The opening day of the new season approaches and every fan wonders if this season might be ‘ their season.’ Everyone starts level and there is everything to play for. Few of us will need reminding of last season’s opener and in the dying moments our right back is in a one on one with West Ham’s goalie and he rounds him like a top class forward to give us the win. While we wait to see this year’s drama unfold here are a few from yesteryear. Dates are given as the August they fall in and not the season ending date.
August 1993 sees Ossie Ardiles take his Spurs side to Newcastle who had previously sacked him as manager. Ossie’s teams win 1-0 with a Teddy Sheringham goal. Two strikers to make their debut on the same day were Garth Crooks and Steve Archibald. The game at home to Forest in 1980 is a 2-0 victory with Crooks netting. A Hoddle penalty is our other goal at the start of our Cup wining season.
There are mixed feelings after the 1996 opener at Blackburn. Two goals from Chris Armstrong give us the points but Gary Mabbutt leaves the field with a broken leg and doesn’t play again that season. The start of the 1990-91 season sees World Cup heroes Gary Lineker and Paul Gacoigne return to club duty as we beat Manchester City 3-1 at home. Gary gets two goals and Gazza the other.
You won’t remember some opening day games as they simply did not happened. 2011 and following civil unrest in the week before the game V Everton is called off. Back in 1988 our game V Coventry is called off on the morning of the game when safety inspectors refuse to issue a safety certificate for the new East Stand. Leaving Coventry a long trip and the club embarrassed and out of pocket. Before that in 1965 and our opening game is postponed when we are due to travel to Blackburn but there is an outbreak of polio in the town.
1925- 26 kicks-off with a change to the offside law. Now the numbers of defenders between you and the goal is reduced from three to two. Tottenham start that season with a trip to Arsenal and return with a 1-0 win. Jimmy Dimmock getting the only goal.
A few years earlier in and 1919 saw us recommence league football after World War 1 with a 5-0 win away at Coventry. Bliss and Chipperfield getting two each and Grimsdell are on target as we start our Championship winning season. We start again after World War 2, also in Division 2. This time however we lose 1-2 at home to Birmingham, Foreman gets our goal. We will finish the season 6th.
Above right, Dave Mackay flies in to congratulate Alan Mullery (no4) on scoring the first goal of the season, August 1966.
One day we would like to forget was when Tottenham fans suffer a nightmare in August 1999 as George Graham’s side lose to West Ham 0-1. Center Half Sol Campbell goes off after half an hour, then near the end Justin Edinburgh also departs. As we had used our substitutes at that point we end with just ten men.
The Double season started with a 2-0 win over Everton, Cliff Jones and Bobby Smith both hit goals in the last few minutes. Our other Championship winning team, having won the Second Division the year before, started in a less impressive manner in 1951 as they lose 1-4 at home to Blackpool. Eddie Baily scoring for us.
Our first game in the newly Premiership is an uninspiring 0-0 away to Southampton in August 1992. Whilst the first opening fixture in the current century is a 3-1 win at Ipswich. Anderton, Carr and Ferdinard are our marksmen.
August 1966 and launch our cup winning season by beating Leeds at home 3-1. Alan Mullery gets the first, Greaves and Gilzean adding the others. The following season and we start at Leicester winning 3-2. All our goals come from headers. The first two from defenders Joe Kinnear and Mike England. The third is from our FA Cup hero om the previous season Frank Saul.
Left - How the Daily Express welcomed the new season. With the players entering with their new season halos. Whilst the ref wonders how look it will be before they are in his book.
One striker who enjoyed opening day was Ted Harper he hits the first four and the seventh as we beat Reading at home 7-1 in 1930. This is the first time a Spurs player hits five in a league game. Incidentally we won the next game 8-1 at home to Burnley two days later and finish 3th in the league. Another striker who starts with a flyer was Clive Allen as he hits a hat trick in 1986 on our way to a 3-0 win at Villa. Unbelievably that wasn’t the first hat trick of the season as he is beaten by just a few minutes. Clive was also in the headlines in 1984 as we stun the European Cup Winners Cup holders, Everton. We go there and win 4-1 after falling behind. Clive hits two and that day and fellow debutant John Chiedozie one. Mark Falco also scores.
The home game in 1971 V Wolves sees us losing 0-2 with ten minutes to play. When their goalie, Phil Parkes, drops the ball and Martin Chivers fires home. Then with just a few minutes on the clock Alan Gilzean heads home to earn a point. Wolves of course provided us with the first ever opening day opponents in the Football League.
Opening day also sees a number of players making their debuts. Next time we look at some of the more memorable debuts by Spurs players.
t- Keith 16024542
f- peter shearman (old non de plume)
Thanks – Bob Goodwin, THFC
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