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A Month in the Illustrious History of Spurs


‘A time to rejoice and be Jolly! But not necessarily at White Hart Lane.

(Compiled by Logan Holmes)



Chelsea 3 Spurs 2 It could only happen to Spurs.  This is the first game in that losing sequence – ten months earlier Spurs had won at Stamford Bridge but for this game the signs were not promising from early on.  The team stopped for lunch at a hotel in central London on the way to the game.  The team coach was parked illegally, clamped and towed away with the team kit inside.  Subsequently, the team arrived late, handed in their team sheet late and were later fined by the Football Association.  On the pitc, it wasn’t much better.  Gascoigne and Lineker scored but it wasn’t enough to take the points.  



Spurs 3 Manchester United 1 Worthington Cup 5th Round This victory enabled Spurs under George Graham to progress to the semi-finals of the competition where they were to face Wimbledon over two legs.  Spurs’ goals against an under-strength United came from Chris Armstrong who scored twice with two glorious headers in the space of seven minutes at the start of the second half and a final spectacular shot from David Ginola, five minutes from time.  Graham had taken over from Christian Gross in early October and brought some much needed organisation and fight to the team. This was most evident in the Cup competitions as the team went on the win this competition and were unlucky to lose in the semi-finals of the F.A.Cup.



Spurs 2 Manchester United 0 European Cup Winners’ Cup 2nd Round (1st Leg) This was the last stand for the famous ‘Double’ team.  Age was catching up with the players and Danny Blanchflower had succumbed to injury.  However, Spurs set about this game with a determination to defend the trophy they had won so spectacularly the previous season.  They took the lead after an hour when Dave Mackay scored and this looked like being their only reward until Terry Dyson added the second with three minutes remaining.



Burnley 1 Spurs 1 Nineteen and a half thousand spectators witnessed a fairly routine game in one of Spurs early transitional seasons.  Eddie Clayton scored the goal which earned Spurs the point but they were present at a game where something occurred for the first time in over 37 years.  Frank Saul became the first Spurs player to be sent off in a League game since Cecil Poynton was dismissed in October, 1928.  (see April, 1963 for previous player dismissed in a Cup competition)



Spurs 2 Liverpool 1 In the first half Spurs threatened to over-run Liverpool but had only a goal from Ruel Fox to show for their efforts.  David Ginola was in outstanding form on the left wing and was involved in setting up Fox’s goal after 26 minutes.  Spurs completely dominated the game and went further ahead early in the second half when Carragher drove Chris Armstrong’s low cross past his own goalkeeper. Four minutes later, Spurs conceded a free kick on the edge of the box which Liverpool curled round the defensive wall.  Liverpool were lifted but in spite of making a few chances, Spurs finished the stronger and as reported in the Sunday Times, ‘were worth their win.’



Spurs 3 Liverpool 1 League Cup 5th Round Replay.  A Martin Peters goal had given Spurs a draw at Anfield two days earlier and they were expecting a difficult game in the replay against the League leaders.  However, Bill Nicholson’s team displayed their full array of talent as they overwhelmed Liverpool by scoring three goals in the first fifteen minutes. Although Liverpool pulled one goal back, Spurs were never troubled and the goals from John Pratt and Martin Chivers(2) ensured victory and another semi-final against Wolves.



Spurs 2 Bayern Munich 0 EUFA Cup 3rd Round (2nd Leg).  Having lost to Bayern in the Cup Winners’ Cup in the previous season, Spurs wanted to avenge that defeat.  A goal behind from the first game in Munich, Spurs showed patience and eventually levelled the tie early in the second half.  A Glenn Hoddle free-kick was headed on by Graham Roberts for Steve Archibald to score.  Bayern worked hard to score but with four minutes left, Hoddle released Mark Falco to score off the post.  Spurs then defended tenaciously to defend their lead and qualify for the quarter finals..



