Southampton legend Matt Le Tissier has revealed that he came close to leaving the Hampshire based side when the chance to join the club he supported as a child came about.
The attacker was a Tottenham Hotspur fan in his youth, and had the opportunity to make the move to Spurs when Terry Venables was manager back in the 90s, but had second thoughts quite deep into negotiations.
Le Tissier became one of Southampton’s greatest ever players, but it could all have been so different had he not had a late change of heart, and went on to join the Londoners.
The former England international made a total of 443 league appearances for the Saints in a career which spanned 16 years at The Dell and in that time he bagged 160 goals, many of them famous for their complexity and excellent execution.
As well as turning down Tottenham, the now Sky Sports football pundit also revealed that he was wanted by Chelsea when Glenn Hoddle was in charge at Stamford Bridge, but just like when Spurs came calling, he chose to keep himself and his family in Southampton.
“I came close (to leaving) when Spurs tried to buy me in 1990,” Le Tissier told the TV programme Soccerbox.
“That was the closest I came, so that was the most I was tempted to leave Southampton.
“That (Spurs) was the team I supported as a boy, Terry Venables was Spurs manager then, I changed my mind (having) kind of got a long way down the road to joining them, I changed my mind quite late on in the proceedings.
“A lot of it was kind of due to family circumstances really, I was quite young, I’d only really had one full season in the first division as it was back then and I didn’t feel it was the right thing to do.
“So I didn’t and then at Southampton I loved it down there I loved the area fans were brill to me that were always a big part in my decision not to move anywhere, I felt like I owed Southampton something because I was just a little kid from Guernsey and they took a chance on me and gave me my chance to be a professional footballer which was my dream.
“So I turned down Spurs and then Terry became the next England manager and then in 1995 Chelsea wanted to buy me when Glenn (Hoddle) was manager of Chelsea and I turned them down as well and he then became the next England manager, probably not the two best career decisions I could have made!”
The revelations will be a big surprise to all Southampton fans, but will also give them a sense of pride that someone who came through their set up thought so highly of, and respected the club, enough to turn down two of English football’s biggest clubs.
Le Tissier earned just eight caps for England, with many thinking his was a career which deserved a lot more. It could be that we have just found out why he was selected as infrequently as he was.