Week One: Wilson Palacios


Written by: Seb Stafford-Bloor, writer for Four-Four-Two, uMAXit and BetBright.  Click here to see more of Seb's content

Follow Seb on Twitter: @SebSB

Sometimes a player's timing is perfect. Sometimes his arrival at a club endears him to set of fans in a way in which his pure ability would never have been able to.

Wilson Palacios was that player to Tottenham. 

Palacios was honesty. He was diesel fuel for a Spurs midfield which had been running on empty and moral fibre for a team which had drifted from its equilibrium. He arrived at White Hart Lane in January of 2009 and, while he wasn't a pre-eminent hero of the club's ascent to the Champions League eighteen months later, the ruggedness he initially bought to the club changed Tottenham's fabric. 

Palacios revelled in the physical elements of the game. Though more technically blessed than assumed, he was a throwback destroyer who existed to retrieve the ball and who pulsed with muscularity. An oddly-shaped athlete with disproportionately long legs, he could look like a clumsy video game construction. But, really, he was perfectly built to do the things he did; there wasn't a hint of finesse to Palacios' defensive work. He would crouch and prowl as a player entered his sphere, poised like a cage-fighter awaiting the bell. He was a picture of focused concentration, waiting for the first heavy touch and his chance to pounce. Then, like a woodsman taking an axe to an oak, one of those legs would jut out and take...something: the player would collapse into a pile and, from underneath it, Palacios would emerge with the ball. 

He looked awkward and strange and, when he had possession, he never looked entirely in control, but his imperfections endeared him to those supporters and the commitment he embodied provided a welcome contrast to the flimsy days of Juande Ramos.

The love for him was cultish, but very real. He may have been imperfect and occasionally prone to recklessness, but the abilities that he brought felt like a direct response to the jibes which had preceded his arrival. Tottenham were weak, Tottenham were soft and Tottenham could have been blown over by the wind. Palacios, though, was forged from Honduran iron, a snarling attack dog who never lost the scent of the ball and who would run forever to get it. 

He was without the measured poise of Michael Carrick or the controlling passing range of Tom Huddlestone, and he didn't have the multi-dimensions found in many of the contemporary holding-midfielders, but he was the right-shaped piece in the right hole. He offered protection for a defence which needed to heal and security behind an attacking unit which was still learning to play together. 

Give me the heart of Wilson Palacios and I'll make you a team.


A little background information from me, the creator of Look What it Means to Him...

Say want you like about their short to mid-range ballistic missiles; North Korea knows how to make a good poster.  Bold, vibrant and entirely at odds with the washed-out photos we see of the country itself, North Korean propaganda is dominated by images of soldiers crushing the West or ecstatic farmers bear-hugging wheat (see examples below).

Keen to emulate this unique style, Tottenham's famous cockerel provided me with a link between Spurs and North Korea's agricultural themes.  The good people at https://www.reddit.com/r/translation/ provided  a translation of the phrase 'His Work Brings Victory!' and the text across the top is hopefully reads 'Wilson Palacios', however, there's also a chance I've unwittingly endorsed the wholesale destruction of all democratic nations.

In a nod to the plentiful harvests that appear throughout North Korean propaganda, Palacios is pictured standing in front of a stockpile of footballs; his yield obtained from the fields behind him

Week Two: Scott Parker


Testimony kindly provided by: The West Ham Way; an excellent, innovative Hammers-centric site featuring news, features and unrivalled insider input from Matthew Etherington, Jack Collison, Daniel Gabbidon and Jack Sullivan (among others).

Follow the site: @westhamwaycouk

Scott Parker was the definition of everything good at West Ham.  He had passion, he had desire, he didn’t accept losing and he kept the ball on the deck and played the West Ham Way.  When Scott joined us from Newcastle United I was a little unsure.  He was injured a lot in his first season at Upton Park and it really didn’t look like we had value for money.  He seemed another 'Icelandic' silly buy.  Who would have predicted he would go on to win 'Hammer of the Year' three years in a row after his debut season?

Scott ran his heart out every game and this naturally inspired other players to raise their performance.  He scored important goals throughout his time here and his passion was obvious for all to see.  Who can forget when, under the stewardship of Avram Grant, we trailed 3-0 at half-time to West Brom and Parker led a team talk that was later described by Carlton Cole as "If you were there you would have had a tear in your eye" - the team eventually fought back to draw 3-3.

That Parker rightly won the Football Writers Player of the Year award the season we were relegated demonstrates how he practically carried a poor side at times.  Whilst he played a few times for us in the Championship it was a sad moment when he left to join our rivals Spurs.  Some of our fans have never forgiven him for that but for me, West Ham should remember Scott as a hero and remember the passion he brought during his playing days with us. 


A little background information from me, the creator of Look What it Means to Him...

Unable to find a club that's casually known as the 'The Sickles', West Ham were the obvious choice for a Soviet-inspired poster.  Scott Parker; the perpetually motivated three-time 'Hammer of the Year' stood out as the ideal candidate to represent East London's finest (although it seems some Hammers still hold a torch for Hayden Mullins).  Known as a team-player and relentless grafter, Parker fitted well with the Soviet theme of glorious personal sacrifice for the sake of something greater.

I figured as long as I drew a strong-chinned man with a sensible haircut and a hammer, the poster would stand a chance of looking ok.  Beyond that, I've attempted to position Parker so it looks like he's protecting one of the Boleyn Ground's iconic towers; a structure that, with no condescension intended, has always reminded me of my childhood lego set. Thanks once again to the good people at www.reddit.com/r/translation/ for translating 'Work Brings Victory!' into Russian (text across the bottom) and also to my friend's wife for translating 'Scott Parker' (text across the top) into what, at least to the monolinguist, appears to be the sound of a productive cough followed by a sneeze.