sulzeer campbell - fact file

1991 - 2001        defender


Born on 18th September 1974 in Newham, London, England.

Height : - 1.89m  (6' 2")

Weight : -  - kgs    (14st 4lbs)

A player who came through the Tottenham youth ranks infuriated Spurs fans when he ran down his contract and left on a free transfer for Arsenal in 2001, despite giving assurances that he "wasn't going anywhere."

Born in Newham and living in Plaistow with his family, although Campbell was with local club West Ham United as a very young schoolboy, he was selected at an early age to join the FA School of Excellence at Lilleshall and from there he joined Spurs. Spurs scout Len Cheesewright spotted him playing as a young boy for his local Newham Schools side in 1989, having attended the Lister Community School and his strength and style set him apart from the others in the team.  His father Swell worked night shifts as a railway labourer and his mother Wilhelmina worked in the canteen at the Fords work at Dagenham.

Represented England at Under-15 and Under-16 levels.

As a young player, his size and strength gave him an ideal physique to play up front, which he did with some success, then in midfield, but he was moved back into central defence, where he found his niche.  His debut as a substitute against Chelsea saw him enter the play as a forward and indeed he scored to get a consolation in a 1-2 defeat.

When he began to be selected for the first team, his position was as a full back and his pace gave him an advantage over speedy wingers.  Although tall, his defensive qualities saw him make wingers have to turn back on themselves, as they found it difficult to get around him.  When Gary Mabbutt retired, Christian Gross moved him into the middle of the back four, but he found it difficult to settle with a variety of partners there.

His ability to bring the ball out of defence and bring a calming influence to the defence saw him marked out as an England player, making his debut in May 1996 and he went on to win 69 caps for his country (40 while at Spurs).  He became club captain and lifted the League Cup in 1999 at Wembley, but with his contract due to expire, he let speculation grow about his future, as Tottenham held onto him rather than sell him to Manchester United for £20 million as Campbell repeatedly told the Press that he did not intend to move.  When it came to the FA Cup semi-final of 2001, he played against the odds and limped out of the action.  This was the last time he wore a Spurs shirt and the next time he pulled on a shirt it was for that day's opponents.

A huge amount of vitriol was aimed at him for his decision, which he put down to ambition and having nothing to do with money.  But with no transfer fee to be paid, he could negotiate a large signing on fee for himself.  At Highbury, he got what he wanted, but left in similar circumstances after falling out of favour. 

Joined Portsmouth on big money and that was part of the club's downfall, with Campbell one of the players still seeking £1.7 million from them in image rights and unpaid bonuses when they went into administration after he had captained them to win the 2008 FA Cup, with a 1-0 win over Cardiff City.

Wanting away from Pompey, he waited until his contract ran out and walked into a five year deal ay Notts. County, where money was being pumped into the League Two club.  Unfortunately for him, the level of football was not to his liking and he left after only one game, with his contract being cancelled.

Started training with Arsenal to keep fit and filled a gap with injuries to their central defenders, so signed a short deal until the end of the season.  He needed a new club and Newcastle United fitted the bill, accepting their offer of a one year deal over a three year contract at Glasgow Celtic.  Played irregularly for the Magpies and on 25th May 2010, he was released once more.

The opportunity had been available for him to move abroad in the move he wanted originally from Tottenham, but he then said he wanted to stay near to his family, but subsequently moved to Portsmouth when Arsenal no longer wanted him ... especially after he was substituted in a game against West Ham United at Highbury (after a particularly poor performance) and then left the ground going missing for a number of days.  He signed for Notts County when there was money pumped into the club with Sven Goran-Eriksson as the manager, but his stay lasted only days, with one away game at Morecombe and their basic conditions making him re-consider his future there and claiming that promises made to him were not being realised.

He went back to Arsenal to train and there were rumours of a move to West Ham United, but in the end he was surprisingly re-signed by the Gooners and played a few games for them, but was not the same player that had moved across North London years before.  The Highbury fans were confounded by his performances.

When Newcastle United came in for him in the summer of 2011, he made yet another free transfer to join the Magpies, but his total of seven games for them showed that his playing days were coming to an end.  Amid claims of wanting to play abroad, go into management and making films, he slipped away from the football scene and eventually, in May 2012 announced he had retired from playing.

