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A Month in the Illustrious History of Spurs


(Compiled by Logan Holmes)

New beginnings, eternal optimism – ‘this WILL be our year!’



Glenavon 0 Spurs 1 (Pre-season Friendly) Little of note occurred on this day, bringing me to a match arranged as part of the transfer of Gerard McMahon to Spurs.  Terry Venables as chief guest opened the new stand that the club had just built and Spurs set about winning the game with a goal from Vinny Samways.  A good passing movement between Nayim and Durie sent Samways clear and with just the goalkeeper to beat he side-footed home.  McMahon played against his old team mates and went on to make twenty League and Cup appearances for Spurs (including 8 as substitute), scoring once before being transferred to Stoke City.



Spurs 0 Fiorentina 2 (David Howells Testimonial) David Howells was a loyal player to Spurs.  He made his debut as a striker, scoring in a 2-1 win at Sheffield Wednesday in February, 1986.  He took time to establish himself and it was as a defensive midfielder/defender who could score important goals that he will be remembered.  He made 277 League appearances, scoring 22 goals, 58 Cup games brought 5 goals and was a member of the 1991 Cup winning team.  This game was the first opportunity for the Spurs fans to see the new summer signings playing at WHL – David Ginola and Les Ferdinand who were signed from Newcastle.



Hearts 1 Spurs 1 (Pre-season Friendly) On holiday in Edinburgh I went to this game and when Spurs scored I was the only person celebrating in the stand – much to the concern of my girlfriend.  The game was very low key, Spurs were playing their first pre-season game and were without Chivers, injured, and had Chris Jones leading the attack.  Spurs goal was scored by substitute John Pratt when he equalised late in the second half from what looked like a decidedly off-side position – but they all count!  My girl friend then insisted on walking away from the ground as close to the nearest policeman that she could find.



Enfield Town 0 Spurs 7 (Pre-season Friendly) This game is of note among an increasing number of pre-season friendlies because Spurs fielded two members of the Argentinean World Cup winning team.  Ossie Ardiles was joined by Mario Kempes who was on a two game trial.  He had been playing in Spain but failed to score in either game and was not offered a contract.  The goals in this game were scored by Garth Crooks(4), Gary Stevens, Garry Brooke and Mike Hazard.



Celtic 3 Spurs 3 (Hampden Park) The F.A.Cup winners against the Champions of Europe in a high profile pre-season challenge game attracted 91,708 spectators.  A newspaper report of the game - ‘In this magnificent football ‘Battle of Britain’ brimming over with entertainment and loaded with individual genius, the score see-sawed fantastically.’ Jimmy Greaves scored within a minute but Celtic were ahead by the 20th minute, goals which could be attributed to poor clearances from Pat Jennings. Alan Gilzean equalised before half-time and Greaves restored Spurs lead only for Celtic to again equalise following a mistake by Jennings who appeared to be under pressure from the change in the laws restricting the goalkeeper to four paces before clearing.



Watford 1 Spurs 1 (Pre-season Friendly) Since the announcement that Jurgen Klinsmann had joined the club, this match was eagerly awaited.  Klinsmann made his Spurs debut and Watford were the fortunate beneficiaries of media attention and clamour for tickets for what would otherwise have been another run of the mill pre-season friendly.  Jurgen Klinsmann didn’t score in the game but his contribution was sufficient to show that Spurs had signed an outstanding player.



West Ham United 1 Spurs 0 (Premiership) The earliest start to a football season as the European Championships were to be held in Belgium and Holland the following June. As always, Spurs started the season with injuries and the situation got worse with Campbell going off after fifteen minutes. After a poor first half they conceded a goal just on half-time. George Graham took off Ginola and replaced him with new signing Leonhardsen. An improved second half brought no reward and Spurs played the last twenty minutes with ten men when Edinburgh went off injured, all the substitutes having been used.  



Glentoran 3 Spurs 3 (Pre-season Friendly) The F.A.Cup winners brought the trophy to Belfast and received a great welcome.  Ardiles, Hoddle, Villa, Hoddle were all present in what was an entertaining game.  New signing Paul Price played in place of Paul Miller and Mark Falco replaced Garth Crooks. The local side gave a good account of themselves being one up at half time and Spurs had to work hard for the draw.  Hoddle equalised with a penalty, Mark Falco (called Faldo in a local newspaper report) put them ahead only for Glentoran to equalise.  Ardiles put Spurs ahead but with three minutes left the home side equalised.



