An era has ended today. Current Burnley midfielder Aaron Lennon, who starred for Tottenham Hotspur for a decade between 2005-2015, has announced his retirement from football. Lennon hangs up his boots at age 35, with his current club topping the Championship table and looking likely for promotion.
Lennon made his announcement on social media and thanked the fans, his agent, and everyone he’s ever played football with.
Will Aaron Lennon go down as one of the Tottenham greats? Maybe not. Probably not. But he was certainly a huge part of those Tottenham teams of the late Aughties under Harry Redknapp that first qualified for the Champions League and later under Andre Villas-Boas and even Mauricio Pochettino. In his prime, Lennon had blistering pace (along with a unique gait that drew comparisons to a penguin) and was a terror down the flank for Spurs.
Who could forget the sight of Azza racing into space and setting up Peter Crouch for the winning goal at the San Siro in 2011?
“And he’s away, Aaron Lennon... CROUCH... YESSSSS!”
How about the 94th minute equalizer in the classic 4-4 North London Derby at the Emirates in 2008?
There are others. You probably remember a few. Lennon’s close control in and around the box was fantastic, and he always seemed to pop up whenever Spurs needed an important goal, even in teams that featured Luka Modric, Dimitar Berbatov, or Gareth Bale.
So, a legend? Perhaps not. But he always was a fan favorite, even towards the end of his Spurs tenure when it was clear that the team had moved past him and he wasn’t getting minutes at the same clip as when he was younger. His sale to Everton was sad, but expected. He’d pop up occasionally as a substitute against Tottenham while at Burnley and get a very warm reception from the Spurs support. Fans loved him everywhere he went. Who wouldn’t love him?
With the exception of one season during COVID spent in Turkey, Lennon played top level English football from the time he was 16 until age 35. That’s a hell of a career. I understand that clubs really don’t do testimonials much anymore — they were originally designed as fundraisers for retired pros to live off of and that’s much less of an issue these days — but after a decade spent at Spurs, he would’ve earned and fully deserved one. Maybe he’ll still get one. I hope he does.
Lennon was a formative part of my nascent years as a Spurs fan, and an indelible part of my memories of that era. For that reason, I’ll always remember him fondly and I thank him for creating so many good moments for Spurs.