Ledley King's Guest XI Triumph in Testimonial Match at White Hart Lane

Sam RookeFeatured ColumnistMay 12, 2014

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Ledley King's Guest XI defeated a Tottenham XI 6-3 before a sell-out crowd at White Hart Lane on Monday night, as the fans came out to bid farewell to one of their own.

Few testimonials have been more deserved and, doubtless, few have been better celebrated than this.

The scoreline was a mere sideshow to the celebrations on the pitch and in the stands, as Tottenham fans packed the old house for a final chance to see Ledley King in lilywhite.

The ground was rocking well before kick-off.

Before kick-off, tributes from Mousa Dembele, Jan Vertonghen, Jonathan Woodgate, Robbie Keane and Hugo Lloris were played, and praise from Tom Huddlestone, Luke Modric and Gareth Bale was read out over the tannoy.

There were tributes from Robbie Keane, Luka Modric and Gareth Bale as well, as a host of current players kept out of the firing line due to World Cup commitments.

The Tottenham XI were the pantomime villains as King and the Guest XI took centre stage.

David Ginola stole the show in the first half with a few graceful touches evoking powerful memories among the fans. His first dash brought a great cheer as players on both sides indulged the fans with flicks and tricks galore.

Spurs' current captain Michael Dawson was booed relentlessly after fouling Ginola, but was quickly forgiven by the fans and a chorus of "Only one Michael Dawson" followed.

Dawson was in the middle of the action again when he and Younes Kaboul wrestled King to the ground on 14 minutes. The man of the hour was given the spot-kick duties and duly converted to hand his Legends side an early lead. Emmanuel Adebayor then equalised from the spot.

The astonishingly languid forward line of Dimitar Berbatov partnered with Teddy Sheringham combined to restore the Legends' lead with 48-year-old Sheringham grabbing a quick brace.

His first was set in motion as Berbatov broke away and pulled the ball back for Sheringham to score. Three minutes later, he doubled his tally with a poacher's finish from close range.

Adebayor and Eriksen got into the spirit of the evening, drawing cheers with some head tennis on the halfway line before Sheringham's intervention amused the crowd even more.

At half-time, a group of MPs took on yet more Spurs legends in a penalty shootout for charity. Mark Falco, Graham Roberts, Micky Hazard and Martin Chivers joined King.

The 69-year-old "Big Chiv" took to the pitch in a dress coat and football boots with an umbrella to ward off the rain. In goal was 1984's Uefa Cup shootout hero Tony Parks.

And then 10 minutes after the interval, Ledley King made his final bows following a deafening ovation, as all four sides of the ground stood to salute the King.

After his withdrawal, the crowd somewhat lost interest in the match.

Lewis Holtby and Steffen Freund delighted the fans with a running battle. The fans even serenaded the referee with "Howard Webb, we want you to stay."

Louis Saha scored twice for the Legends, while Nathan Oduwa netted for the Spurs XI and Etienne Capoue marked his return to action with goal 15 minutes from time.

Even Parks made a brief cameo, replacing Paul Robinson in the Guest XI's goal 10 minutes from time.

Saha completed his hat-trick with the last kick of the game before King returned to give an emotional speech to the 36,000 fans who hadn't budged at the sound of the final whistle.

After thanking the fans again, he made his last-ever walk up the tunnel and finally ended his time as a Spurs player, 16 years after his debut.