Ledley King was right to retire
Ledley King = Captain Oates, says Jack Howes.
Ledley King is simply the best defender I’ve seen for Spurs. He may well be the best player I’ve seen for Spurs in any position. Only lil’ Luka rivals him. I’ve never seen a defender with such great anticipation, such class and with a greater ability to read the game. Or play with the grace and style he has.
Over the years Spurs have saddled him with some god-awful lumps of shite as his centre-back partner. The earth revolves on its axis quicker than Gary Doherty would turn around to see yet another attacker fly past him. Anthony Gardner committed more errors than you’d see in an episode of The Thick Of It. Ricardo Rocha didn’t know how to head the ball and Ben Thatcher mistook football for wrestling.
He even had Didier Zokora and Tom Huddlestone as partners when Juande Ramos managed Spurs with the air of a con artist who’d tricked the Tottenham board of directors into thinking he was a two time UEFA Cup winning coach. That’s before we get to the Grzegorsz Rasiak’s and Hossam Ghaly’s and Alan Hutton’s of this world. They must have driven him insane with how useless they were while he classily mopped up other people’s mistakes. With better teammates he’d have been far more successful. One Carling Cup doesn’t do testament to his talents.
Not to mention Glenn Hoddle managing the club when he woke up every morning and licked himself with pleasure at how good he was. He would show off and humiliate the other players on the training ground when he was the manager. Then there’s David Pleat who was eye-spinningly mad, Santini who buggered off because he didn’t get put in a house on the beach by the Spurs board, Juande Ramos who couldn’t speak the lingo. Even Harry has all the tactical sense of a British WW1 general blithely sending men over the top to their needless deaths.
The only negatives I ever had about him were the episodes in nightclubs. Seeing him in the paper stumbling bleary eyed out of a nightclub with his shirt ripped a few days before the start of the season wasn’t what a fan optimistic about the season ahead wanted to see. Or when the whole Spurs team after winning the Carling Cup celebrated with gusto and the next game were 4-0 down after an hour to Birmingham City. Even then on the pitch he was a marvel.
He’s always been loyal, led us impeccably and he’s a one club man which always helps cement players into supporters hearts. Not even John Terry is a one-club man. He had a few games on loan for Nottingham Forest the smug arrogant attention stealing adulterous foghorning walrus. And I’ve long forgiven Ledley for having the odd night out.
But Ledley’s powers lately have disappeared. Since Christmas this season he’s turned from a reassuring presence into a train wreck. He gave away the last minute penalty at Man City that lost us the match. Against Arsenal player after player just flew past him to tuck the ball past Brad Friedel. The Chelsea FA Cup semi-final was a similar story. 22 goals have gone past him in his last 10 games. Even Grant Holt bullied him without mercy, like the kids at school who told me I had a passing resemblance to The Joker and would make me say ‘why so serious’ in a mock American accent. Grant Holt, a huge lump with some skill just tossing him around White Hart Lane. Sad.
Now comes news that he’s going to have further knee surgery. Ledley, please mate, pack it in. Quit while you are still the only man I’ve ever fallen for. I wasn’t seduced by David Beckham. Or Gareth Bale or some other Spurs player. Not even Ryan Gosling after I’d watched Drive. But I was seduced by you Ledley with your composure, class, ability, leadership and loyalty. For a couple of seasons you were the only reason Spurs fans had any hope. In later years when Spurs got quite good, you gave us more hope, hope of trophies and victories over Arsenal and for a while this season even a league championship.
I implore him to retire because I care, and I don’t want his legacy to be tarnished. I don’t want people to remember him as a limping hobbling and bobbling liability limping round White Hart Lane. I want them to remember the great player he was, as a centre half for Spurs and as a holding midfielder for England. Ledley was a great player who underachieved. One Carling Cup win doesn’t do justice to his talents and shows his loyalty for so many years to Spurs.
Ledley, you’re the King of White Hart Lane. Please retire before you ruin your legacy and get toppled off your throne.