With Tottenham set to allow Benoit Assou-Ekotto to leave White Hart Lane, we look back at the man and the hairstyles that helped shape the Premier League
It was the news Spurs fans across the globe knew was coming but nevertheless dreaded – after eight years on the books with the Lilywhites, Benoit Assou-Ekotto looks set to depart the club with Tottenham willing to let the defender leave on a free.
There have been many highs, many lows and many hair arrangements during that time and despite the player previously confessing a disdain for professional football, those of us that paid good money to see him slide into tackles every week will miss him.With that in mind, here is a celebration of the man in some of his finest pictures.
Signed by Martin Jol after being described by Damien Comolli as one French football’s brightest prospects, from the very start Assou-Ekotto was thrilled to be at White Hart Lane, as his official unveiling alongside Dimitar Berbatov and Didier Zokora demonstrates.
Just to be clear, Assou-Ekotto was really, really happy to have moved to Spurs.
Thrust straight into the first team, the defender impressed on his debut against Bolton but was brought back to earth against Manchester United, quite literally, after future Tottenham ‘legend’ Louis Saha dropped him on his ****.
Assou-Ekotto soon recover though and, like a child bullied at school, the Arras-born player ultimately turned the tables from victim to bully against Portsmouth’s Lomana Lualua. Let’s see you somersault your way out of that one Lomana!
Life at Tottenham was good for a while and Assou-Ekotto even appeared to make a friend in fellow newboy Zokora – Ivory Coast’s most capped player and a man now remember for successfully castrating Turkish midfielder Emre during a heated league clash. Here they are together looking like Spurs’ answer to the Lighthouse Family.
Brimming with confidence after an extended run in the first team over the next couple of seasons, Assou-Ekotto decided it was time for a change of style and unveiled a new cornrows look to the Premier League masses. Unfortunately for him, Newcastle United’s noticeably bald defender Geremi was not impressed.
A personal highlight came on the opening day of the 2009/10 season, when Assou-Ekotto finally cracked a smile. All it took was scoring an absolute screamer against the previous season’s Premier League runners-up Liverpool. Note the subdued celebrations from Robbie Keane after a goal against one of his former clubs. That or he’s just jealous he didn’t score against the dream crushers.
On the face off it, Assou-Ekotto and Michael Brown appear to be engaged in some karma sutra-style antics here. But the reality was that, like everyone else involved in football, the Tottenham defender was not particularly fond of Brown.
After establishing himself as an important part of the Cameroon national team setup ahead of the 2010 World Cup, Assou-Ekotto decided yet another change of hairstyle was in order. The result was a bandana that would make ‘Hollywood’ Hulk Hogan blush.
Another season bought yet another change of hairstyle, with Assou-Ekotto ditching the bandana in favour of a cornrows/pony-tail combo that looked pretty cool – provided he wasn’t getting a ball smashed in his face when the photo was being taken...
Assou-Ekotto was always fired up for the north London derby and never hesitated in sticking the boot in on Arsenal players, even after they had left the Emirates club, as Mathieu Flamini discovered during a Champions League clash with Milan. Get stuck in Benoit!
As the seasons rolled on, Assou-Ekotto decided the time was right to unleash his gorgeous locks and let his hair be free as a part of a big and bouncy afro. Here he is modelling the windswept look.
On occasion, the cornrows would return, but there proved to be some resistance to the look among the Tottenham players. Here’s a shot of Jake Livermore attempting to physically drag Assou-Ekotto to the hairdressers.
Assou-Ekotto eventually found himself the subject of copycats, however, with big-bone ex-teammate Tom Huddlestone adopting a similar philosophy to hair care e.g. just let it grow. Over night it went from the coolest look on the Lane to the lamest. Damn you Hud!
An afro/bandana hybrid failed to inspire Cameroon to success at this summer’s World Cup, with some questioning Volker Finke’s training methods. Not Benoit though, he really liked the training...
Now set to depart White Hart Lane after a loan spell at QPR, Assou-Ekotto appears to be in contemplative mood.
We love you too Benoit.