My Football Heroes – David Ginola

David Ginola was a player that always got you out of your seat, he was never afraid to try something new. When David Ginola joined Newcastle United in 1995, he arrived at a time when Kevin Keegan was attempting to turn the club into one of the major forces in English football, the Newcastle United board was prepared to offer strong financial backing to sign a number of European superstars.

Ginola was an integral part of the Newcastle side that came agonisingly close to clinching the Premier League title during the 1995/1996 season, in the end falling short and finishing second behind Manchester United. In many ways, I think Ginola was a unique player in English football, particularly at that time. He was a special player. Those words are often said too much in the modern game, Ginola deserved that tag because of what he could do with the ball at his feet. I do wonder how much he would be worth in today’s game.

He had a great first touch and when he was in the Premier League I remember him destroying the likes of Gary Neville and Lee Dixon. He had a great ability to hold onto the ball, body-swerve and then go the other way. Left-foot or right-foot, David Ginola simply terrorised defenders. Tricks, pace, power, delivery and finishing, Ginola had it all. Without a doubt he has to be one of the best foreign players the Premier League has ever seen.

In 1997 Ginola left Newcastle United and signed for Tottenham for £2.5 million. The Frenchman was named the PFA Player of the Year and Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year, while playing for Tottenham Hotspur. During the 1998–99 season, Ginola scored one of the most memorable goals of his career, when Spurs played Barnsley in the FA Cup sixth Round. Ginola weaved in and out of a number of Barnsley players and finished in the left – hand side of the net, the only goal of the game. He was the first player in Premiership history to win the award at a club outside of the top four. He also won his only English domestic trophy with Spurs, the 1999 League Cup with a 1–0 victory over Leicester City at Wembley Stadium. Ginola is fondly remembered by fans of the clubs he played for, especially Newcastle United and Tottenham. The fans loved his extravagant forward play and personality off the pitch. He played an integral role in Tottenham’s 1999 League Cup win and scoring a long range goal in a 3–1 win against Manchester United in a previous round. Ginola was inducted into the Tottenham Hotspur Hall of Fame on 11 December 2008. 

Ginola is without a doubt one of the best wingers I have ever seen, he isn’t mentioned enough amongst the true greats of the Premier League. On his day Ginola could do anything. He was a pleasure to watch, even now I am amazed about what he could do with a ball at his feet. I miss the type of player Ginola was in the modern game. Wingers in today’s game are not as strong and powerful, they will go to ground at the slightest of touches. Over his career Ginola made 582 appearances for various teams, scoring 98 times.

Thanks for the memories David!