the worst spurs team i've seen
Jack Howes looks at the worst spurs players he has seen over the years and selects his poorest xi
|Worry is the current emotion felt by
Spurs fans young and old. Not only did we cough up that two goal
lead to the Arse like a baby coughing up sick, get mugged by United
in the manner of the Malaysian student in last year’s riots and then
get outmuscled by Everton but Arsenal after tonking us promptly beat
Liverpool in an act of robbery that would make the Great Train
Robbers proud then almost beat AC Milan, bloody AC Milan, by the
four goal margin they needed to force extra time and then get a last
minute winner against Newcastle.
So Spurs are wilting, faltering, coming under enemy fire from the big ugly concrete giant library behind us. We may not be panicking just yet, but we’re certainly in a tizzy, quite drunk, fearful of the ex’s new boyfriend coming round and making the murder of Billy Batts in Goodfellas seem tamer than Alan Titchmarsh’s autobiography gathering dust in an ancient charity shop.
It’s easy to be pessimistic, negative, pretend this isn’t happening, load up on the anti-depressants, curl up on your living room rug and weep silently till dawn, start thinking that Arsenal have morphed into the next coming of Barcelona and will win every game 10-0 from now till the end of time.
Well, you could do that. Or with a bit of perspective, you can remember to what we were like 10, 15 years ago. Remember how bad we were. Not just bad, but awful, an eyesore, not so much the ugly sister but Eric Pickles and Heather Trott having energetic monkey sex licking chocolate and cream off each other. Yep, that’s how disgusting and depraved having a central defence of Gary Doherty and Anthony Gardner was. And they don’t even make the side.
So in this spirit of panic, worry and attempted reassurance, I give you the worst Spurs side I have ever seen. Now I was born in 1992, so any football before 1999 is confined to what I’ve seen on video, and what I’ve heard from my Dad and his mates, so this will largely consist of players who played from 1999 and after. The first Spurs match I remember clearly was the 1999 FA Cup semi-final. Losing in extra-time at least meant I didn’t get my hopes up for the years that followed. Now, here for the list of shame, here goes:
GK – Ben Alnwick. Now on goalkeepers, I’ve never seen a truly terrible one at Spurs. Ian Walker, Neil Sullivan, Kasey Keller were all decent without being exceptional. Robbo and Gomes at times were dreadful, but at times made saves so good you wanted to give them a smacker on the lips in appreciation. Friedel has been so consistently good you want to cryogenically freeze him so he can play for even longer. The only bad one I’ve ever seen was this chap, Ben Alnwick who I only remember playing one game. But in that one game, the 2009 Carling Cup semi-final against Burnley, he had an absolute shocker. First free kick, a fairly simple one to save, he was hopelessly wrong footed and watched the ball fairly tame go into the net. The second goal wasn’t his fault, just rotten defending. Third goal though, an in-swinging free kick was dropped tamely and then tapped in. There was not one redeeming save of note he made.
What tops off his candidacy though is when I check his Wikipedia page and see the subtitle ‘sex tape scandal’. While a youth team player Sunderland, he along with other teammates was filmed having an orgy with a 16 year old brunette called Stevie, with one of the players involved giving ‘Match of the Day style commentary’ throughout the ordeal.
No more needs to be said.
RB – Justin Edinburgh – The reason I’m picking this chap is partly because Gilberto and Ben Thatcher are left backs, but mainly because the mention of either Edinburgh or Dean Austin brings about looks in Spurs fans eyes akin to those you saw in returning soldiers from Vietnam. I never saw Dean Austin play (though in one of the official biographies of Spurs he was described as a “Classy attacking full back”) so he can’t be in this team, but I saw Edinburgh ply his trade, and better than that I saw people I know, staunch Spurs fans, develop steely looks, expressions of horror, and develop sudden urges to start swearing Malcolm Tucker style. On this basis he is the right back of my All Time Useless Spurs XI
CB – Ricardo Rocha – This seemed like such a good signing when I first heard of this, probably on Teletext whilst getting out of bed to go to school. Portuguese, cool sounding name, only £3m and we’d been after him for ages. Also this was when Michael Dawson was performing shakily and King Ledley starting to realise he had less knee cartilage than Jessica Simpson has brain cells.
According to Wikipedia he played only 14 games. It felt like much more, because the guy was absolutely dreadful. I’m not sure he’d ever headed a football in his life before he played for us. Not only was he awful at dealing with anything above ankle height, had no composure and wasn’t very fast strong or fast either. He had the name, the nationality, even the hair of a cultured centre half. But seeing as he couldn’t run, tackle, head the ball and did all these things badly while playing more nervously than someone with diarrhoea making the umpteenth dash to the loo, he’s on my list of epic uselessness.
CB – Ramon Vega - Oh Ramon. You came and you played and you were crap.
