Footballing Legends at any club are usually players of the highest quality who given their club many years of loyal service. Jurgen Klinsmann had the skill, the goals and the charisma but was only at White Hart Lane for two brief periods. Does he qualify as a Tottenham Legend?
Over the past three days, I have posed the question of whether a number of long serving players – Darren Anderton, John Pratt and Robbie Keane can be considered Legends. Today, we consider Jurgen Klinsmann who came, impressed, won over the fans and departed. Is Jurgen Klinsmann a Tottenham Legend?
League: App. 56 Goals: 19
FA Cup: App. 9 Goals: 5
League Cup: App. 3 Goals: 4
Jurgen Klinsmann arrived at Tottenham at a low point in the club’s history. Terry Venables had left in acrimonious circumstances a year earlier, Ossie Ardiles was under pressure after a disappointing first season as manager and the club had suffered severe punishment from the Football Association over illegal payments to players.
The club were facing a deduction of 12 points in the league, later reduced and then overturned on appeal and a ban from the FA Cup which was later lifted. Into such a difficult situation arrived Jurgen Klinsmann, an unexpected signing from Monaco by Alan Sugar. The very presence of Klinsmann at White Hart Lane lifted everyone and while Spurs were still facing a 6-point reduction at the start of the season, there was a buzz of expectation about the club as everyone wanted to see Klinsmann, much in the way Ardiles and Ricky Villa had attracted fans in 1978.
Klinsmann impressed everyone from the outset – his friendly, open disposition off the pitch and his skill and goals on it. He quickly built up a relationship with Teddy Sheringham and for that season they worked in tandem with an almost telepathic understanding of each other. He had a rapport with the fans but after early success, results disappointed and Ardiles was sacked in November and replaced by Gerry Francis. With a more solid defensive base the team flourished enabling Klinsmann and Sheringham to score the goals. Everyone thought Spurs were Wembley-bound in the FA Cup but Everton ended that dream in the semi-finals and without European football for the following season, Klinsmann was off to Germany.
In that season Klinsmann:
- Scored on his debut at Sheffield Wednesday
- Introduced spectators to his ‘dive’ goal celebration
- Scored two on his home debut against Everton
- Scored in 5 of his first 6 league games (7 goals)
- Scored a hat-trick in a League Cup tie at Watford
- Missed only 1 league game and scored 20 goals
- Scored 5 goals in the FA Cup run
- Scored and had an ‘assist’ in the FA Cup 6th Round win at Anfield
Tottenham were again struggling when Klinsmann returned to the club in late-December, 1997. Christian Gross had replaced Francis four weeks earlier and Klinsmann made his first appearance in a 1 – 1 draw at home to Arsenal. Working to get back to fitness he scored his first goal in a 1 – 0 win over West Ham in mid-January. Spurs were in a fight against relegation and in the final two months of the season Klinsmann proved his worth with 8 goals, including 4 at Wimbledon in the penultimate match of the season to ensure Tottenham’s survival in the Premiership.
His final appearance for Spurs was in a 1 – 1 draw against Southampton at White Hart Lane and Klinsmann signed off with a goal.
Is Jurgen Klinsmann a Tottenham Legend?
68 appearances in total, 28 goals and many great memories in 18 months at the club.
Reluctant, though I am to bestow legendary status on a player who was at Tottenham for such a fleeting period, Jurgen Klinsmann in the brief time at White Hart Lane was pure class leaving behind many great memories. We knew he wouldn’t be at Spurs for long – it was in his DNA – he spent a time at a club and then moved on looking for a fresh challenge, at a new club in a different country as he had done at Bayern Munich, Inter Milan and Monaco.
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