Jermain Defoe says transfer from West Ham to Tottenham was 'a massive mistake'

The striker agitated for a switch after the Hammers were relegated from the Premier League

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The Independent Football

Jermain Defoe has said his decision to force a move from West Ham to Tottenham in 2004 was a “massive mistake”.

Speaking to ITV4's 'Sport Life Stories', the England international revealed he still loves his boyhood club and feels he was badly advised at the time.

Defoe completed a £6m move to White Hart Lane after handing in a transfer request following the Hammers' relegation from the Premier League.

It was a decision that led to a backlash from fans and his eventual move to north London, but it was also something Defoe now says, "was a massive mistake. I didn’t really want to do it."

During the documentary, which will be shown tonight, Defoe explains: "We’re talking about leaving the club I was in love with at the time because I came through the youth system with my friends, the fans loved me there. They were brilliant - every game they sang my name.

"The person who represented me at the time said, 'You need to hand in a transfer request and get in early because all the lads are going to leave'.

"I remember going in and I was so nervous. It was [then-West Ham chief executive] Paul Aldridge and I gave him the letter and he said, 'What’s this?' And I said, 'It's a transfer request'. He looked at me as if to say, 'Are you kidding?'

"The backlash was crazy. I felt like I was on my own and people were absolutely abusing me.

"To this day I can imagine West Ham fans look at me and think, 'Who does he think he is? How can you do that? You're a Judas'. And it's quite sad really because I can honestly say I still love that club."

Defoe is now in his second spell at White Hart Lane but with the arrival of Roberto Soldado limiting his opportunities, it is understand the 31-year-old will be allowed to leave in January.

Defoe (right) pictured after West Ham's relegation in 2003