There have been times when a large police presence have been required at White Hart Lane for his returns to play Spurs with the club he was representing at the time.  His first return with Arsenal saw a juggernaut commandeered by the Police and parked across the entrance to Bill Nicholson Way to protect the Arsenal coach.  Effigies were hung and set alight on his leaving and bottles thrown at the coach and once, at him on the pitch.  A campaign with "Judas" balloons and a plan for fans to turn their backs on him showed the strength of feeling of the Tottenham supporters.  Claims that racist chanting had taken place when he comes back to White Hart Lane are not true, as the only thing that has upset Spurs fans was the colour of his shirt.  Never have I seen a player so affected by the crowd's reaction to them.

While he gave Spurs good service while wearing the Lilywhite shirt, that was sullied by the ham-fisted and disrespectful way that he left the Lane, having previously stated that he was a Spurs fan and would not join Arsenal.  That will never be forgotten.

NICKNAME :   Sul; Sol; Judas; S.Cumball

MIDDLE NAME :   Jeremiah

Career Record
Club Signed Fee Debut Apps Goals
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1991 - 5th December 1992  v Chelsea (Premier League) (Home)  Lost 1-2 304 + 11 as a sub 15
Arsenal Summer 2001 Free ??  194 11
Portsmouth 8th August 2006 Free ??  111 2
Notts County August 2009 Free 19th September 2009 v Morecombe (League Two) (away) lost 1-2 1 0
Arsenal 15th January 2010 Free 24th January 2010 v Stoke City (FA Cup) (away)  lost 1-3 14 1
Newcastle United Summer 2001 Free 22nd September 2010 v Chelsea (League Cup) won 8 0

Career Record
255 League appearances; 10 goals
30 FA Cup appearances; 1 goal
28 League Cup appearances; 4 goals
2 European appearances; 0 goals
135 League appearances; 8 goals
18 FA Cup appearances; 2 goals
2 League Cup appearances; 0 goals
39 European appearances; 1 goal
95 League appearances; 2 goals
10 FA Cup appearances; 0 goals
1 League Cup appearances; 0 goals
5 European appearances; 0 goals
Notts County
1 League appearances; 0 goals
0 FA Cup appearances; 0 goals
0 League Cup appearances; 0 goals
0 Other appearances; 0 goals
11 League appearances; 0 goals
1 FA Cup appearances; 0 goals
0 League Cup appearances; 0 goals
2 European appearances; 1 goal
Newcastle United
7 League appearances; 0 goals
0 FA Cup appearances; 0 goals
1 League Cup appearances; 0 goals
0 Other appearances; 0 goals

England international
69 full caps;  1 goal
2 B caps; 0 goals
11 Under-21 caps; ?? goals
?? Under-16 caps; ?? goals
?? Under-15 caps; ?? goals
League Cup winners medal 1998-1999 (Tottenham)
Premier League championship winners medal 2001-2002; 2003-2004 (Arsenal)
FA Cup winners medal  2001-2002; 2004-2005 (Arsenal) 2007-08 (Portsmouth)
European Champions League losing finalists medal 2005-2006 (Arsenal)

- appearance


November 1994

My two main pastimes are music and walking my two dogs – Blackie and Bodger.  There is a great park near to where I live – West Ham Park – and I find walking very relaxing.
I enjoy listening to jazz but my favourite type of music is soul from the early 1960s to the current day. I love so much that I would like to learn a musical instrument – either the saxophone or more likely the piano.


Reported to be the joint 20th richest man in English sport with £34 million in the Sunday Times Sport Rich List.



Sunday Mirror     03.07.2001

Youngest of 10 East End brothers.

Campbell moved out of the East End in 1996 and lives alone in a sumptuous pounds 500,000 mansion in leafy Hertfordshire and keeps a city pad in Docklands.

Had a Porsche with the number plate SOL 1.

Aged 11, Sol joined Rippleway Newham.

Signed for Spurs as a 14-year-old schoolboy in return for a club strip.

Campbell's friend Spencer Binks shared a dormitory at the FA's school of excellence in Lilleshall, Shropshire with him between the ages of 14 and 15, then went on to play alongside him in the Spurs Youth side.

Campbell was grew at such a rate that one leg was half an inch longer than the other.

In April 1989, two East London budding footballers played against each other in the JT Clark Youth Cup final at White Hart Lane, Campbell for Newham and David Beckham for Waltham Forest.


What they said about Sol Campbell
Cristian Solimeno (actor) ... on Campbell's appearance in "Footballer's Wives"  ...  28.12.2002 (Daily Mail Weekend Magazine)

"He was very good, even though his part wasn't huge."

