Who is the best goalkeeper you’ve seen playing for Tottenham? The greatest ever Spurs goalkeeper, in my opinion would be Pat Jennings. Having supported Spurs since the mid-1960s I was fortunate to see Jennings play but I realise that younger supporters have not had that opportunity so here’s a chance for you to make a case for the best goalkeeper from the years in which you’ve followed Spurs.Football is all about opinions and Team Selection will, over the next few weeks, try to put together the best team from the players you have seen playing for Tottenham. For selection purposes, the players, with one exception, will have made at least 100 appearances for Spurs.
Tottenham’s Top Goalkeepers
Over the years Spurs have been fortunate to have had a number of outstanding goalkeepers. The list for your consideration includes goalkeepers from the post Second World War years.
Ted Ditchburn was Tottenham’s goalkeeper from the late 1940s to the late 1950s. For most of that time he was unopposed as first choice and even as he neared the end of his career he managed to reclaim the goalkeeper’s shirt on a number of occasions. He was an England international but such was the standard of goalkeepers in that era that he made only 6 appearances for his country. Ditchburn was in goal as Spurs won promotion from the 2nd Division in 1950 and then won the 1st Division title for the first time a year later. An outstanding goalkeeper who ranks among the very best.
Bill Brown was signed from Dundee. The Scottish international goalkeeper was a vital member of the Double winning team and as the team went on to retain the FA Cup and conquer Europe in 1963. The quiet man of the team Brown’s performances were crucial to the success of Spurs and he was unopposed as first choice until the arrival of Pat Jennings in the mid-1960s.
Pat Jennings made a shaky start at White Hart Lane having signed from Watford in 1964. After taking some time to become established, Jennings won the FA Cup in 1967 and was in goal through the successful years of the early 1970s. The decision made by Keith Burkinshaw to sell him to Arsenal after Spurs’ relegation in 1977 was one which the manager came to regret.
Ray Clemence came from Liverpool in 1981 and helped the team retain the FA Cup in 1982. He missed out on the UEFA Cup win in 1984 through injury as Tony Parks retained his place once Clemence had regained fitness. The experienced goalkeeper helped the development of the team in the 1980s but I always think of Clemence as a Liverpool goalkeeper where he achieved so much success in the early years of his career.
Erik Thorstvedt became a fans’ favourite in the 1990s and was in goal for the 1991 FA Cup success.
Ian Walker came through the Tottenham youth system to replace Thorstvedt in the mid-1990s. He went on to play for England and was in the team which won the Littlewoods Cup in 1999. He was Spurs first choice goalkeeper through a very difficult period until 2000.
Paul Robinson came to Tottenham from Leeds United in 2004 and was a regular in Martin Jol’s team which finished fifth on two successive seasons and took Spurs back into Europe. The England international was also a member of the team which won the Carling Cup in 2008.Heurelho Gomes joined Tottenham in 2008 and after an uncertain start he showed his outstanding quality as a shot-stopper as Spurs went on to qualify for the Champions League in 2010. The Brazilian is a mixture of outstanding saves and unfortunate blunders.
Hugo Lloris is the one exception to the 100 appearances for Spurs. The current Tottenham goalkeeper has shown in his first season at White Hart Lane that he has the ability to rival some of Tottenham’s goalkeepers who are in the legendary class.
A number of months ago a young Spurs supporter explained to me how he viewed certain players in a different light to me. As he had not had the opportunity to see players in the 1970s or 80s, his choice of outstanding players was much more restricted than mine. So while I may have dismissed a particular player, to him that player was one of the best he had seen.
So for everyone, from the goalkeepers listed, select the best one who you have seen playing. Let me know your views on Tottenham’s goalkeepers over the years.
Vote on HotspurHQ’s Team Selection Poll:
Tottenham Team Through the Decades: here