During his career Tony Cottee played for a number of sides, including West Ham United, Everton and Leicester City. He made his West Ham first team debut against Tottenham Hotspur on New Year´s Day 1983, scoring in the process.
A prolific goalscorer especially in his West Ham days, where he was voted the PFA Young Player of the Year in 1986, which encouraged Everton to smash the British transfer record in 1988, paying West Ham £2.2 million for his services.
He kick-started his Goodison Park career in spectacular fashion as the former Upton Park favourite grabbed a hat-trick in his debut, scoring the first goal within minutes after kick-off in front of the ecstatic home crowd. At Everton he formed several fertile striking partnerships with the likes of Graeme Sharp and Peter Beardsley. None of those pairings, however, proved as devastating as his legendary partnership with Frank McAvennie at Upton Park.
In fact, the McAvennie-Cottee partnership, was arguably one of the hottest striking-forces in the English League during the latter half of the 80s. Tony remained at Everton until 1994, when he returned to West Ham in exchange for David Burrows. He remained at Upton Park for another two years, until 1996, when he was given a free transfer and moved to Selangor of Malaysia, winning the Malaysian FA Cup and the Malaysia Cup. He remained there for only ten months before returning to England with Leicester City in 1997, where he continued until 2000.
In September 2000, Tony was given a free transfer by Leicester so that he could take up a player-coaching role at Norwich City, however this did not last long as he struggled to meet the demands placed on him. After being released by Norwich on October 31 of that year he took over as player-manager of Barnet, a team closer to his home in London. After winning his first game with the club 7–0, Barnet hit a run of poor form which left them facing relegation from the Football League. He resigned in March 2001 and signed for Millwall on transfer deadline day.
During this remarkable season, which was his last as a player, he played for a different team in each of the top four divisions of English football in the same season, a rare achievement last performed by goalkeeper Eric Nixon in the late 1980s.
He gained seven England caps, played in the 1989 FA Cup Final for Everton and won the League Cup with Leicester City in the late 1990s. He is now a commentator with Sky Sports and a regular speaker on the after dinner circuit.
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