August 26, 2014

Michael Dawson – a tribute

Michael Dawson is a throwback. Not just in terms of his on-pitch style – courageous and uncompromising – but also his off-pitch demeanour. Even his haircut – a short back and sides, generally swept across his forehead – is reminiscent of the era in which footballers like Dawson came from; an era when money didn’t dictate everything from players’ ‘career planning’ to fans having to pick and choose which games they attended. The concept of ‘Category C’ didn’t exist then.

Michael Dawson - club captain

Michael Dawson – club captain

Dawson arrived at Tottenham Hotspur from Nottingham Forest, signed in a double deal with Republic of Ireland international, Andy Reid. As is seemingly so often the case in this type of deal (at least where Spurs are concerned), Dawson was seen by most as the makeweight or add-on in that deal, but his achievements and performances have gone on to far excel those of Reid, who left after eighteen months and is mostly remembered for being overweight. Nearly ten years later, Dawson is set to move on too.

It is sometimes the case that in this genre of article the author forgets to mention the bad, so I’m going to try to avoid falling into that trap. Dawson has become known for a slightly cumbersome style, ill-suited to the high line which Tottenham have played in recent times. He is, frankly, slow on the turn and has a tendency to get sucked into committing himself around the halfway line, leaving plenty of grass for attackers to run into.

He has had some horror-shows. Sergio Aguero has been the bane of his existence on more than one occasion, but particularly in the 5-1 home defeat at the start of the 2011/12 season. At that point Dawson was well regarded and was regularly in England squads, but Aguero made him look foolish; his low centre of gravity making Daws’ turning circle look larger than even his harshest critic could have described. He was involved in the heavy defeats to Manchester City (twice), Liverpool (twice) and Chelsea last season.

But it wasn’t just the elite players that occasionally brought out the worst in him; even before his 12th minute sending off against Fulham in a 4-0 defeat, he was having a real stinker. It occasionally happened, and we can’t ignore it. But these memories belie the truth that he has been a stalwart for the club for nearly a decade, and in that time there have been many, many positives for both individual and team.

He’s played over 300 times for Tottenham Hotspur. He played in the 1-0 victory at Manchester City that took us to the Champions League. He played in both matches against AC Milan in the Champions League, making a vital block from a Robinho effort late on at the San Siro. He played at Wembley in the League Cup defeat to Manchester United. The following season he was named Tottenham Hotspur ‘Player of the Year’.

The phrase ‘100% commitment’ is widely-used in football, but rarely has a player been so deserving of the tag. Dawson is a genuine trier, and us fans just love a trier.

His gentlemanly persona meant that he was able to build rapport with referees – if necessary, they would speak to him to ask him to calm his teammates down, or to explain a decision. He would question, yes, but generally without arm-waving, without ranting and without raving. Unlike so many others, he showed respect.

And that ignores all of the off-pitch add-ons that you get with a player of Dawson’s nature. Club captain. Fan favourite. Consummate professional. Gentlemen. Friendly face of the club. Charitable volunteer. Family man. Recently it emerged that he had sent a letter (or at least signed a letter) to a fan celebrating his 60th birthday. These gestures do not go unnoticed.

He will be remembered as much for his fist pumps, his smile, and his gentlemanly persona as he will for his goal-saving blocks, his brave headers, and his not-always-accurate cross-field passes. I for one have been very happy to have Michael Dawson represent us as captain – as the friendly face of Tottenham Hotspur.

Good luck, Michael Dawson – you will always receive warm applause from me if and when you return to White Hart Lane.

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  • Tony Borg says:

    I’d like to wish Michael Dawson all the very best on his new adventure with Hull and also thank him for all the years of service he gave to Spurs, if only the rest of the squad played with the heart and passion Captain Dawson showed.

  • koko61 says:

    For me still a great player, it was the bloody high line that made him perform badly.
    Having said that, with better players ahead of him it is time for him to move on, and he will be good for Hull City.
    I wish him all the best, and as you say Windy was a great ambassador for the club.

  • matt says:

    I completely agree with every sentiment that you have expressed in your eloquent piece. Whatever technical shortcomings Daws may have had on the pitch, in every other aspect of his play and persona he has done the club and the supporters proud. His commitment, attitude, courage, leadership, professionalism and integrity have been of the highest order and he will thoroughly deserve a standing ovation from the fans next time he comes to The Lane and I hope he gets it. Best of luck Michael with the rest of your career.

  • Colin Kendell says:

    Michael Dawson formed partnerships with Ledley King, Jan Vertonghen and Younes Kaboul. He was a great professional and had the knack of being in the right place at the right time. Few players have contributed to much to a team as Michael Dawson did for Spurs. He will never be forgotten.

  • Doug says:

    Would also like to thank Michael Dawson for his great service to Spurs over the years. Always gave 100% on the pitch and feel that the time is now right for Daws to move to another club , who I assure will also appreciate his commitment .

