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Gary Vincent Mabbutt MBE (born 23 August 1961) is an English former professional footballer who made more than 750 appearances playing for Bristol Rovers and Tottenham Hotspur, and won 16 caps for the England national team.[3][4] He mostly played in central defence but was a versatile player who excelled also in midfield.

Gary Mabbutt
Gary Mabbutt (cropped).jpg
Mabbutt in 2009
Personal information
Full name Gary Vincent Mabbutt[1]
Date of birth (1961-08-23) 23 August 1961 (age 58)[1]
Place of birth Bristol, England
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)[1]
Playing position Defender
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1979–1982 Bristol Rovers 131 (10)
1982–1998 Tottenham Hotspur 477 (27)
Total 608 (37)
National team
1982–1992 England 16 (1)
1982–1986 England U21 7 (2)
1984–1992[2] England B 9 (1)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only


Gary Mabbutt (left) playing for Tottenham Hotspur in 1983

Mabbutt is best remembered for his 16-year spell at Tottenham Hotspur, where he played from 1982 until 1998, and was the club captain for 11 years from 1987 to 1998.[citation needed]

He became one of the best known defenders in English football in the 1980s, playing initially for Bristol Rovers before joining the first division club Tottenham Hotspur, where he became captain and won 16 caps for England, scoring against Yugoslavia in 1986.[2]

With Spurs, he won the UEFA Cup in 1984 and the FA Cup in 1991 (as captain). In the 1987 FA Cup Final against Coventry City, Mabbutt had an eventful game where he scored Spurs' second goal to put them 2–1 up but, after Coventry had equalised to force extra time, he scored an own goal to give Coventry a 3–2 win. This incident lead to him being held as something of a folk hero at Coventry City, with a fanzine being named Gary Mabbutt's Knee.[5][6][7]

Having sustained a fractured skull and eye socket in November 1993 from Wimbledon striker John Fashanu's elbow in an aerial challenge,[8] an injury which required him to wear a protective mask on the pitch even after a three-month absence,[9] he suffered a broken leg on the opening day of the 1996–97 season and did not return until the following campaign, at the end of which he retired from playing after 16 years at White Hart Lane. By this stage, he was the club's second longest-serving player. His final appearance for the club came against Southampton on the last day of the 1997–98 season.[10]

Personal lifeEdit

Mabbutt was born in Bristol.[1] His father is Ray Mabbutt and his brother is Kevin Mabbutt.[citation needed]

Mabbutt has type 1 diabetes, and became an icon for many children with the condition. He famously appeared on the BBC's children's television programme Blue Peter where he demonstrated injecting insulin into an orange to show how he dealt with his condition on a daily basis.[11] In 2013, Mabbutt had surgery to save his left leg, following a bout of peripheral arterial disease, brought on by his diabetes.[12] Following the surgery, he can no longer run or kick a ball.[12]

Mabbutt was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 1994 New Year Honours for services to football.[13]

He served as an ambassador for the 2010 World Cup Finals in South Africa. He is also working with the Deloitte Street Child World Cup, training and encouraging street children and ex-street children in football and for street children's rights in Durban, South Africa. This is run by the Amos Trust. He is currently an Ambassador for Tottenham Hotspur FC and the English Football Association, an Ambassador for the Prince's Trust and Patron of Diabetes UK.[citation needed]

In 2018, Mabbutt had part of his foot eaten by a rat. While on holiday with his daughter in the Kruger National Park, in South Africa, Mabbutt, who has little feeling in his feet, awoke to find a rat had eaten part of his foot and had bitten one toe to the bone. He was forced to fly back to the UK for surgery and spent a week in hospital.[14]



  1. ^ a b c d Hugman, Barry J., ed. (1998). The 1998–99 Official PFA Footballers Factfile. Harpenden: Queen Anne Press. p. 185. ISBN 978-1-85291-588-9.
  2. ^ a b England Players: Gary Mabbutt, England Football Online
  3. ^ "Gary Mabbutt". UK A–Z Transfers. Neil Brown. Retrieved 25 January 2010.
  4. ^ "Celebrity Health – Gary Mabbutt". BBC News. 6 February 2006. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  5. ^ About Gary Mabbutt's Knee, The Guardian, 1 February 2001
  6. ^ Coventry City GMK Gary Mabbutts Knee football supporters fanzine Issue 55 Aug 2006, Amazon
  7. ^ Gary Mabbutt: The most famous knee in football, Coventry Telegraph, 4 January 2013
  8. ^ Football: Mabbutt's skull fractured in Fashanu clash: Referee asks to view the match video, The Independent, 26 November 1993
  9. ^ I knew there would be consequences; Ryan Mason injury: Former Spurs star Gary Mabbutt who fractured his skull in 1993 feared for Mason after horror injury, the Sun, 26 January 2017
  10. ^ Lansley, Peter (10 May 1998). "Klinsmann takes bouquets on a day of farewells at Spurs". The Independent. London. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
  11. ^ "Gary Mabbutt". Retrieved 25 January 2010.
  12. ^ a b "Gary Mabbutt: Former Spurs and England defender almost lost leg". BBC Sport. 8 April 2015. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  13. ^ a b "No. 53527". The London Gazette. 30 December 1993. p. 20.
  14. ^ "Gary Mabbutt: Rat ate part of my foot while I slept". BBC Sport. 27 August 2018. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  15. ^ "Final, 1st leg: Anderlecht 1–1 Tottenham: Overview". UEFA. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
    "Final, 2nd leg: Tottenham 1–1 Anderlecht: Overview". UEFA. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  16. ^ "Tottenham Hotspur v Nottingham Forest, 18 May 1991". AFS Enterprises. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  17. ^ "Coventry City v Tottenham Hotspur, 16 May 1987". AFS Enterprises. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  18. ^ Rollin, Jack, ed. (1992). Rothmans Football Yearbook 1992–93. London: Headline Publishing Group. p. 606. ISBN 978-0-7472-7905-1.

External linksEdit