Morecambe and Wise, Del Boy and Rodney, Sooty and Sweep and to a lesser extent Ant and Dec, these are names of some great British double acts over the years, but none of the above will live in lilywhite memory like Ledley King and Michael Dawson.
Although Dawson may never be remembered with quite the iconic status of legendary centre backs Perryman, Blanchflower or the King himself, you can’t deny that the boy had his moments. In the 2009/10 season Didier Drogba scored 29 league goals and was basically unplayable. He was so good in the air that he barely needed to jump, but when Drogba with his Chelski fellows visited the lane in the latter part of the season he found himself completely bossed, dominated and out played by Michael who was a white clad man-mountain of towering strength for 90 minutes, resulting in us beating the blues 2-1.
That same season Michael was awarded Tottenham Hotspur ‘Player Of The Year’. This was no small achievement as it was the year we qualified for the Champions League and there had been fantastic, season long performances from players all over the park, but Carlos Tevez summed up Dawson’s season by telling the press of Michael “He is the best English defender I have played against.”
As for Ledley, Oh Ledley, my King, my Captain, cartilage, cartilage my kingdom for some cartilage. We all love him. In fact I think I might even be a little bit IN love with him. He read the game like Steven Hawkins would read the 1 times table. I’ve heard many arguments that John Terry was a better defender than Ledley because he put his body on the line, but the truth is King didn’t need to put himself in harm’s way because he would have already read the situation, nicked the ball and played it back up the field. All this while JT was face planting the penalty spot in a salmon leap attempt to keep the ball out of the net.
Ledley was not just a defender, he was a footballer. He could win the ball and then pick a pass instead of hopefully lumping it up field (something I wish he could have taught Daws). Some may remember the days of George Graham when King was used in the holding midfield role and did not look out of place in the slightest. He still holds the record for the quickest Premier League goal ever, clocked at 9.7 seconds against Bradford. Ledders is easily the best centre back Spurs have had in my lifetime, which is a big compliment when you look at the competition. Vega, Perry, Bassong, I could go on, but I might wet myself.
With Big Mike attacking the aerial ball and King sweeping up everything else, they made one of the best centre back pairings I have ever seen.
Daws and King complimented each other so well that they should have got married and sold the pictures to OK magazine. What one lacked the other made up for 10 fold. Now I would never slander the great name of our King, but his one downside was that his defensive headers never got very far out of the box, Dawson on the other hand could probably have put it in the oppositions’ net from our 6 yard line. This though was all Daws had over Ledley, so with Big Mike attacking the aerial ball and King sweeping up everything else, they made one of the best centre back pairings I have ever seen.
They had there flaws though. Both lads were so injury prone they made Darren Anderton look like Brad Friedel. When describing King’s knees I have never heard the word ‘chronic’ used so much outside of a Dr Dre album. This meant that we (Both Spurs and England) were denied regular use of such a formidable duo. Also in my opinion Dawson was quite prone to a costly lapse in concentration and was never quite the same player when partnered with a centre half other than Ledley.
And so we come to the close. Our majestic Captain retired on the 19th of July (a day that will live in infamy) and whether we agree with it or not, Dawson’s lack of pace was never going to fit into AVB’s high line system, so a reported 9million bid from QPR looks to make us bid a fond farewell, but both men should be remembered with pride. Nothing less is deserved for 2 players who together have notched up 22 years of loyal service (24 if you count the fact that King signed as a youngster in 1996).
Kaboul, Vertonghen, Gallas, Caulker take note, you’ve got some big shoes to fill.