There are very few things in football as painful as watching your team concede a goal. When Tottenham score it’s over in a split second, a swish of a boot, a glancing header, a deflection and then bang, pure euphoria. When Clint Dempsey scored the late equaliser against Manchester United, I saw his boot move and the net ripple, but honestly I didn’t see it, I felt and lived it.
When Stewart Downing collected a perfectly weighted through ball and charged towards the empty Spurs goal, time slowed down, my perception levels increased, I felt every movement and sensed the despair building. In those few seconds before your team concedes your mind goes into overload as you run through the permutations of that goal.
That weekend the only thought I had was: “Bloody hell, Stewart Downing is going to score against us, now that’s embarrassing.”
As the Liverpool defeat slowly drifted away into despair, this immediately made me think of the other terrible players that have scored against us in the past. Of course there are thousands of names, but I will stick to who I have seen and within a certain time frame (feel free to add your own at the bottom)
Charlie Adam (Blackpool)
Apparently we were minutes from signing him, this fact however should be taken with a kilo of salt, we have been also minutes away from Rivaldo, Joao Moutinho, Phil Neville and Kaka in the past. When the now Stoke player scored against us he had yet to achieve his current hate status, but nevertheless he was and still is a fat footballer with a face like a sarlacc.
The beef with this workhorse/donkey/mule of a midfielder started, not with his penalty, but a few minutes by officially ending Gareth Bale’s season with a dirty challenge. The referee never saw it of course and he escaped punishment, much to the home crowd’s ire.
That tackle combined with his goal at White Hart Lane pretty much ended Tottenham’s hopes of re-qualifying for the Champions League that season. Adam would a few years later ensure his standing Spurs fans remained at an all time low by taking out Bale in a preseason friendly whilst playing for Liverpool. What a…
Nicklas Bendtner (Arsenal)
There was a time when some thought Bendtner was a hot prospect, but then again there was also a time when the earth was flat and Jimmy Savile a hero you could leave your kids with.
Now on loan to the Juventus reserve squad and occasionally their bench, his career seems to be petering out. At the Turin club he has dropped so far down the pecking order that veteran butterfly celebration merchant, Nicolas Anelka, has been signed on a short term deal to cover for him. Bendtner spends most of his time these days collecting points on his driving license rather than for his team.
This terrible player did manage though to score a goal against Spurs back in 2007. Not only was this his first ever Premier League goal for Arsenal, but it turned out to be the winner and a new Arsenal record, not that you or I give a damn. According to Arsenal boffins he had been on the pitch 1.8 seconds before the ball hit his face and went in. Those 1.8 seconds are the sum total of his career.
Nigel Quashie (Southampton)
You know you are bad at football when you have been relegated from the Premier League three times, but that never stopped Nigel “Well Wide” Quashie from scoring for Southampton against Spurs in 2005. It was one of very few bright spots for the Saints in a season which saw them relegated with Harry Redknapp at the helm.
Quashie went on to play for such world beaters as the Wests of Brom and Spam, as well as Wolves and MK Dons. At this very moment the serial relegatee is in Iceland, the country not stacking shelves on the high street, player-managing Íþróttafélag Reykjavíkur. Try saying that drunk or sober.
Rory Delap (Stoke City)
Jonathan Wilson’s “Inverting the Pyramid” is a fantastic book on tactics and their history in the game, but from the very first page its clear, the number one requirement is being able to use your feet. Delap is the exception to this rule, his career has been based solely on his hands.
Allegedly Spurs were the first team to utilize the long throw with Big Chiv aiming for Alan Gilzean’s shining bald head, but under Bill Nick we still retained our passion for the glory and beauty of the game. Stoke meanwhile went the opposite way. Like a Phillip Pullman Spectres they suck the very beauty and grace from the game every single time they step on a pitch.
In the late 2000’s Delap was their poster boy. His accuracy, strength and ability, with his hands, made him for a few seasons a potent weapon. The fact that he was unable to play with his feet and looked like he should be serving at Her Majesty’s pleasure, never mattered to Stoke boss Tony Pulis.
However as we have already seen, sometimes talent is not a requirement to score against Spurs.
His goal came early in 2008 when Juande Ramos’ Spurs arrived at the Britannia. We were in an epic funk, we had 2 points from 7 games, and then Delap made it the famous 8. It was to be Ramos’ last league game as Spurs boss, but frankly any team that allows Delap to score with his feet, all deserve to be sacked.
Interestingly though, the Long Throw Tsar has a history of scoring against Spurs. In 2003/04 he scored, if you can believe it, an overhead winner for Southampton at St Mary’. The game finished 1-0 and it ended up being one of the many reasons why caretaker manager David Pleat never got the full time job after Glenn Hoddle’s sacking earlier that season.
I for one am happy he is no longer in the Premier League.
Of course what makes a rubbish player is in the eye of the beholder, for me these are four players, I would never ever want to see wear the Spurs shirt. They represent a style of play and attitude that I feel goes against the club and its ethos.
You may have your own thoughts and opinions, but before I leave you to make your own selections a lets not forget some other majestic players: James Beattie, Roman Bednar, Kevin Davies, Robbie Savage, Antoine Sibierski and Carlton Cole.
This story originally featured on The Fighting Cock