A Memorable Tottenham Debut (Home and Away) – Jurgen Klinsmann


Jurgen Klinsmann’s debut was awaited with great anticipation in August,1994 and the experienced German international didn’t disappoint in his first matches, away to Sheffield Wednesday, or at home to Everton.

USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The summer of 1994 was a time of considerable discomfort for Tottenham. A Football Association Commission into the charge of making loans to players between 1985 and 1989 found the club guilty and  punished them harshly – a £600,000 fine, 12 points deducted at the end of the following season and expelled from the FA Cup. These were the severest punishments ever handed out and the points reduction was regarded as relegation by a slow painful process. Fans were devastated but Alan Sugar immediately announced an appeal.

In the meantime, manager Ossie Ardiles had to try and prepare for a new season with the punishment hanging over the club. It was a rather melancholy time around White Hart Lane that summer.

As good as his word, the Chairman appealed the club’s punishment. In early July, after considering the case, the Appeal panel halved the points deduction to six but increased the fine to £1,500,000 as well as maintaining the Cup ban. Sugar was still not satisfied and immediately announced that Spurs would again appeal against the penalties that had been imposed against the club. Sugar felt most aggrieved that the misconduct charges had been under a previous regime at the club and also that he had tried to co-operate with the FA over the investigation.

Unexpected Boost

Spirits within the club were lifted considerably in late July with the unexpected signing of Jurgen Klinsmann. A player who was always prepared to face the challenge of playing in a different country, he was signed by Alan Sugar from Monaco to experience football in England. Suddenly, everyone was wanting a ticket to see Tottenham and Klinsmann and there was a buzz around the club. Things were looking up.

Tottenham also signed Ille Dumitrescu and for the opening match of the season, Ardiles had an abundance of attacking players available to him. Little wonder the match was a seven-goal thriller.

Klinsmann’s Debut:

20th August, 1994

Sheffield Wednesday 3  Tottenham Hotspur 4

What a debut for Jurgen Klinsmann! Ille Dumitrescu also made his debut at Hillsborough and just like sixteen years earlier, when Ardiles and Ricky Villa had made their Spurs debut at Nottingham Forest, the demand to see Spurs was incredible. Ardiles selected a team with with five attacking players, Nicky Barmby, Darren Anderton, Dumitrescu, Teddy Sheringham and Klinsmann, suggesting excitement and no-one was disappointed.

Klinsmann scores his first Tottenham goal at Sheffield Wednesday [Photo: Logan Holmes]

Spurs went two ahead in the first half through Sheringham and Anderton. Early in the second half Wednesday equalised before Spurs went ahead again with a goal from Barmby. Then with nine minutes to play the moment that all of football had been waiting for. Klinsmann scored Tottenham’s fourth goal, heading home from Anderton’s cross from the right – a scoring debut in the Premier League.

Every Spurs fans had been waiting for Klinsmann to score and he didn’t let them down with his goal celebration. With a beautiful ‘dive’, he celebrated in style, noting the comments that had been made about him in the media where he was labelled a ‘diver’ in trying to win penalties.

The Klinsmann celebration [Photo: Logan Holmes]

Wednesday scored their third and in a tense finish Klinsmann was carried off on a stretcher with a facial injury after a clash of heads with Des Walker, making him doubtful for the home match against Everton four days later.

Home Debut:

24th August, 1994

Tottenham Hotspur 2  Everton 1

Klinsmann didn’t let his public down and had recovered to make his home debut against Everton the following Wednesday evening. The atmosphere was electric as 24,553 spectators packed into White Hart Lane and with a reduced capacity due to the ground redevelopment, Spurs could have filled the stadium twice over such was the demand for tickets.

Jurgen, as in his debut didn’t fail to deliver. The crowd had come to see him and within twenty two minutes he had put Spurs ahead with a spectacular volley. Thirteen minutes later he had added a second. On half-time Spurs won a penalty and everyone in the ground was willing Klinsmann to take the kick. Everyone, except Teddy Sheringham who elected to take it and ballooned it over the bar.

In the second half Everton scored and Spurs had to hang on to the end to achieve the win their early play deserved.

Jurgen Klinsmann showed what he was capable of in his first two games in what was to be a memorable season. Unfortunately, the difficulty of achieving a balance between attack and defence was to prove a problem for Ossie Ardiles and his departure from White Hart Lane followed at the beginning of November.