Last week we looked at opening day fixtures. The start of the new season often goes hand in hand with players debuts. This time we look at various players debuts, some on that day, others that have occurred during previous seasons.
Every player wants a dream debut, if possible capped with a goal. A number of players in our colours have managed just that over the years. Some have gone on to become legends whilst others have found it is the highlight of their Tottenham careers.
Colin Lee (top) certainly got off to a flyer in October 1977, that day he hit four as Bristol Rovers were on the receiving end. Colin managed just 18 goals in total in his 62 games for the club. When interviewed not too long ago he said ‘It was a fantastic day, something that you can’t even dream of, especially on a debut.” Before pointing out whenever he still meets Spurs fans they always remind him of that day. Other strikers who have ensured their names were on the score sheet include Jermain Defoe. His came against Portsmouth in 2004. The following year Mido hit two against the same opponents on his debut. Garth Crooks who would be such a vital player for us in the 1980’s hit the net as we beat Nottingham Forest in 1980.
Some of the current crop of players (at time of writing) have found the net in their first game. Andy Townsend did it back in 2008 from the edge of the area when Charlton came to the Lane in the FA Cup while Robert Soldado got the winner from the penalty spot when we won at Crystal Palace two years ago. Few of us will have forgotten Danny Rose scoring with a long range effort at the Park Lane end against Arsenal. Two other players who made goal scoring debuts for Spurs are Adebayor and Mousa Dembele.
Debuts bring a ray of hope to the fans, in August 2008 Heurelho Gomes, Giovani, David Bentley and Luka Modric all made their bows in a defeat at Middlesbourgh. The same season saw 16year old John Bostock make his debut when we played Dinamo Zagreb in European action.
Doing well on your debut doesn’t guarantee a successfully career. One player that fits into this category is Pat Corbett. Pat usually a defender came on as a sub in the game at Southampton’s old Dell ground in 1980 and he scored the winner. Pat only played five times for us. Mbulelo Mabizela scored a cracker of a goal for us at Leicester in 2003. Many of us thought we had uncovered a gem, unfortunately he never fulfilled our expectations. Another that can be said of was Giberto in his league debut when he scored to help us win in the home game V West Ham in what many would say was his best performance for Tottenham.
One player who enjoyed his debut was Roy Hollis. His came at home to Tranmere Rovers in a FA Cup replay in 1953. Tottenham having drawn at Tranmere two days earlier 1-1 won the replay 9-1, (1) With Hollis scoring twice, Hollis made his league debut the following weekend and scored against Derby in a 5-2 win. The reserve center forward played only four games for the club and scored three times.
In August 2003 we beat Leeds at home and Fredi Kanoute was on the score sheet but the game might be better remembered for a 16 year old making his debut for the visitors as a substitute, one Arron Lennon.
Even the most famous players start somewhere, Arthur Rowe,October 1931 as we drew with Burnley. Bill Edrich (who would give up football to become a test cricketer) in November 1935 as we beat Blackpool. Then in October 1938 one Bill Nicholson in a defeat at Blackburn. The first game after World War 2 saw six players make their first starts including Ted Ditchburn, Les Bennett and Les Medley. Alf Ramsey started his Spurs career on the opening day in August 1949 as we won at Brentford. The full back would then score on his home debut two days later.
A few other famous names to score on their first day were John White and Terry Medwin from the Double squad. Martin Peters, Ricki Villa (left) , Mark Falco, Gary Mabbutt , Sol Campbell and Chris Waddle and a bit further back from the great 1950’s side Len Duquemin and amateur player George Robb.
Two center half’s who managed it were terrace favorite Dean Richards in 2001 V Manchester United and Sebastian Bassong (V Liverpool) in 2009. Who made his debut alongside a non scoring Peter Crouch.
1994 saw a debut game that will be remembered for the debutantes celebration. Jurgen Klinsman and his famous ‘dive’ after scoring in our 4-3 win at Sheffield Wednesday. One of the quickest debuts must be Tommy Clay. We signed him directly after he played against us in the FA Cup for Leicester in 1914 and two days later he played in the game at home to Oldham.
You don’t have to score on your debut and former Assistant manager Chris Houghton’s debut came in a League Cup tie as we beat Manchester United 2-1 back in 1979. Two years Ray Clemence and Paul Price make their bows in a victory over Middlesbourgh on the day Steve Perryman played his 600th game.
Our most famous striker also started with a bang. Jimmy Greaves not only did he hit a hat trick against Blackpool, the first goal left fans and team mates stunned. Jimmy described later in his autobiography (Greavsie) . “I couldn’t have wished for a better debut for my new club, I scored a hat-trick, the first goal a flying scissors kick which I still rate as one of the most spectacular goals I ever scored. I’ll never forget that first one. Dave Mackay was a long-throw specialist who could hurl the ball into opponent’s box from fully 40 yards. I thought about cushioning the ball on my chest with a view to laying it off to a team-mate but bit the bullet and had a go at goal. Fortunately I got it right. I’d seen a gap to the left of the Blackpool keeper Tony Waiters, aimed in that direction and the ball flew into the net as sweet as a nut. I think that goal did a lot to endear me to the Tottenham supporters; in many ways I had signaled not only my arrival at White Hart Lane, but also my intentions.” Jimmy made a habit of scoring on his debut throughout his career including for Chelsea against Spurs.
Eric Dier picked up the winner in last season’s opening game in his first start. One last debut, Alex Young scored for us when he played against his old club Everton in a 2-2 draw. Alex will best be remembered for later being found guilty of murder (2).
Notes -1- Hotspur Towers - Cup Adventures 1
2 - Talking Tottenham 54
t- Keith 16024542
f- peter shearman (old non de plume)
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