactics from the opposition. It is the special ones though who always find a way to glory. Sir Alex Ferguson sides are known for winning on days on which they are not at full strength and be that due to to injuries or just poor play, their ability to grind out the three points is what makes them champions of England. In matches Bale has relatively little influence on the ball at least, however, he seems to find a way forward when he and his teammates need it most.
Bale's talent and dependability are what make him so special. We are all dependent on Gareth Bale to produce something special, especially the Spurs supporters who have endured more suffering this year than any other group. The EPL needs Bale to shake up the league. Not only does he gives us the transfer talk and goals, but also a little something about which to brag. That celebration in which he flashes a finger-made heart has grown from a simple sign of affection to a logo on t-shirts, just as the left back, who was nearly ignored by the footballing establishment, has turned himself into an international icon, which the Premier League and Spurs must retain.