Tottenham to Toronto: Jermain Defoe's Last Decade in Pictures
The foreknowledge of the England international's transfer gives us a longer chance than usual to examine the ramifications of such a high-profile move. Or in this instance, reflect upon the path that led to it.
The tale of Defoe's decade since first joining Spurs is in many respects a story of the club's fortunes itself. Arriving as he did, in trying circumstances, and since playing a part in a largely healthy period for the North Londoners.
Accompanied and told through images of some of that journey's significant steps, we take a look back at a memorable 10 years.
February 2004: Defoe Joins Tottenham
Tottenham Hotspur were enduring tough times in 2003-04. Glenn Hoddle had been sacked earlier in the season, and caretaker manager David Pleat was trying to make something of a campaign in which the club were ominously close to the drop zone.
With that in mind, Pleat decided to recruit one of the hottest striking prospects in the country.
Jermain Defoe was bought from West Ham United—who had lost their Premier League status the previous season—for £7 million, with Bobby Zamora also heading to East London.
Despite difficulties following his handing in a transfer request shortly after the Hammers' relegation, 21-year-old Defoe had scored 11 goals already that season.
Pleat was banking on him providing similar firepower for Spurs. After joining up with his new teammates, Defoe was swiftly in action...
February 2004: Defoe Scores on His Debut at White Hart Lane
The first of many thrillers Defoe would partake in during his Tottenham career came on his debut, a 4-3 win over Portsmouth at White Hart Lane.
Defoe opened the scoring after 13 minutes, but Spurs would need a late Gus Poyet winner to seal the three points.
A further six goals from Defoe helped his new team to Premier League safety. Come the summer, change was in the air in North London.
August 2004: Santini Era Starts with a 1-1 Draw with Benitez's Liverpool
Spurs' continental revolution in the summer of 2004 saw Frank Arnesen appointed sporting director with Jacques Santini as manager and Martin Jol appointed as his assistant.
On a bright opening day to the 2004-05 campaign, a new-look Spurs side in which Defoe was already one of the more longer-serving players took on Liverpool, who were also welcoming a new manager in Rafael Benitez.
Djibril Cisse gave the Reds the lead before Defoe equalised with just under 20 minutes remaining to earn Spurs a 1-1 draw.
While Benitez's Liverpool side would go on to win the Champions League, Spurs' plans would not work out so well.
November 2004: North London Derby Thriller as Jol Takes over
Emotions were high at White Hart Lane in the autumn of 2004. Legendary manager Bill Nicholson had passed away, and the club's league form and performances were not as had been hoped under Jacques Santini.
The Frenchman made way to be replaced by Martin Jol. In the latter's first official game in charge, Spurs were on the wrong end of a memorable 5-4 defeat to Arsenal.
Defoe scored a terrific curled effort in a topsy-turvy encounter but was unable to do more against the reigning division champions.
Spurs went onto finish ninth, narrowly missing out on qualifying for the UEFA Cup. Defoe's 22 goals in all competitions saw him lead the way for his side, with his good form alongside Fredi Kanoute edging Robbie Keane out of the team.
September 2005: Spurs Get Going but Defoe's Form Begins to Dip
Spurs and Defoe began 2005-06 brightly. The forward scored a goal apiece in consecutive season-opening 2-0 wins over Portsmouth and Middlesbrough.
After this positive start, Defoe's form began to fall away.
In the pictured September game with Aston Villa, Robbie Keane came on to give Spurs a point with an emotional equaliser that turned the tide for the striker.
With Martin Jol preferring a big-man/little-man combination up front, Keane had been behind Defoe and the bigger Mido in the pecking order.
Defoe would continue to see plenty of action, but Keane became Spurs' main man in a season in which saw them take on Arsenal for fourth place and the prize of Champions League qualification.
May 2006: Defoe Suffers Spurs and England Heartbreak
Having occupied fourth spot for most of the season, Spurs saw their Champions League hopes slip away on the final day.
Defoe's former club, West Ham United, beat them 2-1 at Upton Park to hand the place to Arsenal.
Spurs' performance was undermined by a bout of gastroenteritis that had left the majority of the squad weakened and tired. Defoe brought them level, but Yossi Benayoun gave the gleeful Hammers victory over their London rivals.
More professional heartbreak was to follow for Defoe when Sven-Goran Eriksson left him out of his World Cup squad for the untried and ultimately unused Theo Walcott.