Spurs 3 Rapid Bucharest 0 EUFA Cup 3rd Round (1st Leg) Martin Peters gave Spurs an early lead, scoring after 20 seconds.  Martin Chivers scored the second after thirty seven minutes when he received a pass from Jimmy Neighbour and held off two tackles to score.  The goalkeeper who had fumbled his way through the game was infuriated as he thought Neighbour had committed a foul.  The Romanians and their manager, who came on to the pitch, protested and the offended goalkeeper threatened to quit the game.  When the game re-started, he refused to play the ball and only cleared a back pass at the last moment as Gilzean charged in looking to score.  Spurs created numerous chances but failed to take them until the 63rd minute when Chivers scored his second to give Spurs a three goal cushion for the second game a week later.



Reprieved!  Alan Sugar had his finest hour as he battled successfully against the Football Association to secure Spurs’ re-instatement to the F.A.Cup.  The previous summer they had been banished from the competition as punishment for mis-demeanours carried out under the previous regime at White Hart Lane.  So enraged was Sugar by this that he had promised to have the decision over turned.  He was as good as his word and kept up the fight in spite of various set-backs and won the day, much to the delight of the fans who would be able to welcome Altrincham in the 3rd Round game in January.   The following day Spurs celebrated in style with a 3-1 victory over Sheffield Wednesday with Jurgen Klinnsmann scoring spectacularly and Barmby and Calderwood .



Manchester United 4 Spurs 1 European Cup Winners’ Cup (2nd Round 2nd Leg) Spurs’ hopes of defending their two goal lead from the first leg took a severe knock when they conceded a goal after six minutes.  A greater blow occurred a minute later when their inspirational captain Dave Mackay was carried off with a broken leg.  The ten men defended heroically until early in the second half when United levelled the scores.  However, Spurs rallied and Greaves scored a few minutes later to restore their lead in the tie. United scored a third to level the scores overall and it was only with two minutes remaining that they managed to score and win the tie.  Sadly, Spurs heroic performance marked the end for the ‘Double’ team – Mackay was out for over eighteen months, Blanchflower retired, Smith left at the end of the season, age caught up with others and sadly John White lost his life when struck by lightning the following summer.  So quickly, the most successful team in the history of Tottenham Hotspur disintegrated.



Glasgow Rangers 2 Spurs 3 European Cup Winners’ Cup (1st Round 2nd Leg) The ‘Battle of Britain’ part 2, with Spurs holding a three goal advantage from the first leg.  Jimmy Greaves scored after 8 minutes to give Spurs the comfort of a four goal lead and to quieten the Rangers fans in the 80,000 crowd.  Spurs held the lead until early in the second half.  On 47 minutes Rangers equalised but three minutes later Bobby Smith restored Spurs lead.  Rangers came back to level with 15 minutes remaining but Spurs were never in danger and Smith, on his recall to the team in place of Les allen, scored his second with four minutes left to give Spurs victory.



Spurs 5 Dynamo Tbilisi 1 UEFA Cup 3rd Round (2nd Leg) A night of excellent football as Spurs had one of their glorious European evenings at White Hart Lane.  Having drawn the first game in Tbilisi, Spurs scored after half an hour when Chris McGrath who was having an exciting debut season, scored with a header from Coates cross.  Tbilisi looked dangerous on the break and almost equalised on half-time.  Early in the second half, with both teams having all to play for, the visitors came close to scoring on three occasions before Spurs got their second in the 52nd minute.  Another cross from Coates brought a goal from Martin Chivers. Four minutes later Tbilisi scored but Spurs went further ahead after 62 minutes when Martin Peters scored following a corner.  The Tbilisi defence couldn’t cope with the Spurs centres as Chivers headed in a Peters cross after 76 minutes and four minutes later Peters headed home a cross from John Pratt.



Spurs 4 Olympique Lyonnais 3 European Cup Winners’ Cup 2nd Round (2nd Leg) Bringing a one goal deficit from the ‘Battle of Lyon’ when Alan Mullery was sent off – Spurs were hoping to gain revenge by progressing to the next round.  However, with various injuries in defence, defensive mistakes were to prove costly and this became a pointless victory as Spurs lost the tie on the away goals rule.  Two Greaves goals (1 pen) had Spurs ahead at half-time.  Lyon scored early in the second half and suddenly the away goal meant that Spurs had to win by two goals.  A minute later Jones scored to restore Spurs overall lead but when Lyon scored five minutes later, they were ahead on aggregate.  After 70 minutes Gilzean restored Spurs ascendancy but with ten minutes left, Lyon scored to win on the away goal rule.  A night of much excitement but also great disappointment.



