Remember Stathis Tavlaridis? Well I do ...and his name cropped up this week.
Not many Arsenal fans will remember Greek defender Stathis ‘Steve’ Tavlaridis. In fact the only reason I actively remember him is because of the excellent defensive combination he had with Taribo West for my Hull City team on Championship Manager 2001-02.
Spotted by the clubs vast scouting network playing for Greek outfit Iraklis back in 2001, he was snapped up by The Gunners for a fee of £1 million at the age of 21.
Unfortunately for him, Arsenal at the time had a burgeoning relationship developing between Kolo Toure and Sol Campbell at the heart of their defence.
He spent time on loan at Portsmouth during their promotion campaign of 2002-03 and the second half of the 2003-04 season on loan at French outfit Lille.
He agreed a permanent move to the French outfit in the summer of 2004, leaving Arsenal with just one game to his name against Southampton in the Premier League.
But he soon forgot about that, after becoming a regular with Lille. He had the best years of his career with the side, earning the nickname ‘Taureau’ with the French media - translating into ‘The Bull’ for his aggressive and strong style of play. It was during this time he earned his two caps for Greece.
Soon his first-team opportunities ended with Lille, and he moved to Saint-Etienne - still revered among the Lille faithful.
His time with St-Etienne was similar, and after ten years away from his homeland he returned to Greece with Larissa after three years with Les Verts.
When Larissa went into financial turmoil he left, spent a season at OFI Crete, and then moved to Atromitos - where he remains today.
And he is a pivotal member of a side on a great run of form. The club currently sit third in the Greek Super League - behind Olympiakos and PAOK Salonika and yesterday were in cup action against second tier outfit Fostiras - and ran rampant.
They bagged seven goals on the day, with Tavlaridis bagging the seventh of the comfortable victory.
It was only the sixth goal of the 33-year-olds 16 year career.
And while it may not mean much too many, it might just prove a little touch of nostalgia for those Arsenal fans who remember the name Stathis Tavlaridis.
Do you have any memories of the player?
image: © michael hilton