Leeds United 3 Spurs 1 (League Division 1) This game marked the earliest start for the Football League season.  The season didn’t start auspiciously for Spurs with this defeat at Elland Road.  The World Cup was to be played in Mexico the following summer so football made its early start.  Martin Chivers returned to the team following the injury that had caused him to miss three quarters of the previous season but the Spurs goal was scored by Jimmy Greaves.



Arsenal 0 Spurs 0 F.A.Charity Shield (Wembley) The Champions against the Cup winners at the venue of the previous season’s amazing Cup semi-final.  Gazza was missing but Spurs used the same tactics that had been successful in the semi-final.  Lineker was the lone striker with five in midfield but the match failed to reach the level of the previous meeting.  This was the first time that the clubs had met in the Charity Shield and with no penalties to decide an outright winner, both clubs shared the trophy.



Ipswich Town 1 Spurs 5 F.A.Charity Shield (Portman Road) The defeats by Ipswich in both League meetings during the previous season had cost Spurs the opportunity of retaining the Championship and completing a second ‘Double.’. Managed by Alf Ramsay, Ipswich had played a system that had taken most teams by surprise but in this game Spurs had found the tactics to nullify the system and won with ease. The goals were scored by Greaves(2), Medwin, White and Smith.




Spurs 3 F.A.XI 2 F.A.Charity Shield (White Hart Lane) In 1961 as the ‘Double’ winners Spurs had no-one to play in this traditional curtain raiser to the season.  An F.A.XI provided the opposition and Spurs won with goals from Les Allen(2) and Smith.

Manchester United 3 Spurs 3 F.A.Charity Shield (Old Trafford) In 1967, this high scoring game is remembered for the identity of the scorer of Spurs second goal.  After two minutes Spurs took the lead when Jimmy Robertson scored from a Greaves cross.  Five minutes later, Pat Jennings played a long clearance up-field that bounced between Gilzean and United’s goalkeeper, Stepney, went over the keeper’s head and into the net.  United pulled both goals back by the twentieth minute but Spurs went ahead again through Frank Saul, early in the second half. With fifteen minutes left United equalised and the clubs shared the trophy.



Spurs 4 Burnley 0 After the opening day defeat at Leeds, Spurs gave a better performance in the Wednesday evening game at WHL against Burnley.  The goals were scored by Peter Collins, Jimmy Pearce, Jimmy Greaves and Martin Chivers.  The following Saturday they lost at home to Liverpool but the next Tuesday, in the return fixture at Turf Moor, defeated Burnley 2 – 0 with Collins and Pearce scoring again.  At that time Burnley were a hard working mid-table team with a talent for producing young players whom they later sold.  Spurs were to sign Ralph Coates in May, 1971 when Burnley’s time in the top division drew to a close with relegation to the 2nd Division.



Newcastle United 0 Spurs 1 Ossie Ardiles’ first game in control took him back to the newly promoted club where he had been manager for twelve months before being sacked.  He had the last laugh as Spurs won with a first half goal scored by Teddy Sheringham. After the problems of the summer, with the dismissal of Venables, the departure of Neil Ruddock and newspaper stories featuring the club, many fans were disillusioned so Ardiles needed to make a good start to the season. New signings, Calderwood and Dozzell made their debuts and the team responded with a good performance.




As part of their pre-season preparations in 1965 and 1966, Spurs took part in the Costa del Sol Trophy in Malaga. On both occasions they were victorious and the final game in both years was played on this date.  In 1965, they defeated Valencia 2-1 (Clayton & Jones) to reach the Final against Standard Liege which was won 1-0 with a goal from Alan Mullery.  

The following year they defeated Benfica 2-1 in the Final.  The goals were scored by Robertson & Greaves.  To reach the Final they had beaten Malaga CD 2-1 with Mullery & Gilzean the goal scorers.

The Costa del Sol Trophy was over four feet tall and valued then at £1,200 and on being asked to receive the trophy, Jimmy Greaves, as Captain, summoned up all the decorum his position had afforded him and retorted, ‘I’m not picking that ***** thing up – I’ll kill myself.’



Spurs 2 Nottingham Forest 0 (1st Division) The opening day of the season with the usual high expectations.  For the previous two seasons Spurs were short of a goal scorer but during the summer Keith Burkinshaw signed two players in an attempt to resolve this problem.  Steve Archibald was signed from Aberdeen and Garth Crooks came from Stoke City and a very successful partnership it was to prove, setting Spurs on the way to further success.  Both made their debuts in this game and Crooks scored the second goal, Hoddle having given Spurs the lead with a penalty.  Archibald scored in the next game, Crooks scored twice and another in his third game.  The team then hit a difficult spell not scoring for the next four games but they had shown their worth.



