Tottenham Hotspur: A Tribute to Players Sold During the Summer Window
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After this summer's transfer window has gone, it is time to reflect and predict the effects of the movement in and out at Tottenham Hotspur. While most articles regarding the transfer period dwell on business into the club, this piece is the contrary.
Much has been discussed about Tottenham's lack of spending on the final day of the summer, where the club only managed to bring in Scott Parker for a fee believed to be £5 million.
Instead of building on an already overcrowded squad list, manager Harry Redknapp and chairman Daniel Levy managed to streamline their team, ridding the club of its so-called "deadweight."
That "deadweight" managed to rake in a total of nearly £29 million, not including the subsidized wages from the myriad of players loaned out to various clubs.
But what about those players technically classified as "deadweight?" The term is an umbrella over a list of proven internationals, strong squad players, and club legends in their own rights.
The following is a tribute to the players gone who have represented the Lilywhites for the final time.
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Though the goal may be considered comical to supporters outside Tottenham (due to the fact Cech parried to ball into Woody's face), Spurs fans will never forget where they were when the Englishman made his most memorable contribution in a Tottenham shirt.
Woodgate's goal brought Spurs their first silverware since 1999, and gave them a year's worth of bragging rights against two of their most bitter rivals.
Sadly, Woody's contributions to Tottenham were curtailed by his prominent injury problems, which featured a seemingly never-ending groin problem that forced him to travel the world for doctor's answers.
The defender was ever present in the Spurs XI after his £7 million transfer from Middlesbrough in January 2008, making 61 appearances and scoring three goals in all competitions. Then, injuries piled up, forcing Woody to only play four times in two full seasons.
With Jonathan Woodgate, the potential has always been apparent. When fit, he is a world-class center-back, much like his equally maligned former colleague, Ledley King. He oozes confidence and stability, almost never putting a foot wrong when playing.
It's a pity that he has started off his career at Stoke City so brightly, featuring frequently and coming through with full fitness. I'm sure when Stoke visit White Hart Lane in March Woody's name will be sung around the ground.
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There was a point during Wilson Palacios' time at Tottenham when he was the first name on the team sheet. The Honduran's performances were incomparable and he gave everything he had for the full 90 minutes.
Palacios' heart, energy, and willingness to tackle hard won over supporters instantly, as he became an instant cult hero in N17. His central midfield role was vital during Tottenham's run towards a fourth place finish in the 2009-10 season, eventually being named the Supporters Clubs' Best Team Player.
But an unnerving event seemed to blight his performances at the back end of the 2009.
While a member of Birmingham City in 2007, one of Wilson's four brothers, Edwin, was kidnapped from the family home. After a £100,000-plus ransom was paid for his release, Edwin remained in the kidnapper's custody. For a year-and-a-half, Edwin's whereabouts were unknown leaving the family distressed and prompting Palacios' mother to make a television appeal to the kidnapper's confirming Edwin's survival.
In May 2009, gang members connected to the kidnapping confessed to the whereabouts of a body believed to be Edwin's. Wilson returned home to Honduras on compassionate leave from Spurs, as the body found was confirmed to be that of his brother's.
Wilson played less of a role in 2010-11, due to slipping performances and injury struggles, while many supporter's attributed these problems to his brother's death.
It was depressing to see such a strong and diligent player lose touch and focus in such an nervous and unsettling time. Hopefully, Wilson will rediscover his form and settle down with Stoke City, alongside Woody and Crouch. Palacios was always one of my favorites and I have the utmost respect for his discipline and commitment during an incredibly troubling period.
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A figure of controversy at White Hart Lane as a player that divides supporters' opinions, there is no doubt Peter Crouch will be remembered as a cult hero for his role in Tottenham's runs toward, and into, the Champions League.
The lanky striker, with a surprisingly soft touch, brought a proven goalscoring record and different stylistic approach when he re-signed for Tottenham in 2009, bringing his career full circle after having been through Tottenham's academy.
