Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Top 10 Best Tottenham Players Of All Time

The skies over North London which were for so long red are now Lilywhite.

With the Tottenham Hotspur stadium opened and the club challenging for the top four, this might be the dawning of a new golden age in N17.

Or, at least, that was the hope.

Reaching the 2019 Champions League final, which at the time served to emphasise Spurs’ superiority over Arsenal, now seems a long time ago as both North London teams flatter to deceive.

So, with all this possible success, do any of the current squad make it into the list of the Top 10 Best Tottenham players of all time? Well, no, maybe, sort of, and Harry Kane is a shoe in for later editions and we think it’s much better to judge, if you can, players at the end of their career.

So, with honourable mentions and shoutouts to the likes of Osvaldo Ardiles, Gary Mabbutt, Martin Peters, Chris Waddle, Jermain Defoe, Robbie Keane and Ledley King, let’s find out who makes the cut of the ten best Spurs stars of all time.

The club has a rich history of skilful players who wore the famous white shirt and navy blue shorts. Famed for their passing game, Spurs are rightly proud of their illustrious past.

If the Lilywhites were able to pick some of these players, their chances of greater success this season would surely improve?

Harry Kane and Dele Alli run toward our Top 10 Best Tottenham Players of all time but will they make it?

Ricardo Villa

Villa, nicknamed God in his Argentinian homeland due to his long mane and strong beard, joined Spurs as a World Cup winner with Argentina in 1978.

This ball playing defender proceeded to score a goal on his debut before going on to make 133 appearances for Tottenham between 1978 to 1983.

His most famous moment with a cockerel on his chest came in the 1981 FA Cup final when he bagged what is routinely remembered and always voted to be the finest goal ever scored in that famous old occasion and was later named the Wembley Goal of the Century.

Playing against Manchester City, Villa’s long and winding run through what feels like the entire City team before slotting it home past Joe Corrigan in the City goal to lift the cup for Spurs in a year ending in one.

Paul Gascoigne

Sir Bobby Robson called him “daft as a brush”; everyone who played in the same side as Gazza has tales aplenty of his japes. To the point that his undisputed talent is not spoken about as much.

In 1988, Spurs beat off competition from Manchester United for his signature. The fee paid to Newcastle United was, by today’s standards, paltry; £2.2m, around £8.5m now.

By quirk of fate, his first game for Spurs came at St James’ Park. A week later, he scored his first goal in the 3 – 2 home defeat by Arsenal.

He went on to score six more goals in 37 further games that season as Tottenham finished sixth. A year later, his dynamic form helped propel the club to a 3rd place finish and England to a World Cup semi-final.

Aah, Gazza’s tears; there would be more, brought on by the demons which surfaced as he felled Gary Charles in the 1991 FA Cup final. It almost put the kibosh on a dream move to Italy having torn his cruciate knee ligaments.

It didn’t matter; Spurs won the FA Cup in the end, depriving Brian Clough of the one trophy which eluded him.

And Gazza? As well as making it into our Top 10 Best Tottenham Players of all time, he had that goal against Arsenal in his locker…

Cliff Jones

Any of Bill Nicholson’s double-winning side could be a club legend; they are, of course, being the most recent title-winners in Tottenham’s history.

But Cliff Jones stands out as one of the most skilful.

Signed from Swansea Town as they were then known, Jones made his Spurs debut in February 1958 in a 4 – 4 draw at Arsenal. His £35,000 fee – then a club record – seemed questionable when he made a slow start to his career.

Matters worsened when he broke a leg in preseason, returning at the end of the year. However, it served to inspire the Wales international. In 1959/60, he scored 25 league and cup goals, beginning a run of five consecutive seasons where he never scored less than 13 goals.

And he was quick…

In a three-season spell, Jones claimed two FA Cups and the Football League title. In 1963, he played in the European Cup Winners Cup winning side which thrashed Atletico Madrid 5 – 1 to become the first English side to claim a European trophy.

He stayed at White Hart Lane until 1968, the season previous in which he won his third FA Cup winning trophy.

Pat Jennings

In 1977, the amiable Northern Ireland international moved to Arsenal in a £40,000 deal with then-boss Keith Burkenshaw believing Pat Jennings career was over. 326 appearances later, the folly of that assessment was proven.

Jennings joined Tottenham in 1964, making 591 appearances and winning the FA Cup, two League Cups and a UEFA Cup during that time.

The Newry-born goalkeeper was famed for his unflappable temperament, willingness to save any goalbound effort with any part of his body as well as having huge hands.

At times, he was unbeatable in situations where others would be hopelessly beaten. And he is the only goalkeeper in our list of the Top 10 Best Tottenham Players of all time.

He was also the rarest of goalkeepers; a goalscorer from open play! At Old Trafford in the 1967 Charity Shield, his enormous drop-kick bounced over Manchester United’s Alex Stepney’s head and into the net.

Along the way, Jennings picked up the PFA Footballer of the Year award and the FWA Player of the Year award, the only goalkeeper to win both.

Gareth Bale

Gareth Bale point 1.0 simply has to be one of the best Tottenham players of all time and was for a while right up there with the best players in the world.

Before his mega move to Real Madrid – and forgetting his recent disappointing return – he was at times unplayable and rivalled only by Luis Suarez as the Premier League’s most exciting and outstanding talent.

Feared for his ferocious shots, fizzing free kicks, and ability to breeze past a defender with ease, Bale earned many, many superlatives from teammates and rivals alike.