Defoe's tally of nine goals had underwhelmed, but his being left out proved an error on Eriksson's part. The Swede's choice to take the unfit strike pair of Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney left England light when the former got injured and the latter flattered to deceive.
December 2006: History in the Making for Defoe in Europe
Despite missing out on the Champions League, Tottenham had qualified for Europe for the first time since 1999.
Dinamo Bucharest at White Hart Lane concluded the group stage. In a 3-1 win, Defoe scored twice to get off the mark in Europe for Spurs, something that would have record-breaking consequences down the line...
April 2007: Spurs Lose in the UEFA Cup to Their Next Manager
Finishing the 2006-07 season with 18 goals to his name in all competitions, Defoe's playing brief was still a bit-part one, as Spurs finished fifth for a second season in a row.
After getting a bye to the round of 16 because of Feyenoord's expulsion because of crowd trouble the previous November, Tottenham beat Sporting Braga to set up a quarter-final meeting with reigning champions Sevilla.
Spurs went into the second leg at home with a 2-1 deficit. Their hopes of progression were hit with a hammer blow, as the Spanish side went 2-0 up within 10 minutes.
As the White Hart Lane crowd sprung to life in support of the team, Defoe and then Aaron Lennon scored to square things on the night. It was not be, though, with Sevilla holding on to their 4-3 aggregate advantage.
In charge of the soon-to-be two-time UEFA Cup champions was a man Defoe and his teammates would soon become even more familiar with.
January/February 2008: Defoe Leaves Spurs
Martin Jol was sacked early in October 2007. Spurs' slow start in a season many were tipping them for a top-four place gave the club's hierarchy cause to make something of the admiring glances they had been casting Juande Ramos' way.
The man who had overseen Sevilla's defeat of Spurs the previous season came in, and Defoe found playing time even harder to come by.
Having started just four games all season, he decided a change of scenery was in order.
Defoe's last Spurs goal came in a 2-1 loss to Aston Villa on New Year's Day 2008. Then came a reunion with the man who had given him his chance at West Ham all those years before...
2008: Back with Redknapp, Delivering for Pompey
Harry Redknapp brought Defoe to a Portsmouth side firmly on the up at the beginning of 2008.
Scoring on his debut against Chelsea, the striker would go on to net eight times before the season was out. Having already played for Spurs in the competition, he was unfortunately cup-tied for Pompey's FA Cup success (also missing out on his former team's Carling Cup victory having already left).
An eighth-place finish hinted at brighter things for the South Coast club. The reality of their heavy spending soon hit home, though, and in October 2008, Redknapp replaced Juande Ramos at Spurs.
Janury 2009: Redknapp Takes Defoe Back to Spurs
Harry Redknapp had begun to turn the tide of a Tottenham ship that was perilously close to the bottom of the Premier League in late autumn 2008.
Moving into 2009, things were still precarious, however. As part of his attempts to see Spurs up the table, the new boss signed Wilson Palacios and brought back Pascal Chimbonda, Robbie Keane and Jermain Defoe.
Welcomed back to White Hart Lane during the first leg of Spurs' Carling Cup semifinal with Burnley, Defoe was swiftly back among the goals.
Injury saw the striker miss several weeks thereafter, but his contribution had helped while reinforcing Spurs' attacking options for the following season.
November 2009: Five-Star Defoe Helps Spurs Slaughter Wigan
Defoe began the 2009-10 campaign with a healthy six goals in 12 games. Against Wigan Athletic in November, he almost reached that many in one match.
Scoring five times, Defoe's contribution was the headline one of a team performance that showed some serious intent from Tottenham.
May 2010: Champions League Qualification at Last!
Defoe finished the season with a career-high 24 goals in all competitions, 18 of which had played a significant part in Tottenham finally making it to the Champions League.
Pipping Manchester City to fourth place, Spurs had responded to Redknapp's management and could now look forward to playing in Europe's premier club competition for the first time in almost 50 years.
The qualifying round still had to be negotiated, but that would wait. In May 2010, Spurs could finally dare to dream.
Late 2010: More European Goals, but Injury Strikes
Defoe scored in Tottenham's qualifying-round second-leg 4-0 win over Young Boys to help the team into the group stage and the real money and prestige.
That would be as good as it got for the striker for a few months, with injury setting his season back considerably.
He returned to score twice in a 3-3 draw with FC Twente that sealed Spurs' top spot in Group A ahead of the previous year's winners, Internazionale.
