For golf-loving Gareth Bale, maybe this was always about the long game as opposed to the short game.
When the Welshman pitched up back at Tottenham last summer there was understandable and enjoyable delirium amongst the club's fanbase, but clearly this was not the same player they saw leaving for Real Madrid seven years previously.
Sure, he looked like him, maybe with some broader shoulders from all those trophies he'd lifted, but Bale was never going to be able to slot straight back into the Spurs team like nothing had ever happened.
He was injured, for starters, and he'd also only played 100 minutes of competitive football for Madrid since the game and the world had stopped in March 2020.
In fact he'd played more for Wales in that six months, managing an awkward 45 minutes in a 1-0 win in Finland and then determinedly dragging himself around the pitch for the full 90 in another 1-0 victory at home to Bulgaria three days later.
But supporting our players, our clubs and our beliefs is what us football fans do, if you hadn't noticed, and so those Spurs supporters who became giddy over Gareth were correct to do so. Few things in football are better than fans getting excited.
It's just that they had the master of the unexciting as the club's manager.
Jose Mourinho started this season wearing the look of a man who thought that the tempo of behind-closed-doors, pandemic football was exactly the type of thing that suited him, because it did.
Pressing and intensity have been less important in the game for a while now, and that is music to Mourinho's ears.
His Tottenham side deserved credit during that period of the season they threatened a title challenge because they worked so hard for each other, but as soon as the cracks began to emerge then there was always going to be a struggle for room under that parked bus.
And his dreadful treatment of Dele Alli aside, it was Bale who was Mourinho's favourite target.
Time and time again there would be the veiled dig here and the touchy threat there, especially as Tottenham's form dipped.
And then when the team's form dipped so did Bale's, especially as he was often being turned to from the bench for five or 10 minute cameos in the forlorn hope of trying to save a game that might not have got away from Spurs in the first place if only they'd actually attacked a bit more.
Indeed, for Mourinho the Bale obsession was probably a good thing. The world could wonder about whether or not the Welshman could still cut it as unflattering statistics built up during his limited time on the pitch.
Then Bale got better, and suddenly Mourinho had one fewer place to hide.
You can disagree about the timing of the manager's sacking if you want, but by the time it came he was out there in plain sight, those repeated, snidey swipes at players belying what must have felt like a growing insecurity. The Jose-ification of Spurs had fallen away. Everyone just seemed a bit fed up.
But not Bale.
A mini-run of six goals in six games between February and March might not have lasted, but it did give everyone a glimpse of what Bale can do when he is trusted from the start of matches and in a structure in which attacking isn't an afterthought.
After scoring in the 2-1 win over Southampton on Wednesday, the first game since the removal of Mourinho, it was clear what Bale thought about the manager's removal.
Asked where the now Ryan Mason-led side could improve in attack now the rigid boss was gone, the reply effectively served as his parting words to Mourinho, who had angrily kept the players back in training on Monday as he lamented his demise.
"Maybe just to be on the front foot a bit more," said Bale, pointedly.
"We want to attack, we're a big team with big players and we need to try and stay higher up the pitch and I think we did that today."
Doing that is what will really make Bale feel at home, and perhaps even look to stay on at Tottenham for another year after the expiration of his loan deal.
If he can stay on that front foot going into the European Championships this summer then a second coming for Bale could be in the offing. Everyone knows how much he loves playing for Wales, and we also know how much Wales love a European Championships.
Before that comes Wembley on Sunday though, and with Manchester City's backline needing to be changed, and a perceived vulnerability there at the moment, then surely a Carabao Cup final start awaits?
Bale ended up winning his battle with Mourinho, but if he can secure a trophy for Tottenham then it will be an even bigger success.
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