Sergei Rebrov (Ukraine), who spent four ill-starred years at Tottenham between 2000 and 2004, sent a warning to Roman Pavlyuchenko, the club’s new £13.8 million striker, about life in north London, according to Telegraph.

He claimed that many of the residents living near White Hart Lane were “dark-skinned” and there was a lot of crime as a result.

Rebrov added that if Pavlyuchenko did not want to be a “robbery victim”, he should avoid walking around the area close to Tottenham’s ground.

His comments were hardly likely to help Anglo-Ukrainian relations considering the two countries are in the same World Cup qualification group.

“A lot of dark-skinned people live there,” Rebrov said. “So naturally the crime rate is higher than anywhere else. It’s not nice to be a robbery victim. So I suggest that Roman doesn’t walk but drives around that area.”

Pavlyuchenko will join up with Tottenham tomorrow after playing for Russia in their World Cup qualifier against Wales.

In the same article from which Rebrov was quoted, former Fulham midfielder Alexei Smertin said: “Of course there are districts where Roman shouldn’t go on his own.

“The first place that springs to mind is Croydon. It’s populated with predominantly low-income folks.

``But I can’t see why Roman should find himself there — it’s quite far from the Tottenham area.” Andrei Lyalin, a journalist sent by newspaper Sovetski Sport to look at the Tottenham district, described it thus: “Seven Sisters tube station is just 10 minutes ride from the centre of London. I got out there and it occurred to me that the area looked as English as the Arsenal team. Broken windows of sooty brick houses, dirty shops selling cheap fruits and vegetables at every corner, immigrant teenage gangs on bikes.”

Claiming he was glad it was daylight, Lyalin added: “Otherwise I would lose in the district much more than the £60 a black market dealer charged me for a ticket behind one of the goals.”