'Terry Venables wants to meet you'
Matt Le Tissier discusses when he physically signed for Spurs
In February 1990 I was having a good season with Southampton and I got a call from my agent, Jerome Anderson, telling me that Spurs would be interested in buying me at the end of the season, and would I be interested?
My response was ‘Cor blimey, yeah, that was my team as a boy, Dad still supports Spurs, so I said, yes, I would be interested’.
A meeting was set up with them in London, and that’s what we did, we went up to this solicitor’s office in North London. We discussed the terms of the contract, and we agreed on the terms of the contract, and actually, quite illegally, I signed the contract!
The idea was that this document would be put away in the solicitor’s office, and it would only see the light of day at the end of the season when the two clubs had agreed on a fee. That was the plan.
Now, I was due to be married at the end of that season. A couple of weeks before the season close, my fiancé decided she didn’t want to go and live in London. So I had to make a decision, I either got married or joined Spurs, and six years later I was divorced, but that’s by the by… I changed my mind. I don’t have any regrets about that to this day. Look, I made the call and I stand by all the choices I made during my career, but the fact that story got into the public domain was interesting.
That story should never have got out. The contract should have been ripped up and nobody should have ever known about it - apart from the people who were in that room on the day. And that was the case for about 7 years. In 1997, Irving Scholar who was then the Tottenham Chairman published an autobiography, and in the book, he told that story.
Scholar wasn’t in the meeting, the club was represented by solicitors, so I never met him, but I remember ringing Jerome and telling him I’d changed my mind, which was greeted with an ‘ah, sh*t, I’ll call them’. Five minutes later, Jerome’s back on saying ‘I’ve told them, but Terry Venables wants to meet you, wants to speak to you’.
I’d made my mind up, and I opted to just blank him. A similar thing happened when Glenn Hoddle was the manager at Chelsea. He wanted to speak to me about coming to Chelsea, I said no, I thought about it, and I’d made my mind up.
About a year later, Glenn was also made manager of England, so probably not the two best public relations decisions I could have made in respect of my international career.