Connections - Spain 4
With Tottenham due to play one of the most famous Spanish sides this week in America we take a look back at our previous connections.
One memorable encounter in European action as well as when we met at Wembley Stadium.
When we met in the semi-final of the European Cup Winners Cup in April 1982 it was not the Barcelona we know these days famed for their football this was an era when they were known for their more robust approach to the contest.
The final of the competition that year was to be played at the Nou camp stadium and they intended to be there. The first leg in North London came just a few days after Spurs had won the FA Cup semi-final and booked their return to Wembley.
The Dutch ref seemed to take a very relaxed approach to the Spanish side’s approach of taking out the Tottenham players at just about every opportunity as they stopped Spurs playing by either sly means or plain blatant thumping. At one point reports claim a policeman intervened when a fight between players broke out. Finally they had a man sent off after an hour but it was them that took the lead with a long range shot and Ray Clemance made a rare error letting the ball in. With just over five minutes left a Hoddle free kick was met by Graham Roberts who side footed the ball to pull us level on the night. The Tottenham crowd made in clear what they thought but the Spanish side had got the result and away goal they wanted.
Left - Roberts scores 1982.
Steve Perryman said that the ref had told both sides to claim down at half time, the Spanish however seemed to carry on in the same manner. Paul Miller later echoed Perryman’s comments both suggesting that despite being the better side they had lost due to their being naive and allowing themselves to be sucked into the mayhem.
One headline the following morning ran Roberts hits back in bloodbath. Manager Keith Burkenshaw said if his side played like that in the second leg there would be a riot and added we heard they were a good technical side, but it never showed.
Tottenham were struggling with a backlog of fixtures due to the weather and still being in three cup competitions, two weeks later went to Barcelona who had a similar approach to the proceedings and when they took the lead just after half time they sat back and defended. The Tottenham players couldn’t find the guile needed to breakthrough and went out of the competition with Keith Burkenshaw saying how proud he was of his team. There was even a floodlight failure during the game as nothing seemed to go Tottenham’s way.
In July 2009 nearly sixty thousand saw the two sides met at Wembley in a 1-1 preseason draw as part of the Wembley Cup. The Spanish side played well and took a half time lead. Jake Livermore headed our goal seven minutes from time after coming on as a substitute a few minutes earlier.
Left - Modric in the Wembley game
After the game in an interview he was asked what it felt like to score against the best team in the world to which he replied I was playing for the best team in the world.
Prior to that meeting we had traveled to Barcelona in August 1986 where we played Dutch side PSV Einhoven and drawn 1-1 (Falco) in the Juan Gamper Tournament. The following day we played Italian side AC Milan and beat them 2-1 (Falco and Mabbutt).
We have returned to the venue several times in recent years when Tottenham have had a mid-season training break in the city.
Right - During the 2018 trip.
The rest of this series and other Connections can be found @
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