In the season that Tottenham compete in the League Cup for the 50th time, although they first took part 51 years ago, we look back at a few of the memorable moments in that competition.
The 1990/91 season and it was back in the September they were drawn in the then two legged Second Round game with Hartlepool managed by Tottenham legend Cyril Knowles but it was Paul Gascoigne who put his stamp on the both legs in very different styles and also made his mark off the pitch.
The first game was at White Hart Lane. Visiting skipper Joe Allon remembers “Hartlepool traveled and visited the ground before the match. It was the first time many of them had been in a stadium of that size and as Cyril Knowles conducted his team around and in the trophy room he was telling them ‘see that lads, I won that’ We were like kids at Disneyland.” When the match arrived the Tottenham faithful gave Knowles a great welcome "Nice One Cyril" rang out from the PA system and the fans sung his name throughout the evening.
Little did anyone realize that he would die less than a year later at just 47 years of age.
Tottenham fielded a full strength side with Gary Lineker and Paul Gascoigne both heroes that summer in England’s World Cup exploits leading the way. Gary scored once whilst Paul netted four. Lineker having scored twice from the spot in the summer also saw a penalty saved that night. Afterwards Knowles said “The respect Tottenham and Terry Venables showed us is something I will always remember. For him to play Lineker, Mabbutt and Gazza and the rest of their first-team was something else. They had even tried to change the date of the game because their goalkeeper was supposed to be away on international duty!’’
Allon, had started with Gazza at Newcastle as nine year olds and both had been in their Youth Cup winning side and describing his old friend said ‘Gazza was irresistible. He was the best player in the world at the time in my opinion; he was the star of the World Cup. Gazza was unplayable and we chased him all night.’
Above - Gazza scores one of his goals having just slid through the pool defence.
He was in excellent form and the headlines the following morning were by the Daily Express with ‘ExtravaGazza.’ Even the Northern Echo was moved to say 'Paul Gascoigne demolished Hartlepool's dignified resistance with a World Cup class display of his mercurial talents in the Rumbelows Cup.'
Spurs had taken the lead in the second minture but the third didnt arive until the last quarter of an hour. Spurs boss Terry venables said after the game 'They held us well and played some good football until close to the end."
Allon recalls that wasn’t the end of the proceedings when their team arrived back at their hotel they found Gazza waiting for them with 17 pints of larger lined up on the bar. The proceedings went on to four in the morning with Paul as the host.
The second leg and Venables left Gascoigne and Lineker on the bench. Tottenham won again 2-1 with both goals coming from Paul Stewart, this time the papers led with ‘Sparkler Stewart.’ Tottenham set record receipts that night in the north east. In the second of the only two times the two clubs have met.
The highlight of the evening for many of the local fans was however during the second half when Gascoigne went for a warm up he had dozens of the local kids running up and down the track with him as he put them through a series of exercises.
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