In 1979 Tottenham undertook an ambitious tour when they set out to circumnavigate the globe.
Along the way Keith Burkenshaw’s men who had finished in mid table would win a trophy whilst the team managed to run out of players before they ran out of games!
The first game coming just 48 hours after the domestic season ended on May 14th.
That first stop on that epic trip was in Kuwait. Our opponents that day were a Kuwait Army XI in a game watched by 4,000. Spurs won the match 2-1. Mark Falco and Ricki Villa scoring for Tottenham.
From there they flew to Kuala Lumpar for the next leg of the trip. On the 23rd they played a Malaysian Select XI. Mark Falco scooped up a hat trick, one of them from the spot and Colin Lee snapped the other as Spurs won 4-0. This time they attracted 30,000 to the game the largest gate of the tour.
Next up and the club got down to the ‘serious’ business of the trip. Four days later in Yokohama they opened their campaign for the Japan Cup. First up we met Indonesia and ran out 6-0 winners. Lee and Villa grabbed two each while Don McAllister and Tony Galvin finished with one each.
left - programme for the tournament.
From there the team moved to Tokyo and played Japan A two days later. Ossie Ardiles and Chris Jones were on target as we won 2-0. Another move and on to Nishigaoka and on the 31st we played the Italian club Fiorentina. Our side went into the game requiring a point to top Group A. For much of the game we trailed but a Colin Lee goal in the closing moments ensured a 1-1 draw and both sides progressed to the semi finals.
This meant a return to Tokyo and on June 2nd we met San Lorenzo from Buenos Aires in the Argentine.
The match finished 3-3 our goals coming from Lee, Galvin and John Pratt. The penalty shootout that followed saw us come out victorious 5-2.
In the other semi Dundee United beat the Italians also in a shootout.
All three photos from the final thanks To my Scottish friends.
The final was also in Tokyo and two days later we met the Scottish side. Tottenham won the trophy 2-0 with goals coming from Gordon Smith and Ardiles.
The attendance for the final was 14,000 and for all our other games it is given as 12,000 expect the opener with Indonesia which is recorded at only 2,000.
left - Ticket for one of the Spurs games, sorry cant tell you which one.
The Spurs team then continued eastwards across the Pacific to the next stop which was Bermuda. Where in Hamilton on June 6th we played a Bermuda Select XI. In this game Tottenham found that due to a combination of injuries and players have other previous commitments the club could only raise nine players for the game and two of them were keepers!
Barry Daines was in goal so the other goalie in the party Milija Aleksic found himself pressed into playing in midfield.
Spurs made up the numbers by playing Mike Varney the team phsyio and the club’s secretary Peter Day.
None of the emergency players managed to play the whole game and were replaced by substitutes borrowed from the hosts.
Colin Lee and Chris Jones both scored and the other goal in our 3-1 win was scored by one of the borrowed players, a chap called Marshall, although one source claims a different name.
One suspects whichever, claiming he once scored for Tottenham Hotspur was a highlight of his career.
From there the team finally returned home, unbeaten. The Japan Cup is still on display at White Hart Lane. The following summer the club settled for two games in three days in Austria. Ossie Ardiles and Steve Perryman who toured that summer would both later manage in Japan. While both Gordon Smith and our other meetings with Dundee United are remembered in the Connections – Scotland series.
I hope you enjoy this series which was originally planned for last summer, to see how the tours have changed over the years please visit - Hotspur Towers – Russia 1959 and watch out for the next in the short series.
t- Keith 16024542
f- peter shearman (old non de plume)
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Thanks – THFC, Dundee United, Bob Goodwin.
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