I couldn't join Tottenham: Ex-Arsenal man O'Leary's flat out snub

Picture Supplied by Action Images - David O'Leary

David O'Leary had a chance to become an assistant at Tottenham but rejected it due to his Arsenal ties.

Former Arsenal stalwart David O'Leary has told The Telegraph he flat out refused an assistant manager's role at Tottenham Hotspur due to his Gunners connections.

O'Leary explained in an interview published last night that he was offered the role under George Graham, but unlike the former Arsenal manager, he had no intention of indirectly crossing the North London divide.

Picture Supplied by Action Images - David O'LearyDavid O'Leary

Graham took the Tottenham job in 1998, three years after his tenure as Arsenal manager came to an end.

In between Graham managed Leeds United, and after retiring at the Whites, David O'Leary took the opportunity to work under him as assistant.

He landed up taking over from Graham as Leeds boss in 1998, but before he was offered the Elland Road hotseat, he was offered the assistant role at Spurs.

George Graham, TottenhamGeorge Graham, Tottenham

O'Leary told The Telegraph that he refused not because he thought he had a chance of getting the Leeds job outright, but purely because of his ex-Arsenal connections - playing for the Gunners more than 550 times.

He said bluntly: "I couldn’t join Tottenham."

His Arsenal loyalty saw him likely doubly glad he didn't join Graham at Spurs as he was offered the Leeds job, and managed them for four successful seasons, which included a memorable run to the Champions League semi-finals.

Currently out of work but contemplating a return, O'Leary added that Arsene Wenger's Arsenal are on a 'different level' to his Gunners side of old, and they are a bigger club than he ever imagined possible.

David O'Leary Leeds v LiverpoolDavid O'Leary Leeds v Liverpool

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch