Tottenham is indeed one of the top Premier League clubs. They have been competing in the Premier League since the foundation of the professional league itself in 1992. A top Premier League club must have had top forwards too. Who really are the best ever Tottenham forwards?
Let’s put it in this way: Who are the best forwards in Tottenham history? What we can say is that Tottenham forwards have been that good to keep their club in the Premier League ever since the professional league was founded.
Although that’s not only on forwards - we mean defenders, midfielders, and goalkeepers have also a part in this, the forwards are the forefront of a team and more in the spotlight, especially for the goals they score and sometimes goals that rescue a team from a loss or even relegation.
So based on what we just said, who are the best Tottenham forwards ever? The list of all-time best Tottenham forwards is comprised of 10 footballers some of them are among the old-time Tottenham players, and some of them have even passed away.
The list of best Tottenham forwards of all time starts with Alan Gilzean who is a passed footballer. But what about the rest of the list? Read on to know.
The first passed and also the first non-English footballer on the list of best Tottenham forwards of all time, Alan Gilzean is a passed Scottish footballer who served Tottenham Hotspur for 10 years between 1964 and 1974. The other club Gilzean served for a major part of his career - actually at the start of his career - was Dundee United whom he served from 1957 to 1964.
The interesting fact about Gilzean is that although he served Dundee United 3 years less than Tottenham and made only around 20 appearances more than half of the appearances that he made for Tottenham at league level - actually 190 appearances, he scored almost twice as much goals he scored for Tottenham. He actually scored 169 goals for Dundee in 7 years, while he only scored 93 goals for Tottenham in 10 years. Despite this, Gilzean won almost all his club trophies with Tottenham.
Except for one Scottish League title that Gilzean won with Dundee in 1961-62 season, he won the rest of his club trophies, namely one FA Cup, one FA Charity Shield, two League Cups, and one UEFA Cup, with Tottenham. He was also inducted to both teams’ Hall of fame - Dundee in 2009 and Tottenham in 2013.
And how was it that Gilzean scored more goals for Dundee in less time? They say it was because he was the main goalscorer at Dundee while he only played as a usual forward and in partnership with other forwards at Tottenham. However, he was successful enough while with Spurs to earn the nickname “The King of White Hart Lane”.
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The second passed footballer on the list of best Tottenham forwards of all time, Leonard Stanley Duquemin, simply known as Len Duquemin, was an English footballer who played as a center forward for six clubs during his career including Tottenham Hotspur. He actually served Tottenham for 11 years between 1946 and 1957 and during this time made 274 appearances and scored 114 goals for them only at league level which actually translates to two goals in every 5 matches.
While Duquemin served Tottenham for 11 years, he played for the other 5 clubs he served during his career only for a year or two. These clubs include Vauxbelet, Colchester United, Bedford Town, Hastings United, and Romford. Duquemin won only three club trophies during his career, namely one Football League First Division title in 1950-51 season and one Football League Second Division title in 1949-50 season with Tottenham and one Southern Football League - part of the fourth tier of English football league system - title in 1958-59 season with Bedford Town.
Although a center forward, Duquemin was often known for creating space for his teammates. They called him the reliable Den for his hard work and reliability on the pitch. They also called him the Duke, which is kind of in his surname, at least phonetically.
The most notable fact about Duquemin besides his being one of the Tottenham best forwards ever is that he was part of the Push-and-Run duos or trios of the then Tottenham manager, Arthur Rowe, which actually won the league title for the team. Push and Run is a tactic devised by the same manager in which a player can pass a tackling marker by passing to a teammate and then quickly receiving the return pass, in fact, after passing by the marker.
The first footballer on the list of best Tottenham forwards of all time to be still in the business and to have served Tottenham in two time periods, namely from 2004 to 2008 and from 2009 to 2014, Jermain Defoe is a 38-year-old English footballer with Dominican origin who is currently serving the Scottish club, Rangers. As mentioned above, Defoe has served Tottenham Hotspur in two time periods which sum up to 9 years in total. This is as the longest time he has served another club during his career is 5 years. He actually served West Ham United from 1999 to 2004.
And as you might have guessed, Defoe has made the most number of appearances and has scored the most number of his career goals for Tottenham. He actually made 362 appearances and scored 143 goals for Tottenham across all competitions during his career which translates to almost 2 goals in every 5 appearances.
Defoe has only won one club trophy to this date and that is the Football League Cup he won with Tottenham in 2007-08 season. He also finished runner-up in the Scottish League Cup with Rangers in 2019-20 season. Defoe is actually the 8th highest goal scorer in the Premier League history with 162 goals and the 6th highest Tottenham goal scorer with 143 goals. He was also named Tottenham Hotspur Player of the Year in 2004.
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The first retired footballer on the list of best Tottenham forwards of all time, Teddy Sheringham is a 54-year-old former English striker who, like Jermain Defoe, served Tottenham Hotspur in two time periods: Once from 1992 to 1997 and another time from 2001 to 2003. And during these two periods, he made a total of 277 appearances and scored 124 goals across all competitions for the Spurs which actually translates to almost one goal (exactly 0.9) in every two appearances meaning that Sheringham was indeed a prolific goalscorer at least for Tottenham Hotspur.
