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When Mabbsy met Jurgen - Part One

Posted on 15 November 2014  - 10:30

Jurgen Klinsmann's impact in two spells at Spurs will never be forgotten.

The German World Cup winner won the hearts of Spurs fans in a spectacular debut season in 1994-95 when he formed one of the club’s great striking partnerships with Teddy Sheringham, scored 29 goals and was named Footballer of the Year.

His second spell might not have been quite as spectacular but he delivered his greatest goalscoring performance when we needed it most at the end of a testing 1997-98 campaign.

Jurgen’s final record here was 38 goals in 68 matches in all competitions – he might have only been here for the best part of 18 months, but his bond with the club and the fans will last much, much longer.

Now coach of the US national team, Jurgen returned to Spurs this week as the USMNT used our new training facilities at Hotspur Way.

On arrival, he was welcomed by his friend, former team-mate and fellow Spurs legend Gary Mabbutt, his skipper in both spells at the club - indeed, both played the final game of their club careers at the Lane against Southampton on the final day of the 1997-98 campaign.

Below: Mabbsy and Jurgen at Hotspur Way

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In a fascinating chat, Gary turned interviewer for Spurs TV to talk about those memorable days Jurgen enjoyed at the Lane in 1994-95 and 1998.

So to the start and Jurgen’s arrival in a hail of publicity in the summer of 1994...

Gary Mabbutt: “When you joined us it was such a great coup for Tottenham. You were one of the best strikers in the world at the time but our first impressions weren’t what we were expecting when you turned up in your VW Beetle! We were expecting a Ferrari or Lamborghini!"

Jurgen Klinsmann: “My first impression was that I’d never seen such an emotional connection between the fans and players and everyone working at the club that I experienced at Spurs.

“My dream was to come to London, to experience this amazing city and give it a shot in the Premier League.

“I will never forget we had a pre-season game in Ireland and in a 12,000 seat stadium there were 10,000 Spurs fans. That was a wake-up call and I thought ‘you are at a very special place here’.

“Over the months it was amazing to feel that connection with everyone who loved the club so much. It meant such a lot to them emotionally, and to the players as well. When I got to know everyone better over time I realised it was different to what I experienced before and that’s why I had so much fun.”

Below: Jurgen at at friendly against Watford - August, 1994

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Mabbsy: “Had you experienced those feelings when you played in Italy?”

Jurgen: “Yes, but in a different way. For me, the neighbourhood of Tottenham, the people who live around White Hart Lane and the connection they have is something very intense. At Inter Milan, they have fans all over Italy, not just Milan and the towns around Milan. I felt this whole area of North London means so much to the people. They live the club and they make the club.

“I told my coaches when we went to the game against Stoke, we travelled up the High Road and I explained that the people get out of the Tube station (Seven Sisters) and walk to the stadium and the players, in those days, drove to the stadium say two hours beforehand and the feeling when you drove along with the fans was you sensed a responsibility towards the fans.

“You better do a good job because you see the father and son walking to the game and you think ‘I'm obliged to do well here’. It’s very different in many ways and my emotions were different here.

“I enjoyed everywhere I went but I felt the most energy in my career at White Hart Lane and so I felt very privileged.”

Look out for Part Two tomorrow - the first season, the celebration dive, Anfield and the FA Cup...