In this part of our look at the links between the club and France. There is the international player who went on strike, a friendly played in secret, another European encounter and some more links at international level. As well as a couple of mysteries to solve.
Our second meeting with Olympique Lyonnais in Europe came in 2012-13, when we met in the Europa League at the round of 32 stage. It was Gareth Bale with two of his free kick specials that led to both our goals as we won the first leg at
Gareth had missed an earlier chance to give us the lead after half an hour but his first dead ball scorcher arrived just before the break. The French side leveled ten minutes in the second half and it looked like it was going to end all square when Bale popped up in the dying moments for his second and a slim lead for the second leg.
The return saw them score after quarter of an hour, Holtby hit the post and their away goal hung over Tottenham’s head as Friedel made a couple of excellent saves. Spurs had pressed hard throughout the second half and finally saw Mousa Dembele score with a low drive in the last minute to sent the team through.
Top - Bale scores.
Left - Arron Lennon in action the same game.
A familiar face in their side was former Spur Steed Malbranque who received a warm welcome home. Steed (below) came through the Lyon academy and turned down a chance to sign for Arsenal before moving to Fulham. He later joined Tottenham in 2006. Making his debut in November and scoring his first of six goals (in 62 games) the following month. One of those goals was Tottenham’s 150th in European competition. He later moved to Sunderland.
He was actually born in Belgium (3) but played for the French Under 21 side and reached the final of the Under 21 European Championships. He was selected for the full French squad but was never but hasn't won a full cap. (4).
An unusual game was played out on 31st October 1989. When Tottenham played Caen in Northern France for a friendly game. Spurs won 2-1 with goals form Paul Stewart and David Howells. What made the game unusual was the secrecy around the game, in fact it still doesn’t appear on a number of databases.
What might at first appear a pointless mid-week friendly, we had played Liverpool away two days before and were away at Southampton on the fourth, had deeper meaning.
At that time the FA and UEFA were discussing the return of English sides to European competition following the ban following the Heysel riot in 1985. This game and similar friendlies were part of the process. Thus fans were kept in the dark about the game, (you may wonder what the authorities hoped to learn if the fans were not in attendance), and very few actually traveled. The players were not even sure where they were going until the plane took off. Secrecy was maintained at the French end of the arrangement and very few ‘home’ fans turned up for the game that was actually played in Cherbourg (8).
Some other French clubs we have met in non-competitive games are Lille Olympic in August 1954, a 1-1 draw away with Duquemin again scoring. We didn’t met another French side until September 1975, again a 1-1 game away with Le Stade Rennais. August 1984 saw us visit OGC Nice and another draw, 2-2, both goals coming from center back Paul Miller. Bordeaux visited the Lane I March 1989 and they went home with a 1-2 win.
In part one we looked at some of the connections via the England side, here are some of the earlier ones which have strange twists to them. In the first ever meeting between the two countries in May 1923 the English side had Frank Hartley in the team (5).
Alongside him was Frank Osbourne then at Fulham but would later joined Spurs. England won 4-1.
The French goalkeeper that day was Pierre Chayrigues, (left) who like Hartley is the subject of a Tottenham Mystery, (6).
Pierre actually played in the first three games between the two countries and thus like Lloris has played in that fixture three times.
William Gallas, arrived at Tottenham in 2010 having previously played for both Chelsea and Arsenal (7). Despite the reservations of some fans manager Harry Redknapp described the signing as ‘a no brainer.’ Later with King and Dawson injured he captained Spurs, the first time back at Arsenal when we won 3-2. His only goal for Spurs came against his other old club, Chelsea.
Gallas (right) left the club in 2013 having played 61 times and joined Perth Glory in Australia.
He made 84 appearances for his country, none while at Tottenham but will be remembered for being one of the French side that went on strike during the 2010 World Cup.
To finish on a little known connection, during World War 2 Sonny Williams played for the British Army against their French counterparts.
In part three - The European game where they played with twelve men, The French national side comes to White Hart Lane. We look at some more Frenchmen who won their Spurs both past and Present.
t- Keith 16024542
f- peter shearman (old non de plume)
You can my full archive at - View Full Bio
Notes - 3 - Steed isn’t the only Spurs play born in Belgium to play for another country, see Connections- Belgium part two.
4 - There are contradictory stories about Steed, some claim he asked Belgium to be considered for their side but they didn’t select him whilst others claim the country approached him and he turned them down. I would lean towards the first version but…
5 - see- Tottenham Mysteries - The Missing International
6 - see - Tottenham Mysteries - The Invisible Goalkeeper.
7 - This meant he was the first player ever to play for the three clubs. He nearly missed this distinction as Clive Allen played for Tottenham and Chelsea and had signed for Arsenal but never played a first team game for them.
8 - I was told about this game at the time and it was mentioned in the press after the game. The only evidence I could find was a reference from the Spurs Historian Graham Betts in his book ‘Day to Day‘ and in a club programme.
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