The Definitive North London XI

This is another piece I did for CAMPO RETRO. I hope you enjoy reading it. I will soon be doing a shirt review on a number of football shirts, past and present.

The North London derby has provided footballing fan’s from all over the world with some of the best entertainment in English Football for over 105 years, with the first game going Arsenal’s way Spurs have had the last laugh picking up three points at White Hart Lane beating The Gunners 2-1. Out of the 180 North London derbies a range of highly talented players have fought for their clubs bragging rights, only 18 of these players have made my North London squad.

I have picked a mixture of modern day and old school players to fill my 4-1-2-1-2 formation from both Tottenham and Arsenal.

GK: Pat Jennings


The Irish international played for both Spurs and Arsenal during his 23 year career. Jennings made over 470 appearances for Spurs whilst managing to score once against Man United in the 1967 FA Charity Shield. He made the move to Arsenal in 1977 and after 237 games for The Gunners he returned to White Hart Lane for a year before seeing his career out at Everton. The Goalkeeper won the FA and League Cup Twice as well as a single UEFA Cup in 1972 during his career.

RB: Steve Perryman

Being Tottenham’s record appearance holder Perryman played his part in more than enough North London Derbies. I have put Perryman in Right Back, a position he adopted later in his career, due to the wealth of quality in midfielder. During his time at White Hart Lane, Perryman picked up two FA Cup and League Cup victories as well as an additional two UEFA Cups, including the famous 1984 final against R.S.C Anderlecht.

CB: Tony Adams


Another familiar face with the North London derby, Mr. Arsenal had an outstanding career playing for over 19 years between 1983 and 2002 meaning he played his part in a large number of North London Derbies. Adams is considered to be one of Arsenal’s greatest players as he managed to win four top flight titles. Adam’s was rewarded for his services with a statue outside of the Emirates stadium next to Thierry Henry and Herbert Chapman. In 2004 the English Football Hall of Fame introduced Adam’s for his impact on the modern game.

CB: Dave Mackay

The Scottish international had nine years under his name as a Spurs player making over 250 appearances. Mackay sadly passed away on the 2nd March 2015 at the age of 80. Mackay was part of the 1960-61 double winning side and in 2003 Brian Clough said how he was the greatest Spurs player of all time. Mackay was the face of one of English football’s most famous pictures where he is seen confronting Leeds United’s Billy Bremner. This pictured was not loved by the Scottish defender as it portrayed him as a bully.

LB: Cyril Knowles

A talented player who tragically died at the age of 47 from Cancer. Knowles was originally signed by Spurs to replace The Double winning Ron Henry. ‘Nice One Cyril’ is often recognised for his brilliant partnership with Right Back Joe Kinnear, the pair helped develop the modern day full back with their ability to overlap and contribute to attacking play.

CDM: Patrick Vieira

A £3.5Million move to Arsenal was the start of a first class career for the Frenchman. Vieira is said to have agreed with a move Arsenal due to the appointment of Arsene Wenger as first team coach. Ian Wright said how he made “dream passes forward” and how he had the ability to see “the front man’s run and then look at other options”. In 2002 Vieira was appointed team captain through the retirement of Tony Adams. This experience was described as “Daunting” by the club legend. Three Premier League titles, Five FA Cups (One with Man City) and Community Shields briefly explain the brilliant of Vieira’s career.

CM: Paul Gascoigne


England’s most naturally gifted midfielder of the time, Gazza was the face of English football with 57 caps for the national side. During his first season in North London, Gazza scored seven goals in 37 appearances. The following season (1989-90) saw Spurs finish third, one point ahead of Arsenal in the First Division. In 1990 Gascoigne was awarded BBC Sports Personality of the Year as well as being names Tottenham’s Player of the Season. The 1990-91 season was a special one for Gazza as he was names in the PFA Team of the Year, also the English midfielder played his part in the 3-1 victory over Arsenal with an outstanding free-kick, before winning the FA Cup against Nottingham Forest. Gazza picked up a huge knock 15 minutes into the Final, rupturing his cruciate ligaments in his right knee after a dangerous foul on Gary Charles. A move to Italy in order to play for Lazio in 1992 followed before moves to Rangers, Middlesbrough, Everton, and Burnley. Gazza saw out his career at Gansu Tianma and Lincolnshire side, Boston United.

CM: Glenn Hoddle

Starting his career off at White Hart Lane, Hoddle went onto make over 375 appearances in a Spurs shirt before leaving to join AS Monaco in 1987. Hoddle joined the Spurs academy as an apprentice in 1974 after being recommended by former Tottenham legend Martin Chivers. Under the management of General Keith Burkinshaw, Hoddle flourished and inspired promotion to the First Division following relegation from 1976-77. The extremely talented midfielder helped Spurs on their journey to the 1984 UEFA Cup final. Sadly Hoddle missed the final due to fitness problems, Spurs went onto win the match on penalties.

