johnny metgod

This article originally appeared in 
MEHSTG Vol. 2 Issue - 1999

Our two major signings in the summer of 1987 were the Nottingham Forest due, Chris Fairclough and Johnny Metgod. Whilst Fairclough quickly established himself at White Hart Lane, going on to become an ever-present for his new club in the following campaign, for Metgod, the 1987-8 season proved to be a frustrating and disappointing one. Johnny Metgod, a 6'4" balding Dutch international, equally at home as a defender or midfielder, was 29 years old when he joined Tottenham for a fee of 250,000. He'd spent the early part of his playing career in his home country with DWS, Haarlem and AZ67 before a spell with Real Madrid in Spain prior to signing for Nottingham Forest in 1984. An expert from dead-ball situations and scorer of some spectacular goals from long-range during his spell at the City Ground, his signing by Spurs Manager David Pleat was seen as a shrewd move. The Press, however, put immediate pressure onto Metgod by suggesting that he had been brought to White Hart Lane as the "new" Glenn Hoddle, who had left the club for a spell in French football at the end of the previous season.

Johnny Metgod made his first appearance for Spurs as a substitute in the 1-2 defeat at Coventry City on the opening day of the 1987-8 season. He then started the following two matches, both victories at White Hart Lane, against Newcastle United and Chelsea respectively, before finding himself back on the substitutes bench for the next six games (this was the first season that the number of substitutes permitted was increased from one to two).

The Dutchman then dropped out of first team reckoning, having to undergo an operation for a hernia injury. Whilst he was sidelined, David Pleat was hounded out of the Manager's job at White Hart Lane by damaging allegations about his private life in the national press and was eventually replaced by Terry Venables. Even when he was fit again, Metgod was unable to win back a first team place, possibly because the side was not now being picked by the Manager that had signed him. It seemed that he was not a Venables type of player. It wasn't as if the success of the team was keeping the Dutchman in the wilderness of Reserve team football as Spurs had lost their way in the league after a promising start to the season. Metgod made twelve appearances for our second string (who won the Football Combination that season), scoring three times.

The midfielder finally returned to first team action in April 1988 after a gap of over six months, playing in the 0-2 defeat at Queens Park Rangers on Easter Monday (where new goalkeeper Bobby Mimms made one of his series of blunders) and the 0-1 loss at Liverpool, a result which saw the Anfield side become First Division Champions. As May began, we still needed one point from our last two games to guarantee avoiding the ignominy of the relegation play-offs. The point required was gained in a 1-1 draw against Charlton at Selhurst Park on the May Day Bank Holiday Monday, where Metgod appeared as a substitute. Two nights later he played only his third full league game for the club as Spurs ended their season with a 2-1 win over Luton Town at White Hart Lane, watched by a crowd of only 15,437.

Johnny Metgod only started five league and two League Cup games and made seven further appearances as a substitute for Spurs during the 1987-8 season. He was sold to Feyenoord in the summer of 1988 for 175,000. In his spell at White Hart Lane he never really had the chance to show the Spurs faithful what a classy player he was, but he was able to do so when Feyenoord drew Tottenham in the UEFA Cup in 1992. Metgod, the 34 year old captain of the Dutch side, played excellently in both the first game in Holland and the return at Tottenham and helped his side to a 1-0 aggregate win.

He now is on the coaching side at the Dutch club, where he has taken them to the European Champions League. Following our Worthington Cup win, it is not inconceivable that our paths may cross again.

ANDREW FORD

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