The interesting fact about Sheringham is that although he served Tottenham more than any other club during his career and despite the number of goals he scored for them, he won no club trophies with them. It is actually Manchester United with whom Sheringham won the most number of his career club trophies including three Premier League titles and one FA Cup. Sheringham has also a number of individual awards and trophies to his name including Tottenham Hotspur Player of the Year Award in 1994-95 season and Premier League Golden Boot in 1992-93 season.
No doubt that Sheringham was not only one of the top strikers Manchester United had ever seen - he actually replaced the great Eric Contona at Manchester United, but also one of the all-time best Tottenham forwards. In fact, he was not only good in scoring but also in creating goalscoring opportunities for his teammates.
He was also famed for his accurate finishing and physical strength which let him retain the ball in the opposing box. Sheringham’s strike partner at Tottenham in 1994-95 season, the great Jurgen Klinsmann, one said about him that he had been one of the most intelligent partners he had ever had.
Halfway through the list of best Tottenham forwards of all time, we reach another top forward: Robbie Keane, who, like the two other top Tottenham forwards mentioned above, Teddy Sheringham and Jermain Defoe, served Tottenham in two time periods: Once from 2000 to 2008 and another time from 2009 to 2011 - In between, we mean in 2008-09 season, he served Liverpool.
And during these two time periods Keane actually made a total of 306 appearances and scored 122 goals for Tottenham across all competitions which translates to almost 2 goals in every 5 appearances; a top scorer but not as top as Teddy Sheringham.
Being the only Irish footballer among the best forwards in Tottenham history, Robbie Keane also served other top clubs during his career including Liverpool, Celtic, and Inter Milan, but as mentioned above, he made the most number of appearances and scored the most number of goals for Tottenham. He also shined with the top American club, LA Galaxy, scoring 83 goals in the 125 appearances that he made for them between 2011 and 2016; a better record than his Tottenham’s which means he scored a little bit more than 1 goal (exactly 1.2) in every 2 appearances that he made for the American club.
Keane has also a number of individual honors to his name including Tottenham Hotspur Player of the Year in 3 seasons and LA Galaxy Most Valuable Player in 4 years. He is also the most capped Irish footballer and Ireland’s top goalscorer ever, indeed to this date, with the 68 goals he scored for his country’s national team in the 146 appearances that he made for them between 1998 and 2016.
Keane was a quick and agile forward who could not only play in any position in the attacking line but also as a winger and attacking midfielder. They say he had also good technical and dribbling abilities which he could combine with his leadership qualities.
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Another top retired English footballer on the list of best Tottenham forwards of all time, Gary Lineker served Tottenham for some time during his career; actually for 3 years between 1989 and 1992, but unlike the other best ever Tottenham forwards already mentioned, it was not Tottenham that Lineker served the most during his career. Lineker was a product of Leicester City and served the same club the most during his career; actually for seven years between 1978 and 1985 during which he made 216 appearances for them which is at least two times higher than the appearances he made for other clubs including Tottenham.
So why is Gary Lineker considered as one of Tottenham best forwards ever? That’s because although he served Leicester City more and also scored more goals for them, his goal-to-appearance ratio with Tottenham is better. We mean he scored more goals in less appearances for Tottenham.
Here are his goalscoring stats at the two Premier League clubs: Lineker scored 103 goals in the 216 appearances that he made for Leicester City. So his goal-to-appearance ratio with Leicester City is 0.47. And with Tottenham? He actually scored 80 goals in the 138 appearances which gets him a goal-to-appearance ratio of almost 0.58 with the same club.
Lineker actually joined Tottenham in 1989-90 season and in the same season he became the First Division - the top tier of the English football league system before the foundation of the Premier League in 1992 - top scorer with 24 goals. Again in 1991-92 Lineker became one of the First Division top scorers, but this time he finished second after Ian Wright with 28 goals from 35 games. It is also noteworthy to mention that Gary Lineker is the only footballer in the history of football to have been top scorer with three English clubs, namely Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspur, and Everton.
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Yet another top retired English footballer on the list of best Tottenham forwards of all time; Martin Chivers is a 75-year-old former footballer who served two clubs more than any other club during his career. These two clubs are Tottanham and Southampton whom Chivers served back to back from 1962 to 1976: The former for 8 years between 1968 and 1976 and the latter for 6 years between 1962 and 1968. He also served other clubs such as Norwich City and Brighton and Hove Albion during his career but only for a year or two.
Although Chivers served Tottenham 2 years longer than Southampton and made more than 1.5 times more appearances for them at league level, the number of goals he scored for Tottenham are only 22 more than those he scored for Southampton. With that said one can guess that Chivers was a better scorer with Southampton as it is really so: His goal-to-appearance ratio with Southampton at league level is 0.54 while the same ratio of his with Tottenham is 0.42 at the same level.
So again, why is Chivers considered as one of the best forwards in Tottenham history? For just one reason, because he actually remained Tottenham’s top scorer in European competitions for 39 years before Jermain Defoe, another of best ever Tottenham forwards already mentioned above, broke his record on November 7, 2013 by scoring his 23rd European goal in Europa League.
