Three Tottenham Hotspur cult heroes

11 March 2010

What does the term ‘cult hero’ mean to you? Perhaps it invokes memories of an honest tryer with wayward shooting but a loveable face. Or that surly bloke from the continent who only stayed for a season but scored the winner against your local rivals that one time. Or even that ridiculously talented bit-part player whose omission from the side you always resented the manager for. The characteristics that qualify a player as a cult hero are plentiful, diverse and often intangible; and, in recognition of these life-affirming souls, picks three Tottenham Hotspur players who once graced White Hart Lane and have lived on in the hearts of Spurs fans ever since…

Steffen Freund – A stereotypically German exponent of good old-fashioned graft and commitment over remarkable technical ability, Freund played over 100 games for the club between 1998 and 2003, never scoring a goal (bar one in a friendly at Stevenage that may or may not have crossed the line) but helping Spurs to League Cup success in 1999. He was inducted into the Tottenham Hotspur Hall of Fame in December and was spotted amongst the travelling Spurs contingent at Old Trafford in 2005, signing autographs and wearing his Hewlett Packard-sponsored lilywhite shirt!
Greatest moment: His crunching tackle on Leicester City’s Robbie Savage in aforementioned League Cup final, a microcosm of his importance on the day to a side that had been reduced to ten men after Justin Edinburgh’s red card. Closely followed by any time the cry of “SSSSHHHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOTTTT!!!” emanated from the stands.
Nayim – The Spanish-Moroccan midfielder scored 18 times in 144 appearances for Spurs, although he is most fondly remembered for a certain goal he scored after he left. He was an FA Cup winner in 1991 (replacing Paul Gascoigne after the England legend injured himself trying to tackle Nottingham Forest’s Gary Charles), scored a goal of the month-winner against Liverpool and also a hattrick in an FA Cup quarter-final against Manchester City. However.
Greatest moment: .”Na-YIIIIIM from the half-way line!”  A last-gasp 50-yard lob over David Seaman won the 1995 European Cup Winner’s Cup final for his next side Real the expense of Arsenal.
Ronnie Rosenthal – The explosive Israeli forward didn’t make quite the same impact at White Hart Lane as he did at Liverpool (he came number 79 in a list of ‘100 Players who Shook the Kop’) but ‘Rocket’ Ronnie will always be remembered for the remarkable extra time hattrick in the 6-2 FA Cup win at Southampton in 1995.
Greatest moment: Er.that hattrick was pretty much about it. Of course, outside of a Spurs context, there was *that* miss against Aston Villa.