David Pleat (Director Of Football THFC) ... on Campbell's contract situation 19.08.2000 (THFC programme)

"Much has been said about Sol Campbell's position but supporters can rest assured that the club are doing everything possible to convince Sol to stay.  The ball is firmly in his court, but at the moment, he does, like all players, have the right of the new (Bosman) ruling."

Sky Andrew (Campbell's agent) ...  16.06.2013 (Metro newspaper)

"It was a situation that came about because he was a very honourable guy and conducted himself in the right way, which meant honouring his contract. At the time he wanted to compete at the highest level, and play with top players, so in the end he signed for Arsenal because it was the best footballing decision. We looked at other options but at the end of the day, Arsenal was the best place for him to go and it was proven so. Some big clubs pulled out because they wanted us to speak to them before he had the situation sorted out with Tottenham, but we wouldn’t do it."

Alan Phillips (manager of Sol's Sunday schoolboy team Rippleway Newham ...  03.07.2001 (Sunday Mirror)

"The referees we had for our games used to charge GBP 3.50 a week, so we asked the boys to bring 50 pence each.  Sol, who was about 12, never brought his money. I don't know if he couldn't ask his parents for it. I never asked him - I didn't want to embarrass him."

Spencer Binks (team-mate at Lilleshall and Spurs) ...  03.07.2001 (Sunday Mirror)

"Even though he's incredibly rich, he's still the same old Sol.
We meet up sometimes in the West End. But he's never flash with his money. We always split the bill fairly. And he's not the type to surround himself with loads of material things. Even though he can walk into a store and buy ten pairs of Armani jeans without even thinking about it.
He likes nice cars but he hasn't got dozens of them sitting in the garage. He's got a Porsche and a Land Rover.
He's careful not to forget who he is. He sticks to old friends who care about him. Although he's got loads of natural ability, he has also worked hard for it.  And while that's part of his natural character, his family have played a big part as well.  Sol would turn up at Lilleshall with a gang of his brothers, all identical to him but even bigger.

"In the first year, we shared a dorm with four other boys, and in the second Sol and I were room-mates.
Sol was always very dedicated to whatever he was doing. He always has to be the best.  When the rest of us were lying around watching television, he would be in his room finishing off his homework. "His best subjects at school were maths and English. He did better than the rest of us in the exams, getting several GCSEs.  But that's Sol all over. He recognised that if the football fell through he needed to have a back-up."

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What Sol Campbell said about ...
... football ...  October 1997 (GQ magazine)

"I like football, but my first thing was to be an electrician or something in computers, so I'm relaxed about being in the public eye.  When I started, you could do anything a normal 18 year old could do, let your hair down, whatever.  Not any more.  If you're not smiling, chatting 24 hours, people think you haven't got time for them, you're full of yourself ...  I don't mind people coming up and having a chat as long as they're not drunk.  And it's nice to help with money-raising things as well - it's your duty if you've got a profile."

... himself ...  .. ()

"I like to be the tiger roaming the jungle or an eagle soaring over the skies."

... on leaving THFC ...  11.04.2009 (The Times)

"You make a decision, you do everything proper."

... on getting into the first team ...  .. (THFC programme 24.02.2001)

"Once I got in, I played something like 21 straight games and was then disappointed when I had to rest, but that's how it happens with any youngster.  Before that I was in and out, finding my feet - and finding my position.  In the end, you have to say, "Right, this is it, this is where I want to play and this is where I want to stay."

... full time training on joining Spurs ...  14.09.1991 (THFC programme)

"Not too much has changed in that direction, but I did find the pre-season training very hard."

... on going straight into the youth team at Tottenham and the comparison with the FA School of excellence at Lilleshall ...  14.09.1991 (THFC programme)

"I was a bit knocked back when I went straight into the youth team because I'm not the sort who looks for everything straight away.  I like to take my time so I was expecting to spend some time in the Juniors and hopefully break through later.  But I've settled into the side OK and am enjoying being part of it.  There is a lot of skill in this Spurs side - probably more than we had at Lilleshall, where the concentration was on working more as a team.  It was a learning process there - an education.  At Spurs we look to play more football.  You are playing to win and to keep your place, but obviously that has to be done within a team frame-work.  That's the way you win."

... the FA being racist ...  02.03.2014 (Telegraph and lots of other sources)

"If I was white I would have been England captain for 10 years."

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