Top 10 Tottenham Hotspur players of all-time

Yes, the second game of the annual North London Derby is nearly here and for those of us on either side of this bitter feud the hearts are racing faster and the memories of wins and bitter defeats seem to be palpable. However, it’s also a great time to celebrate the greatness of whatever side you fall on in England’s most bitter derby.

Earlier this week we here at 32flags took a look at the top 10 Gunners of all-time, and you can’t get just one side of the story so here we go with the top 10 Tottenham players of all-time too. COYS!!

 

10. Paul Gasgoine (1988-1992)

Gazza, sweet Gazza. While his time was short with the club it was a sweet, sweet first few years after arriving from Newcastle. He managed to make 100 appearances for Spurs and was easily the most entertaining player of his day in the Lillywhite jersey.

Sadly, we all know him because of a rash challenge on Nottingham Forest’s Gary Charles in the 1991 FA Cup final and for his tabloid exploits after his breakout in the 1990 World Cup for England.

9. Gareth Bale (2007-2013) 

Spurs were missing some flare and entertainment at times during the mid-2000’s, and then this young left-footed player appeared on the scene named Gareth Bale. He immediately became a fan favorite and justified the huge transfer fee paid to Southampton for him.

During his team at White Hart Lane, Bale was a key piece to Spurs getting to the Champions League in 2009 and also doing some damage in said tournament as well. Just ask Inter Milan what they think of him. While his time was devoid of trophies or championships, Bale is easily the best player Spurs had during the 2010’s.

Bale would go on to set the club record by being sold to Real Madrid for £78 million ($123 million), and he’s become a nice piece to the puzzle at the Abu Dhabi Bernabeu…or is it not called that just yet?

8. Teddy Sheringham (1992-97, 2001-03)

Spurs are all about that attacking flare and during the early days of the EPL, no player exemplified that flare for Tottenham better than Sheringham. There were players with more pace, better technical ability or even size, but none of the Robbie Keane’s or Jurgen Klinsmann’s of the world were as great at all three as Sheringham was.

His combination of everything made his goalscoring ability magic, so much so that he’s still the clubs record holder for goals in the Premiership era. He also happens to be top 10 in goals all-time at the club with 124 in 277 appearances in a Spurs kit. His 0.45 goals per appearance is top 5 all-time as well.

If you want a thinking man’s striker than Sheringham is your man.

7. Pat Jennings (1964-1977, 1985-86)

Northern Ireland was kind to Spurs, as many of the legends in the double-winning side and during Spurs’ glory years came from the country. One such player was Pat Jennings, who could be argued along with current star Hugo Lloris as the club’s best goalkeeper.

He also happened to have one of the longest careers of any goalkeeper I’ve ever seen, with his professional career spanning some 22 years and with the bulk of it spent between the posts in a Spurs kit. It’s just too bad Spurs manager for the 1977 season, Keith Burkinshaw had to make the stupid move of selling Jennings to rival Arsenal or things would’ve been even more interesting around the Lane in the late 70’s and early 80’s.

Perhaps his greatest strength was his ability to keep his composure no matter if he was flying through the air, battling for a ball with an oncoming attacker or getting to ground quickly. In fact, he may be the model that most modern goalkeepers are taught off of, as he was a true all-around keeper, able to use his feet nearly as well as his hands.

His longevity at the position also help, and Jennings won an FA Cup (1966-67), a UEFA Cup (1971-72) and two League Cups (’71, ’73) during his time at Tottenham.

6. Ledley King (1999-2011)

Of the current generation of Spurs fans, it’s hard to think of a more iconic name to carry on the tradition of what it means to be Tottenham. King played the rough and tumble center of the defense throughout his career and even paid for it with finishing his career as a one-knee wonder.

Still, King wasn’t just a physically gifted and imposing presence in the center of the pitch — he was also technically gifted, had impeccable timing (ask Arjen Robben) and was an amazing player with the ball at his feet. In fact, there may not have been a better passer of the ball in the EPL during his heyday with the club.

Perhaps the craziest and most telling stat is that King went the whole of his career with just eight, yes, eight yellow cards. Gunner legend Theirry Henry even admitted King was the best defender he’d faced and the only one who didn’t have to resort to fouling to get the job done — high praise from a bitter rival.

Eventually the physical nature of the game took it’s toll on the one guy who didn’t leave the club behind (right Judas…errr, Sol Campbell), and it cut his career short. Luckily the fans will always have this moment in the 26th minute of every match, such is King’s legendary status with Spurs.