Ramon was one of Gerry Francis’ bastion of rubbish signings, though unlike most of the players bird loving Gerry signed Vega actually cost a lot of money, £3.75m. For that money which was a fair old whack back then, we got a perpetually useless lump who made error after error.
Having a degree, speaking five languages and being Swiss would in most industries be a big help, but in football where being well spoken and intelligent makes you virtually a pariah, his qualifications didn’t really endear him to people, to the point that he got booed by the crowd and responded to scoring a goal against Brentford in the League Cup by pointing to the ‘Vega’ on the back of the shirt and refusing to acknowledge the Yid Army. What a load of cack he was.
LB – Ben Thatcher – This was a really hard choice – Gilberto or Ben Thatcher? Both were useless, and Gilberto’s debut will live long in the memory, a shocking back pass against PSV Eindhoven in the UEFA Cup that gave a goal away, and afterwards left the poor chap playing not so much like a rabbit in headlights but a rabbit already lying dead in the middle of the road.
Thatcher though cost £4M or £5m depending on your sources, and what we got for our money was a slow, cumbersome full back regularly outpaced by opposing wingers who was a perpetual fouler and had a penchant for late tackles that was Paul Scholes-esque. Not only were his tackles late, but occasionally descended into sheer brutality. Playing for Man City he elbowed Pedro Mendes so viciously the FA waived its rule not allowing retrospective action if a card was given, and gave Thatch an eight game ban. Nicky Summerbee and Cristiano Ronaldo also felt the force of Thatch’s boots on various different body parts. A dirty player who worked out at almost £170,000 per appearance
RM – David Bentley – Possibly this is slightly harsh, and reflects that we haven’t had a litany of terrible wingers, unlike in defence and attack where there is a plethora of awfulness that’s just dying to come out of someone’s soon to be very sore arsehole. But David Bentley, still Tottenham Hotspur’s record signing at £18m, has in four seasons made only 42 appearances and scored three goals. Considering that Bentley has an unspecified mental illness that forces him to shoot when he’s within ‘Almunia distance’ to the goal, to average one goal every 14 games really is poor.
For that whopper of a transfer fee, we got a decent crosser but someone with no pace, who ignored obvious passes to whack shots over the bar, wasn’t as good as Aaron Lennon and who off the field was a pain in the arse, and not just because he drenched Harry Redknapp in freezing cold water after one of the greatest Spurs nights I’ve experienced. Poor poor player.
CM – Tim Sherwood – The first game I ever saw at the Lane was Tottenham v Leicester, October 1999, the Leicester team of Heskey, Izzet, Lennon, Savage, and others that won a couple of League Cups. My abiding memories of the fateful day are losing 3-2 to a goal by Gerry Taggart, and of the fan who was next to me and my Dad. Every time Sherwood touched the ball I heard thus chap mutter in varying forms “You c**t Sherwood! Your useless you stupid c**t! You Stupid c**t! Pass it you fucking c**t!”.
Not since Ron Jeremy was in his pomp have there been so many references to the prime female sexual organ. I had heard swearing before, but not with that intensity, nor at that volume. And given what I saw from Tim in the years that followed, I could only concur with the sentiments of this particularly sweary fan.
CM – Milenko Acimovic – This chap is remembered mainly for one thing – one of the worst misses ever seen, a miss so bad that no one can bear to upload it on to Youtube for our watching masochism.
Old Milenko was signed in 2002, and this was when Spurs were really bad – I mean Gary Doherty was a regular in the side for god’s sake, and looking at the line up for the 2002 League Cup final we have nine players aged 28 or over. We were pants back then, with an ancient team, Glenda showing his lack of man management skills by showing off in training every day, and nervous fans looking over their shoulders at the relegation zone.
Acimovic didn’t help – he was slow and immobile, completely overrun in midfield by opponents and had all the confidence of a 50 year old virgin prevaricating over whether to get a hooker or not. He played only 14 times for us, and thank god he didn’t play any more than that.
LM – Jose Dominguez – Again he’s a little unfortunate that Spurs have in my lifetime always had decent wingers – Ginola and Anderton were good and occasionally better than good, Aaron Lennon has been pretty good, Simon Davies and Matthew Etherington were decent and showed promise though only showed that potential after they’d buggered off.
Dominguez is famous for being short, shorter than Jermain Defoe and Aaron Lennon, short enough to be shin high to Peter Crouch. That’s all I remember him for really – a short, quickish winger who had little to his game except the ability to move his legs very quickly. An inferior Shaun Wright-Phillips, in both height and ability. Never really did it for us.
CF – Now we have richer pickings, the sheer amount of uselessness we’ve had at centre forward over the years. For the last few years we’ve been stocked with decent but unexceptional forwards, the likes of Pav, Defoe, Crouch who were occasionally world beaters but more often than not average. Adebayor is doing his best to be a bit better than unexceptional.
