Ah, hello der Paddy, to be sure, to be sure, and other lazy and unoriginal greetings to you on this most special of days, St. Patrick’s Day; the day that celebrates some bloke from centuries ago who apparently rid Ireland of snakes, what an achievement, nice one mate.
Still, it’s an excuse for a party (although the Irish rarely need an excuse), and it’s also an excuse for us here at the Tavern to provide you with a rundown of Tottenham Hotspur’s greatest-ever Irish players.
There have been quite a few boys in green in the white of Spurs down the years, and although not all of them have reached the highest echelons of the game (I’m looking at you Gary ‘the ginger Pele’ Doherty), there are a number who have really stood out and been rightly exalted as heroes in N17. So here dey are, da foightin’ oirish o’ Spois in all der gloy.
Where better to start than with the legendary captain of Tottenham’s Double-winning side of 1960/61. They don’t come much better than Blanchflower, who is Spurs greatest ever player according to The Times, and with good reason. The Belfast boy came to Spurs in 1954 from Aston Villa for a then massive £30,000 fee.
Danny played for Spurs for 10 years, until he was the ripe old age of 38, during which time he won: the league, two FA Cups, one Cup Winners’ Cup and two Football Writer’s Player of the Year awards. His greatest achievement was captaining Spurs to the first Double of the 20th Century in 1961, when Tottenham won their first 11 league games in a row, a record that still stands.
A fantastic passer with a keen ability to find space and dictate the flow of a game, Blanchflower will forever be remembered as a hero at White Hart Lane and one of few true legends of Tottenham Hotspur.
He may currently be on loan at West Ham after an indifferent second spell in North London, but it shouldn’t be forgotten what a good player Robbie Keane was for Spurs.
Signed in 2002 for £7million from struggling Leeds, Keane had already played for 4 clubs at just 22, but he finally settled at White Hart Lane and stayed until leaving for Liverpool in 2008. The Irishman has scored 121 goals in 293 games for Tottenham, putting him an impressive 9th in Spurs’ all-time leading goal-scorers.
During his time in N17, Keane has seen many striker partners come and go, but his best period was undoubtedly in in 2006/07 , when he scored 22 goals from 44 games and formed half of what was probably the best forward partnership in the Premier League at the time with the classy Bulgarian, Dimitar Berbatov.
Keane’s display of emotion on winning the League Cup with Spurs at Wembley in 2008 showed what it meant to the Irishman to win something with the club and although he’s no longer the player he was, he’ll be fondly remembered as being a key player in Spurs’ transitional period from mid-table nobodies to a club knocking on the door of the big time.
Signed in 1964, this giant of an Ulsterman went on to make over 600 appearances for Spurs and was one of the very best goalkeepers in the world during his prime. Famous for using his feet to save and for having gigantic hands, Jennings played in over 1,000 professional matches during his career and earned a record-119 caps for Northern Ireland.
Despite his easy-going nature, Pat was a winner, and during his time with Spurs, he won: 1 FA Cup, 2 League Cups and 1 UEFA Cup. The big man even managed to score for the Lilywhites, with a bizarre goal from a massive hoof up-field in the 1967 Charity Shield match against Manchester United.
Pat has been a goalkeeping coach at Spurs and remains a familiar face around the club; the gentle giant is one of the most respected men associated with Tottenham Hotspur, is a credit to his country and the game, and is still a hero to the fans.
Before he became a famous martyr in the battle between good and evil on Tyneside, Chris Hughton was a successful assistant manager at Tottenham, and before that, he was a long-time servant of the club, as a left-back, for 13 years.
The amiable London-born Irishman started his career at Tottenham way back in 1977 and in his time with the club, which came to an end in 1990, he managed to put in a very healthy 389 appearances. Not a spectacular player, but a reliable team-member during a relatively successful period for the club, Hughton won 2 FA Cups and 1 UEFA Cup at Spurs.
Chris came back to White Hart Lane firstly as Reserve Team Coach, and then as Assistant Coach, in which he position he served for 10 years under Christian Gross, George Graham, Glenn Hoddle, David Pleat and Martin Jol. Spurs through and through, Chris Hughton has given the club 23-years service in some form or other.
Some of the younger readers will probably be shouting, ‘WHO?!’, but Tony Galvin was a pacy left-winger who spent 9 years at Tottenham and made over 200 appearances down the left-flank in the famous white shirt.
Galvin made the pass for Ricky Villa’s legendary goal against Manchester City in the 1981 FA Cup Final, and this trophy was one of three the Irishman won at Spurs. Playing at a similar time to Chris Hughton, Galvin also won 2 FA Cups in 1981 and 1982, and the UEFA Cup in 1984.
The Yorkshire-born Irishman won 27 caps for the Republic of Ireland, scoring once and having retired in 1990, now can be seen turning out for the Spurs legends team.
Der we have it, so hats off to da lads, and a happy St. Paddy’s day all roind, drink up!
For less rubbish attempts at writing in an Irish accent, but more Spurs stories, rumours, thoughts and theories, follow me on Twitter: @StuartCFootball
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