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Freund farewell

Posted on 27 May 2003  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

The close of the season marked the end of the Steffen Freund era at White Hart Lane. Our popular German midfielder is leaving after four and a half years with the Club - includes special message to supporters.

CLICK THE AUDIO/VIDEO LINK ON RIGHT FOR MESSAGE

The love affair between Steffen and the supporters has developed into something special during his spell here. Our fans appreciate his enthusiasm and commitment both on and off the pitch and Steffen admits he feels great pride when he hears the reception he always gets from them.

The 33-year-old former Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04 player arrived at the Lane in December, 1998. His contract expires at the end of this season and a decision to allow the player to leave was announced by the Club earlier this year.

Steffen says he was naturally disappointed when he was told, but he accepts that these things happen in football and he is already looking ahead to the future with typical enthusiasm.

"How can I be negative? With my job, doing something that I love, you can't be depressed for long," he says. "Tell me something that is better than playing football for a living!

"I've enjoyed every minute of my time with Tottenham and I'm not going to throw away four years of good times just because the last couple of months weren't as perfect as I would have liked. Nobody is bigger than the club and it's important everyone remembers that."

When asked to look back over those good times, Steffen remembers with amusement the first few weeks of his Tottenham career, in early 1999, when we played Wimbledon five times in his first nine games - twice in the Worthington Cup semi-final, twice in the FA Cup and once in the league.

"It was crazy but funny when you think about it now," he recalls. "I couldn't believe it. My friends would call me and ask me if I played and I would say 'Yes, against Wimbledon.' Then a few days later, they called and asked again. 'Yes, we played Wimbledon.' This happened a few times and I remember one of them asking me 'Are there any other teams in the Premiership!'

"And back home in Germany, everyone always asks why the crowd were booing me! I had to explain that it was the fans shouting at me to 'Shoot!' To be honest, I'm disappointed I couldn't put the ball in the net while I was here, I'm shocked I didn't score!"

Although Steffen has just one Worthington Cup winners medal from his time here, he believes the Club's achievements in the last four years haven't been as disappointing as some think.

"We reached two Worthington Cup finals and two FA Cup semi-finals in my time here which is not too bad," he says. "Getting into Europe in the Premiership these days is so difficult, the league is so strong that West Ham or Bolton could go down with 44 points, that's incredible.

"It's too easy to say 'we're not in Europe, that's no good' but that's wrong I think. We were still pushing for a place up to just a few weeks ago, so for the majority of this season we have been in the running.

"I'm disappointed we weren't playing in Europe every year, this club is such a big one we should be there. But at the same time, we have never been battling relegation while I was here. Look at teams like Derby County, Nottingham Forest and Leicester who went down and even West Ham at the moment, they would like to be where we are now."

Now though it's time to say farewell and Steffen wanted this opportunity to thank our fans for their support.

"Playing in the Premiership and in England with such a fantastic club has been the most important experience of my career," says Steffen. "I think maybe the way I play football is what the supporters like and I got so much warmth from them.

"It's difficult to put it into words, but all the fans deserve to come out with me tonight and have a few German beers but obviously that's not possible! I just want to say thanks for everything in the last four and a half years. We've had ups and downs in that time, but it was fantastic."