5. Jimmy Greaves (1961-1970) 

While Greaves didn’t do things with “flair,” he sure as hell did a lot of business for Tottenham. Over the course of his time at the Lane, the forward smashed home 266 goals in 380 appearances for the club. He’s the all-time leader in goals and one of only two men to score over the double-century mark for Spurs.

As part of the magical run of the 1960’s Greaves is sometimes overlooked by this generation of Tottenham fans, but make no mistake about it, Greaves loved to make sure Spurs were scoring goals in bunches. He ended his time at White Hart Lane hitting at a 70 percent strike rate…think about that kind of efficiency for one second, now imagine that in today’s modern and globally televised soccer world.

What holds him back compared to his contemporaries are two facts that are hard to get over. 1) That whole spell with Chelsea because he somehow couldn’t get travel arranged to Tottenham (still is a nightmare folks) as a youth; and 2) while he scored goals in bunches, he wasn’t as technically sound or good at getting teammates involved as others on that double-winning side were.

Still, Greaves could be England’s single greatest goal-scorer and that has to put him on our list.

4. Ossie Ardiles (1978-88)

You know you’re a club legend when the lads still sing a song about you and still dream your dream:

Ardiles is a lot more than just a song though, as he was perhaps the most important foreign player to grace English soccer. Before he joined it was very rare to see international players coming to the shores of the British Isles, but he changed all of that with his grace and personality. His ability to speak some good English also helped endear him to the fans.

Playing alongside Glenn Hoddle the Spurs had a masterful midfield during his time in a Spurs kit, but there’s always this wonder of what could’ve been. When the Falklands War broke out between his native Argentina and his adopted home of England, tensions were high and playing in Britian became a very real danger for him.

You can find out more on his ESPN 30 for 30 documentary about the exact situation in front of him and his teammates.

On the field, Ardiles ended his Spurs days with 221 appearances with 16 goals to his name.

3. Glenn Hoddle (1975-1987) 

If there is a definition of what it means to be a midfielder for Spurs, Hoddle is it. He was arguably the most technically gifted player to every put on the Lillywhite jersey and he stayed loyal to his club even when his skills and performances warranted a move to a bigger club.

He scored 88 goals over the course of 337 appearances for Spurs. Hoddle was also part of the second glory period of the modern era for Spurs — winning the UEFA Cup in 1984 and the FA Cup in back-to-back years (1981 and 82). Playing alongside the likes of Ossie Ardiles really brought out the best in Hoddle, who would’ve been a mega-star given today’s media standards and hype, that’s for sure.

By the time he did move Hoodle was a 30-year old player and Monaco fans still love the man to this day.

2. Dave Mackay (1959-68)

Spurs have done many firsts in English soccer anuals, but not many would’ve been possible if it weren’t for the fiery Scotsman Dave Mackay. He was a physically imposing, but also creative midfielder who was the catalyst for the longest period of success in Spurs history.

During a nine year spell he won the league twice , the FA Cup three times, and the Cup Winners Cup once, collecting 22 Scotland cpas all the while. He was part of the double winning side of 1960-61, took the FA Cup for a second straight season in 1961-62 and won the European Cup Winner Cup in 1962-63 to become the first English club to ever win a European trophy.

Many of his contemporaries point to him as being the hardest player to face and that’s a great complement from that period of time in the English game. Good enough to make a case for the top spot, but there’s one player who can’t be left off this list.

1. Danny Blanchflower (1954-64)

Seriously, did you think this list was going to end any other way. The guy isn’t just a Spurs legend, he may well be the single best British player of his generation. It doesn’t hurt that he was the captain for the double-winning season of 1961 either.

In his day, Blanchflower was a brilliant midfielder, general of the pitch and tactician of the game. It’s hard to put in to words what exactly this man could do on a soccer pitch, but talk to anyone around the game that time and his name is No. 1 out of their mouths when talking of Spurs.

He also means a lot around the club because his talk of Glory remains a foundational branch for everything the club tries to attain up to this day and beyond.

Football is about glory, it is about doing things in style and with a flourish, about going out and beating the lot, not waiting for the to die of boredom.” – Danny Blanchflower

About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a contributor to The Comeback as well as Publisher of Big Ten site talking10. He also is a member of the FWAA and has been covering college sports since 2011. Andy is an avid soccer fan and runs the Celtic FC site The Celtic Bhoys. If he's not writing about sports, you can find him enjoying them in front of the TV with a good beer!

Quantcast