Gareth Bale has already had an extremely successful career. But at Tottenham he didn’t win a single game for the first two years.
If Gareth Bale wanted to put all the trophies he has collected throughout his career in a cupboard, this piece of furniture might have to be invented first. The Welshman won 19 titles with Real Madrid alone, and recently he can also call himself MLS champion – in which he played a crucial role. There are also various personal awards, about six times “Player of the Year” in his home country.
In the meantime, Bale was even the most expensive player in the world, his move from Tottenham Hotspur to Madrid in 2013 cost the royal team an incredible 101 million euros. Only a few years earlier, however, it was not foreseeable. which way through football history Bale would go. Instead, he put up an unbelievably absurd winless streak that even convinced legendary coach Sir Alex Ferguson that the Welshman was cursed.
Gareth Bale: Two years without a win in the Premier League
It all started with Bale’s move from Southampton FC to Tottenham in 2007, just days before his 18th birthday. The teenager, who was still playing at left-back at the time, was already considered one of the biggest promises in British football at the time, which is why Spurs also transferred almost 15 million euros to Southampton for Bale. An investment that eventually became a curse, not necessarily because of Bale’s personal achievements, but because of the sporting results.
In the 2007/08 season, Bale was used by the then coach Martin Jol for the first time on the fourth day of the game, opponents were Manchester United with the aforementioned coach Ferguson. Bale played excellently on the left and kept the experienced Wes Brown and Nemanja Vidic sweating down the left wing, but Spurs lost 1-0. What nobody could have guessed at the time: It was to be more than two years (!) before Tottenham won a Premier League game with Bale on the pitch.
A few days after the game against Man United, Bale shone for the first time and led a team with a goal and an assist against Fulham to a 3-1 lead, but in the end it was 3-3. Bale played almost every game in the weeks that followed but Tottenham just didn’t win, eventually costing Jol the job. Looking back, it was perhaps a stroke of luck for Spurs that Bale suffered a serious injury in December 2007 and was out for the remainder of the season. After all, the north Londoners were able to win at least a couple of games during this time, in order not to suddenly find themselves in the relegation battle.
After Bale’s return, little changed for the Welshman in terms of his sense of achievement. If he was on the pitch, there was no victory for Tottenham. For the club, under coach Juande Ramos, it was the worst Premier League start in club history up to that point, the Spaniard was released on October 25. A day later, Tottenham managed their first win of the season – but, of course, without Bale. He missed with a red suspension.
Gareth Bale and the curse: ‘One look at the result is enough…’
After Ramos’ sacking, Bale was no longer an undisputed starter and found himself on the bench more often, which helped Spurs’ results. Hard to believe: the 2008/09 season also ended without a single Premier League win for Tottenham when Bale was on the pitch.
When asked about Bale and whether he was an interesting player, Ferguson said: “You can’t get me, there’s a curse on him!” Journalist Pat Sheehan of the Sun wrote after a 1-0 defeat by Everton in November 2008: “One look at the result and every Spurs fan knows that Gareth Bale must have played.”
That curse only ended on September 26, 2009, more than two years after his move to White Hart Lane. Bale came in in the game against Burnley FC a few minutes before the end of the game with the score 4-0, so even he couldn’t ruin anything with his evil spirits. On the contrary: Spurs scored another goal thanks to Robbie Keane, the game ended 5-0 – and Bale had experienced a league victory for the first time in the London jersey if he was involved for at least a minute.
In the years that followed, Bale eventually developed into one of the best players in the Premier League before making a record move to Real Madrid. With the Blancos he won the Champions League five times, among other things. In the 2018 final against Liverpool, he scored two goals in the premier class triumph.