Well before then, we had Helder Postiga. £8m from Porto, Jose Mourinho later said he was amazed we bought him because he plainly wouldn’t be suited to the demands of the Premier League. He basically admitted Porto mugged us. And he wasn’t wrong about Postiga being unsuited to the Premier League, because Helder damn well wasn’t suited to gnarled centre backs having contests as to who could kick the ball furthest into the stands. He played like a soft, delicate flower who shrank at the first signs of conflict, and didn’t like the pace and the fighty feisty nature of British football. After one league goal in 19 games, he buggered off back to Porto, went to the 2004 Euros and duly equalised against England for Portugal. Judas.
CF – Now for the coup de grace, the captain of the side, the worst player I have ever seen, the worst of the worst of the very worst, bring on down……..Grzegorz Rasiak!!! (Have I spelt that correctly? ... Does it matter ? - Ed)
He only played eight games for us, so maybe I am a cruel hearted emotionless SOB. But my god was he awful. I mean, just awful. Imagine going on 90’s Saturday night TV show Blind Date, having dirty thoughts about what totty you’re going to be paired up with, which holiday destination you’re jetting off to, how you’ll look on telly, and then discovering you’re not going off with some young, rich model who’s hot and wanting it, but your off with Cilla Black herself to a B & B in Blackpool for a week.
That’s how I felt watching Rasiak play for Spurs. He had scored a few goals for Derby, and was a tall, lanky centre forward at a time when we had Defoe and Robbie Keane watching aimless long balls disappearing over their heads and Bobby Zamora stinking up the place. I was hoping Rasiak could be the guy to hold the all up, who would fire our dreamed of big man/little man partnership up front, the Toshack to Defoe or Keane’s Keegan.
Well, he was nothing but mind numbingly awful. I’ve never seen a player look so out of his depth at the top level, look so much like a geezer who won a competition to play up front for the Pride of North London. I don’t remember many awful misses, but that’s only because he was so bad he never got in a position to miss. Even Fernando Torres occasionally gets himself in position to miss open goals against Manchester United. Just not young Grzegorz, who in my very humble opinion is quite simply the worst player I have ever seen play for Spurs.
Gilberto – Had his aforementioned terrible debut, and also the phrase ‘Brazilian left back’ brings images of Josimar scoring great goals at the 1986 World Cup, of Roberto Carlos’ famous free kick. Not this chap who was older and slower than my 85 year old Nan.
Paolo Tramezzani – Looked like a porn star, defended like one.
Anthony Gardner – Talented player, got one cap for England, just a shame he was devastated by injury and a complete lack of composure or positional sense.
Doherty – Has been a solid lower league pro since leaving Spurs, and has made the most of what he had. Just a shame what he had was less talent than Boyzone and Westlife put together.
Michael Brown – Clogger, dirty player, would be polite to call him average, really was a mediocre player not good enough for us.
Zamora – May have been great for Fulham, but my god was he awful for us. Scored millions of goals for Brighton, came to us and looked not like a boy against men but a baby against giants.
Manager – Christian Gross – That rail ticket. That rail ticket. That frickin’ rail ticket, oh dear god….
Now that you have read Jack's selection, why not have a team sheet of your own with the worst players you have seen in a spurs shirt.
Some of you probably go back a bit further or can recall others who have not graced the shirt with distinction.
Just send your selection with a few words about each player to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will feature them here ...
It has to be said that this Spurs side are pretty good. We’re fourth in the league as I write and generally, if grudgingly, we’re actually getting a bit of respect from the so called experts and pundits with plaudits raining down on several of the players.
This is great and of course I hope it can be maintained. It has, though, robbed many of us masochists of our favourite pastime – watching rubbish players, and boy have we had some over the years! For the first time in memory there isn’t really anyone in the squad who I could honestly label as useless. OK we all have our favourites in the current squad and we moan about some of the others, but in general there isn’t really one desperately bad player is there ?
Its weird I know but I kind of miss the belly laughs a total mis-kick from a Frank Saul would bring, or a headless chicken run (with or without the ball) from the likes of Ralph Coates. I’m reminded of a mate of mine who watches Millwall and when I suggested he came to see some classy stuff at the Lane once in a while replied “I can’t stand the Premiership; all that bloody passing and stuff. It’s really boring.” OK, he was being flippant, but in a funny sort of way he has a point. It’s all so serious now. Where have the truly dreadful individuals that you had to shake your head in disbelief at ?
Here is, in my opinion, is the worst ever Spurs XI. I go back a few more years than Jack Howes did and I honestly think that his team would annihilate mine without question! Only regulars have the honour of a place in my side so no room for the likes of William Korsten or Andy Booth here ! I’ve taken the liberty of putting them in a 4-3-3 formation. I’d just love to see this lot trying to attack !
