Jason Dozzell joined Tottenham Hotspur from Ipswich Town 1 August 1993 for £1.9m. The player was highly regarded at the time, and Osssie Ardiles signing of the midfielder was a real coup at the time. The 25 year old was being considered for England selection by Graham Taylor, and was regarded as a cultured goal-scoring midfielder.
When the player signed for Tottenham, Ipswich had lost a local hero. Jason Dozzell was only 16 when he made his Ipswich debut against Coventry in February 1984, and his goal late on in a 2-0 victory made him the youngest player, at 16 years and 57 days, to score in the old English Football League First Division. The following day, newspapers followed Dozzell to Chantry High School in Suffolk, printing pictures of the boy genius, still in his school uniform.
Between 1984 and 1993, Dozzell played over 300 league matches for Ipswich Town, and from midfield, scored an impressive 52 goals. Dozzell was revered at Portman Road due to his desire to play football and keep the ball on the ground, as opposed to the tactics of former boss John Duncan, who’s tactics were seen as ‘hit and hope’. However, Dozzell’s talents were more effectively harnessed under John Lyall, and the player’s success coincided with Ipswich’s promotion to the Premier League in 1992. Dozzell scored 7 goals in 41 games for Ipswich In 1992/93, and before long, Ardiles and Tottenham came calling…
Spurs fans never understood why Dozzell was so revered at Portman Road, nor why the player had been marked out as a future England international. He had an awkward running style, was lanky, and appeared a little gormless. Dozzell became a figure of fun at White Hart Lane, and made just 84 league appearances for Tottenham in four seasons at the club, scoring 13 goals.
In fairness, Tottenham were going through a difficult period when Dozzell joined the club, and in his debut season, Tottenham finished just 3 points above the relegation places. Despite making 32 appearances and scoring 8 goals in his first season at Spurs, Dozzell was scorned at by most Tottenham fans for the remainder of his career. In particular, he was labelled slow and uncoordinated, eventually drifting to the periphery of the Tottenham squad, especially following the arrival of Gerry Francis in 1994.
Dozzell also suffered from a succession of injuries at White Hart Lane, as well as hitting the tabloids after an incident in a bar, involving the throwing of cake, and a drink-driving charge…
Dozzell returned to Portman Road in 1997 on loan, but a contract was not forthcoming. In 1997, he signed for Northampton Town, before joining Colchester United in 1998, where he ended his career at 34, retiring in 2001 owing to a persistent toe injury.
Today Dozzell is an aspiring football league manager, and has managed Ipswich Wanderers in the Eastern Counties Football League between 2003-2006, and Leiston between 2006-07.
Despite never quite cutting it at Tottenham, Jason Dozzell will always be an Ipswich Town legend, and in fairness, is simply one in a long line of players joining the club with a huge reputation, but ultimately failing to fulfill their potential…
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