The character of a side can often be judged by it’s manager and chairman or owner, but on the pitch this responsibility usually falls at the feet of the captain. And at White Hart Lane, we have been blessed with a number of incredible captains, who have served our club to their maximum. Obviously, there is one captain who none of us wish to remember and this piece is about people who are exactly the opposite to Mr Campbell.
After much debate and deliberation on Twitter, I have put together my Top Five Tottenham Captains. They are, in no particular order:
Danny Blanchflower – Danny played 337 games for Spurs as a holding midfielder, scoring 15 goals. Considered as the best skipper in our history, Blanchflower led Bill Nicholson’s team through the double winning season of 1960-61 as well as several other honours and is one of very few players to have lifted the League and Cup in the same year. A loyal Spurs servant, he will always be remembered with fondness at N17.
Steve Perryman – Steve pulled on the famous Lilywhite shirt on a record 655 occasions, scoring 31 times. After starting off in midfield, Perryman became a defender later in his career. Steve captained us to two League Cups, two UEFA Cups and two FA Cups during his long spell with us. Another well appreciated captain and a winner of the Football Writers’ Association Player of The Year, something matched by our current wonderman, Gareth Bale.
Gary Mabbutt – Gary played 619 games for Tottenham and managed to find the net 38 times during his 16 year spell at N17. He was one of the most highly regarded English defenders, but only made 16 caps for his country. He spent 11 years as Spurs captain and was part of our 1984 UEFA Cup winning team as well as our 1991 F.A Cup triumph. He is highly respected in the world due to his sufferance from type 1 diabetes and is seen as an icon amongst many children with the condition.
Ledley King – The King. A Bastian of the defence and a born leader and retired legend. Ledley King is one of the most iconic figures in the modern Spurs era and had to cut his career short at the end of the 2011/12 campaign due to an on going issue with his knee. “King Ledley” made 268 appearances for Tottenham, under many managers, and scored 10 goals. His most famous goal remains the quickest goal in Premier League history after he scored within 10 seconds of a game between Spurs and Bradford, which unsurprisingly ended 3-3. Loved by the fans, Ledley will always be a legend. He continues to work for the club, now fulfilling his role as an ambassador while continuously supporting the playing team. His presence in defence is always missed but his presence around the club will be one to take the club forwards leaps and bounds.
Dave Mackay – Mackay is instantly my favourite ever player as he shares my birthday. On a serious note, made 318 appearances in 9 years at White Hart Lane, scoring 51 goals and was also a member of the Double Winning side of 1960/61. Mackay was also one of the first inductee’s on the English Football Hall Of Fame as a reward for his immense services to English footballer as both a player and manager. George Best described Mackay as “the hardest man I have ever played against – and certainly the bravest.” These accreditations epitomise the man Mackay was and is a clear indication of how good a player he must have been.
As for last season, it was a very humbling moment to see the evolution of Michael Dawson’s season. “Daws” was appointed club captain by new manager, Andre Villas Boas, but days later, was informed that he was no longer part of the Portuguese manager’s plans. He was linked to QPR and a deal was even accepted by Spurs. Instead of choosing the easy route out, Michael opted to stay at White Hart Lane and fight for his place at the club. Due to Younes Kaboul’s injury on the opening day of the season, William Gallas and Jan Vertonghen were Villas Boas’ chosen centre back pairing. With the former undergoing some shocking performances prior to Christmas, Andre decided to give Michael a chance, which he took with both hands. From January to May, Dawson was one of our most consistent players. His character and grit were epitomised during our exit to Basel in the Europa League. After being level in extra time, Dawson pulled up with cramp. Seeing as we had no substitutes to bring on, the Captain stayed on the field and continued to block efforts from the likes of Mohamed Salah, Valentin Stocker and Marco Streller. He then showed his passion after a small tussle with Aleksandar Dragovic, where he pulled the Basel player by his collar for a supposed dive in an attempt to win a free kick. He has been a superb leader and is a player we must hold on to, simply for his character, passion, love, grit and determination.
Saying this, our centre back pairing next year will mainly consist of Younes Kaboul and Jan Vertonghen, two rather solid defenders. Michael Dawson will probably remain club captain but there is much debate over who should take the armband on the pitch. Tottenham legend, Glenn Hoddle has stated that Gareth Bale should be given the captaincy in order to keep him at the club as well as giving him an incentive to possibly stay on further. While on paper, this may seem a good idea, it may also backfire. Bale’s game highly evolves around his skill and sometimes even his greed and giving him the captaincy may have the opposite effect. He is still developing his game and it being captain will give him more responsibility than he already has.
Other suggestions include Jan Vertonghen & Younes Kaboul. I don’t feel Vertonghen should be given the armband as many players often suffer from second season syndrome. I feel Vertonghen must work hard to avoid the trap that Kyle Walker fell into and his solidity will be essential for us to progress in the 2013/14 season.
In my opinion, Hugo Lloris should be given the armband. He is already the French national captain and as a goalkeeper, he has a clear view of the entire pitch. He is also a very vocal man and of course, a world class keeper.
Whoever is given the armband must be a leader and a voice as well as a big presence on the pitch. They definitely have big boots to fill.