Our latest meeting in competitive European action came only last season (2014/15) in the Round of 32 of the Europa League. Once again it was Fiorentina who provided the opposition. The first leg at White Hart Lane ended in a disappointing 1-1 draw. Soldado gave us an early lead but they equalized after 36 minutes (below). Chadli did hit the bar and we were left with a tough challenge in the second leg. In that game only a moment of brilliance would have put us through as our display had a number of errors and these led to both their goals and our exit. An interesting fact from this game was that neither side began with a player from their home country on the pitch and fifteen different nationalities were represented. That exit meant that in five European encounters Spurs have progressed on four occasions in addition to meeting them in group games twice and we moved forward both times.
Looking back at some more of the friendly meetings with Italian clubs over the years not mentioned the earlier Connections, AC Milan were the opponents when we met in Barcelona during the summer of 1986 in a pre-season tournament. Mark Falco and Gary Mabbutt were on target as we won 2-1. Two years later we met again this time at Wembley, this time they came out on top 1-2 in another warm up tournament. Terry Fenwick being our scorer in a 1-2 defeat.
2007 saw Torino visit White Hart Lane in August. Keane and Berbatov’s goals meant Tottenham won 2-0. Three years later Fiorentina were the visitors which brought a 3-2 win Keane again with two and Pavlyuchenko for Spurs.
With Italy being one of the top European nations there are a large number of connections to our players when they turn out for their own countries. Here are just a few of note, Bill Brown, made the last of his record breaking number of appearances for Scotland against Italy. There are no connections with the club during the 1934 World Cup held in that country. When it returned there in 1990 in addition to Gascoigne and Lineker mentioned in part 2 there were ex-Spurs players Chris Waddle, Steve Hodge and Des Walker with England. Chris Houghton was in the Republic of Ireland squad (1).
Other former and future players involved were Richard Gough and Gordon Durie (Scotland) Nico Classen (Belgium) Gheorghe Popescu and Illie Dumitrescu represented Rumania (2), Jurgen Klinsmann (Germany) Kasey Keller (USA) and Nicola Berti with the host nation.
The first ever meeting between Italy and England was in Rome, May 1933 and Spurs had George Hunt at center forward for the visitors. The third meeting in Milan, 1939, saw Willie Hall (3) of Spurs score in a 2-2 draw. The Italian’s view of how important it was to win at sport was clearly shown during the Flying Down to Rio series. On this occasion the match reports agree that the second Italian goal followed a handball. They claim that there was “vehement discussion” between the England players and Dr Bauwens (the German ref) who was described as being "pro-Mussolini."
When the two sides met at White Hart Lane on 30th November 1949 Alf Ramsey was in the England team that won 2-0. Ramsey played against them again in 1952 and would be manager when the teams met several times. Future Spur Jimmy Greaves scores the winning goal in Rome in 1961.
Ledley King won his first cap as a substitute in 2002. In 2012 we played them in a friendly in Switzerland and Jermain Defoe hit the winner in a 2-1 win. Kyle Walker also played that night and Jake Livermore won his only England cap from the bench. The last time the two countries met, back in Turin, was March 2015 and we had Harry Kane start and Walker, Townsend and Mason join him from the bench. It is Mason’s only cap to date.
The most recent connection with Italy was Franco Baldini who was the clubs Technical Director. He joined the club in July 2013 and stayed until September 2015. A former midfielder and Under 21 international he also previously spent four years as assistant manager to England.
A number of Tottenham players over the years have been connected to Italian clubs from Jurgen Klinsmann, Christian Zeige, Ramon Vega to Erik Lamela. A number of others have already been mentioned in this series. Here are a couple from a little further back you may not be aware of. One of the Stars of the 1901 FA Cup winning side John Kirwan was the first manager of Ajax in Holland before becoming coach to Italian club Livorno in 1923. A minor connection was Jessie Carver who played for Blackburn and Newcastle he later coached in Holland and Italy at a number of clubs including Roma, Inter Milan, Juventus(where as manager they won their first championship), and Lazio. He returned to England in the mid-1950’s and it has been reported he was offered the England job but turned it down as he was under contract elsewhere. He worked at Tottenham for a short period in the late 50’s before moving to a post in Portugal and later on to Greece.
The European Championship finals have twice been played out in Italy, 1968 and 1980. Both have had limited Tottenham interest. 1968 saw England have Alan Mullery (4) sent off V Yugoslavia. Cyril Knowles and Jimmy Greaves were also in the squad alongside future Tottenham player Martin Peters. The 1980 finals saw Glenn Hoddle in the England side with future Spur Ray Clemence whilst Johnny Metgod was in the Netherlands’ squad.
Our last meeting with Italian opposition arrived during the last summer, 2015, in another pre-season competition, this time in Germany. We came out on top as Chadli and Carroll were on target in a 2-0 victory in the game to decide third place in the game with AC Milan, see top image).
If you know of any other noteworthy connection’s not included in this series please let us know.
t- Keith 16024542
f- peter shearman (old non de plume)
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Notes -1- Flying Down to Rio Flight Nineteen.
2 – Connections – Rumania.
3 – Hotspur Towers – Willie Hall.
4 – Hotspur Tower – Alan Mullery
5 - Connections - Italy parts one and two.
Flying Down to Rio
History of T.H.F.C.
Tribute to Bill Nicholson
The Road to Turin
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The 100 Year War
Interview with Marina Sirtis
A Long Dark Shadow
By Royal Appointment
School Report: An Insight into the Younger Eric Dier
All Change At Spurs
History Of THFC: Part 1
Passage to India: Rohan Rickets
Thanks For The Memories
Our Tommy Carroll
The AVB Files: Part1
You The Jury
The Hand Of Hugo
Connection - Argentina
Creating a Reputation
Flying Down To Rio