Sunday Tribune

Spurs bid farewell to ‘Memory Lane’


AFTER 118 years, 2,532 games and 8,059 goals, Spurs play at White Hart Lane for the last time tomorrow. Here, club legends take you down... Keith Burkinshaw, manager 1978-1984 (FA Cup 1981, 1982; Uefa Cup 1984)

My favourite game was the European night against Feyenoord when Johan Cruyff played for them. Cruyff had been in the press and sneered about our players, and especially Glenn Hoddle, saying they would show us how football should be played.

My players rose to it and were 4-0 up at half-time. Glenn was fantastic. It had got his back up and he showed everybody what a player he was. Technicall­y he was the best I came across. England never got the best out of him.

I remember a phone call from Sheffield United manager Harry Haslam, who said: ‘Keith, I’m going to Argentina at the weekend and I know for a fact Ossie Ardiles is available.’ I thought he was taking the p***. Ardiles had just been voted the best player at the ‘78 World Cup.

But I thought about it and decided to go with him. When I called back he said Terry Neill, the Arsenal manager, was talking about going but I later learned the Arsenal directors told him they didn’t want to sign a player from Argentina.

We were met at the airport by Antonio Rattin, who was sent off against England in 1966, and he was the nicest bloke you’d want to meet. He introduced us to Ossie and his wife on the Saturday and we agreed to sign him on the Sunday.

Ossie said: ‘Would you like to sign my friend Ricky Villa?’ So we signed him the following day. The pair cost about £640 000. They turned out to be pretty good value.

The Uefa Cup final against Anderlecht in 1984 was a night of mixed emotions because I knew I was leaving. There’s a bit of sadness. I believed if I’d stayed we would have won more trophies.

We’d been close to a lot in 1982. Liverpool dominated at the time. We lost to them in the League Cup final and to Barcelona in the semi-final of the European Cup-winners’ Cup but won the FA Cup. We finished that season having to play eight games in 16 days.

What always made White Hart Lane special was the spectators. They were the best. They liked to see football the way I liked it to be played – the way Bill Nicholson played it – the push-and-run style. Tottenham was steeped in this. Jimmy Greaves, striker 1961-1970 (FA Cup 1962, 1967; Cup Winners’ Cup 1963)

Jimmy’s son Danny said: Speaking to Dad over the years, the overwhelmi­ng fact was that he felt privileged to play for Tottenham at White Hart Lane in the 60s when they were, along with Manchester United, one of the best two teams in the country.

He used to say how he’d be on the pitch when they announced the attendance and look at Bobby Smith or Alan Gilzean and laugh and say, “Oh yeah?”, because they knew there were probably 5 000-10 000 more.

I can remember sitting on a wooden bench as a young lad watching him play and then going into the changing-room after the game, drinking Lucozade and kicking a ball around in the car park while I waited for Dad. You never realised the magnitude at the time.

People wanted to watch Tottenham in that era. I know a lot came to watch him. He scored a hat-trick on his debut against Blackpool which set them off on this journey together. He always had a bond with the fans.

There were some great European nights and that iconic goal against Manchester United where he runs past the whole team and scores. That was probably the pinnacle.

He always said that goal was special because players like Bobby Charlton and George Best were on the same pitch.

When I speak to his old teammates they always compare him to Lionel Messi and you could have seen Messi scoring that goal. They say Dad never realised how good he was. If he had, he wouldn’t have been the person he is. For him, it was fun.

Tottenham have done their utmost to get him there for the last game and he would have loved to be there but it just isn’t possible in his condition. Going back to the Lane recently meant a lot to him. There was a tear in his eye to be in a place where there were so many memories. Gary Mabbutt, defender 1982-1998 (Uefa Cup 1984; FA Cup 1991)

My first game was 1982 against Luton Town. I’d been bought from Bristol Rovers and Tottenham were used to big-name players with internatio­nal quality. The fans had never heard of me. I’d cost next to nothing.

Five minutes in and Glenn Hoddle puts a free-kick right on my head and I scored. The fans warmed to me and my relationsh­ip with them from that day has been fantastic.

Leading out the team as captain for 11 years, the first out of the tunnel into the wall of noise. That was always a very special feeling.

Winning the Uefa Cup in 1984 was very special. We played Feyenoord on the way to the final. I was told to manmark Johan Cruyff. When I was a boy I had two pet tortoises, Pele and Cruyff. He was at the end of his career but he was still a little bit quicker than my tortoise. Clive Allen, striker 1984-1988 (Scored 49 goals in the 1986-87 season)

MY Dad played for Tottenham’s Double winners and he’d take me to the ground and show me round. I grew up listening to his stories. How Bill Nick was tough and would demand the best. Dave Mackay, the best he played with. Jimmy Greaves, who came and took Dad’s place, the greatest goalscorer.

They would lock the gates an hour before kick-off with 60 000 already inside. When I signed in 1984 it felt like home. It was a proud moment. I have great memories of 1986-87 when I scored 49 goals. We had a good team, played exciting football and went close on three fronts.

Returning as a coach, I had three years with the reserves and three with Harry Redknapp in the first team. They were good times. None more so than the Champions League campaign. That night against Inter Milan was the best atmosphere I’ve ever known at the Lane. Gareth Bale had announced himself in the San Siro and followed it with another spectacula­r performanc­e. It was just electric. – Daily Mail

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 ??  ?? White Hart Lane, home to Tottenham Hotspur for 118 years.
White Hart Lane, home to Tottenham Hotspur for 118 years.

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