Ben, then with Wimbledon, was targeted by manager George Graham during the course of the last close season as the club chased an orthodox left-back. Ben was finally unveiled in a £5m deal as the last of three summer recruits following the arrival of Neil Sullivan and Sergei Rebrov.
The uncompromising full-back was struck down with groin and abdominal problems in November and failed to make a first team comeback during the campaign.
He made an appearance for the reserve side against Chelsea in late January, but the injury persisted and Ben’s season was all but over.
“Nightmare is an understatement,” reflected Ben. “Obviously I was delighted to be joining a massive club like Tottenham, came here, expecting good things for the side and myself but it turned into a nightmare season.
“The injury, I tried to play with it at first but did myself no justice and no favours. I kept breaking down and in the end a couple of weeks ago I had to have a small operation on my hip to try and cure it in time for next season.”
Ben now plans to work hard during the summer to ensure he is fit and ready for the new season, but he rejects nagging doubts that he should have gone in for surgery earlier and tried to salvage something from the season.
“It’s easy to say in hindsight that I should have had the operation earlier, but I had to give it the chance of healing naturally. It just means I’ll be in through the summer and taking my time, making sure I’m right for next season.
“I’ll just write that season off. I haven’t got good memories of it. Hopefully that one is out of the way now and I can start fresh again next season.”
Ben Thatcher has spoken of his disappointment that his first season at the Lane did not live up to expectations.