Xtra - captains' week
14 November 2013|Tottenham Hotspur
Saturday marked the 50th anniversary of Danny Blanchflower’s final game for Spurs – against Manchester United at Old Trafford on November 9, 1963.
Meanwhile, when Michael Dawson led the team out against Newcastle on Sunday, it represented his 299th appearance for the club and he’s set to become the 42nd player to reach the 300-game milestone in the club’s history when he next pulls on the famous white shirt.
In a special feature this week, we look at five of our great captains of the past 50 years - next up, the ‘King’ of the Lane, Ledley King.
LEDLEY KING, 1997-2012
Lauded by team-mates, managers and opposition players alike as one of the best defenders of his era, Ledley King was that rare breed, a one-club man.
And of course, that club was Spurs.
Speaking shortly after persistent knee trouble finally ended his playing career, Ledley told us all what it meant to have played for Spurs.
“I can honestly say that throughout my career, I never even considered going anywhere else. This is my club, my one and only club. It could only happen for me here.”
Brought through our Academy system, Ledley signed as a trainee in 1997, then professional terms a year later and then made his Spurs debut at Liverpool in May, 1999.
He went on to make 323 appearances for the club. He first wore the armband in 2004-05 and led the team out whenever he played from August, 2004 until his final game against QPR in April, 2012.
His proudest moment was lifting the League Cup at Wembley in 2008, following in the footsteps of the likes of Danny Blanchflower, Dave Mackay, Alan Mullery, Steve Perryman and Garry Mabbutt to walk up to the Royal Box on the world’s biggest stage.
Ledley took on the role of Club Ambassador immediately after his retirement.
“I would like to say thank-you to everyone at the Club and to the fans,” he said at the time. “I have missed a lot of football over the years, but the Spurs fans have always been patient and incredibly supportive with me during difficult periods.
“I’ve have been in Tottenham for around 17 years, having started at Spurs when I was 14. It is a second home for and I’m pleased I can continue to work within the Club and for the local community.”
Michael Dawson, Ledley’s partner in central defence, summed-up the feeling in the camp from the players on Ledley’s retirement.
“Ledley’s a tremendous guy, and what a player. He’ll be missed. He’s one of the best, without a doubt.
“I remember the first time I saw him play, sat up in the Directors’ Box at White Hart Lane in 2005. I remember the game, Portsmouth, and thinking ‘it’s just too easy for this guy’. I was stepping up from the championship and thinking if I would manage it.
“When you play with someone like him you see the experience, the confidence, the calmness, just the way he gets around the field. He’s a top, top guy off the field as well.”Captains week ends tomorrow with Michael Dawson...