A day of farewells, but not from Bale
It has yet to be confirmed by the club at the time of writing, but the press today (Tuesday 21st May, 2013)is full of reports that Gareth Bale is going to be staying at Tottenham for at least one more year. Apparently, he will get a new contract, with increased reward, with reports varying between £130,000 and £170,000 per week. There is said to be a buy-out clause set at a minimum of £50 million next year.
if true, (and knowing Spurs it is likely to be at the lower end of that reported salary scale)that is of course a phenomenal amount, but it does reward Bale for what has been recognised as his true world class qualities. I am also encouraged by the fact that Bale is an ambassador for BT Sport's new Premier League contract, coming into effect in the new season.
Bale scored his 21st Premier League goal of the season on Sunday in almost the last minute of the game. It was not an ordinary goal either. In fact, very few of those 21 goals have been in any way ordinary. Gareth has matched Teddy Sheringham's 21 goal haul of the 1992-93 season, and has now beaten Jurgen Klinsmann's 20 Premier League goals of the 94-95 season.
Gareth has scored 26 goals in all competitions for Spurs this season. (Teddy scored 28 in his season, and Jurgen scored 29 in 94-95)
On top of his PFA and Football writers' Player of the Year awards, Gareth won both the members and Junior members' player of the season awards. Last week, he was also announced as the Barclays Premier League player of the season, becoming the first Spurs player to win that particular award.
It is an incredible series of awards for Bale, and he has of course had a remarkable season. The indication that he will stay at least for one more season (and perhaps beyond if we can qualify for Champions League football) is a great boost for Spurs fans, who of course suffered the greatest frustration again, because we were pipped at the post for fourth place by you know who. The least said about that at this juncture, the better.
To cap it all, Gareth Bale did win your vote (over 200 votes were cast) for man of the match, with a grade of 7.9/10. Five of Bale's team-mates also scored 7 or more. (See the spursometer here).
One man who did not get an honourable mention was referee Andre Marriner who managed to collect the worst refereeing grade of the 54 game season, with just 2.4. I don't think I've had as many comments about a referee all season. I won't list them here, but I am sure you can imagine the gist! To my mind, it's a shame that yellow cards cannot be rescinded in the same way as a red, because everyone is agreed that Mr. Marriner got his decision to book Bale for simulation very, very wrong. He also got the penalty decision wrong, and missed one or two others, didn't he?
Apart from our battle for fourth place, all the other major issues had been decided, and therefore the last day of this season's Premier League had more than the usual end of term flavour, when you consider results such as Man City 2 Norwich 3, and West Brom 5 Man Utd 5!
It was, of course, the final game for Sir Alex Ferguson, who was given a guard of honour at the start of the game, and a great reception at the end of the game.
Other notable farewells included referee Mark Halsey, who came back after winning a battle against cancer three years ago, but has now finally retired. Mr. Halsey too was given a fond farewell at The Etihad stadium by home and away fans. Any referee has a hard time winning the favour of fans, but I do think it is fair to say that Mark was the type who always tried to let a game flow, which is what we all like to see.
Michael Owen also said farewell, coming off the bench for Stoke 17 minutes before the end of their game at St. Mary's. Owen has played only 163 minutes of first team football all season, making one start in the FA Cup Third Round at Crystal Palace in January. He has scored one goal this season. Sadly, injury has taken its toll, but his career has suffered a five-year wane. Owen will be remembered for his goal-scoring prowess in his prime, and quite rightly so.
The season might be over, but there is more to come in the next few weeks from Spurs Odyssey, including the review of May, and the entire season, so stay tuned!
Chelsea 2-1 Everton
Liverpool 1-0 QPR
Man City 2-3 Norwich
Newcastle 0-1 Arsenal
S'hampton 1-1 Stoke
Swansea 0-3 Fulham
Spurs 1-0 S'derland
West Brom 5-5 Man Utd
West Ham 4-2 Reading
Wigan 2-2 A. Villa
Barclays Premier League
P W D L F-A GD Pts
1. Man Utd 38 28 5 5 86-43 43 89 C
2. Man City 38 23 9 6 66-34 32 78
3. Chelsea 38 22 9 7 75-39 36 75
4. Arsenal 38 21 10 7 72-37 35 73
5. Spurs 38 21 9 8 66-46 20 72
6. Everton 38 16 15 7 55-40 15 63
7. Liverpool 38 16 13 9 71-43 28 61
8. West Brom 38 14 7 17 53-57 -4 49
9. Swansea 38 11 13 14 47-51 -4 46
10. West Ham 38 12 10 16 45-53 -8 46
11. Norwich 38 10 14 14 41-58 -17 44
12. Fulham 38 11 10 17 50-60 -10 43
13. Stoke 38 9 15 14 34-45 -11 42
14. S'hampton 38 9 14 15 49-60 -11 41
15. A. Villa 38 10 11 17 47-69 -22 41
16. Newcastle 38 11 8 19 45-68 -23 41
17. S'derland 38 9 12 17 41-54 -13 39
18. Wigan 38 9 9 20 47-73 -26 36R
19. Reading 38 6 10 22 43-73 -30 28R
20. QPR 38 4 13 21 30-60 -30 25R