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Goal-den days again for Les

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).

Les Ferdinand can look back at 2001 with a smile - his best year so far in a Spurs shirt couldn't have been more of a contrast to the 12 months that preceded it.

Go back to the festive period in the year 2000 and one of the Premiership's most prolific marksmen could rightly talk about his 12 months from hell.

During that time he'd considered retiring from the game he loves after persistent Achilles trouble had led to more surgery in the early part of the year.

He played only nine games in the 1999-2000 season but thankfully battled through the hard times to return for the start of 2000-2001.

Last season showed a marked upturn in his appearances - 35 in all competitions - and the start of this season and the club's renaissance under Glenn Hoddle has seen 'Sir Les' returning to the sort of form that made him one of the most feared strikers around.

He's started in 18 and featured in all-but four of our 24 games so far this season and enters 2002 with 11 goals in his 21 appearances - just over the halfway stage and that's already his highest total for a season.

Happy days indeed and Les hopes it stays that way.

"In comparison to 98, 99, 2000 - 2001 has been a very good year for me so far," smiled Les. "What I've now got to do is improve on how the season has gone, keep thinking positively and going forward and hopefully get a lot more goals before the end of the season.

"I was almost thinking of calling it a day last year, knocking it all on the head but I'm glad I didn't.

"I've said before about the people I had around me that kept me going and I'm pleased they did because at this moment in time I'm reaping the benefits of it.

"There was also a lot of hard work that went into it and there still is but it's now up to me to keep going, keep myself in shape, steer away from injuries and keep progressing.

"I've been written off since I've been here. It's been an unfortunate time but I'm very pleased with how things are going now.

"I forget about all the negative things and I'm looking to the future now. It's looking bright and hopefully next year will shine even brighter."

Les has certainly gone out of 2001 with a bang. December has been a month to remember will all sorts of milestones including scoring his 150th league goal and the Premiership's 10,000th goal, a hat-trick against Bolton, Saturday's goal at Villa took him to his highest tally in a season for Spurs already and, whisper it, his 35th birthday!

He reflected: "It's been a good month personally but we've all been disappointed with the last few games as a team and that's what counts.

"It's good to hit these milestones and get personal praise but at the end of the day the team is all I'm worried about, winning things and our quest to get into Europe.

"We've had a bit of a setback with the games we haven't won over the Christmas period but can put that right in the new year."