Jamie O’Hara spent a number of years in Arsenal’s academy before making a move to North London and Premier League rivals Spurs.
Former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Jamie O’Hara believes that he could have shone for Arsenal at the start of his career before making a name for himself elsewhere in North London, speaking to Alan Brazil on talkSPORT (20 March, 8.50am).
In December 2007, a dream came true for a Dartford-born youngster. After rising through the ranks, O’Hara made his first-team debut for the club he loved, brought off the bench by Juande Ramos at Fratton Park.
O’Hara would then go on to establish himself as a first-team regular at White Hart Lane before making an ill-fated move to Wolves in 2011 which never went to plan.
But it’s a little known fact that the now-33-year-old actually started out at Arsenal, honing his talents in the famed Gunners academy before making a contentious move across the city when Tottenham showed an interest.
“I was at Arsenal as a kid, I came through their academy. It was the best in the country, everything I learned came through that academy but I was always a Tottenham fan,” O’Hara explains, admitting that his father shed a tear or too when he first appeared in that famous white shirt.
“I genuinely thought I was good enough to play Premier League football for Arsenal. There was Fabrice Muamba, they had just brought in Cesc Fabregas. I looked at it and I thought I could go and play for Arsenal or play for Tottenham.
“When (Spurs) came calling, my heart was just like ‘this is the place I want to be’. And at the time, Tottenham weren’t as good as Arsenal, they weren’t on the same level.”
It’s fair to say those roles have been reversed in recent times.
While Tottenham reached the Champions League final last season, Arsenal haven’t graced Europe’s premiere club competition for three years now. And, according to The Times, Spurs have overtaken their bitter rivals in the revenue stakes for the first ever time ever.