Signed from Southampton as a right back, Harry Redknapp’s decision to move him up the pitch reposition him as a striker was an inspired touch of genius as a star was born.

Costing a mere snip at £5 million, the Welshman enjoyed a six year tenure at White Hart Lane, starring in more than 146 Premier League games and finding the back of the net around 42 times, before moving to Spain for £100 million+ thus firmly establishing himself as one of the Tottenham Legends of all time.

In his final year at the Lane, Bale scooed the Young Player of the Year award, the PFA Player of the Year and the FWA Footballer of the Year title, making him only the second player to receive all three trophies in one season.

Steve Perryman

Mr Tottenham and nobody is surprised by his inclusion in this list of the Top 10 Best Tottenham Players of all time.

Revered at the club, admired in the country yet never capped by England. Steve Perryman’s versatility was his undoing for the national team.

Comfortable at full-back and in midfield, he made a club record 866 appearances in 16½ seasons at White Hart Lane. In eight of those seasons, Perryman was an ever-present and only in his first campaign at the club did he barely pass the halfway mark of that total.

Such was his admirable consistency, Perryman was named the Football Writers Association Footballer of the Year in 1982.

During his time at the club, he won two of everything; FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup. The trophies came in clusters; 1971 through 1973 saw both League Cups and the first UEFA Cup.

In 1981 – 1984 came the remaining trio of trophies. Tottenham were undoubtedly a fine cup side and Perryman was their leader.

Danny Blanchflower

Tottenham’s captain in the double-winning era; tough, uncompromising and an outstanding technician with the football.

Northern Ireland’s captain in the 1958 World Cup, he famously quipped “our tactics have always been to equalise before the other team score,” following the 2 – 2 draw with West Germany.

Blanchflower went on to become the first of his countrymen to win 50 caps. For Tottenham, he remains the benchmark by which all captains are judged.

Blanchflower began his career in England with Barnsley followed by five years at Aston Villa. He moved to White Hart Lane in a £30,000 deal which saw him play 384 games in his decade in North London.

Goals were few and far between; just 21 but for a defensive midfielder, he had a more important role. Nicholson’s team relied on quick turnover of possession and nobody was better in the English game at that role than Blanchflower.

In his time at the club, Tottenham enjoyed unprecedented success. A league and FA Cup double in 1960-61 was followed by the FA Cup a year later, as well as the Cup Winners Cup in 1963; he was Tottenham’s most successful captain to date.

Dave Mackay

Dave Mackay signed for Tottenham in 1958 from his boyhood club Hearts. In his nine seasons at White Hart Lane, he earned a well-deserved reputation as a no-nonsense midfielder.

Billy Bremner, himself no shrinking violet, learned the hard way just how little Mackay refused to yield to opponents…

He was a key member of Bill Nicholson’s team, allowing others to flourish while he took care of ‘business’ elsewhere. Nobody is surprised by his inclusion in our list of the Top 10 Best Tottenham Players.

A member of the double-winning side which retained the FA Cup a year later, he missed out on the European glory with a stomach injury.

Mackay scored in the Cup Winner’s Cup semi-final victory over OFK Beograd but missed the thrashing of Atletico in the final.

He left Tottenham after the 1967 FA Cup final win over Chelsea, joining Derby’s successful promotion bid to the First Division.

Mackay left the Rams before they won the league title in 1970 but made up five years later when as Derby boss, he guided them to their second league title of the decade.

Glenn Hoddle

As Terry Neill sought the answer to replacing Liam Brady, his eyes glanced across north London at Glenn Hoddle and for a minute, the unthinkable almost happened: the king almost moved to Arsenal.

Who said newspaper speculation only started in the Premier League era?

As it was, Glenn Hoddle remains a Tottenham legend. He joined the club as a 12-year-old, made his debut five years later and left with tears in everyone’s eyes after a dozen seasons and 480 first-team appearances.

Hoddle was indisputably the most gifted English player of his generation. Almost inexplicably, he is frequently overlooked when the top ten English player lists are compiled.

Few, if any, internationals from these shores, before and since, had the range of passing and technique the Spurs midfielder.

His medal haul at the club was relatively meagre; two FA Cups and the 1984 UEFA Cup is scant reward for the Tottenham side of the early 1980s. It was one which promised much and delivered little.

Hoddle did the opposite; he promised much and delivered at every level.

Jimmy Greaves

When Jimmy Greaves scored on his Chelsea debut on 24th August 1957, few doubted he would become a prolific goalscorer. Few suspected, however, that he would become a legend at his victims that day, Tottenham Hotspur.

He remains one of the finest English strikers ever. The unluckiest as well, replaced by Geoff Hurst injured in the group stages of the 1966 World Cup. He cut a forlorn figure amid all the celebrations at the final.

In 381 games for Spurs, he scored 266 goals. The only times he scored fewer than 20 goals came in seasons when he played less than 30 games and that happened only twice.

After an unsuccessful spell with AC Milan, Greaves moved to North London for a fee of £99,999 as Bill Nicholson wanted to avoid the weight of the mantle of becoming the first £100,000 player resting heavily on Greaves’ shoulders.

It worked; Greaves was the top-scorer in every season at the club and was the top scorer in the First Division on six occasions. Just to top it all, he was on the winning side for every final in which he played for Spurs; two FA Cups and the Cup Winners Cup, in which he scored twice.

He was inducted into the Tottenham Hall of Fame in 2015; the only question is why it took so long for the #1 in our list of Top 10 best Tottenham players of all time.

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