Poland are another of the teams that will be at the European Championships this summer. Here we look back at some of the connections between that country and Tottenham. We have met Polish opposition twice in competitive action.
The first of course was in our first European Cup campaign in 1961/2 when we met Gornik. More recently we have been drawn against Wisla Krakow in 2008/09 in the UEFA Cup first round. We also meet the one Polish international has featured for Spurs as well as the other connections. Tottenham having won the League Cup the previous season had got off to a dreadful start to the new domestic season. The first leg of the UEFA tie was at home and saw us take a lead after half an hour when Lennon set up David Bentley. Before the fans were back in their seats the scores were level. They broke clear of the backs and Gomes in goal was chipped. Darren Bent who was our record signing got our winner after 73 minutes. A slender lead to take to Poland.
The Tottenham supporters were escorted to the ground by armed police carrying tear gas where they watched a game that was described in the British press as dreadful. Tottenham reflecting their domestic form looked uneasy and unlikely to hold on to the goal advantage. Frasier Campbell made his first start for Spurs. Then just before the hour it was Bale whose center didn’t look too dangerous until their goalie managed to help it into his own net. At 3-1 at last Tottenham looked like they might hold on. Then with just under ten minutes to play they pulled one back. The last few moments were nail biting and if it had not been for some fine work by Gomes in goal then we might have ended up in extra time. Tottenham held on to win 3-2 over the two legs. Juande Ramos declared ‘I think the team is playing OK.’ and ‘There was no euphoria it was just a case of getting the job done.’ He added ’We wanted a clean sheet but at this moment it is difficult, when you have problems to score then it is even more difficult.’ Later in his post match press conference he said he had things to say to the players not the press. The fans were not impressed and the Board would replace him a few weeks later after we lost our first group game.
The players celebrate the Polish own goal.
The only Polish international to have played for Tottenham was Grzegorz Rasiak (top). Signed as the transfer window was closing and as our top targets evaded us Rasiak joined us from Derby County in 2004. At the time he was described by his manager, Martin Jol as ‘a tall target man, a hard working, honest player with a good goal scoring record.’
He only managed 8 appearances for Spurs without scoring and never looked likely to. He was then loaned to Southampton and we then turned it into a permanent deal. While he was at Tottenham he won 6 of his 37 caps. He scored eight times for his country but not whilst he was on our books.
It was in November 1966 that a Polish Select XI (almost the national side) came to White Hart Lane. Jimmy Greaves and Cliff Jones scored the goals that night that ensured a 2-1 win in front of just thirteen thousand people.
We also fitted in a trip to play Legia Warsaw as part of the celebrations for their 50th anniversary on 3rd May 1966. We flew out to meet the army side and didn’t spoil the party as they won 2-0. Goals coming just either side of half time.
The first time we met Polish opposition was in our first ever European game, The match in Poland and the return as well as the build to our first European tie are both described in detail at http://www.indiaspurs.com/blog/hotspur-towers-25
Tottenham went 0-4 down in the first leg before pulling it back to 2-4. Then in a night that no body present will ever forget we won the second match 8-1.
England has been drawn against Poland more often in competition than any other country. In fact of their 19 meetings only the first two were friendly games and Poland have only won once. The most famous of these was the fourth meeting and would cost ex-Spur Alf Ramsey the England mangers job.
Drawn in the same World Cup qualifying group the teams had met in June 1973 in Chorzow. Martin Peters and Martin Chivers had both played in the 0-2 defeat. When they met again at Wembley in the October England needed to beat Poland to reach the World Cup finals.
England did everything but score. Their goalie, Jan Tomaszewski, managed to save everything, England had 36 shots, at one point even managed to deflect the ball with his behind. He said I did not save some of those shots they just hit me. His unorthodox antics that night earned him the title ‘a circus clown with gloves.‘ Then in the 74th minute they broke away and scored, dreadful errors by both Hunter and Shilton. England pulled it back a few minutes later from a penalty. Peters (captain on the night) being brought down in the area. He later admitted he went down rather easily. England tried but failed to get the winner and thus failed to reach the finals for the first time since they first entered in 1950. This just eight years after winning the trophy and for the first time. Chivers was withdrawn with five minutes to play in what would be his last appearance for the country. Ramsey would be sacked by the following summer.
The Spurs connections via England go back to the first meeting, in 1966, Alf Ramsey was the manager. The first player was in the second game the same year, Jimmy Greaves. England’s top scorer against them is Gary Lineker with six goals. This includes one in 1991 when he captained the England team, Gary Mabbutt was also playing that day. Linx also scored a hat trick when they met in the World Cup finals in 1986 but he was an Everton player at the time. Teddy Sheringham won his first cap in a meeting with Poland when the teams met in 1993. The return game that time around saw Gascoigne score and get booked. Glenn Hoddle has also managed England V Poland. Then in 1999 Tim Sherwood won his first international cap. Defoe notched a goal in 2004 with Paul Robinson and Ledley King playing. The last time they met was in 2013 and Andros Townsend featured.
This last connection is stretching it slightly, Jimmy Brown an inside forward who played only a handful of games for us in the 1936-37 season later managed a team called the Polish Falcons. This however is an American team based within the Polish community there.
If you are aware of any other links between the club and the country do let us know.
Don’t forget we have previously looked at some of the other countries that will be in the European Championships this summer. Italy, Russia, Rumania, Ukraine, Portugal, Albania and England.
t- Keith 16024542
f- peter shearman (old non de plume)
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