Photo by Big Ears
James Harris aka SawboSpur1882 reminisces over Aaron Lennon, a player who gave us some great memories and a player who when he scored, we never lost. Thanks for the good times.
We owe a lot to Aaron Lennon. That goal at the Emirates. Our first league win over Chelsea for 26 years. Much of our Champions League qualifying season in 2009/10. Finally, unforgettably, 0-1 at the San Siro. Often maligned and criticised, much of Tottenham’s best moments over the last 10 years have heavily involved the diminutive winger and for all his faults, his contribution should never be forgotten in that decade playing alongside others who have taken much more of the spotlight.
Pace. The one recurring word that shadowed Lennon’s 10 years in N17 and rightly so. No final ball, no footballing brain, not enough goals or assists, bad attitude off the pitch were also closely associated descriptions of the England international. Yet even in his last performances in Lilywhite, a sense of excitement and expectation arises when he receives the ball in the final third.
That awkward, short-stepped sprint of his left even the best full-backs questioning whether he was really there at all long after he had accelerated past them. Patrice Evra still wakes up in cold sweats at night.
Even in his last performances in Lilywhite, a sense of excitement and expectation arises when he receives the ball in the final third
As a Tottenham fan, “flair” is the buzzword your dad would always use when describing former players from past generations. “The Tottenham Way”. The words of Nicholson, Blanchflower and the like were hammered into us, about how doing things with a flourish to achieve glory is what Tottenham is all about. He didn’t have Bale’s left-footed cannon. He didn’t have Modric’s pinpoint vision, nor did he have Rafa’s knack for being in the right place at the right time to score.
What he did do though was get people off their feet. It didn’t always end with a goal, sometimes not even with a chance, but in that brief second where he left his marker in his wake, Lennon looked invincible and had the crowd roaring. If the “The Tottenham Way” (© of Daniel Levy) is about excitement then, often although all too fleetingly, Lennon was the embodiment of it.
The list of players that Lennon has repeatedly seen off to reclaim his position at Spurs over the years is probably longer than the 5’5” man himself. Routledge, Ghaly, Malbranque, dos Santos, Bentley, even Andros Townsend and Erik Lamela earlier this season have all failed to hold down a place, with managers preferring to trust in Lennon’s consistent talents, not only in his attacking, but also in his tracking back and support of his own full back.
It is not a mistake or luck that five managers decided Lennon was better than anyone else on that right wing (or at No. 10 if you’re Tim Sherwood). Even Mauricio Pochettino was won over by Lennon earlier in the season after some promising cameos, but something must have gone badly wrong behind the scenes for the England winger to have been frozen out so suddenly. This is all just speculation though; don’t wait up on a hard-hitting autobiography from the man himself explaining the situation either, perhaps a book of eyebrow stencils instead.
It is not a mistake or luck that five managers decided Lennon was better than anyone else on that right wing
Many will be happy to see Lennon finally depart and perhaps it is now the right time for him to join up with Hull City’s tribute to the Tottenham circa 2011 substitute’s bench, but he will forever be a constant in the decade of football that included “lasagne-gate”, Ramos’ flirtation with relegation and the biggest thievery of the 4th placed trophy since Sky Sports invented it in 1992.
There was also that goal at the Emirates. Our first league win over Chelsea for 26 years. The Champions League qualifying season in 2009/10. And the San Siro. Thank you for the good times, Aaron.
You still can’t cross though.