By Tony Attwood
There is a somewhat strange article on Football365 today under the headline “Sign him: If Adebayor cares, Adebayor scores” by Sarah Winterburn who I think used to work for Sky Sports and now seems to have moved.
She does that thing of listing all the stuff she says everyone else is talking about, but in a way that suggests that only a turnip would actually remind you of them
Forget the wages (still being paid by Tottenham, lest you accidentally go three days without being reminded of this fact)…
and from there goes on to list some of the player’s better moments
He was brilliant enough at Arsenal to earn a £25m move to Manchester City…
…and then an astonishing 11 goals in 20 Premier League games made Tim Sherwood look like a Premier League manager when he wanted to prove a point to Andre Villas-Boas.
and from this (albeit rather limited amount of evidence scattered among some nifty twists and turns within the witty phraseology) concludes
If Adebayor returned to England on a mission to break a record and rescue a reputation, he would probably score goals. It’s what he does.
Which left me wondering. Is, or was, or might he in the future actually be, any good?
Ade played for six different teams between 2001 and now, but only with Arsenal did he make it to over 100 games – although Tottenham came close. His record as a goalscorer (league games only) is
|2011||Real Madrid (loan)||14||5||0.36|
|2011/12||Tottenham Hotspur (loan)||33||17||0.51|
Now the argument from Ms Winterburn is that Ade’s issue is motivation and that for some reason, or perhaps lots of different reasons, he wasn’t motivated in the right way in some of his time as a player.
And since I am not (as often confessed in the past) a telepath, I can’t really be sure. I have no idea what goes on in most people’s minds, but with Ade that applies doubly so.
But with Tottenham paying him £5.72m this year to do not very much, or in fact, to do nothing at all, one might think there was some motivation on their part to get him to go.
Arsenal’s motivation for letting him toddle along to be part of Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan bin Zayed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan’s football and money revolution was the money. A profit of £22m in three years. And that endless stream of football genius that the boss knows how to pick up. Make a profit, get the performance, find another.
But what was Man C’s motivation for letting him go to the Real Mad gang and the Tiny Totts when he was scoring at that sort of ratio? Indeed he was scoring at the same level with them as he was with Arsenal, and a very good level it was too. And the Tinies signed him in 2012 off the back of that loan spell.
So if Ms Winterburn is right and Mr Adebayor (as Robin van Persie called him after Mr A stamped on Mr vP’s head in a league match) is now raring to go in order to become the top African scorer in the Premier League, we need to understand more.
But be wary. Motivation is a curious thing, and when studying the old psychology lark I had to read quite a few books on it, the essence of which is indeed that different things motivate different people at different times in different ways and with different results. (Now there’s a real psychological conclusion for you). But then just because it is variable across every variant it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist and can’t have an effect. It must certainly does, and can.
The nature of the deal with the Tinies when they agreed to pay him, meant that Adebayor couldn’t sign for anyone until 1 January – but then since everyone knew that he was available, surely if they wanted him and he wanted them, wouldn’t they have done the deal in December, checked the facts with 748 High Road and then had him through the door on 1 Jan?
But here’s another thing. If Adebayor wanted to play club football before now, under the deal he did with Tottenham he could have joined a team outside England (other than Swansea) straightaway.
Sky reported that before the deal with Tottenham he had a chat to Tim Sherwood but decided against it (or maybe Tim decided against him), and also went to visit the latter day pornographers at West Ham but that didn’t come to anything either.
The whole thing seems most curious, but then so does the story that appeared in the Daily Telegraph on 3 Feb 2009. It reads thus…
“I did not walk for the first four years of my life,” says Adebayor.
“My mum took me to Nigeria, Lagos, Ghana and all the villages in Africa but nothing happened. It got to the stage where they took me to a church and told my mum they’d pray for me for a week. They said that, if I did not walk by the end of that week, it meant I would never walk….
“They started praying at midnight on the Sunday. All the week, I’m not walking. By Saturday midnight my mum was all over the place, crying. For her, it was all over. She had taken me everywhere in Africa and nothing had worked. Anyway, I was in the church laying down and, around nine or ten o’clock on the Sunday morning, I could hear children playing outside.
“Suddenly somebody kicked a ball into the church. And the first person to stand up and run was me, because I wanted to get that ball. My mum was afraid because she had never even seen me walking and suddenly I was running after a ball. And all the people in the church who had been praying for me told my mum, ‘Your son is walking because of football. It must mean the boy has football in his blood’.”
Now, as I have mentioned before, so there is no misunderstanding, I am an atheist, but am happy for others to have their different views on such matters as long as they are happy for me to have my views. So because of my view of the world I find the story above hard to believe, but I am happy for others to believe it happened.
But if Mr Adebayor feels his mother was indeed telling the absolute truth (and remember the story is one told to him by his mother – he does not claim to remember the event), then you can understand why he is waiting for an appropriate sign, and why an appropriate sign would motivate him. And having motivated him one way could then motivate him another way.
Being better versed in psychology than religion I would be deeply suspicious at such a point, if I was his manager, for to me the event in the church and the subsequent events in Adebayor’s life appear a random or at least inexplicable switching on and off of beneficence. So how could one possibly know if Mr Adebayor would emerge this time as a man who didn’t want to play or who wanted to play? How could one be sure if one was getting the head stamping monster or the nice guy who believes in God and wants to do good works?
A child who cannot walk until four years old and then who suddenly gets up and kicks a football is inexplicable through the understanding that the science I have studied gives me, which means I can’t make any predictions about what Mr Adebayor will emerge next. As I say, as a manager I’d be cautious.
Still if he does get a club, it will be interesting to watch.
- 19 January 1898: Bill Harper born. Chapman broke the goalkeeper transfer fee for him, but when Harper dropped out of favour he became the first Arsenal man to play in the American soccer league – before later returning to Arsenal once more
- 19 January 1921: Robert Turnbull joined Arsenal as an amateur. He was a full back who scored 20 goals in 35 games! He played initially for the Royal Engineers AFC – a club that appeared in four of the first eight FA Cup finals, becoming the first team that pioneered the passing game (known in the 19th century as the “combination” game).
The Untold Books
Woolwich Arsenal the club that changed football, is now available on Kindle at £9.99. For more details and to buy a copy please click here or go to Amazon Kindle and search forWoolwich Arsenal.
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years
- Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal
- The Arsenal Yankee By Danny Karbassiyoon
- Arsenal: The Long Sleep 1953-1970. By John Sowman. Introduction by Bob Wilson.