CAM: Dennis Bergkamp

Currently assistant manager of his first club Ajax, Bergkamp made his move to Arsenal in 1995. After making his debut against Middlesbrough, The Dutch international failed to adapt to the English game and failed to score in the next six of Arsenal’s games. Bergkamp went onto score his first goal against Southampton in the season which he recorded 33 appearances and 11 goals to his name. After the appointment of Arsene Wenger, Bergkamp’s career as an Arsenal player kicked off as he was put on strict fitness and health plans. In November 1996 the Dutchman set up the 88th winner of Tony Adams against Tottenham before getting on the scoresheet himself during injury time. During the following season Bergkamp became the clubs top scorer with 22 goals. His first hat-trick for the club came in 1997 against Leicester City. In 2006 Bergkamp’s testimonial game was played in the first match at the Emirates stadium. A number of ex-team mates turned out as Arsenal took on Ajax. Players included Ian Wright, Patrick Vieira, David Seaman, Danny Blind and Ronald de Boer.

ST: Jimmy Greaves

After spells at Chelsea and AC Milan, Greaves made a move which would change his career. In 1961 Greaves joined Spurs for a fee of £99,999 (a fee intended to relieve the English striker from the pressure of becoming Britain’s first £100,000 player). After scoring a hat-trick on his Spurs debut in a 5-2 win over Blackpool, Greaves was an instant hit with the Spurs fans. Greaves also contributed to a 5-1 victory in the 1962 FA Charity Shield as he managed to get his name on the scoresheet twice. The 1962-63 season provided hat-tricks from Greaves against clubs including, Manchester United, Liverpool and finally scoring four against Nottingham Forest. Greaves won the FA Cup and FA Charity Shield twice, as well as victory in the European Cup Winners Cup during the 1962-63 season.

ST: Thierry Henry


After a spell in Italy didn’t go to plan, Henry joined Arsenal in 1999 for an estimated fee of £11Million, allowing the Frenchman to join up with his former manager Arsene Wenger. During his time at Arsenal, Henry introduced himself as a world class football. Henry was originally signed as a replacement for fellow French Striker, Nicolas Anelka. Many people doubted the striker’s ability and questioned him on how he would be able to adapt to the English playing style. During his first year in the premier league Henry finished with 26 goals with Arsenal finishing 2nd. The striker won the Premier League during the 2001-02 season as Arsenal finished seven points above Liverpool. 32 Goals in all competitions at the end of the 2002-03 season was just one of the positive points for Henry as he also got his hands on the FA Cup Man Of The Match award following victory in the final. Following the retirement of Arsenal Legend Dennis Bergkamp, Henry partnered up with Dutch striker Robin Van Persie. In 2005 Ian Wright’s record of 185 goals was broken following Henry scoring twice against Sparta Praha meaning the Frenchman became the club’s top scorer of all time. Following this achievement Henry was named in the FIFA World XI. A disappointing 2006 followed as Arsenal lost 2-1 to Barcelona in the Champions League Final. In 2007 Barcelona played another part in Henry’s career as the Spanish club paid a fee of €24Million to sign the French striker. Following three years in Spain Henry signed for NY Red Bulls and made a return to Arsenal on loan in 2012. He scored in his last game for Arsenal against Sunderland in a 2-1 win.


GK: David Seaman – The Goalkeepers career peaked during his time as Arsenal and England Keeper.

CB: Sol Campbell – Campbell played for both Spurs and Arsenal during his career. He captained the Spurs side during the 1999 League Cup Final. In 2001 he left White Hart Lane in order to sign for Arsenal on a Free Transfer.

CB: Ledley King – One of the most talented players to come out of Tottenham’s academy, Ledley King managed to score in just 10 seconds against Bradford City during the 2000-01 season.

LB: Danny Rose – Now, this may be a strange one but as a Spurs fan I couldn’t leave this lad out. There is just one reason why Danny Rose makes my squad. In April 2010, Danny Rose scored 10 minutes into his Premier League debut against Arsenal with a wonder goal helping Spurs win 2-1. The goal won Goal of the Season, and was described in The Times as “a volley so thunderous that you could hear the whack off his boot above the din of the raucous crowd”, now this cannot go unnoticed.

LM: Gareth Bale –A fans favourite at White Hart Lane, Bale knew how to get the Spurs fans going. This included his goal in 2013 during a 2-1 victory against Arsenal.

ST: Emmanuel Adebayor – After establishing himself as a top class striker at Arsenal, Adebayor’s move to Man City in 2009 was not welcomed. A loan spell at Real Madrid saw Adebayor face Spurs in the Champions League where he scored two goals. After another loan spell, this time at White Hart Lane, Spurs signed the former Gunner in a deal worth £5Million. Adebayor played his best in a Spurs shirt under Tim Sherwood. Since Sherwood’s dismissal, The Togo forward has lost his place in the Spurs side.

ST: Ian Wright – Football’s nice guy and Arsenal Top Scorer until Thierry Henry broke his record in 2005. Wright signed for Arsenal in 1991 from Crystal Palace for a fee of £2.5Million. As of 2012, Wright and former Spurs striker, Teddy Sheringham were the only players to have won the top division’s goal scoring award having played and scored for two different clubs during the season.


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