Former player reveals why he left Spurs despite Daniel Levy wanting him to stay

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Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
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Jermain Defoe has opened up on the circumstances that led to him leaving Tottenham Hotspur in 2008.

Defoe found his playing time extremely limited after Juande Ramos replaced Martin Jol at the helm in 2007 and left the club to join Portsmouth in the following January.

The striker admitted that a row with Ramos was what pushed him towards the exit door in North London.

The 37-year-old revealed that his Spurs teammates and chairman Daniel Levy wanted him to stay but he preferred to play under Harry Redknapp rather than endure Ramos’ reign.

Speaking about the circumstances that led to his exit from the club in 2008, Defoe told Football Fancast: “It was a hard decision for me to make. I loved it at Spurs. But we had a change of manager, Juande Ramos came in. He had different ideas.

“One day in training he said something to me, I said something back, and then he told me that if I wasn’t happy I could leave. Even the players couldn’t believe he’d said it to me.

“So I phoned my agent and told him what the manager said. Ramos spoke to Daniel Levy about it and the chairman was like: ‘Are you joking? That is not happening!’

“The next game I was given the armband to be captain! It was strange.

“So it was a footballing decision in the end. I spoke to Harry Redknapp, who was at Portsmouth at the time, and he just said: ‘JD, come and play for me.’ I love Harry, everyone knows I love Harry, and he never used to complicate things. All he said to me was ‘focus on scoring goals’, that’s it.”

As fate would have it, Harry Redknapp replaced Ramos at the Tottenham hot seat just a few months later, and Defoe returned to North London after spending just a year at Pompey.

The striker went on to play more games and score more goals in his second spell at the Lane than his first, before finally leaving to join MLS side Toronto FC in 2014.

Spurs Web Opinion

Defoe is up there with one of my all-time favourite Spurs players mainly because it was clear how much the club meant to him. He struck up a great relationship with the fans and his love for Tottenham comes across in every single interview he has given about us since leaving.

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