The Portuguese international was back at White Hart Lane for the first time since his departure at the end of the 2003-04 season when he lined up for FC Porto in Saturday’s pre-season friendly.
Our last view of the striker in Spurs was as a late substitute against Middlesbrough in a 1-0 defeat at the Riverside.
In truth, it wasn’t the best of seasons for the likeable 23-year-old. Signed for £6.25m from FC Porto, he only managed two goals in 24 appearances with almost half of his game time off the bench.
But that all changed on June 24, 2004.
The venue was Lisbon’s Stadium of Light, the occasion the quarter-finals of the European Championships, Portugal v England.
Michael Owen had put England into an early lead that they still held when Helder was called from the bench for Luis Figo with 75 minutes on the clock.
Could it happen? Could the Portuguese striker who struggled for goals in the Premiership return to haunt England?
Of course, the script was writtenÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦eight minutes later, Helder rose superbly at the near post to head home the equaliser. After a nerve-wracking final few minutes and extra time, where England had to claw back from 2-1 down to level at 2-2, the game went to penalties. Suffice to say, Portugal went through with Helder dinking home a cheeky spot kick down the middle of the goal. How could he!
Speaking after his warm welcome at the Lane, Helder admitted that goal was the point his career got back on track.
“After the difficult season for me it was a big goal because it demonstrated a little of my value to the people in England,” he reflected.
“It was a good goal because Portugal won the game. It gave me confidence and I was very, very happy. I was smiling again. It wasn’t a good season for me but things improved from there.
“I always say Spurs was a good experience because I was young.
“It was a difficult year for me and I was able to learn how to cope with that. It made me a better player.
“I always like the supporters at Tottenham. Even when I was having a hard time they sung my name and said ‘stay with Tottenham’. For me, that was fantastic.”
Porto showed signs of what they are capable of as we ran out 2-0 winners at the Lane but as Helder explained, the pressure is on after they relinquished their title to Benfica.
“That’s always the way at Porto,” he added. “If we don’t win everything, it’s a bad season. This season we have young players and the heart of the team is just 23, 24. I think we’ll do well though.”
If proof were needed of the theory that a person’s character is defined out of the bad times as well as good, look no further than Helder Postiga.