Crouch appeared in nearly every match in all competitions for Spurs in 2009-10, creating a strong striking partnership with Jermain Defoe and scoring 13 times in 42 total appearances. His most famous contribution was scoring the winning goal against rivals Manchester City—a header from close range following a Martin Fulop parry, to clinch fourth place and a UEFA Champions League playoff position.
In the playoff second leg against Young Boys, Crouch scored a hat trick, vaulting Tottenham into Europe's premier club competition for the first time in their history. It was in the CL where Crouch had his best form in the 2010-11 season, proving a strong attacking partner for Rafael van der Vaart.
His league form subsequently sputtered, as Crouch misfired on all counts and scored only four times. The "long ball" style became frustrating for supporters, who became tired of the tactic used when Crouch was drafted into the side.
Then, Crouch seemed to redeem himself as he swept in an Aaron Lennon cross against AC Milan during the away leg of their round of 16 CL tie. But Spurs supporters were quickly brought down to Earth when Crouch made two rash challenges away to Real Madrid, seeing red and leaving his team a man short against one of the best sides in the world. It is fairly well known what happened later.
To culminate his tumultuous year, Crouch scored the own goal that secured Manchester City a CL place for the subsequent season, pushing Spurs down to fifth and into the less prominent Europa League.
I cannot say I rated Crouch highly as a player, but he was, at times, incredibly special and effective, commanding a presence in the box and dazzling with his surprisingly supple touch. His telling contributions will no doubt go down in Tottenham lore for years to come.
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"KEANO! There's only one Keano! There's only one Keano!"
A player that will always be a legend in my mind, Robbie Keane was one of the terrace legends during his spells at Tottenham Hotspur. Making nearly 300 appearances and scoring an astonishing 121 goals, Keane will forever be remembered fondly by Spurs supporters.
Part of the exodus from troubled Leeds United, Keane joined Spurs for £7m in the summer of 2002. That season, he scored 13 in 32 appearances, winning his first of three Tottenham Player of the Year awards. That goal tally would be the lowest for his subsequent five seasons at Spurs, as he became the 15th player in club history to surpass the century mark against Sunderland in January of 2008.
His partnership with Dimitar Berbatov after the Bulgarian's arrival at the club was extraordinary. The strikers seemed to click instantly and provided a fruitful total during their time together, even sharing PL Player of the Month honors in April 2007. When Ledley King was out of the Spurs side, Keane captained the squad and gloriously lifted the Carling Cup trophy with his co-captain after their 2008 triumph over Chelsea.
In a sharp turn of events, the striking pair were sold in the summer of 2008: Berbatov to Manchester United and Keane to his "boyhood club," Liverpool. Keane's time on Merseyside was incredibly disappointing for Liverpool fans, and Harry Redknapp brought the Irish captain back to North London during the winter of 2009.
From there, Keane failed to rediscover his form of old, possibly due to the gap left by Berbatov, but most likely a more simple loss of form. He was loaned out to Scottish giants, Celtic, at the end of the 2010 winter transfer window, where Keane became prolific, scoring 16 times in 19 total appearances.
When Keane returned to Tottenham, he was far down the pecking order and only made 10 appearances, scoring once in a Carling Cup loss to bitter rivals, Arsenal. Once again, the Irishman was loaned out, this time to East London with West Ham, but his form failed to improve.
People may say Keane moved to LA Galaxy for the money, but I believe he needed a new challenge, a new start. There's no doubt in my mind he could still perform at a high level in Europe, but it was best for both Tottenham and the player that they parted ways.
Robbie Keane helped me fall in love with soccer, as well as Tottenham Hotspur. He was the first Spurs player I saw score live and in person while playing the NY Red Bulls last summer. I cheered emphatically, marvelled at his classic arms-out-palms-open celebration, and sang his name loudly with the rest of the Tottenham supporters.
Treat him well, Los Angeles. You have a supreme talent and a legend in your possession.