OPINION: The Greatest Spurs Team Of All Time
A short while back a Spurs fan on Twitter started a survey to find the ultimate Spurs XI of all time and this got me wondering what my choices would be.
I will start by giving you a brief insight into my Spurs watching history upon which my selections will be based. The first game I watched was when I was about 4 (30 years ago now around 1981) and obviously a great time to start with all the winning cup runs starting to occur. My first game actually at the Lane was when I was about 6 years old. I have been a regular member of the club for numerous years now and try to get to as many games as my family life, working life and finances will allow.
My Spurs XI will be based on only the players I have seen and although that means I miss out on a lot of great players that is the way it has to be to get an accurate viewpoint.
Right, let’s get started:
Goalkeeper: There are a few in contention here as I always had a soft spot for Tony Parkes and while he was dependable, if not spectacular, he did the job well. Paul Robinson is another I thought was class and seems to have got better with age but, after all is said and done, I simply have to go with Ray Clemence. Quality keeper, gave the defence an air of confidence, reliable and a gentleman.
SELECTION: RAY CLEMENCE
Right Back: I am just going to cut to the chase here. Whilst we have had some good options over the years, Gary Stevens and Terry Fenwich to name but 2, only one man stands out for me. Some say it’s not his best position but his all round game from the defending to his reading of the game and attacking prowess was just pure class. Add to that his never say die attitude and the fact that he is a Spurs legend, there is only one man for the job. That man is Steve Perryman. He will be my captain.
SELECTION : STEVE PERRYMAN
Left Back: This is the one position where I actually couldn’t really come up with many options. Pat Van Den Hauwe and Justin Edinburgh? No, not really good enough. BAE? He iis getting better with every season at the club but is not quite there yet. So I thought who has been the most reliable, steady and dependable player over the period? I decided upon Chris Hughton and I think that’s right.
SELECTION: CHRIS HUGHTON
Centre Backs: Oh how I wish I saw Danny Blanchflower in action live but, alas, I didn’t and if DB was around today an old fashioned centre half like him would probably translate into a centre midfielder now. So who have I enjoyed watching? First memory is of a swashbuckling Graham Roberts (who I later based my footballing style on, not with the same results though!). I just loved his aggression and all action style. Two more contenders are Steve Sedgley (not the greatest of players but I enjoyed the way he played the game even though it was not his known position he played at CB for at least a couple of years in an on/off emergency role where he looked better then in centre midfield for me) and Richard Gough. Gough was a no nonsense defender but I can’t consider him as he just didn’t play for us for long enough. I came to this decision: CB one in my eyes is Gary Mabbutt. Some say not the most talented but his whole heartedness , passion for the club and dedication to the cause has got him in. Second choice is Sir Ledley. In my eyes he is the most talented English defender in the country and just makes the game seem so effortless and easy. I am just in awe of his calmness and composure. It’s such a pity he has dodgy knees now and can’t play as much as we are a better team with him in it. Easy choice. Of course there would have been another very strong contender in this category if it was purely down to footballing talent. If he had stayed with us for a further few years he would have been odds on to be chosen in the XI but the way he left and treated the club was so disgusting that I can’t even say his name let alone consider him.
SELECTIONS: GARY MABBUTT AND LEDLEY KING
My midfield will consist of the old school formation of 2 central players, one being more defensive and 2 wingers.
Centre Midfield: I will deal with the defensive position first as I have mentioned him for another position already. Whilst, like Perryman, some say not his best position I am plumping for Graham Roberts here as I just have to have in my team. He just doesn’t take any nonsense and is very difficult to get round which is perfect in my eyes for the defensive, non-moving, just in front of the defence, role. Maybe he and Perryman could swap places at times, both work really.The more advanced, creative, role is a very easy choice for me as well. He is one all my all time greatest players who was just a magician with the ball and made the game look so simple. He is the one and only Glenn Hoddle. Total class, technically brilliant, could be a little lazy and laidback at times but what he brought to the team compensated for this. His vision and passing ability were second to none for me and, whilst his managerial stint at the club didn’t go well, he is a true legend of Spurs and a must have in any greatest XI team. I am hoping a certain Luka Modric can carry on in the same vein as Glenn and be our star player for years in the future as he is just pure class and needs to have a team built around him.
