Spurs have had some great goalscorers in recent years, but an adequate full back from Sweden may well have scored the best goal for Spurs in the 21st century. We interview former Lilywhite Erik Edman and talk about 'that' goal...
“I did not think that much to be perfectly honest. I do remember Robbie screaming for the ball, like he normally did, but luckily for me I just tried my luck instead.”
Erik Edman joined Spurs in the summer of 2004 from Dutch side Heerenveen and like most summer’s, 2004 was a period of upheaval for Spurs. Tottenham were now under the stewardship of ex-French national manager Jacques Santini, who was assisted by Dutchman Martin Jol, whilst players were brought in on a weekly basis by Danish Director of Football Frank Arnesen. When Arnesen approached Erik to play for Spurs, it was a no-brainer:
“Nobody needed to sell me anything when it came to playing for Spurs, to play for Spurs in that famous white shirt was a dream come true.”
During the 2004/2005 season Spurs were incredibly dull under Jacques Santini, they were the originators of the “park the bus” phrase, when they didn’t venture outside of their own penalty box away to Chelsea, it was a blessed relief when Santini resigned, and Martin Jol took over the reins. However for Erik, the change in management didn’t affect him, he was just happy to play for Spurs: “To be honest I enjoyed working under both of them, they each had a different footballing philosophy, but I was playing regularly in the Premier League, like I said it was a dream come true.”
On that day at Anfield in 2005, it was also Michael Dawson’s debut for Spurs, something Erik remembers fondly “Michael and Ledley together were phenomenal, you could tell it was going to be a great partnership from their very first game alongside each other. Without a shadow of doubt the best player I played with at Spurs was Ledley. I met with Teemu Tainio recently, and he said the same. I think everyone who played with him is going to tell you exactly the same! He was just a world class player and a great humble person that treated everyone with respect.”
Whilst Dawson and King were keeping it tight at the back for Spurs at Anfield, Erik ventured forward to collect a ball 35 yards out from a cleared Spurs corner, he then sweetly struck an out-of-character rocket past Dudek.
“It flew off my boot so fast, that at first I didn’t realise it had gone in. As I normally never scored I had not prepared a way of celebrating, not like Robbie, Jermaine and Freddie who used to practice them in training! I just ran away in pure happiness, then all the players fell on top of me, it was all a bit of a blur. I remember Freddie in the dressing room after the game saying that I could have 10 of his goals, if he could have mine! To be fair he had scored a couple of top class goals during the years, so even now I might consider the trade!”
In the summer of 2005, Lee Young Pyo was brought in from PSV as competition for the left back position in the side, and for Erik in World Cup year, his mind was made up, “I didn’t want to leave initially, but when Martin brought in a high profile player as Lee I figured I was suited as a back up, and I’ve always wanted to start most games and in particular a year before the World Cup in Germany that I had set my eyes on, I needed lots of minutes to be properly prepared. A final tournament is always something special and for a small country for Sweden like to be involved, and for me to be selected to play in it was a huge accomplishment. Would that have happened if I wasn’t playing at Spurs, I’m not so sure.”
In the last week of August 2005, Spurs accepted an offer from French club Rennes and Erik quickly established himself as first choice. Erik’s adventures in English football however had not ended, he was signed by Wigan in January 2008, but suffered a cruciate ligament injury that year, and he ended up only playing 10 games for Wigan. Ironically Erik’s last game in English football was at White Hart Lane, when he was part of the Wigan defence that conceded nine.
“Some of my best memories of my career I had at White Hart Lane, and definitely one of my worst though. When I need a lift I go to YouTube to see my goal, and people still remind me of that goal, it’s very flattering for me. However when my wife tells me to stop being cocky, and to come back to earth she tells me to watch the 9-1 highlights in which I got destroyed by Lennon, Defoe and co!"