With Tottenham playing Anderlecht this week the story of the 1984 UEFA Cup Final will be told many times. I thought you might like to look back at one of the heroes from that night.
Our right back Danny Thomas. Danny joined Tottenham from Coventry City in 1983 after making nearly a hundred appearances for the club he joined as a ten year old. He had made his first team debut for the sky blues against Spurs in 1979.
At Coventry he was their player of the year (1981) and he was voted into the PFA Division One Team (1982/3). Danny started out as a midfielder but later moved to full back, able to play on both flanks but more regularly on the right. Where he developed a good partnership with Chris Houghton on the left.
He become known as a tough tackling defender with good timing, described a tigerish. He processed an accurate pass and enjoyed getting forward and supporting the forwards. He had good pace and would overlap down the wing and center the ball but was always willing to take on the shot.
Danny played a total of 87 league games for Spurs, scoring one goal, that coming in a 1-1 draw at Oxford at the start of the 85/86 season. He also played four FA Cup games, thirteen in the League Cup and twelve in Europe.
His pleasant personality off the pitch and his hard work on it made him a firm favourite with the fans.
He missed parts of his first season at Spurs, 1983/4, through injury but was back in time to play in the UEFA Cup final. When the final went to a penalty shootout Tony Parks saved one kick and Danny stepped knowing his kick could win Tottenham the trophy. His shot was saved.
As his sad figure walked slowly back to the center circle (one of the few times he was seen without a smile) the White Hart Lane fans responded by chanting ‘There’s only Danny Thomas.’
Tottenham would win the shootout and the trophy.
Left - Danny in his Coventry days tangles with Chris Houghton.
There is a picture of Danny's penalty in "Every Picture tells a Story."
In March 1987 at home to QPR he was tackled. A tackle that was late, harsh and sent a shiver through the fans that saw it. Danny never recovered from the injury he received and he was forced to retire. Tottenham and England were robbed of a player that had a promising career ahead of him.
He won two England caps whilst he was at Coventry. They both came on the tour to Australia in 1983. The first was a 0-0 draw at Sydney Cricket ground. The second cap arrived a week later when he was a half time substitute in another draw. He also won 7 under 21 caps, two of them at Tottenham in 1984.
Danny is one of only ten players, and the only Englishman, to have won the European under 21 championships twice.
After being forced to retire at 26 years of age Tottenham staged an all star testimonial game for him. Danny then completed first a degree and then his Masters in Physiotherapy. Ossie Ardiles took him on as part of the physio team when he was manager at West Bromwich. Danny later set up his own practice.
t- Keith 16024542
f- peter shearman (old non de plume)
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