Today, Jermain Defoe equalled a record set by Spurs legend, Martin Chivers. Jermain now joins Martin as the club’s all time top European goal scorer on 21 goals, an incredible feat.
Since joining the club in January 2004, Defoe has been well-known for his eye for goal and finishing ability. He has always had the presence of mind to find space in the box and very often, comes up with the final goods too. His statistics since joining the club are phenomenal too.
The forward, commonly referred to as “JD”, has managed 90 goals for Spurs in the Premier League during his two spells with the club. This includes a phenomenal game against Wigan Athletic in November 2009, in which Defoe put five of his own past a helpless Chris Kirkland. Spurs eased to a 9-1 victory at White Hart Lane that Sunday evening, one of three hat-tricks the Tottenham frontman managed in the 2009-10 campaign that led Spurs to the Champions League the following year.
His Spurs career began well, scoring on his debut at home to Portsmouth and then adding three more in his next two games. He ended the season with seven Spurs goals, an impressive start in what was to be a successful career for the Lilywhites. In his next season, he notched 22 goals for Spurs, including his first hat-trick in a 5-1 thrashing of Southampton in December 2004. In September 2004, Defoe also made his debut for England. He scored in a 2-1 win versus Poland receiving praise from many parties. England manager at the time Sven-Goran Eriksson said, “Jermain is a great talent. He is a great player who will always score goals.”
However, the 2005-06 season wasn’t as fruitful for the Beckton born forward. Over the course of the season, he only managed seven goals – a poor record for such a prolific striker. However the following year, Jermain was back amongst the goals – scoring 18 for Spurs in the 2006-07 campaign.
However, in the 2007-08 season, Defoe’s career took a backward step. After a lack of playing time, Defoe took the option to make an initial loan move – which then turned permanent – to Portsmouth to enjoy more game time than he was getting at White Hart Lane. He was not part of the squad that triumphed at Wembley to lift the Carling Cup under Juande Ramos, meaning he was still in search of a first piece of major silverware in his career.
However in 2009, he moved back to The Lane and enjoyed the best season of his career to date. Defoe found the net 28 times for club and country, including the five goals against Wigan. He scored crucial goals that led the club to their first experience of the Champions League the following season. This time, when the going got tough, Jermain stuck around. New manager Harry Redknapp had three top strikers to choose from; Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe & Roman Pavlyuchenko. Unfortunately, Defoe was the third choice due to Tottenham’s style of play that season and he only netted twice in Europe’s top club competition – both against FC Twente of Holland. He did score in the club’s qualifying game at home to Young Boys – a game which Spurs eased through comfortably, winning 4-0.
With places in the starting eleven up for grabs, Defoe continued to score in the 2011/12 season. He once again reached double figures, with a total of 17 goals in the final campaign under Redknapp. Strike partner Emmanuel Adebayor bagged an impressive 18 goals in the season, resulting in a fruitful strike force for Tottenham. These goals helped Spurs to another fourth placed finish, only to miss out on the big time because of Chelsea’s success in the competition. A harsh ending on a very impressive season.
In 2012, Andre Villas Boas took over at the helm and Spurs only had two first class strikers in the squad. Emmanuel Adebayor was the first choice striker and Defoe, once again, had to settle for second fiddle. However, he and Adebayor were not as successful under the Portuguese manager. Despite scoring for fun in the first half of the season, Defoe’s form declined and Spurs relied heavily on Welshman, Gareth Bale to provide the goalscoring impetus to secure a fifth place finish at the start of a new era.
In Villas-Boas’ second season, Defoe has so far played in the cup competitions – scoring eight times in the Europa League & Capital One Cup and today, equalled Chivers’ record.
Defoe has certainly served the club nobly and has always given 100% on the field and training ground. He loves the club and has often stated that as long as the chairman and manager want him, he is happy to finish his playing days in N17. In my opinion, Defoe is a Tottenham Hotspur legend. To score over 100 goals for your club requires dedication, commitment, loyalty and quality – all of which Jermain clearly has in abundance. The only thing eluding Defoe from the big time is that piece of silverware. He will break Chivers’ record very soon and currently sits fifth in our all time leading scorers chart. I can see him climbing to fourth, possibly even third, if he remains at the club for another three years. However, will he get the trophy he deserves? Only time will tell.
Check out this video that includes some of Defoe’s career highlights: