It’s time for this month’s edition of Great Moments in Spurs Transfer History, and if you happen to be one of the readers who struggled to even remember the protagonist of our last feature, then this should prove refreshing for you. And by refreshing, I mean blood curdling.
Few figures in the recent history of the club have induced more unabashed, unreserved, probably-maybe-slightly-a-little-bit-racist rage than Hossam Ghaly. Upon his arrival at The Lane in 2006 it became immediately apparent that Ghaly was what the media love to dub a ‘utility player’. What this of course means in reality is that, much like a real utility such as a Swiss Army Knife, Ghaly sported many attributes, each more useless than the last. For every tiny magnifying glass and something vaguely-resembling a bottle opener you’d find on your dad’s Victorinox, Ghaly sported the footballing equivalent; tremendous stamina (matched with a thorough distaste for running anywhere useful) and eagle-eye vision (coupled with the technical ability to always underhit a pass by about ten yards). Indeed, he had a truly expansive and ultimately useless combination of skills.
It wasn’t just his skillset which was dangerously bi-polar though, oh no. What will surely live longest in the memory is his winning personality. In May 2007, when substituted against Blackburn Rovers after having only been brought on earlier in the game, Ghaly achieved heroic status amongst Arsenal fans the world over by walking off the pitch, throwing his shirt on the ground, stamping on it a few times, flicking Martin Jol the V’s, and finally dropping his shorts and curling out a fresh one right on the badge. At least that’s how I remember it, and I’ve heard nothing from Spurs fans since to suggest anything less dramatic happened. When questioned on the incident he replied, “I am just so angry with myself. I have always considered it an honour to wear the Tottenham shirt and I never intended to show any disrespect”, sentiments which I absolutely believe because as we all know, there is no greater sign of respect in the Egyptian culture than throwing that which you treasure to the ground in a petulant fury.
Ghaly continued to win friends amongst the world of football when his move to Birmingham imploded after he “objected to the manager’s training methods”. We can only presume that this was done in the most measured and respectable of manners, perhaps by taking a picture of Steve Bruce’s family and using it as a catheter.
Never to play a game for Spurs again, and after a successful loan spell at Derby County wherein he managed to get them relegated without winning a single game, Ghaly was signed by Saudi-Arabian club Al Nassr. His three-year contract of course only lasted 18 months upon which he returned to boyhood club and Egyptian champions Al-Ahly. They immediately handed him the captain’s armband and his old number, presumably because he spat at the manager’s wife or set fire to a children’s hospital.
By Callum Tennent
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