He arrived at Tottenham under a cloud of controversy and left as a hero- not bad for Jurgen Klinsmann’s only full season in the Premier League.
Klinsmann’s shock switch to Spurs in 1994 was met with derision from football fans outside of north London because of his reputation for diving – while his role in knocking England out of the 1990 World Cup hardly helped either.
With Klinsmann signing on the dotted line for £2 million from Monaco things looked bright for Spurs under Ossie Ardiles. The Argentinian was sacked before Christman with Spurs languishing in the bottom half of the table however - but didn't affect the forward's form.
It didn’t take long for the former Monaco man to disprove at least one myth – that Germans don’t have a sense of humour – as he slotted home on his debut against Sheffield Wednesday before leaping in the air to perform his now famous ‘Klinsmann dive celebration’.
That goal marked the start of a productive season indeed. Klinsmann went on to score 29 goals in all competitions, including an absolute stunner against Everton – which, as ever, was followed by his trademark celebration along with his team-mates.
While Klinsmann was in many ways a classic striker – waiting to pounce and with a deadly eye for goal, he could also pull off a spectacular finish when asked to and his goal against Sheffield Wednesday again later on in the season demonstrated both sides of his game.
His maiden season with the club was to end on a sour note however as, despite his dramatic goal against Liverpool in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup with just 90 seconds remaining, Spurs crashed out of the competition after suffering a 4-1 loss to Everton in the semi-finals, with the German notching Tottenham’s solitary strike.
A move away to Bayern Munich came the following summer as the Spurs faithful said goodbye to the man who had established himself as a club hero in just one season.
But if any further proof was required of his standing at White Hart Lane Klinsmann returned on loan for the second half of the 1997/98 season and scored the goals that helped them avoid relegation, including bagging four against Wimbledon.
Now 47-years-old and head coach of the United States football team having guided Germany to the semi-finals of the 2006 World Cup on home soil as manager, Klinsmann was recently linked with a move back to White Hart Lane as boss before Andre Villas-Boas took the post.
While Spurs fans appear mostly happy with the appointment of the former Porto coach, there would have been few unhappy faces if a bonafide club legend had been asked to take up the reigns. Happy birthday Jurgen!
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