Human nature drives us to want to be loved. No matter how much one might admit they don't care what someone thinks about them the more it probably matters to them. And we dig ourselves a hole the more we try to get a person to like us.
Think about your first few weeks in a new job or school. Maybe you were trying to impress a new boss or a certain group of coworkers because you were insecure and wanted to fit in. You may get those natural human nerves and when you get your small chance to make that one joke to break the ice or make an impression, you bomb. It's probably because you thought about it too much and didn't let the moment come naturally.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto is one of the most cool, calm and collected people that I have ever observed. He's not obsessed with his wages and doesn't cause fits about his contract. He plays football and doesn't sit around worrying about the next big deal and a move to a giant club who can meet some crazy demand. Sound like a typical footballer? I think not. Benny doesn't worry about his finances, and of course he is falling ass backwards into money, even more than the immortal Kramer.
We, in America, love few people more than the backup QB. We focus on the current team but always are looking for some hot young 20 year old star to break into the team. How often is that person really the answer though? As Spurs fans, our favorite player is "Random Striker X." Realistically we are overrating "Striker X" wildly. It's the easy thing to do of course. As soon as we sign "X", we are bound for the Top 4. Does anyone really think football is that simple?
Football rumors drive me nuts. I literally can't even read the articles anymore, as much as I devour anything Spurs. How many teams is the average player linked to by some random or real site each window? 7? We all live in some fantasy world where we get linked to so many new players every day. It's what keeps us going throughout the frustrating off season of the football world. We have a new "fantasy" team seemingly every couple days as some new star is going to swoop in and save us.
I see the headlines. I roll my eyes plenty of times every day. I'm sure someone will find one somewhere after a deep search, but I have not seen Assou-Ekotto linked anywhere. Or if he has been, it is about as rare as any player out there.
For how good he is and what he is done, the rate of stuff written about him is horrific. Basically, you could say he's the opposite of Tim Tebow. Of course, nobody cares about LB's though.
For us guys, there is always some girl that we meet and instantly have an interest in. We daydream about them all the time. Then, you may start forcing things that aren't in the flow because you want to see something happen but of course nothing does. It didn't happen in the typical flow of a day. The point is, the more you tried to specifically rush things and move things along the more it backfires.
Assou-Ekotto should have a cult following in Spurs fans. He's not looking to leave and he really doesn't care, as has been noted often, what shirt he wears. The more he doesn't care about anything, the more we need to make songs about him. The minute he became good enough to join a "Top 4" side he didn't set off a firestorm of madness while we were left to fend off the big guys for him. Some of that credit goes to him. He doesn't care about chasing glory or being a whore like Robbie Keane. And for that, I want to shower him with more glory and admiration.
All of us, if in his position, would want to be a fan favorite. We would go out of our way to try and persuade fans to love us. Sometimes that works for people, but often times it doesn't. BAE doesn't care what you think about him. He just plays football, and is better than nearly everybody realizes.
Boo him mercilessly next time he's introduced. His emotion won't change.
Cheer him like we just thumped Arsenal next time he's announced. He will remain emotionless.
How many people could really not care that much that the boo's wouldn't hurt us and the cheer's would make us dance on the inside?
Think about how often we debate our strikers, right backs, wingers, and center mids and defense. We even debate our three keepers. Sure, people often wonder when Danny Rose or Gareth Bale are going to knock Assou-Ekotto out of the back line, but the way I see it that would be a disaster.
To me, the most steady position on our team going forward is left back. We know what kind of service we are going to get and we know exactly what #32 is going to deliver for us on Saturday. No, he is not our best player. But, Benny and Daws are likely, whether we want to admit it or not, without a doubt the most entrenched players on the team for the next 4-5 years.
Bale and Rose are revered because they rush forward and attack. They give us flash and the "Gareth Bale Express." Bale destroyed Europe and Rose crushed the dreaded Gooners. I love them for it too. Rose is our next hot prospect who has a shot to break into the first team.
But what in the world is the rush to get rid of one of the top, top (right 'arry?) left backs in the Premiership and make way for a youngster? So much of the fun of being a fan is projecting our future lineup. We project what it will look like when "Player A" and/or "Player B" leave. We do the same when "Player C" or "Player D" may arrive.
I am fascinated by Assou-Ekotto for so many reasons. His existence as a famous athlete doesn't change him at all. He just does the same thing the rest of the world does by going to work, doing his job and getting his money. He doesn't read the news. There are no stupid rumors about him. He doesn't let his status as a footballer control his life or define him.
In a disgusting age of player control and dissension it is so refreshing (or weird?) to follow a player who doesn't purposely draw attention to himself, is clearly quality, and doesn't care whether we win or lose but just play hard for the shirt.
The majority of fans do discuss when Rose will move into the LB position all the time. But, I don't see it happening based on performance anytime soon. And if I'm right and Benny holds down the least glamorous and popular position on the pitch for the next half decade or so I definitely want one thing...
A statue of Benoit Assou-Ekotto at Spurs Lodge