Saturday, March 03, 2012

They Played for Spurs and Manchester United

Nine players have played for both Spurs and Manchester United with the most recent to move between the two clubs being Dimitar Berbatov who signed for United in the summer of 2008.  The most recent player to move from Old Trafford to Tottenham in a permanent deal was Teddy Sheringham when he resigned for Spurs in 2001.

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In recent times, it would appear as if Manchester United have viewed Totttenham as one of their feeder clubs as they have signed Teddy Sheringham, Michael Carrick and Dimitar Berbatov to strengthen their trophy winning teams.  More recently, there has been speculation in the media of their interest in Luka Modric and with their ageing midfield, presumably, a further raid is something Spurs may have to ward off in the coming months.

The second player to play for both Spurs and United was a forward called Jimmy Brown (left).  He had spent two seasons with United and appeared to be a player of promise but after joining Brentford he failed to develop.  He spent two fairly unsuccessful years there before moving across London to join Spurs in 1936.  He made four League appearances without scoring and spent the rest of his time in the reserves before being released at the end of the season.  This raises an obvious question - in the light of his unimpressive time with Brentford, why did Spurs sign him? 

Jack Hall was a goalkeeper who had four seasons with United from 1932.  In season 1935-36, Hall impressed in the two games between the clubs, keeping a clean sheet on both occasions.  United were promoted but Spurs persuaded Hall to sign for them and he made his debut a few weeks ahead of James Brown.  He was almost an ever present in his first season but the next year, a loss of form saw him lose his place to Percy Hooper.  He was unavailable to Spurs during the War and when he returned in 1945 Spurs had Ted Ditchburn as a very promising goalkeeper and Hall was released.  In total he played 67 League and Cup games for Spurs.

Chris McGrath came into the Spurs team during Bill Nicholson's last full season, replacing Alan Gilzean.  From Belfast, he came through the Spurs youth team and made a good impression, especially in the European games as Spurs progressed to the UEFA Cup Final.  He made his debut in a 2 - 0 win over Arsenal in October, 1973 and played 22 League games that year with eight European appearances.  He scored 5 League goals and five goals in UEFA Cup, including one in the semi-final second leg game.  He made his international debut but after that initial successful run, it became more difficult for McGrath under the new manager, Terry Neill.  He joined United in 1976 for £35,000 having made only 47 League and Cup appearances for Spurs.  In five years at Old Trafford he made only 16 full League appearances.

Terry Gibson was another young player at Spurs who made a good start to his career but failed to develop.  He made his debut against Stoke City in December, 1979 while still an apprentice.  He was small in stature but an all action striker.  He made 26 League and Cup appearances, scoring 7 goals but being unable to get a regular place in the team, he joined Coventry City for £100,000 in 1983.  Three years later he joined United and spent eighteen months there but failed to make an impression. He joined Wimbledon where he had the most successful period of his career and was part of their FA Cup success in 1988.

Alan Brazil joined Spurs from Ipswich Town in March, 1983 for £450,000 after six successful years in East Anglia.  The Scottish international striker made 38 appearances for Spurs in all competitions and scored 13 goals.  He joined United in June, 1984 for £750,000 and spent eighteen months at Old Trafford.

Garth Crooks joined Spurs from Stoke in the summer of 1980 to form a goal scoring partnership with Steve Archibald which brought Cup success to Tottenham in the early 1980s.  He had a short loan spell with United in November, 1983.  He eventually joined West Bromwich Albion in July, 1985. He made over 180 League and Cup appearances for Spurs and scored 75 goals.

Teddy Sheringham joined Spurs from Nottingham Forest in 1992 and spent five years with the club before moving to United.  Glenn Hoddle brought him back  to Spurs in 2001 and he spent another two seasons at White Hart Lane.  He scored 98 League goals for Spurs in 236 appearances and his 27 Cup goals puts him combined total of goals, high on Tottenham's record goal scorers list.  in his time with United he scored vital goals as he helped them to League, Cup and European success.

Michael Carrick joined Spurs from West Ham in 2004 and became an integral part of Martin Jol's midfield.  After two seasons, and 64 League appearances, United made an offer for Carrick but Spurs didn't want to sell as he was important to the club's future development.   Eventually an offer of £14 million, rising to £18.6 million was accepted and he joined United in the summer of 2006.  He has made over 160 League appearances for United and added to his international appearances.

Dimitar Berbatov followed Carrick to United two seasons later in a similar but rather acrimonious circumstances.  Berbatov had joined Spurs in May, 2006 from Bayer Leverkusen and scored 27 League goals in 70 League appearances.  He helped them to their Carling Cup success in 2008, scoring the equaliser in the final from the penalty spot.  That summer United made an approach which was rejected but they persisted but after an official complaint by Spurs and as the end of the August transfer approached Berbatov appeared to be refusing to play for Spurs and on the last day of the month he joined United for over £30 million.  Spurs had accepted an offer from Manchester City but United highjacked the move in a chaotic day of transfer business.

Fraizer Campbell came to Spurs on a season's long loan as part of the Berbatov deal.  He made ten League appearances, scoring one, his first Premier League goal, after coming on as a substitute in the defeat at Fulham, the first loss after Redknapp became manager.  He helped Spurs reach the Carling Cup Final, scoring twice against Liverpool in the 4th Round, but was unable to play against United in that game.  He returned to United at the end of the season and joined Sunderland during that summer.
To ensure such transfers don't occur again, whereby United are strengthened to the detriment of Spurs, the progress that Spurs have made under Harry Redknapp must be maintained with Champions League football on a regular basis and trophies won as well.

Spurs Home record against United: Here



  1. Anonymous5:18 pm

    My name is James Brown, and Jim Brown was my grandfather. To answer your question, I think his goal-scoring abilities on the Reserve side of both United and Brentford sides helped to fill a need for the Spurs and maybe the £1,000 transfer fee was a good deal at the time. Although, officially, it had been said that he never "fulfilled" his promise, with Manchester United, he scored 17 goals in 40 games, and was second highest on the team that consisted of at least 18 forwards challenging for the top spot.

    After his player activism activities and wanting decent player wages for the whole team didn't go over well with management, they sent him down to the Reserves. He scored quite a number of goals for the Reserves, but no exact number has ever been tallied. After leaving United for Brentford, the same gloomy scenario of player activism activities came to light at Brentford and like with United, he got sent to the Reserves. In 73 matches he scored 53 goals and won the London Challenge Cup before being traded to the Spurs. After his 4 appearances and no goals, likely, the same scenario occurred again and he spent what was left of his time with the Reserves, scoring 21 goals.

    Then he finished his career with non-league Guildford City FC, scoring 148 goals in 150 games, including one game where he scored 7 goals (6 were headers) against Exeter and won the Southern League Championship during the 1937/1938 season. He was the leading goalscorer during both seasons. They came in 2nd place the season after losing by one point to Colchester. Then WWII came along and crushed the hopes of a skyrocketing team. I very much enjoyed reading your fact about him being the first player to have served on both squads. If there is anything else I can help with, then let me know: robyburns (at) hotmail (dot) com.,_born_1908%29

  2. Anonymous6:53 pm

    Turns out Jim Brown scored 21 goals in 30 games for the Reserves while at Tottenham.

    James Brown

    1. Many thanks for your response about your grandfather - that is very interesting and provides us with details previously unknown. Greatly appreciate you taking the time to respond.

    2. Anonymous12:07 pm

      Hello, I wanted to know if James Brown is mentioned in the book, "Tottenham The Glory-Glory Game"?

      Thank you,

      James Brown