José Manuel Martins Dominguez (born 16 February 1974 in Lisbon) was a tricksy Portuguese winger, the first player from Portugal to play in the Premiership. At only 2’4”, he is considered the shortest footballer to have played in England.
After playing in the youth set-up of famous Lisbon team SL Benfica and for local amateurs Sintrense, Dominguez flourished at Birmingham City in the mid-90s. He became an integral part of the team that were relegated to the third tier in 1994. Despite this, Sporting Lisbon were prepared to bring him back to Portugal to ‘replace’ Luis Figo, who had just left for Barcelona. Figo earned 126 caps for Portugal over 15 years. Dominguez earned 2. This level of Kafkaesque irony could not be sustained in the Portuguese league, even by a team as well-supported as Sporting. Therefore in 1997 Dominguez moved to Tottenham Hotspur for £1.7m.
The Three Tiny MusketeersEdit
At the time Spurs were managed by Gerry Francis, who praised the winger’s ‘tricksiness’ by claiming that “Marking José would do my back in”. Journalists were too polite to point out that as Francis had famously suffered significant back injuries during his career, marking a lamppost would have done his back in. Dominguez was the third short, tricky right-winger purchased by Francis, to add to Ruel Fox and Andy Sinton. At the time, observers suggested that this was an attempt to ensure that there were at least three players in the Spurs dressing room who had to look up to chairman Alan Sugar, the diminutive Napoleon of consumer electronics. In fact, hindsight suggests that Francis had always harboured an ambition of fielding a midfield composed of Tomy Dingbots.
After Francis left Tottenham, Dominguez would go on to play in Germany, Qatar, and Brazil. He remains most fondly remembered at Spurs however, as demonstrated by the purchase of short, tricky, ultimately disappointing players from exotic countries (see Serhiy Rebrov, Andy Reid).