After that, things got a little too quiet.
May 2011: Spurs' Season Falls Away While Defoe Struggles to Form
Spurs reached the Champions League quarter-finals in 2010-11, going out to a clearly superior Real Madrid team.
While some terrific memories had been made along the way in Europe, Redknapp's side failed to deliver in the league, hurting their hopes of a return among Europe's elite.
Defoe's form was its worst in either of his two spells with Spurs. Some typically eye-catching goals came in games against Wolverhampton Wanderers and Blackpool, but his performances failed to match those sporadic moments of quality.
He was not alone in performing poorly, and his season had not been helped by the momentum-damaging injury he had suffered earlier in the campaign. Something had to change.
2011-12: Defoe Back in the Goals, but Redknapp Looks Elsewhere
In response to an underwhelming year previously, Defoe upped his efforts considerably in 2011-12.
Emmanuel Adebayor had arrived on loan to add extra depth in attack, while Rafael van der Vaart was still a key part of Harry Redknapp's team.
But Defoe was ahead of Roman Pavlyuchenko in the pecking order and making the most of his opportunities when they came, both in goals and the quality of his performances.
Spurs were flying heading into the New Year. Harbouring title ambitions, they sat in third, within reach of Manchester City and with Manchester United just above them.
Having scored to bring them back into the game, Defoe missed a late chance that would have given Spurs the lead in a pivotal January contest with City. Mario Balotelli netted a late penalty to give the eventual champions a 3-2 win, having outrageously avoided dismissal for attempting to put his foot through Scott Parker's skull.
While Defoe continued to deliver when selected, Redknapp bafflingly persevered with the talented but even more inconsistent Louis Saha (who had replaced the departed Pavlyuchenko in January) ahead of him.
Spurs' season tailed off, with them missing out on Champions League qualification after fifth-place Chelsea won the tournament. Defoe finished brightly with a tally of 17 goals in a campaign he could be proud of individually.
December 2012: Defoe Ends Year on a High, but Struggles Are to Come
With Andre Villas-Boas in charge for 2012-13, Tottenham were looking in decent shape to maintain the progress made under Harry Redknapp's management.
Emmanuel Adebayor's injury problems meant ample playing time for Defoe at the head of Villas-Boas' 4-2-3-1 formation. He scored 13 times before the turn of the year, keeping Spurs on track in Europe and in the Premier League.
Injury ensured Defoe was not at his best heading into 2013. Gareth Bale took up the scoring mantle, with his now 30-year-old teammate only netting once more for Spurs, as they again narrowly missed out on a place among the big names of the European game.
November 2013: Defoe the European Record Breaker
Held by Martin Chivers for over 30 years, Jermain Defoe took the title of Tottenham's all-time top scorer in Europe with a penalty against Sheriff Tiraspol in the Europa League.
Defoe's 23 goals in seven years is not the most extraordinary of tallies. Considering Spurs had only been in Europe for one season in 15 prior to his arrival, though, the forward's contribution to some fine evenings under the floodlights of White Hart Lane and beyond should not be overlooked.
As of this writing, his 143 goals leaves Defoe fifth in Tottenham's all-time scorers list—well behind club legends like Jimmy Greaves and Bobby Smith but ahead of a list of greats from Len Duquemin to Alan Gilzean and more recent scorers like Robbie Keane and Teddy Sheringham.
January 2014: Toronto Bound, but Defoe Is Still Scoring for Spurs
With Defoe's transfer to Toronto FC announced earlier in the week, Defoe stepped onto the White Hart Lane turf against Crystal Palace with his future set.
Until that move is completed in February, he remains a Tottenham player, and he went about showing that in the best way possible in this London derby.
A second-half substitute, he sealed a 2-0 win for Tim Sherwood's side with a well-fashioned finish after getting on the end of Aaron Lennon's through ball.
Will this be Defoe's last goal for Spurs?
January 2014: Canada Awaits for MLS's Latest English Import
Just a couple of days after helping Spurs beat Crystal Palace, Defoe was in Canada as Toronto unveiled their new signing to an audience of fans and media, in person, on television and online.
The England striker received a warm welcome, as he was introduced alongside fellow newcomer Michael Bradley.
In a few short weeks, Defoe will begin the latest instalment of an eventful career he will hope will continue to be defined by that which he has striven to do for so many years: scoring goals.
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