Great Moments in Spurs Transfer History: The Curious Case of Timothée Atouba


Here at Spurs we are proud of our traditions. The list is as long as it is illustrious, dotted with as many legendary players and record-breaking stats as there are stars in the sky; The first post-war British club to win a European trophy. The first post-war league and cup double. Top-flight English football’s all-time record goalscorer, Jimmy Greaves. The fastest Premier League goal courtesy of Ledley King. Special, special memories. Yet there is one tradition even longer and more richly detailed than any of those previously mentioned. It is rarely spoken of – a hushed whisper, as soft as the night breeze. We all know it’s there, we just show enough decorum and tact to not mention it. I am of course talking about Spurs’ glorious history of signing the next great white hope, nay, the future saviour of the game as we know it. Fans dance in the streets and managers sit beamingly in the press conferences like Midas atop his empire of gold. Only it then turns out that the signing is a bit shit. And then they get shipped off. After about one season. One really, really average season.

So, what better way to start off this list than with the very embodiment of the ‘Spurs signing’, as it should be known if it isn’t already. Young Timothée (with a hard ‘th’, don’t you dare call him Timothy) arrived at the Lane at the very zenith of his career. Having played more than one-hundred games in the Swiss first division, he had recently won the double with FC Basel in the ’01-’02 season and was all set to fix Spurs’ left-back problems for years to come. However, it turns out that Jacques Santini’s judgement was slightly off, a rare lapse indeed.

Rangy, lean, tricky: all words used to veil the fact that he was uncoordinated, lanky, and tripped over the ball more than your average five year old in the back garden. Perhaps most fondly remembered for his knack of attempting long throw-ins that traveled about ten yards, he was also the master (creator?) of the ‘step-over in your own area’ maneuver which in hindsight is a terrible idea, flawed in just about every respect. Poor Paul Robinson must have nearly had a coronary when Atouba, lacking the vision to play a simple hoof up the pitch towards the target man, decided to embark on a mazy run back towards his own goal before laying it off to the befuddled stopper.

Eighteen appearances and one admittedly astonishing goal against Bobby Robson’s Newcastle later big Timmer was out the door to Hamburg. He then proceeded to give the finger to the crowd twice, getting beer (or what he hopes was beer) chucked all over him for his troubles. Three seasons later he was due for a medical at Newcastle, the one team to ever see him have a good game, only to baffle Hamburg staff by turning up to training that afternoon. He now plays for Ajax, which is incidentally the third time he’s found himself under Martin Jol – the only man who ever loved him.

By Callum Tennent


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    • The point is that we had, over the the years signed quite a few players that were full of promise and ended up being dog shit. Quite a funny article I thought.

  1. Despite the fact that it was probably only a matter of time, it should be noted that his absolutely bat-shit-mental(!!) practices in our own box, not once ever cost us.

  2. Best left foot the in the Premiership. Atouba was the first Spurs player to play the coveted left-back-and-left-midfield-at-the-same-time-role. He never had a LM in front of him so was supposed to be providing an attacking option and defending concurrently. Was he responsible for more goals conceded than Bennie, for example? In fact, Bennie has made a career with his Atouba impersonation, but with the considerable get out of jail card of Gareth playing in front of him. The most misunderstood, most entertaining player in recent history.

  3. Now thinking about it I think I remember him, yeah he was a wanker, like that prick Mitchell THomas something we signed from Luton Town and the other twat we had who got crippled v QPR with psycho doing him.
    The biggest prick ever to put on a Spurs Shirt was Richard Cough while I hold your prick.
    Every five minutes he'd do these lovely one twos in the box and it worked 80 per cent of the time till he threw away single handedly the double we could have won again.
    Ask Hodd if he'd rather had had that prick or kick em in the bollocks Miller.
    I actually met that Scots dick in a boozer and said the sooner you fuck off back to the gers the better.
    He was always going on bout returning to the gers. When he finally did get back there I was up Ibrox with this geezer called Mad Dog -right laugh-and theres fucking Gough playing against Hearts.
    Thats how much a prick he was , he preferred to play against the level of Barnet instead of the Spurs.
    Another great was Graham Roberts, brilliant.He let us down though.
    We were going for both things when we came unstuck because of that Gough geezer

  4. ..and then there was Gilberto. Another clown. I'm happy to dredge up the names of more ridiculous names who should never have ever worn a Spurs shirt in anger.


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