Spurs great Mab­butt re­calls derby day fury

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

LONDON:

It is al­most 20 years since Gary Mab­butt played in a North London derby, but the for­mer Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur cap­tain’s feel­ings about the ri­valry burn as in­tensely as ever.

“When the fix­tures came out, you al­ways looked to see when the games were,” Mab­butt told AFP this week, ahead of Tot­ten­ham’s trip to Ar­se­nal in the Pre­mier League to­mor­row.

“I loved play­ing against Ar­se­nal. It was ex­cit­ing, it was ex­hil­a­rat­ing and it was a game you just had to win. “No mat­ter what hap­pened through­out the rest of the sea­son-if the team were do­ing ter­ri­bly, but you beat Ar­se­nal, the fans would for­give you.

“Lots of fam­i­lies are split, lots of work­places. A lot of my friends are Ar­se­nal sup­port­ers, so there was al­ways a lot of ban­ter sur­round­ing the games. “I’ve got friends who are Tot­ten­ham fans who refuse to have any­thing red in their house. They refuse to have a red car or let their wives wear a red dress.”

Mab­butt was born in Au­gust 1961, three months af­ter Tot­ten­ham’s fa­bled First Divi­sion and FA Cup Dou­ble, and joined the club from his home-town team Bris­tol Rovers in Au­gust 1982.

He would go on to make 619 ap­pear­ances for Spurs across a 16-year White Hart Lane ca­reer, spend­ing 11 years as cap­tain and tast­ing glory in the 1984 UEFA Cup and 1991 FA Cup.

Peer­ing through the coach win­dow en route to High­bury for his first derby, a 2-0 de­feat in De­cem­ber 1982, Mab­butt was taken aback by the “hos­tile” re­cep­tion from goad­ing home fans.

His sec­ond derby proved more plea­sur­able, Spurs romp­ing to a 5-0 win, but a 21-year-old Mab­butt spent the hours be­fore­hand fret­ting about the sud­den dis­ap­pear­ance of the Afghan hound he owned with his girl­friend. “Lit­er­ally about five min­utes before kick-off, my girl­friend calls: she’d found the dog,” Mab­butt re­calls. “I went out and we beat them 5-0, so it was a fan­tas­tic day.”

Signed as a cen­tral mid­fielder, Mab­butt be­came a cen­tre-back of suf­fi­cient ac­com­plish­ment that he won 16 Eng­land caps, scor­ing once.— AFP

LONDON: For­mer Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur player Gary Mab­butt gives an in­ter­view to an AFP jour­nal­ist out­side Wem­b­ley Sta­dium ahead of Tot­ten­ham’s Cham­pi­ons League match against Bayer Lev­erkusen in London. — AFP

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