A contribution piece by Will Reyner
“Stand Up If You Hate Tottenham!” For Chelsea fans, Tottenham Hotspur is the team we love to hate and love to beat. Our derbies against them crackle with hostility and have a special atmosphere. Our players know it, feel it and are inspired by it; who can forget Eden Hazard’s joy in 2016 when his wonder goal ended Spurs’ title challenge?
And yet, a surprising number of players have made the short journey from White Hart Lane to Stamford Bridge or vice versa. Indeed, you can select a pretty impressive team from players who have worn our beautiful blue and their woeful white.
Just take a look at this XI –
• Clive Allen
• Carlo Cudicini
• Jason Cundy
• William Gallas
• Jimmy Greaves
• Micky Hazard
• Glen Hoddle
• Scott Parker
• Gustavo Poyet
• Graham Roberts
• Terry Venables
Some of these players are undoubtedly viewed as traitors in SW6. Poyet’s kissing of the Cockerel Badge when Spurs beat us in the League Cup semi-final in 2002 still rankles; for many, he remains a Judas figure – a sinner. But there are several players who are regarded as Blues Legends – or saints – despite dallying with the dark side. Here are four of my personal favourites:
Jason Cundy’s time at Spurs came after four years with the Blues where he made 41 appearances. Cundy had a four-year stint at Tottenham from 1992-1996 where he was on loan at three different clubs in that time. However, Jason Cundy embodies everything that we love about Chelsea. Passion, commitment and drive.
Cundy has worked in TV and Radio commentary since retiring and it’s fair to say that he is still a Blue at heart. He defends Chelsea and backs them to the hilt whenever he can. Who can forget the iconic reaction to Didier Drogba’s winning penalty that secured Chelsea the Champions League in 2012?
Cundy is a Chelsea man through and through, he celebrates just like any fan does, this is without forgetting the time he spent at Chelsea as a player in the late eighties and early nineties. Cundy will always be regarded as a Chelsea hero, for me. He simply epitomises what it means to be a blue.
Perhaps the highest-profile and most controversial player in my XI is Jimmy Greaves – seen as both a Spurs and Chelsea legend by both sets of fans.
Greaves started his career at Chelsea, scoring 124 goals in just 157 games. The word ‘prolific’ is an understatement of this archetypal poacher.
However, our financial troubles led to Greaves’ departure to AC Milan for £80,000 in 1961. He failed to adapt to Italian culture and Italian football and quickly decided that he wanted to return home to London. That is exactly what he did – but, unfortunately, he joined Spurs, where he became their highest goal-scorer with 220 goals and helped them to two FA Cup wins.
Spurs claim Jimmy as one of their heroes – but came through our youth ranks. He didn’t leave us directly to go to White Hart Lane and only went there because they outbid us for him when he left Italy, offering a record £99,999 fee. He is a Chelsea legend who has always held the club in the dearest respect.
Glenn Hoddle has a uniquely close relationship with both Spurs and Chelsea. He is the only man to have played for and managed both clubs.
This cultured midfielder, a player arguably ahead of his time, spent the majority of his career at Spurs, playing in white for 12 years and winning 3 major trophies.
However, having left Spurs for AS Monaco and then mighty Swindon Town, Hoddle then joined Chelsea as a player/manager in 1993. His previous allegiance to Spurs was not seen as a hindrance for him and he enjoyed a successful managerial stint at Chelsea, only leaving in 1996 to succeed Terry Venables as England boss. Chelsea’s recent success came shortly after Hoddle left the club. However, he can be credited with helping make Chelsea competitive again, taking us to an FA Cup Final and bringing his successor Ruud Gullit to the club.
Glenn arguably started the renaissance of the Blues – and, what’s more, he joined Chelsea after playing for Spurs. You’ve got to love a reformed sinner!
An undisputed legend of English football, Terry Venables started his illustrious career at Chelsea in 1960. He enjoyed a successful tenure with the Blues, playing over 200 games and captaining the side to League Cup victory against Leicester in 1965, scoring a penalty.
But ‘El Tel’ had a rough relationship with manager Tommy Docherty, who first suspended him and then put him on the transfer list. This eventually led to his sale to Spurs. Venables spent three years with Tottenham scoring 5 goals in 115 appearances, including winning the FA Cup in 1967, sadly beating Chelsea in the final.
Despite that, it feels hard to blame Venables. It wasn’t his choice to leave the Blues after all.
Sometimes in football, rivalries will cross paths when a certain player is involved. Thankfully though… for every sinner there is always a saint.