SELECTIONS: GRAHAM ROBERTS AND GLENN HODDLE
Wingers: This is a hotly contested position as I have seen so many entertainers over the years. Along with the stylish players I have also seen some workers and team players as well, so which way do I go? Should I go for the likes of Tony Galvin and Paul Allen who may not have been the most skilful but were reliable and trusted within the team environment and gave everything to the cause? Whilst I admired them, and liked watching Galvin in particular, I still didn’t get the same buzz that I did from watching others. Then we have our very own ‘sicknote’ Mr Anderton. He had skill, tenacity and gave his all with his dogged style of play but I still didn’t expect the spectacular when he received the ball. So this leads me to the wizards, the unpredictables, the luxury players.Ginola was stylish in everything he did, graceful on the ball, flowing in action, beautiful to watch. The French way! I loved watching him when he was in full motion and even on his off days he was entertaining with his motions and disgust with the world. Chris Waddle is another. Slightly jolty and jiggy with his style but tricks galore that could memorise you and make you look foolish. Always had a smile on his face and always gave his all whether in the game or not. I always expected something from him when he received the ball. But my first memory of a wideman was in 1981, when I saw a little Argentine who oozes elegance, style and substance. Osvaldo Ardiles. Maybe not the most spectacular but the way he linked up with Hoddle and Villa was awesome to see.
SELECTIONS: OSSIE ARDILES AND CHRIS WADDLE
Forwards: I am going for one deeper lying, late arriving, striker to complement the other out and out striker.The deeper lying option comes down to 3: Nick Barmby, Robbie Keane and Edward (Teddy) Sheringham. Whilst Barmby and Keane have their plus points and I have seen some brilliant performances from them both, especially Keane, there is only one winner here. Teddy has to be the most intelligent footballer I have seen play the game. His vision (sometimes so far ahead of his team mates it was stupid), his knowledge of the game, passing ability and calmness in front of goal make him one of the best all round players I have ever seen. If only he had pace!
Likewise, the out and out striker for me has 3 options: Clive Allen, Gary Lineker and Jurgen Klinsman. Watching Clive Allen in 1987 was just simply awesome, he couldn’t miss. Playing as a lone striker and with brilliant service from the midfield he truly filled his boots. Unfortunately the rest of the time with us was taken up with sitting in the injury room. When Klinsman arrived the buzz around the Lane was amazing. The attacking team that he was a part of was scintillating to watch and akin to the schoolboy adage of ‘we will score more then you’! His love of the game was obvious to see and he certainly still had the killer instinct. He gave me great enjoyment whilst watching him and the team around him. When Gary Lineker played for us he was like when he played with every other team in his career. I like to call him Ronseal; does what it says on the tin and does it well. A goalscorer that every team would love to have. Always in the right place in and around the 6 yard box to score and made very intelligent runs.
SELECTIONS: TEDDY SHERINGHAM AND GARY LINEKER
So my full team is:
Clemence; Perryman (c), Mabbutt, King, Hughton; Waddle, Roberts, Hoddle, Ardiles; Sheringham, Lineker.
I would love to see them play together!
Will I in 10-15 years look back and change some of the selctions of the above team? Well, in all honesty, I hope so because that means we have been successful and entertained and new legends have been written into our glorious history.
Finally, before I go, as stated at the very beginning of this post, a man on Twitter ran a poll for all of his Spurs followers for the greatest XI of all time. Let me inform you of the end result. The top man was Al-Gil-Zean (@whitehartxchang on twitter) and the team was:
Jennings; Perryman, Blanchflower (c), King, Hughton; Ginola, MacKay, Hoddle, Waddle; Sheringham, Greaves
Submitted by Rob from THFC1882
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