Tottenham Hotspur FC: 11 Best to Ever Grace White Hart Lane
Well, it's time to chose a Spurs team of all time.
The Internet is full of these things, and each account of the best Spurs XI consists of completely different players.
So here I go, attempting to stir the hornets nest and put my best XI out there. If I were you, reading this, I would just be relieved that it's not about the NFL lockout or whom Manchester United should buy as their "last" summer signing or even about Mario Balotelli's failed backheel against the LA Galaxy.
That being said, sit back, relax and keep clicking the "Next" button.
Goalkeeper: Pat Jennings
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Pat Jennings played for Tottenham between 1964 and 1977 and then again for a brief time and mostly in the reserves during the 1985-1986 season.
The Northern Ireland international enjoyed a lot of success at the Lane but ultimately left a sour taste in the mouths of Tottenham fans after signing for Arsenal in 1977.
This switch has led many Spurs fans and writers to leave him out of their best XI teams. This is not a popularity contest, it's a list of possibly the best players to PLAY for Tottenham, so he stays. The fact that fellow Tottenham great Gary Mabbutt—a defender—reportedly chose Pat Jennings as his first choice 'keeper to play in front of definitely has to swing some weight.
Central Defenders: Ledley King, Gary Mabbutt
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Gary Mabbutt played at the Lane between 1982 and 1998 and has been active over the years promoting the awareness of diabetes, a disease he lives with. Now on to the football. Mabbutt won the UEFA cup with Spurs in 1984 and Captained the FA cup winning side of 1991. Many would argue that, if this is based on footballing ability, Mabbutt doesn't belong. My argument is in the center-left of Mabbutt's chest. Yes that's right, his heart. He poured himself into the game and devoted his body and blood to Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. As long as I'm writing this, Mabbutt is on the list.
Ledley King, on the other hand, can be on the list purely because of talent. Tottenham is the only team he has ever played for and made his first team debut in 1998. He is one of the greatest defenders of the modern era (when he's fit). He doesn't need much explanation other than virtually all Spurs fans want him in the team week in and week out, from now until forever.
Defending the Wings: Right Back Steve Perryman, Left Back Benoit Assou-Ekotto
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Steve Perryman made a record 856 first team appearances for Tottenham between 1969 and 1986. This versatile midfielder could play about anywhere. In this list, he goes down as a right back because of his defending vision and his ability to attack. Many would argue that his best position was in midfield but he was very affective in defense and, of course, having the valuable traits of persistence and determination helped ensure his selection.
Left back is a tricky position for a Spurs greatest XI. I could've gone with Chris Hughton for his consistency but, instead, I went with Benoit Assou-Ekotto for his- well uh- consistency. I think BAE's crosses can be spectacular which is what assures his place in this list. A left back that attacks AND defends?? Weird. So he's my choice.
Central Midfielders: Paul Gascoigne and Glen Hoddle
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Paul Gascoigne goes down as one of the greatest ever Tottenham players. His fairly short time at Spurs between 1988 and 1992 was certainly enough to make an impact on the club and fans. He shouldn't be considered an all-out attacking midfielder because of his tackling ability and defensive tenacity. Temper? Yes indeed. But what world class player doesn't have a temper? For almost any Spurs fan, Gazza has to be in the team.
Glen Hoddle, for the purpose of this best XI team, will be considered the more attacking midfielder of the two central midfielders. What he lacked in pace he more than made up for with supreme vision and a passing ability that would make Barcelona pee pee in their pants. This midfield wizard made close to 400 appearances for Tottenham between 1975 and 1987.
Wingers: Danny Blanchflower and Chris Waddle
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Danny Blanchflower played for Tottenham from 1954 to 1964 and captained his team to a league and F.A. Cup double in 1961. A member of the Tottenham Hotspur Hall of Fame, Blanchflower led his Spurs team with attractive, attacking football and the fans loved him for it.
Chris Waddle would fit in with modern wingers just fine. Tricks? Oh yeah, he had tricks. Between '85 and '89 Waddle blinded defenders with moves and skill. And he was a great crosser. Pair him with some good strikers and an attacking midfielder and you have yourself quite the attacking force. But isn't that what we're doing here?
Forwards: Teddy Sheringham and Jimmy Greaves
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Edward "Teddy" Sheringham spent '92 to '97 and then '01 to '03 with Spurs. Moving to Manchester United when he was doing so well at the Lane didn't help his relationship with the Spurs fans but I'm sure most will admit his brilliance. As a striker, Sheringham's job was to score goals. He definitely scored his fair share of goals but he's in this team because of his linking up ability and the way he plays off of other strikers. Maybe not an out and out poacher but certainly a valuable striker.
Jimmy Greaves is here because he scored a boat load of goals for the club. Between 1961 and 1970, he scored 266 goals in 380 games for Spurs. With all the players in this list being chosen for their vision and passing and so on, someone needs to do the actual scoring. Sheringham will help, but Greaves will be the total goal scorer.
In Time, Who Knows? Gareth Bale, Rafael Van Der Vaart
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In time, I believe that either Bale or VdV could make a Spurs Best XI team. At this point in time, Bale is too young and needs to prove that he was either a flash in the pan or is a truly great player. Van der Vaart could be one of the greats if he has two more seasons with Spurs and continues to improve.
What about someone else? Sandro? Dawson? Some other youngster? Only time will tell.