With transfer rumours full of stories about the captain of Tottenham Hotspur, it’s time to start analysing whether a move away from the Lane is best for all parties. Dawson at times last season was clumsy, ineffective and far too slow to keep up with the likes of Luis Suarez, and with the Premier League proving a brutal mistress at times, it could be time to wave goodbye to the former Forest man.
On 31st January 2005, Tottenham confirmed the signing of Michael Dawson and Andy Reid from Nottingham Forest for an undisclosed fee thought to be worth a combined £8m. Although the club were signing players from a respectable club such a Forest, their relegation to the third tier of English football could have been an indicator as to the ability of the pair joining the Lane, with the incapable skills of Andy Reid a brilliant example of this.
Although Michael took some time to adjust to life in London, he was soon able to show his many skills. What soon became clear was that he had a magnificent attitude and although a die-hard Forest fan, he embraced the LilyWhite shirt as if it were his boyhood club. Dawson’s passion and eagerness to play football was something that Spurs fans became accustomed to, and his breakthrough alongside Ledley King was always going to gain plaudits. Ledley always speaks highly of Michael, and the smiles between the two during King’s testimonial shows the partnership they had formed over the years was truly special.
Something that stunted Michael’s progress was the signature of Jonathan Woodgate. The former Real Madrid man was not always the most consistent of defenders to grace the pitch at the Lane, however during the time of our Carling Cup success, it was always going to be hard for Dawsy to break into the side. Woodgate’s winner at Wembley is well written into Tottenham folk law for years to come, and his header against Chelsea a week later during the famous 4-4 draw made it almost impossible for Michael to play in any form.
However, the main reason that Michael Dawson will always be remembered as a Tottenham player, is his show stopping performances during the season of our Champions League qualification. Our run-in was next to impossible, but victories over Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City were partly down to the defensive steadiness of Dawsy. From there on, it was clear we had found a winner in him, and despite the likes of Sebastian Bassong and Jan Vertonghen joining our ranks in years following this, Dawson remained an integral part to Tottenham stability at the back.
But here is where the cracks begin to show. Is it time to say goodbye to our captain? Since 2012, something apparent in the minds of all spectators at the Lane is Michael’s speed. Although his partner in crime, Jan Vertonghen is far from lightening fast, the Spurs defence lacks a key element to the modern game; pace. Kyle Walker cannot carry the burden for them all.
Hugo Lloris’ sweeper keeper skills have been the majority of the reason that Tottenham didn’t suffer even worse defeats last season, purely because we found ourselves getting caught out time and time again, with players slipping through our back-line. The best example possible is the heavy 5-0 defeat to Liverpool in December, and ultimately the reason Andre Villas-Boas faced the sack (including many disappointing performances weeks before also). Michael has received the charming nickname: “the snail,” over the last campaign, and with clubs such as Liverpool adding further pace to their squad over the summer, the 2014/15 season is going to have no place for a slow defence.
A better club does not come to mind when matching Hull City and Dawson. With former Spurs midfielders Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore finding homes with the Tigers, Michael would not be short of friends in Steve Bruce’s squad. Hull have adopted a style similar to that of Stoke City under Tony Pulis, in which defence is a key element to their game. Dawson would arguably suit this, having at times seen his lack of attacking ability at the Lane. And when a 90 yard diagonal ball is called upon at the KC Stadium to set up their big forwards, is there really a better man to do the job?
So there you have it. Is it time for the Tottenham captain to move on and pass the baton to another LilyWhite? Michael Dawson is one of the kindest men in the game, having met him on several occasions and has been a real ambassador for the club. Should he remain, I expect the famous cockerel blazer to be a new addition to his wardrobe for sure. One thing that is for certain is that he will always find a home at White Hart Lane. There’s only one Michael Dawson.