10 Manchester United Footballers Who Have Also Played for Tottenham Hotspur
Surprisingly, given their mutual appreciation of skillful players, very few have lined out in both clubs’ colors over the years.
Since goalkeeper Jack Hall and striker Jimmy Brown in the 1930s—neither of whom were household names—only eight others have represented both the Red Devils and Spurs.
While Gareth Bale and Luka Modric are two men Sir Alex Ferguson would love to have added to the list, here’s the post-war octet, from the current to the least recent.
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1. Michael Carrick
With Roy Keane’s abrupt absence weighing on everyone’s mind, Alex Ferguson shelled out a then-record £14 million—potentially rising to £18.6 million—for Michael Carrick in the summer of 2006.
Though he’s no Keane in the No. 16 shirt, the England international—who spent two seasons at Spurs on the back of his £3.5 million capture from West Ham United—has carved out a regular enough role anchoring the Manchester United midfield.
The Geordie says he’s not bothered that the crowd doesn’t sing his name, telling The Guardian’s Daniel Taylor in 2009: “I suppose there isn't much that rhymes with Carrick. I’ve spent a few hours trying to think up something myself … What can you do?”
Maybe, “We like Michael Carrick / But we’d rather Roy or Eric”?
Verdict: Steady? Yes. Spectacular? No.
2. Dimitar Berbatov
Though he showed glimpses of his ability—highlighted by a historic 2010 hat-trick against Liverpool—the gifted but inanimate “Dimi” was unrecognizable compared to the striker who’d showed such cutting thrust alongside Robbie Keane.
Verdict: More East End than Stretford End.
3. Fraizer Campbell
An exciting product of the Manchester United youth academy, Fraizer Campbell went to Spurs on a season-long loan as part of the Dimitar Berbatov deal.
He made 10 Premier League appearances for Tottenham, scoring once, though a brace against Liverpool helped them reach the 2009 Carling Cup final.
Unfortunately for Fraizer, he wasn’t permitted to play in the decider against his could-be teammates.
Verdict: Lightning quick, slow to progress.
4. Teddy Sheringham
Tottenham fans probably thought trophy-less Teddy Sheringham’s best days were behind him when he left for Manchester United at the age of 31.
Bought for £3.5 million to replace Eric Cantona in 1997, the Londoner missed a penalty against Spurs in his United debut and struggled to live up to his billing.
But even as a bit-part player, he became a Reds legend with his equalizing goal and match-winning assist in the Champions League final two years later.
Glenn Hoddle managed to re-sign him for Tottenham the following year and he spent another two seasons there, bringing his Spurs goals total to 98.
Verdict: The first five yards are in the head.
5. Terry Gibson
A diminutive, dynamic striker, Terry Gibson, all 5'5" of him, made his Spurs debut as an apprentice (footballer, not jockey) in 1979.
Just over two years later, with Mark Hughes Barcelona-bound, United acquired his services. But, with competition still steep, his 18-month stay was mostly spent on the bench.
Sold by new boss Alex Ferguson, Gibson enjoyed a renaissance at Wimbledon, and was part of their 1988 FA Cup-winning side.
Based in Spain, where he works for Sky Sports, Gibson underwent a quintuple heart bypass in 2009.
Verdict: Big things expected, but no “Sparky.”
6. Alan Brazil
After a one-in-three strike rate at both Portman Road and White Hart Lane, the burly Brazil joined Ron Atkinson’s United—against whom he’d scored this fine goal—for a sizeable £625,000 fee in the summer of ’84.
He spent 18 middling months at Old Trafford (12 goals in 41 appearances) until he headed to Coventry as a makeweight in the Terry Gibson transfer.
His career quickly tailed off, ending due to a bad back when he was only 27.
Brazil is now a popular and sometimes controversial presenter on UK radio station Talksport.
Verdict: Bobby Robson got the best out of him.
7. Garth Crooks
It’s often easy to forget that now-BBC reporter Garth Crooks even played football; never mind for Manchester United (albeit briefly) during the early 80s.
Having forged a successful partnership with Steve Archibald for cup specialists Spurs, during a short loan spell at Old Trafford in November 1983 Crooks scored twice in seven run-outs.
He then branched into politics and television work.
Verdict: Better on the pitch than on the box.
8. Chris McGrath
Belfast-born winger Chris McGrath joined Tottenham Hotspur as a teenager and made 38 appearances for “The Cockerels” before Tommy Docherty paid £30,000 to take him to Old Trafford in 1976.
He featured more regularly under Dave Sexton, playing in 23 games and scoring his only Manchester United goal during 1977-’78.
Though he scored in internationals against Holland, England, Iceland and Belgium, McGrath only played four times at club level in the next three seasons.
In February 1981, he joined the transatlantic exodus, signing for Tulsa Roughnecks in the NASL.
McGrath stayed there for two seasons until the league began to fall apart, and subsequently captained South China in Hong Kong.
Verdict: Another George Best? Well, he did follow him to the States.