A prolific goalscorer, Cottee was signed by Martin O’Neill for League Cup holders and Premier League side Leicester City in August 1997. He began his career at West Ham United, scoring against Tottenham Hotspur on his debut as a 17-year-old in January 1983.
He was voted PFA Young Player of the Year in 1986 and made his England debut in September 1986. In the six seasons of his first spell at Upton Park, he scored 117 goals in 255 appearances. In August 1988, he joined Everton for a British transfer record fee of £2.2M, scoring a hat-trick on his debut in a 4-0 win over Newcastle United.
He starred in the 1989 FA Cup Final against Liverpool. When he left Goodison Park to return to West Ham United in September 1994, he had scored 82 goals for the Toffees in 226 appearances. He spent two years back at West Ham, scoring 28 more goals, before joining Selangor of Malaysia on a free transfer in October 1996.
Ten months later, O’Neill signed him for Leicester for a fee of £500,000. He was briefly loaned to Birmingham City, but by the end of the season, with the Foxes finishing 10th in the Premier League, he had made 19 league appearances for Leicester, memorably scoring the only goal in a victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford and two against his old club West Ham on the last day of the season.
Tony Cottee & Martin O'Neill
With the man who signed Cottee at Leicester.
The following season (1998/99), he established an effective striking partnership with Emile Heskey. He scored in both legs of the League Cup Semi-Final against Sunderland, although the Foxes narrowly lost to Tottenham Hotspur in the showpiece at Wembley. He did, however, end the season as City’s Player of the Year.
The following year, Tony finally won a major trophy as he helped Leicester defeat Tranmere Rovers in the League Cup Final at Wembley as well as scoring a further 13 Premier League goals. When he left the Club in September 2000, he had made 77 appearances for the Foxes and scored 29 goals.
He then spent a month at Norwich City, was player-manager at Barnet and ended his playing career with a couple of games for Millwall in 2001, by which time he had scored 292 goals in 726 matches.
He went on to develop a media career both in Malaysia and with Sky Sports, as well as making regular appearances on Foxes Hub.
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