‘You can fine me all you like’ – Ex-Spurs man reveals he forced his way out of the club

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Steven Pienaar has admitted that he threatened to return to South Africa for the rest of the campaign if Tottenham didn’t allow him to join Everton on loan in January 2012.

Pienaar only spent two seasons at White Hart Lane and never hit the expected heights during his brief spell in North London.

Spurs signed the wide man from Everton in January 2011 on the back of several impressive seasons at Goodison Park where he had forged an impressive partnership with Leighton Baines down the left flank.

However, be barely got a look in during his spell at Spurs as the team were in great form, particularly in the first half of the 2011-12 season.

The South Africa international admitted that Chelsea also wanted him but it was Harry Redknapp who convinced him to come to North London instead.

When asked why he picked Spurs over the Blues, Pienaar told The Athletic: “Harry Redknapp, that’s what happened. When you meet him and start talking to him, he makes you change your mind.

“He told me he wanted me and Gareth Bale on the left and I liked that idea. I made the right decision to join Spurs, a team playing Champions League football, but the problem was one of us was always injured so we couldn’t get the partnership going.

“I was frustrated and out for a long time. I didn’t have enough patience when I came back because I just wanted to play football. Gareth moved to Real Madrid, I moved back to Everton.”

The winger was loaned back to Everton in January 2012 before completing a permanent return to Goodison Park the subsequent summer. He admitted that he threatened to go rogue in order to secure his move back to Merseyside.

Pienaar added: “I told the manager I wanted to leave in the dressing room. The manager told me that he was going to put me in the team there and then. And that I could leave after the game.

“I played the game and then Harry said: ‘I can’t let you go. I want you to stay. I will need you in the second half of the season. “But Boss,’ I said, ‘if you had wanted me to stay then you would have played me.’ I want to go on loan to get match fitness and then come back and play here next season. My mind is already in Liverpool.”

“Harry wouldn’t let me go, so I said: ‘If you won’t let me go, I’ll just go to South Africa for the rest of the season and you can fine me all you like. I just want to play football and not be a number.’ Eventually, he gave in. I’d packed my suitcase and I went straight back to Liverpool that night.”

Spurs Web Opinion

Pienaar was quite a strange signing for us to make at the time as we already had the likes of Aaron Lennon, Gareth Bale, Niko Kranjcar and David Bentley competing for the wide spots. He certainly had the talent to come good for us had he been handed more opportunities. However, it was understandable why Redknapp rarely used either him or Kranjcar given how well we were playing, particularly at the start of the 2011-12 season.

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