As the club play host again to Anderlecht in European competition the story of the 1984 victory will be retold many times during the week. We take this opportunity to look at one of the great heroes of that victory. Over the years Tottenham has had many legends who have written their names in to the Club’s folklore. The majority of these legends have come after long distinguished careers.
A few manage to inscribe themselves into history with a single act. Tony Parks is certainly one of that small band. His glorious night came on the 23rd May 1984.
Tony was born in Hackney and joined Tottenham as an apprentice in 1979 having been a schoolboy at QPR and played for London Schools. He turned professional in 1980 with his first team debut arriving V West Ham in 1982. Thought slightly short to become a top keeper at 5’10’’ he was understudy to Ray Clemence for most of his career at Spurs. In that season of 1983/84 he stepped up when Clemence was injured and held on to his place when Clemence recovered as Tottenham moved closer to winning the UEFA Cup and their eventually triumph.
Tony would join Brentford where Steve Perryman was manager at the start of the 1988/89 season. In total he played for fifteen clubs and was with Falkirk in Scotland when they won the B&Q Cup in 1994.
After retiring he was caretaker manager at Halifax Town and worked as a goalkeeping coach with the FA working with the England Youth teams. In 2009 he returned to Spurs in that role. He is currently on the staff at Aston Villa.
n total he played 49 first team games for Tottenham (1). 37 in the League, 5 in the FA Cup. One in the League Cup and six in Europe. The first of those European games was when he replaced Clemence in the European Cup Winners Cup as a substitute V Coleraine the season before.
In 1983/84 he played in the first leg of the Fourth Round at home to FK Austria Vienna. Then both legs of the Semi-Final V Hadjuk Split and the Final.
On that faithful night in1984 he saved Anderlecht’s first kick to give Tottenham a great advantage. When Danny Thomas (2) missed what would have been trophy winning kick the pressure only mounted on the then 21 year old. However he threw himself to his right and finger tipped the ball away for Tottenham to win the trophy and earn his legendary status. After the kick was pushed to safety at the Paxton Road end the crowd went wild and Tony set off on a one man charge of honour around the pitch finally being caught by his teammates.
In what must be one of the most nail biting nights of my life Tony and the other players that night brought the UEFA Cup to White Hart Lane. Even recently watching the game again 30 years later I found myself sitting on the edge on my seat. There is another shot of Tony that night in the Every Picture Tells A Story series.
t- Keith 16024542
f- peter shearman (old non de plume)
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Notes - 1- Again various sources give varying figures, these are from historian Bob Goodwin.
2 - Hotspur Towers- Danny Thomas
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