Behind the summer shoots of optimism resides the bitter inevitability that Spurs will shortly be losing their best player in the modern era. We have historically been a great nurturer of the enigmatic genius, the likes of Gazza and Berbatov able to show their true worth at the flick of a switch. But has the club ever enjoyed such a consistent spell of world-class play from any one individual?
Whether you begrudge him his move or not, I will always be grateful for the brilliance that our Welsh wizard was able to display for us on a near weakly basis. Naturally I was amongst those that would implore the other ten mortals in ‘lilywhite’ to get the ball to our boy wonder, because more often than not it paid dividends. Were the critics right in saying that we were dependent and one-dimensional? Of course they were.
Those who glimpsed his performances through the blurred looking glass of a highlights reel were often spared the relative mediocrity of our all round displays. Week after week he stole the headlines with last gasp winners that defied belief. Too often Spurs had shown little of note during much of the game, where blunt finishing was masked by the Welshman’s class.
Spurs have too good a squad to end up relying on one individual. Last season the onus was on Bale, and more often than not his influence crowded others from the game. The ‘free role’ may well have suited the ego of our star, but in reality it just added fuel to those that branded us a one-man team.
So what of Spurs now?
I speak as if Bale has gone and naturally I hope to be pleasantly surprised, but I am a realist and I wholly believe his deal to Madrid will materialise. Spurs have spent big and they have spent wisely this summer. Undoubted world-class talent has been shipped in without the sense that any particular person will rise to prominence above another.
From the face of the first couple of games we have achieved some kind of balance. A clutch of quality stars in our midfield that offer us options from any position, something you just couldn’t say was true last season. There is definitely more of a sense of team and urge to play for the collective cause at the club. Even tonight the likes of Townsend and Rose were able to shine because their teammates made it possible.
My point is that this season we are in a position to torment opponents from almost anywhere on the park.
Last year was brilliant and Bale spearheaded that campaign. This season Spurs look set to be even better, and the way I look at it there may not need to be that single shining light to lead us.
Will we be more of a collective force once Bale leaves?