The Big Interview - Darren Anderton
24 October 2015|Tottenham Hotspur
Everyone knows the Darren Anderton story at Spurs.
Signed from Portsmouth in 1992, the midfielder went on to make 299 appearances for us in the Premier League in a 12-year career at the Lane - a figure yet to be toppled.
He won the League Cup in 1999 and played 357 times for us in all competitions before departing for Birmingham City in 2004.
Capped 30 times by England, Darren was a key member of Terry Venables’ team that took apart Holland on the way to the semi-finals of Euro 1996 and then scored against Colombia in the 1998 World Cup Finals in France.
What it less known perhaps is that Darren ended his 18-year career at Bournemouth.
Signed in 2006, he was there in 2008-09 when the incredible story of the team now in the Premier League for the first time started to unfold, turning around the lows of a points deduction in League Two to tearing away with the Championship title last season.
As we prepare to meet the Cherries for the first time in league action on Sunday, theirs is a fairytale story Darren knows all about…
First of all Darren, tell us about your move to Bournemouth…
Darren Anderton: “I’d been up at Wolves with Glenn (Hoddle) and really enjoyed it but my dad was ill at the time and I wanted to come back down to the south (Darren was born in Southampton). I had friends in the area, a few knew the Chairman and it all came about via a chance meeting. The club said to me ‘let’s try to make it happen’. I met the incoming Chairman Abdul Jaffer who sorted it out in a couple of weeks. It was a club with the reputation of trying to play the right way and that’s what I was all about. Sean O’Driscoll was manager when I signed, but he left that day! Kevin Bond then came in and it went from there. I had two-and-a-half great years down there.”
Below: Darren in his Bournemouth days - 2007
You clearly enjoyed your time there…
Darren: “It was a great set of lads, good young players and it was nice to be appreciated. They could see I wasn’t just there for a ‘jolly-up’ as such, I did things right. We had a couple of great teams and it was nice to help out. The fans were always good to me as well. To see where they are now, it’s fantastic.”
You were there in some difficult days in League Two. What was that like?
Darren: “At that time (2008-09) the club was more or less bottom of the Football League after a points deduction. Bondy left, Jimmy Quinn came in and we started okay, but it started going pear-shaped. As I said, I was there to enjoy my football and always promised myself if I wasn’t doing that, I’d retire and that’s what happened. The new owners accepted that. They soon sacked Jimmy Quinn, Eddie Howe came in and the rest is history. It’s incredible what has happened since then, unbelievable.”
Seven years later, Bournemouth won the Championship in fine style and are now in the Premier League. What have you made of it all?
Darren: “It came as a surprise how easily they won the Championship but you could see how the team improved year after year and the way they played. It wasn’t a case of going up to the Championship and saying ‘okay, now we need to be more direct’, Eddie always had the belief in how he wanted to play and got the personnel in to do that. That’s what people want to see – a story like Bournemouth, but also the way they did it.”
Your career at Spurs is well documented, but what was your favourite season in your 12 years here?
Darren: “I’d have to say the 1994-95 season. It was a great summer, the World Cup of 1994 in America, then the Romanian players Gica Popescu and Ilie Dumitrescu arrived, Jurgen Klinsmann came in in and we already had Teddy Sheringham and Nicky Barmby here, plus me out wide. At the start of that season I remember Ossie, first day of pre-season, saying ‘right, when we win the ball, we all go forward!’. So it wasn’t just the five! But that’s the way the press saw it – myself, Teddy, Jurgen, Dumitrescu and Nicky. It was certainly good to play in – unless you were a defender – good for the fans to watch and something that has stuck. It was certainly exciting to play in that team but when it went badly, it went really bad! I remember training, the quality of the players was probably the best I was involved with in my career. It was such a shame it didn’t work out. Other teams watched us and worked out the weaknesses we had defensively and were able to do something about it. If they could keep us quiet they would get the better of us eventually. Gerry Francis came in after that and he had more of a defensive mind and it worked well. We still scored lots of goals and were an attacking team but defensively, we were much better.”
Below: Darren at the Lane last year
And finally, your favourite moment in a Spurs shirt?
Darren: “I would have to say winning the League Cup Final – it was the Worthington Cup back then – in 1999. What a poor game that was! But they always say cup finals are there to win and that’s exactly what we did on the day. Leicester came to try and stifle us but George Graham had put together a very good team and in the end Allan Nielsen nicked the winner in the last minute.”