Blackburn Rovers 0 Spurs 2 A good opening to the Premiership season but at a high cost.  The good result and three points were overshadowed by the injury to Captain and inspiration, Gary Mabbutt.  After twenty minutes of the first half he broke his leg and was to be ruled out for the rest of the season.  At the time of the injury the game was scoreless.  However, thirteen minutes later Chris Armstrong gave Spurs the lead and then doubled the score mid-way through the second half. In spite of Mabbutt’s injury and the injury of his replacement within nine minutes, Spurs managed to re-organise themselves and deservedly won the three points.  



Spurs 0 Newcastle United 0 This match marks my first visit to White Hat Lane for a first team game.  Spurs had opened the season with a 2-2 draw at Wolves, coming from two down to earn a late point.  This game had little to commend it and the main point in the papers the next day was the crowd trouble behind the goals at the Park Lane end of the ground.  The match had to be stopped for several minutes while the trouble was sorted out.  The Newcastle goalkeeper was hit with a staple fired from a catapult, the referee appealed to the crowd to identify the culprits.  Spurs closed off this section of the ground for the next games.



Nottingham Forest 1 Spurs 1 Newly promoted Spurs had to play Champions Forest on the opening day.  The game marked the start of a new era, the League debuts of the Argentinean Internationals, Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa.  Demand for tickets was immense; Spurs had created an excitement that was unbelievable and the kick off had to be delayed to allow everyone into the ground.  Many people were waiting for them to fail, ‘they wouldn’t be able to adapt to English football’ being a familiar comment.  However, while it took time for them to establish themselves, Ricky Villa had the perfect start scoring late in the first half to equalise for Spurs and earn a deserved point.



Sheffield Wednesday 3 Spurs 4 What a debut for Jurgen Klinsmann! Fellow world cup star Dumitrescu also made his debut and just like sixteen years previously, the demand to see Spurs was incredible. Ardiles selected a team with with five attacking players, Klinsmann, Sheringham, Barmby, Anderton & Dumitrescu, suggesting excitement and no-one was disappointed.  Spurs went two ahead in the first half through Sheringham and Anderton.  Early in the second half Wednesday equalised before Spurs went ahead again with goals from Barmby and Klinsmann.  All Spurs fans had been waiting for this and he celebrated in style with a beautiful ‘dive’, noting the comments that had been made about him being a ‘diver’ in trying to win penalties.  Wednesday scored again and before the end Klinsmann was carried of the pitch on a stretcher suffering from a facial injury.



Liverpool 1 Spurs 0 F.A.Charity Shield at Wembley. Newly signed from Bristol Rovers, Gary Mabbutt made his debut in Spurs midfield.  Spurs were without influential players like Perryman and Roberts with Price also unavailable through injury. The game was a robust affair and many competitive tackles came in from both sides – this may have been something left over from the previous season’s Milk Cup Final when Liverpool set about unsettling Spurs early on in the game which left Galvin to play most of the game bearing the pains of some hefty tackles which greatly reduced his effectiveness.



Aston Villa 2 Spurs 2 F.A.Charity Shield at Wembley. Spurs gave a debut in goal to Ray Clemence in place of Cup winner Milija Aleksic.  Clemence had been signed from Liverpool for £300,000 to help strengthen the defence.  However, he had a poor debut with handling errors and his mistake brought about Villa’s first goal to give them the lead after thirty minutes.  He eventually went on to establish himself and prove his value to the club.  Spurs goals were scored by Mark Falco who was playing in place of the injured Garth Crooks.  The goals came either side of half time but Spurs only held the lead for a few minutes before Villa levelled the scores.  This was a game that Spurs could have won but both teams shared the trophy.



‘Party Poopers!’  Spurs 1 Aston Villa 4 An Argentinean style World Cup ticker tape welcome was prepared for the home debuts of Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa.  The ground was throbbing with excitement and anticipation but the wrong Villa made the headlines.  Aston Villa came to spoil the party and ruined Spurs and the Argentineans’ big night.  Spurs goal was scored by Glenn Hoddle from the penalty spot but it was inconsequential.  Spurs had come back down to earth with an almighty crash – they had discovered that life back in the First Division was going to be very difficult.



