Like any club, Tottenham Hotspur have endured their fair share of blunders with regard to letting players depart on the cheap as well as failing to keep hold of promising academy assets, having famously lost David Beckham to rivals Manchester United back in 1991.
The Lilywhites were subsequently forced to witness the wing wizard develop into something of a global footballing superstar as he swept all before him at Old Trafford, with the former England captain a true case of what might have been for those at N17.
The same can also be said with regard to iconic Scotsman, Graeme Souness, with the midfielder-turned-pundit having begun life on the books in north London, only to be foolishly allowed to depart by legendary manager, Bill Nicholson.
Why did Tottenham sell Graeme Souness?
As a man who enjoyed a 55-year association with Spurs – notably winning three FA Cups and the First Division title during his time as manager – it is hard to question the work of that man Nicholson, with few figures having arguably been as important in the club’s lengthy history.
That being said, however, the sale of Souness may be one rare blot on the copybook for the late, great Englishman, with the midfield maestro going on to enjoy remarkable success at Liverpool, in particular, in what was an illustrious and glittering playing career.
The Edinburgh-born titan had been unable to force his way into the first-team reckoning at Tottenham after making just a solitary appearance prior to his departure, with the then-youngster’s only taste of senior football coming in the form of a loan spell to North American outfit Montreal Olympique in the summer of 1972.
In need of a more prominent role elsewhere, Souness was ultimately able to seal a move to Middlesbrough later that year, with Nicholson and co sanctioning that exit for what was a rather measly figure of just £30k – with the British record transfer fee at the time having been the £225k that was spent to take David Nish to Derby County.
On reflection, that sale proved a true mistake as the 5 foot 11 ace went on to feature prominently for Boro over the next six years, prior to the start of a memorable and hugely successful spell at Anfield.
How long was Souness at Liverpool?
Having been catapulted into a side containing legendary figures such as Kenny Dalglish and Alan Hansen, Souness helped the Merseyside outfit to European Cup glory in his debut campaign – the first of three triumphs he would enjoy in the competition.
That success was also mirrored domestically as the no-nonsense brute – who had cost the Reds a reported £350k – claimed the league title in five of his seven seasons at the club, as well as a further four League Cup honours.
As his time with Liverpool came to an end in 1984, Souness had made over 350 appearances for the club in all competitions, scoring 55 goals, having left those back at White Hart Lane to rue their decision to allow him to leave.
With further success also coming at both Sampdoria and Rangers – for whom he claimed five domestic honours in Glasgow – the fiery figure called time on his playing career in 1991, almost 20 years on from his departure from Spurs.
It is hard to deny that had the 54-cap international stayed put in north London he could have made a major impact for the club, with the Lilywhites instead having now gone more than 60 years since last claiming the league title – while Europe’s most coveted prize, the Champions League, also still eludes them.