Although often seen as a lazy player, Chivers was a pacey and strong player, too; what actually had gotten him the nickname “The Big Chiv”. He was also a prolific goalscorer at least in 1970-71 and 1971-72 seasons where he could score 34 goals in 58 games and 44 goals in 64 games respectively - around 1.1 goals in every match.
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Another passed footballer on the list of best Tottenham forwards ever, Bobby Smith served only four clubs during his career namely Chelsea, Tottanham Hotspur, Brighton and Hove Albion, and Hastings United. He was indeed a prolific goal scorer during his career at least for Tottenham Hotspur and Brighton and Hove Albion. He has actually the second best goal-to-appearance ratio with Tottenham after Harry Kane and Jimmy Greaves.
Bobby Smith scored 176 goals in the 271 appearances that he made for Tottenham Hotspur only at league level. That actually gets him a goal-to-appearance ratio of almost 0.65 which means the passed English footballer scored almost two goals (exactly 1.95) in every 3 appearances that he made for the Spurs. He served Tottenham more than any other club during his career; actually for 9 years between 1955 and 1964 which is almost two times longer than the second club he served the most during his career: Chelsea whom he served between 1950 and 1955.
Bobby Smith has the best goal-to-appearance ratio with the English national team. Although he served the team for only 3 years between 1960 and 1963 and made only 15 appearances for them, he managed to score 13 goals which gets him a goal-to-appearance ratio of 0.86 meaning that the passed English footballer scored near one goal in every appearance that he made for his country’s national team.
He was actually part of the English national team who defeated the Scottish national team 9-3 in 1961 and scored two of the nine goals that were scored in that match. It is also noteworthy to mention that Bobby Smith is the second Tottnham’s all-time top scorer after Jimmy Greaves with the 208 goals he scored in the 317 appearances that he made for Tottenham across senior competitions.
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The youngest footballer yet one of Tottanham’s all-time top scorers - actually the third - on the list of Tottenham best forwards ever, Harry Kane is a 27-year-old English forward who has been serving Tottenham Hotspur since 2009 except for two years between 2011 and 2013 that he served four other English clubs, namely Leyton Orient, Millwall, Norwich City, and Leicester City, on loan. Harry Kane has actually the highest league-level goal-to-appearance ratio with Tottenham jointly with Jimmy Greaves.
Kane’s league-level goal-to-appearance ratio with Tottenham is 0.68 which comes from the 153 goals that he has scored for Tottenham in the 223 appearances that he has made for them at league level so far. As mentioned above, Harry Kane and Jimmy Greaves top the list of best ever Tottenham forwards concerning their league-level goal-to-appearance ratio, however, Kane is in just one case in front of Greaves and that is he’s not yet retired and can improve his standing both on the list of Tottenham top scorers and Tottenham best forwards ever.
Kane is also one of the most decorated Tottenham forwards with a number of individual honors and achievements to his name including Tottenham Hotspur Player of the Year in 2014-15 season and Premier League Golden Boot in two consecutive seasons, namely 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons.
Many have commented on Kane’s style of play to this date; he’s even been compared to the former Tottenham forward, the great Jurgen Klinsmann, in style; what actually he himself calls flattering, however, what is clear from Kane’s style of play is that he’s a physical striker capable of not only creating chances for his teammates but also scoring goals from distance. He’s also an accurate penalty taker.
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The last but not least on the list of best Tottenham forwards of all time, Jimmy Greaves is a 80-year-old retired English footballer who served Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea more than any other club during his career. In fact, it is Tottenham whom he served the most - actually for 9 years between 1961 and 1970, but Chelsea also comes next by having a share of 5 years - from 1957 to 1961 - from Greaves’ years of service.
And the interesting fact here is that not only Greaves served Tottenham almost two times longer than Chelsea but also he made around twice as much appearances and scored almost twice as much goals for the former.
Here is Greaves’ appearance and goals stats at the two clubs, indeed at league level: For Chelsea, Greaves scored 124 goals in 157 appearances, while for Tottenham he scoed 220 goals in 321 appearances. Also in total - we mean across all competitions, he scored 132 goals in 169 appearances for Chelsea, while he scored 266 goals in the 388 appearances that he made for Tottenham. At this club or that, these stats show that Greaves was indeed a prolific goal scorer. As already mentioned, he tops the list of all-time best Tottenham forwards jointly with Harry Kane concerning his league-level goal-to-appearance ratio which is 0.68.
Greaves won almost all his club trophies with Tottenham which include two FA Cups in 1961-62 and 1966-67 seasons. He also served the English national team from 1959 to 1967 again with a good and even better goal-to-appearance ratio than that of his Tottenham: 0.77 which comes from 44 goals that he scored in the 57 appearances that he made for the English national team.
It is also noteworthy to mention here that Greaves has scored the most number of hat-tricks an English footballer has ever scored for the English national team (6). They say Greaves was a calm and relaxed player, and that’s why he was composed and confident enough in front of goal. He was also a good dribbler and opportunist inside the box which, in fact, helped him score more goals.