Spurs 2 Everton 1 The atmosphere was electric as 24,553 spectators packed into WHL for Jurgen Klinsmann’s home debut.  The reduced capacity was due to the ground redevelopment and Spurs could have filled the stadium twice over such was the demand for tickets. Jurgen, as in his debut didn’t fail to deliver.  The crowd had come to see him and within twenty two minutes he had put Spurs ahead with a spectacular volley.  Thirteen minutes later he had added a second.  On half time Spurs won a penalty and everyone in the ground was willing Klinsmann to take it.  Everyone, except Sheringham who elected to take it and ballooned it over the bar.  In the second half Everton scored and Spurs had to hang on to the end to achieve the win their play deserved. Klinsmann showed what he was capable of in his first two games but the difficulty of achieving a balance between defence and attack was to bring about Ardiles’ departure from WHL.



Spurs 3 Manchester City 1 The World Cup in Italy during the summer brought Paul Gascoigne to the attention of the world in general and the nation in particular.  His play had inspired the nation and he came home a hero.  The phenomenon known as Gazza had been born and so there was incredible media attention for this game as Lineker and Gascoigne appeared in the opening game of the season. Both played a major part in this victory as Gazza opened the scoring and Lineker scored the other two.



Spurs 4 Arsenal 3 (First Division) Spurs defence of the League Championship started with a win at Blackpool and a home draw against West Ham.  For the second consecutive game they were without Dave Mackay and John White both injured. The unexpected hero on this day was Terry Dyson who scored a hat-trick and remains the only Spurs player to score three against Arsenal.  Spurs took an early two goal lead through Allen and Dyson but then Arsenal struck back and were 3-2 ahead with about fifteen minutes remaining.  However, with seven minutes left Dyson scored twice inside two minutes for Spurs win and to put himself in the history records.



‘Game Off!’ While the rest of the football world got their season under way, Spurs had to call off their home game against Coventry City because they could not get a safety certificate.  Work on the redevelopment of the East Stand had been going on through the summer and although the work was not complete, they had been assured that they would pass the necessary safety regulations.  However, six hours before kick-off the safety authorities refused to issue the certificate.  The fans were very upset as they had been awaiting the home debut of the new summer signing, Paul Gascoigne.



Spurs 4 Bolton Wanderers 2 (1st Division) After winning promotion Spurs made a difficult start to life in the 1st Division.  They lost their first game at home to Blackpool by 4-1 but then won at Bolton (4-1) and drew at Arsenal (2-2).  They completed the ‘double’ over Bolton with goals from Len Duquemin(2), Eddie Baily and an own goal.  The results for the next few games were unconvincing until the ‘push and run’ team found its feet at the end of September when they commenced a run of eight successive victories.



‘The end of an era’  Following four defeats in the opening games of the season, Bill Nicholson announced his resignation as manager of Spurs, bringing to an end his association with the club that stretched back to 1936, as player, coach and manager.  Although the Board, players and fans tried to persuade him to stay he was not for turning.  The club’s greatest manager was leaving, citing the need for a rest from football.  He had found the circumstances of the UEFA Cup Final defeat the previous May difficult to accept and was finding it more difficult to relate to ‘modern’ players.  He remained in charge until a replacement was appointed but it was a great shock to everyone connected with the club.  Bill Nicholson’s name was synonymous with Tottenham Hotspur and he had known success as a player being a member of the ‘push and run’ team that won the 1st and 2nd Division Championships in successive seasons and as manager.  He managed the successful ‘Double’ team, F.A.Cup and League Cup winning teams as well as successful teams in Europe.  He set the standards for THFC and the club has been striving to achieve them ever since.  Many managers and teams have found him a hard act to follow.  It was a sad end to a glorious managerial career and unfortunately the Board chose to ignore his suggestions regarding his successor.



Coventry City 0 Spurs 2 (2nd Division) The first season after the War saw Spurs in the 2nd Division following relegation in the pre-war season and in unsatisfactory circumstances as the 1st Division had been increased by two teams but Spurs claim had been overlooked in favour of the North London interlopers who had finished fifth in the 2nd Division in 1915.  However, Spurs set about righting the situation on the field and defeated Coventry handsomely with goals from Arthur Grimsdell, Bert Bliss (2) and Jimmy Chipperfield (2).  They went on win twelve of the opening thirteen games and amassed 70 points, a record, and won the Division by six points.



Spurs 2 Southampton 1 Prior to this game Spurs announced the signing of the Republic of Ireland International forward, Robbie Keane from Leeds United.  The team then proceeded to gain the three points which took them to the top of the Premiership table, having won three and drawn one of their opening games.  Spurs took an early lead through Les Ferdinand and won with an injury time penalty scored coolly by Teddy Sheringham after the usual furore surrounding the dismissal of the Southampton defender.  As the game was followed by a break for International games, Spurs remained proudly at the top of the League for the next week and a half.  Unfortunately, it didn’t last and normal service was resumed very quickly.


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