When the rumours started filtering through yesterday that Ryan Nelsen was off to White Hart Lane it revived memories of that golden period immediately following the 2010 World Cup.
Remember those dreamy days? Leo Bertos to Werder Bremen and Mark Paston to Manchester United being two of the headier ones.
But this was different. All Whites skipper Ryan Nelsen is off to third placed Tottenham Hotspur, despite having played one game since April. At first it seemed too strange to be true, but the more you look at it the transfer is good news for all involved.
Nelsen’s loyalty to Blackburn has been admirable. But Spurs becomes only the fourth club will have been signed to, and it gives that CV a better look to it.
Tottenham are all but guaranteed a place in next year’s Champions League. Should that occur, and the one year extension to his contract approved, then The Admiral will become only the fourth New Zealander behind Rufer, Hay and Killen to take part in the world’s most elite club football tournament.
Those weekly protests by the Blackburn fans wanting Steve Kean must become a bit of a pain in the arse after a while.
London is a nicer place to be based than Blackburn.
Nelsen will get less playing time at Spurs than at Blackburn; not a bad position to be in when entering the late afternoon of your career. This is also good news for NZ football.
There is still an outside chance Spurs could win the Premiership.
It’s the triangle of Bale, Van de Vaart and Modric that have been grabbing the headlines for Redknapp’s Spurs. But Harry knows the importance of old heads around all this wizardry. Look at his other move in this transfer window; experienced Saha in for Pavlyuchenko; so gifted yet so useless.
And the off-season signing of 40 year-old Friedel has proved to be a masterstroke.
The catalyst for this shift is the long-term injury to Gallas. So it seems logical to replace one long-term Premiership stalwart with captaincy experience with another long-term Premiership stalwart with captaincy experience.
Alongside Nelsen is Kaboul; talented, the long-term future at White Hart Lane, but still young. He has flourished this year partly because he has always been partnering an old head.
He’s not cup-tied in the FA Cup
It’s a free transfer.
Picture courtesy of Richard Irvine. The picture in this morning’s Dominion Post was considered, but rejected on the grounds of being too obviously photo-shopped