Former Tottenham Hotspur central defender, club captain and now club ambassador Ledley King was born 38 years ago today. He’s a legend, one of the very few players who came up through the Spurs academy and stayed his entire career there, playing at an incredibly high level for both club and country despite a chronic knee issue that left him unable to train.
He’s a player already mentioned in the same breath as some of Spurs’ all-time greats, and a genuinely nice man. This blog is named after him (in case you wondered and were afraid to ask).
In honor of Ledley and his birthday today, let’s all watch a clip of arguably his most impressive moment as a player — an incredible sprint and last-ditch tackle on Arjen Robben early on in what would be a 2-1 win over Chelsea at White Hart Lane in 2006.
Remember, this is a guy who had, like NO CARTILAGE IN HIS KNEES and who had spotted a good 10 yard head start to Robben at the time. Robben was one-on-one with Paul Robinson and looked sure to score.
It’s still one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. Here’s what Ledley said about that tackle in an interview with FourFourTwo in 2013:
“It was almost one for the cameras, like they sometimes say about keepers. The tackle actually wasn’t that significant, because they scored from the corner straight after. I’d run all that way [from near the centre circle to the six yard box] and won the ball, then they scored from the corner [laughs]!
“As a defender I always believed that you should get back and give yourself a chance, and hope that the forward takes a split second too long. While the ball was in the air, I knew that I could make up some ground; Robben hesitated a little bit, so I was able to prod it away.
“To be honest, something will have gone wrong in the defence if the forward is clean through on goal like that, so you don’t want to be having to make those tackles. My advice to any young defender would be to not give up in those situations and always believe that you might be able to affect it.”
Spurs got goals from Michael Dawson and Aaron Lennon to complete the come-from-behind win at the Lane, the first time Spurs had ever beaten Chelsea in the Premier League and the first win over the Blues in 16 years.
So on his birthday, raise a glass to Ledley, and watch that clip a few dozen more times. He’s still one of our own.