Goalkeeper: - Booby (sic) Mimms 1988-90. I can’t really believe there is any argument who fills this coveted position. We’ve had a few clowns in goal. Mark Kendall springs to mind and post-Jennings Barry Daines had some nightmarish spells. But nothing compares to our Booby. In short, he never seemed to make any saves. Any shot on target that wasn’t straight at him inevitably produced a goal. As if that wasn’t enough he normally made a horrendous error (ball straight through hands into net, mis-kicking completely in front of goal or my personal favourite, when he rolled the ball to an opposition striker for him to whack it straight past him) about every three games or so. Ye Gods !
Defender: Gary Stevens 1983-90. Perhaps harsh but I couldn’t see what anyone saw in him. Bought on the back of an excellent cup final for Brighton, he stayed for years and although he got much sympathy from me for being on the back end of a crude tackle from Vinny Jones which gave him a bad injury, Gary had my head in my hands as much as anyone for his all round contribution over the years. He looked the part, spoke very well and got picked for England, but oh my gawd.
Defender: Laurie Brown 1964-66. Sadly, one of two of this XI no longer with us, but I can’t let that influence my opinion. Billy Nick appeared to have a rare moment of madness when he purchased this Gooner defender and decided he was going to be our new centre-forward, displacing crowd favourite and England international Bobby Smith in February 1964. Nine games later and it was clear that Laurie hadn’t a clue about scoring goals. He then re-emerged rather sheepishly as a central defender of the most ordinary type for a couple of seasons. Oh dear.
Defender: Jason Cundy 1992-96. Jason was so crude I watched with gaping mouth and increasing incredulity as to how this guy could have been voted Chelsea’s player of the year in 1987. Heart in the mouth every time whenever he was the defender called to make a tackle or an interception.
Defender: Gordon Smith 1979-81. For me, the worst player ever to pull on a Tottenham shirt. What Keith Burkinshaw saw in this former Scottish international from Aston Villa was something no one in N17 did. Put simply I thought he couldn’t tackle, pass, trap a ball, head a ball, move into space, anticipate or intercept, or shoot. What else is left ? Fortunately, Chris Hughton emerged to take the left-back slot in the successful side of the early Eighties.
Midfield: Steve Hodge 1986-88. This will be a surprise to many I’m sure but I could never figure what he contributed to the team. What was his role exactly? Those around me on the terraces used to say he “covered a lot of ground” and I was never sure what that meant, as he rarely seemed to have the ball or be taking it off the opposition.
Midfield: Jason Dozzell 1993-97. Not so much of a surprise this one. So much wrong with this guy’s game I just don’t know where to begin. He was so awful it was almost an art form. The one thing I’d say about Dozy was he never hid. He always sought the ball even when putting in the usual embarrassing performance. Perhaps he didn’t realise.
Midfield: Roger Morgan 1969-72. Came from QPR with a great reputation but did nothing to impress while at Spurs. A bit unlucky with injuries its true but Roger’s main contribution to the club was his starring role in Hunter Davies’ brilliant book of the 1971/72 season: “The Glory Game”.
Forward: Ronnie Rosenthal 1994-97. Ah, Ronnie! What memories – yes I remember the Southampton cup game hat-trick, steeped in legend, but come on, do you remember what he was usually like? Ronnie was probably the only one of this eleven to be affectionately remembered by the fans. A bit like with Steffen Freund, he was so awful yet so willing it was almost touching when not downright hilarious. For those of you still not convinced that he warrants a place as a striker here in front of Mark Falco, Gerry Armstrong, Sergei Rebrov et al let me just give you this bald statistic. 88 league appearances – 4 goals. Ahem!
Forward: Ian Moores 1976-78. Another sadly departed. Poor Moorsy didn’t look a footballer at all and was even hopeless by second division standards when we were there. I remember one game (at Charlton) where Peter Taylor must have placed at least six wonderful crosses right on Moores' head or foot and he muffed the lot. Taylor turned to the crowd and just laughed when the last gaff was mis-executed. He did get three of the nine against Bristol Rovers a week later though. They must have been bad.
Forward: David Jenkins 1968-70. The worst swap deal of all time saw Jimmy Robertson don a red shirt with white sleeves in return for a totally ineffective forward called David Jenkins. Older supporters from the Woolwich club still guffaw with laughter at the memory of this deal. David Jenkins…let us never mention his name again.
What a team this would be. They don’t make ‘em like that anymore !
I am not sure that this is the worst Spurs side I have ever seen but it certainly is the "Least value we have got from players XI".
I've gone with a 4-4-2 formation and haven't named subs, as this lot would never do enough to get injured and would leave the manger with such a headache as to who to take off !!
Ben Alnwick .
Defender: Ben Thatcher.
Midfield: Jason Dozzell.
What a waste of money !!
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