Why Tottenham fans must not turn toxic with him
At quite what point Emmanuel Adebayor transcended the line between an struggling passenger and a figure of derision within this Tottenham Hotspur team is somewhat unclear.
But with any existing goodwill seemingly in desperately short supply at White Hart Lane after a string of fruitless appearances, the heat upon the Togolese international is beginning to become intolerable. And it shows no sign of relenting anytime soon.
While it would be verging on the uncouth to suggest supporters doubted the sincerity of the former-Manchester City man’s injury during last weekend’s North London derby, it will perhaps come as little surprise to some that Adebayor’s stretcher-requiring issue might not suppress his availability for the weekend’s tie with Liverpool.
Regardless of the severity of his knock, perhaps in some ways, a spell out of the firing line is what Adebayor needs at the moment. As much as he’s looked a man bereft of the capability to stick the ball in the back of the net, he’s also looked like a striker bereft of anything resembling one iota of confidence. And for as delighted as supporters may be that Jermain Defoe now appears ready to return to the fold, their faltering striker’s lack of self-belief is something that they can’t sweep under the carpet.
With Defoe now back involved with first-team affairs following nearly a month out with ankle ligament damage, it’s very much a case of out of sight and out of mind, when it comes to the notion of Adebayor for some. However you wish to dress it up, the Togolese has had an extremely poor season and for all the issues that he had in getting his season off the ground – his first start didn’t come until the 2-1 defeat away to Manchester City back in November – his contribution in front of goal simply has not been good enough.
Yet even when Defoe’s been struggling for goals in this side, Villas-Boas’ team have still managed to produce the goods, the fact is that Emmanuel Adebayor still has an important part to play should the Lilywhites wish to fulfil their ambitions of both Europa League progress and Champions League qualification. And part of that process involves extending their patience towards their faltering just a little longer.
This doesn’t involve chanting his name, praising him from the stands or necessarily showing him much in the way of anything approaching affection. Merely ensure that the atmosphere towards him isn’t one that starts turning toxic.
Quite where his long-term future stands at White Hart Lane could well be anyone’s guess after this season. Regardless of his questionable goalscoring output, following his mucking around over his decision to go to the African Cup of Nations and his subsequent delayed arrival back from the competition, it’s been widely reported that neither Villas-Boas nor chairman Daniel Levy were particularly enamoured with his behaviour. And for Adebayor, it’s upsetting the latter that may have potentially burned an irreparable bridge in N17.
Although regardless of a potential breakup, the one time-Real Madrid striker isn’t going anywhere for the moment and with Spurs fighting on two fronts as we head into the final straight of what could be a defining season for the club, they’re not going to achieve all of their goals with Jermain Defoe playing every minute of every match until the end of the season.
Like it or not, we’ve not seen the last of Adebayor in a Tottenham shirt and if he’s going to start returning to the sort of form that saw him play a starring role in the side that attained a fourth placed finish last term, he’s not going to do so underneath a hail of pelters from the Spurs fans.
Now that might not have happened as of yet, but after another disappointing showing against Arsenal on Sunday, the tides of patience are beginning to renege, and fast.
But although some will argue that he’s not done much to warrant any more goodwill from the home fans, Adebayor hasn’t cut this caricature of disinterest and petulance that many like to make out. The goals haven’t been coming and his movement’s not been anywhere as sharp as it should be, but he’s still putting a shift in and working hard.
As ridiculed as he was in the aftermath of the North London derby, he may not have done much with the ball, but it was his peeling run that freed up Gylfi Sigurdsson’s line of sight to see up Gareth Bale for the first goal. Reinventing the wheel it most certainly was not, although when Defoe did a similar sort of thing against Manchester United back in September to allow Bale to score, he was heralded as hard-working genius.
Clearly Adebayor doesn’t hold anywhere near the same sort of lofty standing as Defoe does with supporters and most prominently, he’s not been scoring enough to allow him much in the way of a reprieve, either.
But for however frustrated supporters may feel towards Emmanuel Adebayor, they can’t let that frustration boil over into substantial malaise. He’s still got an important part to play in their team’s season and if he is going to start scoring goals in the near future, he’s unlikely to do so within a backdrop of simmering ridicule.
Support in football is a two-way street. But for as little as he may have done in front of goal, Tottenham haven’t exactly been loosing too many games when that Emmanuel Adebayor has featured in this season, too. He must do a lot more but when he next takes to the field, he must do so within an atmosphere of amiability, as opposed to one of mild disdain.