  • Keith Andrew says:

    I agree with all the sentiments on here and I am sorry to se him go. I would like to see him back at the club which he clearly loves as an ambassador to enstill some of the attitude that he has displayed and an excellent role model just like Ledley. Perhaps the club could grant him a testimonial after the season as thank you and we get the opportunity to say farewell. Good luck Michael you have been a credit to the club and yourself.

  • David says:

    Fully concur with everything you and Matt said. Michael Dawson was someone did his very best for the club. Yes, his time to move on has come, but he can go with good wishes and many thanks from this Spurs supporter and, I’m sure, very many others.

  • Alfie says:

    Couldn’t give a fuck if he’s slow. Couldn’t give a toss if he’s out of position. Couldn’t care less if he makes a slip up. I saw Daws debut at Anfield and thought Christ this boys up for it. His attitude shames many and he is always welcome home. All the best son

  • Graham says:

    Agree with all that has been said about Daws – especially the view that if a few more had shown the same level of commitment and passion we may have achieved even more. Great servant of the club and a genuine nice guy – all the very best to you.

  • Margaret Ephgrave says:

    I have been going to Spurs for 54 years I am so disappointed Daws has gone you are my hero and as an old girl of 68 years I will miss you. I wish you and your family best wishes for the future. The Lane will never be the same. I hope Spurs haven’t made a mistake in selling you.

  • Rob says:

    A great servant to the club, brave (always got his head on the ball) and gave it his all. All the best for the future.

  • Halabil says:

    Levy…give Dawson a testimonial match. He deserves it for the years of loyal service he put in for our club. He bled Lillywhite and it would be a welcome gesture if the club officially acknowledged this with a testimonial match, as they did with Ledley King at the end of last season. Get it done Levy! God bless and good luck Daws.

  • sybrian says:

    good luck to him – he gave us 9.5 good years – may not have been as good recently but his heart was always big and stays that way – I’ll wish him good luck at Hull

  • sybrian says:

    good luck to you Daws! – you gave us 9.5 good years – may not have been as good recently but your heart was always big and stays that way – I’ll wish you good luck at Hull

  • thommo says:

    Good luck,proper spurs player who wore the spurs badge.deserves testimonial for a great servant to club.

  • Lou says:

    I agree with all the above sentiments. Michael, you are a true gent and we will miss you. Best wishes from a grateful Spur.

  • Whitehotspurs says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with everything you said in your excellent tribute to Daws. You mentioned the bad as well as the good, but you rightly showed that the good outweighed the bad by miles. A man’s footballing prowess is temporary, but his character is permanent, and Michael Dawson’s character is hugely admired by everyone. He NEVER gave less than 100% for Spurs and that earns him maximum respect in my book. As you say, he’s been a consummate professional, a stalwart, a genuine trier, the friendly face of Tottenham Hotspur and, above all, a gentleman. That says a tremendous amount about about him as a man. I wish Michael the very best of luck at Hull, with the hope that he will someday return to the Lane so that we can show our appreciation for everything he did for us.

  • yidboy says:

    Dawson, spurs’ servant from the heart and a great asset to our beloved boys from the lane. you will forever be a lengend to me

  • Mac says:

    THANKS DAWS FOR BEING YOU!
    Great captain leader fighter and genuine Spurs through & through!!!!!
    Hull are getting a diamond.
    Good luck mate

  • I agree with all the comments made. Good luck to you Michael so sorry to see you leave spurs but Hull are getting a great player. You have been a GREAT servant to the club on and off the pitch. You always played with 100% passion and you always wore the spurs shirt with pride. You are a true gentleman and legend of the club. 9.5years service to 1 club deserves a testimonial match come on Daniel Levy get it sorted!! We fans love you as you have loved us. I look forward to seeing you at the lane again during this season so we can give you a proper goodbye and show you our appreciation for all you haveentered done for Spurs. Thank you Daws.

  • I agree with all the comments made. Good luck to you Michael so sorry to see you leave spurs but Hull are getting a great player. You have been a GREAT servant to the club on and off the pitch. You always played with 100% passion and you always wore the spurs shirt with pride. You are a true gentleman and legend of the club. 9.5years service to 1 club deserves a testimonial match come on Daniel Levy get it sorted!! We fans love you as you have loved us. I look forward to seeing you at the lane again during this season so we can give you a proper goodbye and show you our appreciation for all you have done for Spurs. Thank you Daws.

  • wandering yid says:

    Sorry your stats are incorrect

    101 % effort

    A true Spur
    Good luck Daws

  • bonse says:

    Always liked him, felt his England call ups with slip and injury did for him both psychologically and physically. Another example of International football mucking things up for us.

    Hope we play against him in the Europa final.

    Hull’s team sheet is looking suspiciously like the one we played in the Champions League way back then.

  • […] more tributes, Adam Powley’s love letter, Windy and Martin Cloake have said it more eloquently than I […]

  • […] Dier was signed for a similar fee that we received for Falque – again, great business – and Fazio replaces Dawson (‘Michael Dawson – a tribute‘). […]

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