Woolwich Arsenal 0 Spurs 3 (1st Division) This was the last occasion when Spurs visited the Manor Field in Plumstead and they arrived with only a few minutes to spare as the char-a-banc in which they travelled had arrived late and then in trying to make up time, they were stopped by the police.  Arsenal were bottom of the division, having only one point from their last nine games and only three points from their nine home games.  Spurs weren’t much better with only one point more than their opponents, although they had won two of their previous three games, which was some improvement after starting the season without a win in their first twelve games.  Spurs late arrival enabled Arsenal to exert early pressure but as the game went on Spurs took more control and early in the second half, Bobby Steel scored from a corner.  Arsenal then lost two players through injury and further goals came from Jimmy Cantrell, the first a penalty.  This was Spurs first victory at the home of Arsenal and at the end of the season Spurs finished 12 points ahead of relegated Arsenal – a good omen for the final visit to Highbury in April.



Rapid Bucharest 0 Spurs 2 UEFA Cup 3rd Round (2nd Leg) With a comfortable lead from the previous week’s game, Spurs were confident of progressing to the next round but the Romanians were determined to make a fight of it.  They put Spurs under early pressure and Pat Jennings performed heroics to keep the score sheet blank.  In the second half, the game turned nasty after Jimmy Pearce had scored to increase Spurs overall lead.  The home players protested that Chivers had been off-side when he set up the goal and had two players booked.  Within minutes Pearce and a Romanian were sent-off for fighting and from then on, the Romanians kicked everything in a Spurs shirt.  Chivers completed the scoring with six minutes remaining.  After the game an infuriated Bill Nicholson described them as ‘the dirtiest side Spurs had ever played.’



Spurs 5 Blackpool 1 A comfortable victory was made special by the debut of Jimmy Greaves.  Signed for £99,999 from A.C.Milan, Greaves announced his return to English football with a hat-trick, the first of many for Spurs.  After a difficult time in Italy and having to wait several weeks for clearance the much awaited debut went to plan as Greaves scored Spurs first goal with a flying scissors kick that Greaves still regards as ‘one of his most spectacular goals’.  Another Greaves’ goal and one from Les Allen had Spurs three ahead by half-time.  In the second half Blackpool pulled two back but Greaves completed his hat-trick and Allen scored his second.  Jimmy Greaves was to become Spurs’ greatest ever goal-scorer and a true Legend of  White Hart Lane.



Everton 1 Spurs 3 In foggy conditions at Goodison Park, Spurs maintained their position at the top of the Division by completing the ‘double’ over Everton.  The season had kicked off with late goals ensuring a home victory over the Merseysiders and in this return game, Everton started strongly.  However, it was Spurs who went ahead after half an hour through John White.  Three minutes later they were two ahead with a fierce Les Allen shot.  Everton pulled a goal back early in he second half but Spurs continued to have the better scoring chances and got their third with a 25-yard drive from Dave Mackay with thirty minutes remaining.  Spurs were now 10 points ahead of their closest rivals, Everton, with a record of 19 wins, 2 draws and 1 defeat.



Spurs 3 Liverpool 3 A six-goal thriller saw Spurs take a first half lead when Vinny Samways scored his first goal of the season,  Liverpool struck back to score three times within the first nine minutes of the second half.  However, Spurs showed battling qualities to get back into the game when Micky Hazard scored with a penalty.  The point was earned with fifteen minutes remaining when Darren Caskey headed Spurs level from a David Kerslake cross.  In Ossie Ardiles first season as manager, after a promising start, the injury to Teddy Sheringham left Spurs struggling to find consistency and they fought a battle against relegation for most of the season.



Spurs 4 Newcastle United 0  Spurs had opened the season with a 5-1 victory at Newcastle and as Bill Nicholson gathered the nucleus of the team that was to bring success to the club, they comfortably completed the double over the north-eat club. Following this victory, played in front of the lowest attendance of the season at White Hart Lane, Spurs moved to the top of the table ahead of Preston.  On a waterlogged pitch both teams kept up a furious pace throughout the game but it was Spurs who took the lead after 20 minutes when Maurice Norman headed in a free-kick from Tommy Harmer.  Two minutes later Cliff Jones scored with a header after a cross had been deflected against the bar.  Newcastle then put Spurs under pressure but Spurs ensured victory with two goals in a minute– the first, after 65 minutes, from John White and the second from Danny Blanchflower.  To have achieved two such resounding victories was exceptional as Newcastle were a strong side which finished the season in eighth position while Spurs were third.



Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 Spurs 2 League Cup Semi-Final (1st Leg) Two goals in the first fifteen minutes put Spurs in a strong position and although Wolves scored before half-time, they couldn’t prevent Spurs taking a one goal lead into the second leg at White Hart Lane.  Martin Peters scored after three minutes, his 17th goal of the season, and John Pratt scored from 25 yards to put Spurs two ahead.  Six minutes before half-time, Alan Gilzean hit the bar and then Wolves pulled a goal back when they were awarded a penalty.  This lifted Wolves for the second half but Spurs defended comfortably.  So, just as in the previous year’s UEFA Cup Final, Spurs took a one goal lead into the next match.



Chelsea 2 Spurs 4 A season of inconsistency for Spurs.  It had opened with a home draw against Chelsea with Jimmy Greaves making his League debut for the visitors.  They then suffered three heavy defeats before producing a number of high scoring results, mixed in with some heavy defeats.  Their recent form had seen them lose at home to the bottom club a week after winning comfortably at Old Trafford.  The week before playing Chelsea, two Bobby Smith goals had seen them win at Blackpool and Smith again scored twice to help them past Chelsea.  Terry Medwin and Tommy Harmer were the other scorers.  Spurs finished the season with five straight wins to finish third, thirteen points behind the champions, Wolves.



Spurs 2 Luton Town 1 The game which turned the career of Paul Stewart at White Hart Lane.  Stewart had been signed from Manchester City £1.7m as a strong, goal-scoring centre forward but he lost his confidence and goal-scoring touch.  However, he responded to a crisis situation in this game and became a new man.  Spurs were a goal behind and had two players sent off – Nayin for comments to the referee and Pat van den Hauwe for a late tackle.  This required a reshuffle and Stewart moved into midfield.  It was the making of him as he scored both goals  as Spurs went on to win from a seemingly impossible position.  Stewart remained in midfield, played an important part in the F.A.Cup success, scoring the equalising goal in the Final and then went on to play for England before his transfer to Liverpool for £2.3m in the summer of 1992.



Spurs 2 Bristol City 0 (aet) League Cup Semi-Final (2nd Leg) Following a 1-1 draw in the 1st Leg at Ashton Gate, Spurs set about acquiring victory to ensure they reached their first League Cup Final.  Having failed to get past this hurdle when they last reached this stage, Spurs were determined to overcome their 2nd Division opponents but City made them work hard and the game remained on a knife-edge throughout.  Spurs lost Mike England through injury early in the game, an injury that was to keep him out for the rest of the season.  Jimmy Neighbour made his full debut and he caused much anxiety to the City defence. It was goal-less at full-time but in extra time Spurs eventually broke the deadlock when Martin Chivers headed in a free-kick.  Success was assured when substitute, Jimmy Pearce, scored.



Spurs 2 Luton Town 1 Spurs were having a poor season – the successful team of the early fifties was gradually being replaced but it was taking time to find the right players and two successive away defeats had left Spurs one place from the foot of the First Division as Christmas approached.  Bobby Smith had been signed from Chelsea and made his debut in this game but by his own admission ‘he did not have the best of afternoons’.  On a muddy pitch, the goals which secured victory for Spurs were scored by Johnny Brooks and one of the old timers, Len Duquemin, whom Smith had been signed to replace.  Luton pulled a goal back with ten minutes remaining but Spurs held on.  This win must have inspired Spurs as they defeated West Brom by 4 – 1 on Boxing Day.  The season continued to be a long struggle for Spurs as they finished in 18th position.



