Tottenham Hotspur's Worst XI of the decade continues it's demoralizing march onward today with a look at our worst central defenders. Spurs have played some pretty shoddy defense over the years so this will be a fairly long list. Not too many players from recent years on this list, so most of you are going to have to dig in to you memory banks or just trust me on who the really crappy players were.
You know what the most depressing thing is about this list? Ok, the two most depressing things. First is that a lot of these players logged a surprisingly high number of games for Tottenham Hotspur over the course of the last decade. Some even approaching 100 appearances. Second, these players, in general, partnered with someone from our Best XI list. So we almost always had one excellent and one absolute crap central defender. Not exactly a recipe for success is it?
The best thing about this list is the nicknames. I mean, "Ginger Pele", "Old John", and "Sea Bass". Okay, I made that last one up, but the first two are real. I swear!
List after the jump.Gary Doherty: Ah yes, "Ginger Pele". Not only was he absolute shit, he was shit at two positions. The Republic of Ireland central defender fancied himself a center forward on occasion (think a precursor to Christopher Samba). Doherty was equally adept at giving the ball away both in defence or attack and formed an integral part of David Pleat's "Let's play at least four center backs in every game" tactic that led Spurs to the heights of mid-table obscurity. Doherty made 64 appearances for Spurs over four years and manage to score some wonderful goals, though they were mostly own-goals. Remember folks, there's only one Ginger Pele.
Anthony Gardner: Played for 8 years at Spurs. 8 years! By the time he was finally sold to Hull City Gardner had made 149 appearances for Tottenham Hotspur. He was believed, at first, to be a permanent replacement to Sol Campbell, but things didn't exactly work out that way. The towering Englishman, who somehow was capped once by his country, lacked pace, positioning, and at the end of his Spurs tenure, agility of any sort. Admittedly, he looked to be a capable defender at first, but that was probably due more to his pairing with Ledley King in central defense than with any actual ability.
Mbulelo Mabizela: I bet you don't remember this guy. Tottenham's first South African player didn't exactly cover himself in glory during his time at White Hart Lane. Mabizela made only 9 appearances for the Club, most of them as a substitute, before being released after only 14 months for disciplinary problems. He joined Spurs with great promise. He had it all, size, strength, pace, and had captained Bafana Bafana at only 20 years of age. Nicknamed "Old John" because of maturity that belied his years he was, rather ironically, released due to problems which included turning up to training drunk, missing training altogether and being stripped of the South Africa captaincy for going AWOL for three months.
Ricardo Rocha: For a time Rocha partnered Gardner in central defense which I think probably caused a rip in the space-time continuum. They were the worst central defense pairing in the history of the Premier League. Rocha made 17 appearances for Spurs over the course of 3 season. Rocha was listed at 6' tall, but was probably closer to 5'8" and as a result was absolutely battered in the air. This might have been forgivable had he possessed some pace or agility, but he did not. He was an exceptional liability on set pieces. I think teams probably scored 6 goals per game against us when Rocha played.
Sebastien Bassong: Maybe this is a bit unfair to the young Cameroonian, but he's made 40 appearances for Spurs now and hasn't really shown much. We bought him coming off a season in which he was Newcastle United's Player of the Season, granted the club was relegated that season, so maybe that's not saying much. Bassong does have the distinction of scoring Spur's first ever Champions League goal, but that really the only good thing he's done for the Club thus far.