Newcastle icon: Why I still regret moving to Tottenham

Date published: Friday 11th January 2019 10:32

Les Ferdinand has explained why he still regrets leaving Newcastle in 1997.

Ferdinand joined the Magpies from QPR in 1995, finishing as a Premier League runner-up in his two season at St James’ Park.

The striker scored 50 goals in just 84 games on Tyneside, but was sold by Kenny Dalglish to boyhood club Tottenham in 1997.

“I didn’t want to leave Newcastle United,” Ferdinand told Sky Sports’ Transfer Talk podcast. “I was there for two years and I would have spent the rest of my career there.

“I thought it was a great club and thought we were on the cusp of winning something. But I think managers, and certainly British managers that I’ve come across, they like to change it because if they don’t change it and that team goes on to be successful, everyone talks about it being the previous manager’s team.

“Kenny (Dalglish) had his own ideas, he came in and he needed to raise funds. He did say to me he didn’t want me to leave, but the club were looking to raise funds and he was pretty honest with me. He said he didn’t want to lose me, but I didn’t really believe it. Tottenham came up with £6m, I had been there for two years, I was 30 and Newcastle probably saw it as good business.

“There were a couple of other clubs that came in, Liverpool only wanted to pay £3.5m, Sheffield Wednesday were willing to pay £6m, so I remember speaking to David Pleat. But I thought if I am going to leave Newcastle, Tottenham were my boyhood club so that was where I was going to go. I knew the club was in a bit of turmoil at the time, but after speaking with Alan Sugar he utterly convinced me to sign for Tottenham.

“People go through their careers and say they don’t have regrets, but from a football perspective that was probably the worst decision I made (joining Tottenham).

“Tottenham were a club in unbelievable turmoil and I didn’t realise how bad it was until I got there. In my first five years, I had four different managers and a change of board, so that tells you the type of turmoil the club was in. I made a decision based on pride rather than what was best for my football career.

“When I left QPR and went to Newcastle that was a football decision because I felt I was going to become a better player and I think I did become a better player. When I left Newcastle to go to Tottenham I probably allowed my pride to get in the way of making what was the right decision for my career. But I enjoyed playing for Tottenham.”

Ferdinand added that he felt he “was shabbily treated by the club”, who tried to persuade him to stay when Alan Shearer suffered a broken ankle just ahead of his departure.

“I had really made up my mind because of the way that I had been treated,” he said. “I felt bad for the supporters, I really wanted to go back because I really enjoyed playing in front of them. But I didn’t feel what the club had done was right.”

 


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