Spurs 7 Middlesbrough 1 Until 1958 matches were played on Christmas Day and on this occasion Spurs fans received their best ever Christmas present – two points and seven goals in their biggest ever Christmas day win.  Spurs took the lead after 12 minutes through Les Bennett.  Middlesbrough equalised after twenty minutes and that was the score at half-time.  The difficulty for Spurs was that their goal scorer had been injured and went to play on the wing which greatly reduced the threat from the Spurs forward line.  However, in the second half, in spite of his injury, Bennett returned to his proper position in the centre and the two wingers, Sonny Walters and Les Medley, proceeded to run the full backs ragged.  A succession of crosses and passes enabled Bennett to score a second half hat-trick, to give him 4, Len Duquemin scored twice and Eddie Baily scored the other goal to send the Spurs supporters home for a very Happy Christmas Day.



Nottingham Forest 1 Spurs 2 This was an unusual season for Spurs.  They went through the season without losing a game at White Hart Lane but on their travels they managed only one win – at Forest on Boxing Day.  The unexpected win came courtesy of goals from Alan Gilzean and Cliff Jones.  Gilzean had made his debut the previous weekend against Everton and this goal was his first for the club following his transfer from Dundee earlier in the month.  Set up by this victory, Spurs recorded a resounding victory over Forest in the return fixture two days later, winning 4-0, with goals from Gilzean, Greaves, Robertson and Dyson.  This dual fixture marks the occasion of my first appreciation of Spurs and forty years later I’m still supporting them.



Middlesbrough 0 Spurs 4.  At this time the Christmas fixtures were a double header with the return game played on Boxing Day but as Christmas Day was a Thursday, the match was played on Saturday giving Spurs an extra day before their long journey to the north-east.  An unchanged team, again dominated the game to complete the ‘double’ over Middlesbrough to make the perfect Christmas – two wins and four points.  The goals were scored by Sonny Walters, Les Bennett, Len Duquemin and an own goal.



Spurs 1 Arsenal 1 The ‘Prodigal’s’ return didn’t prove as exciting or as successful as his first coming.  Jurgen Klinsmann’s return to White Hart Lane proved a disappointment as the German struggled to regain fitness to assure himself of a place in the World Cup team.  Having suffered three heavy defeats in recent weeks, Spurs were satisfied with a point, although they took the lead after thirty minutes through Allan Neilsen, assisted by Klinsmann.  Arsenal equalised after an hour from a deflected shot.  The season was one long struggle – Christian Gross was new to English football, there were constant reports of strife within the club and it was only late in the season that relegation was avoided – Klinsmann’s four goals at Wimbledon assuring safety and then he was gone – again.



Spurs 2  Sunderland 0  Spurs had moved to the top of the Division after the previous week’s win at Norwich.  The team was undefeated in eight games, with five victories, although West Ham had held them to draw at White Hart Lane on Boxing Day.  Sunderland who were battling against relegation put up a spirited defence but Spurs proved too good for them and won with goals from Glenn Hoddle and Garth Crooks.  Spurs unbeaten run continued until early March, including their New Year’s Day win at Highbury, but were eventually to finish third – fixture congestion and injuries proving major problems later in the season.  This match was watched by a crowd of only 26,930.



Spurs 2 Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 (aet) League Cup Semi-Final(2nd Leg) Holding a one goal lead from the first leg, Spurs had to fight all the way to reach their second the League Cup Final.  Originally, the clubs had been due to play in the League but the Cup tie took precedence.  Within a minute Terry Naylor conceded an own goal to level the tie.  Martin Peters equalised but Wolves came back to take the game into extra time.  It was Martin Chivers who came to Spurs rescue and scored the goal that took them to the Final against Norwich.



Spurs 5 Preston North End 0 Spurs’ best finish to a year came against Preston in 1921, against whom, in that era, there had been a number of important clashes.  Spurs had beaten Preston in the previous season’s F.A.Cup semi-final and were also to  meet at the same stage of the competition later in that season, although the result was to be reversed.  For this League game Spurs proved superior in all areas and won through goals from Jimmy Seed, Charlie Wilson (2), Andy Thompson and Jimmy Dimmock.  At the end of the season Spurs were to finish second, the highest position achieved to date by a London club.  Such a victory also ensured a very happy New Year for Spurs supporters.




Acknowledge the work of Graham Betts in his book ‘Spurs Day – to – Day Life at White Hart Lane