Consent Preferences Spurs Odyssey - On this Matchday, 4th April 1983 - Spurs 5 Arsenal 0
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On this matchday - 4th April, 1983

This historic match report was written by, and from the archives of the late Brian Judson.

Monday, April 4th, 1983
Football League Division One

Scorers:- Hughton, 10, 18 Falco, 13, 53 Brazil, 66

Tottenham Hotspur : Clemence; O'Reilly, Miller, Roberts, Hughton; Archibald, Mabbutt, Gibson, Galvin; Falco, Brazil. (Hazard was substitute but not used).

Arsenal : Wood; Robson, Whyte (sub Petrovic, 45), O'Leary, Sansom; P. Davis, Nicholas, Talbot, Rix; Sunderland, Woodcock.

Referee : Mr A Robinson (Hampshire).

"GLORY! GLORY! HALLELUJAH! GLORY! GLORY! HALLELUJAH! GLORY! GLORY! HALLELUJAH! AND THE SPURS GO MARCHING ON!" echoed to the rafters as the final whistle end a rout of Spurs' deadliest local rivals, Arsenal. Not since season 1911-12, when Arsenal were still based at Woolwich, have Spurs thrashed their rivals in such decisive fashion. As the crowd left the ground, the Spurs fans wore the broadest of smiles whilst the Arsenal fans hid their scarves and slunk away meekly.

The morning papers carried the story that Spurs were heavily fining Tony Galvin for being sent off at Brighton at a time Spurs looked like winning the match. Keith Burkinshaw had commented after the match, "We were in the driving seat with 11 against 10. Then you get a stupid, immature fellow like Tony Galvin getting himself sent off as well. Immediately Brighton go and score twice. I'm not saying it was his fault that they got two goals but it must have helped us to have had 11 against 10."

To be fair, Burkinshaw added that he felt the referee had been a little harsh in sending Galvin off when put alongside the very crude tackle by Ramsey on Falco. Spurs had gone ahead in the 23rd minute when Roberts, captain in the enforced absence through suspension of Perryman, had scored and would have won by a decisive margin had their shooting been much steadier. After Galvin's dismissal, Brighton had equalised from a free-kick. From Stevens' well-taken kick, Gatting played a one-two with Smith and fired the ball behind Clemence. A minute late, Gatting's header was blocked on the line and Ryan fired home the winner. Jimmy Melia conceded Brighton had been very lucky to win as he said they had played far better in other games without winning anything.

Over 43,000 packed into White Hart Lane for the game against Arsenal. At 43,642 spectators, it was, in fact, Spurs' highest home gate of the season. Inevitably there was trouble before the game when some juvenile fans began fighting on the Edmonton end of the Shelf. Some of the crowd spilled over on to the pitch as the police began escorting Arsenal fans to the Park Lane terraces but the trouble was under control before the teams came out.

Despite their 2-1 defeat at Brighton, Spurs retained the same eleven, with the sole change of recalling the more reliable Paul Miller in place of John Lacy to partner Graham Roberts. This meant that both Archibald and Gibson continued in midfield. In the stands sat Garth Crooks, John Pratt, Pat Jennings, Glenn Hoddle, a wealth of Tottenham talent. Pat Jennings is one of the few Spurs players to have left the club who invariably gets a warm welcome on his return to Tottenham, despite the fact he plays for Arsenal.

Arsenal's form had fluctuated in the previous weeks. Some of this can be attributed to their injury problems but some of it could probably be blamed on the players thinking of winning through to another Wembley final. David O'Leary had missed quite a few games with a persistent ankle injury and needed to come through this game if he was to have any realistic chance of playing in the Semi-Final against Manchester United. Pat Jennings has also had injury problems - it had been his worst season for injuries in his 20-year Football League career. Robson, who was left out of the team to play Southampton to ensure he played against Manchester United, was recalled to the team. Wood continued in goal despite the fact he was not popular with the Arsenal fans.

Tottenham began the match defending the Park Lane end and promptly grabbed the initiative, which they never lost. Arsenal were clearly thinking of avoiding injury and did not appear to have any stomach for the game. In vain did Don Howe and Terry Neill bob up and down in the first twenty minutes trying to get the team to fight but after that it was all over.

Wood was to blame for the first goal. Hughton galloped down the wing, laid the ball off to Brazil, who pushed the ball on to Archibald. Archibald pushed the ball on to Hughton, whose shot was mis-kicked and trickled past the virtually motionless Wood. As the Spurs fans began their celebrations, Wood, O'Leary, Robson and Sansom were clearly seen arguing whose fault it was.

In the 13th minute every Spurs fan regretted the absence of the television cameras for this would have been *the* goal of the season had it been televised. Clemence threw the ball out to the hovering Gibson on the right wing. Gibson tore the length of the right wing, easily eluding the clumsy tackle of Arsenal's Robson. On the edge of the Arsenal penalty area, he momentarily steadied himself and took a quick glance at the goalmouth. Gibson's cross was inch-perfect, Falco timed his run perfectly and Wood was left clawing at empty air as the ball rocketed into the goal to billow the net gracefully. Falco turned to face his team mates, whooping in delight.

As Mark Falco disappeared beneath a rugby scrum of his delighted team mates, Terry Neill sunk back into the gloom of his touch-line seat whilst Don Howe stood up barking instructions to his team. Not for many years had Spurs made such a dream start to a North London derby ---- and more was to come!

Five minutes later, Spurs were 3-0 ahead! Galvin and Hughton played a one-two on the left. Hughton played the ball square to Archibald who flicked it back first time and Hughton struck the ball firmly wide of 'keeper Wood before turning away to celebrate his personal triumph of two goals in a match. Wood and O'Leary argued about where the blame lay. Wood seemed to think O'Leary should have prevented Archibald's pass to Chris Hughton whilst O'Leary seemed to think Wood had been late in coming off his line.

Soon after that, Spurs might have gone further ahead. Talbot very nearly lofted the ball into his own goal and Brazil twice went very close to scoring. Every time the Spurs moved forward, the Arsenal defence panicked and seemed afraid to move or hold the ball at all. Not that Spurs had it all their own way but every time Arsenal tried to break away, Alan Sunderland was invariably caught by the offside trap frequently sprung by Miller and Roberts, the latter revelling in his temporary role of team captain.

With seven minutes to go to the interval, Wood performed a brilliant save to deny the hard working Gibson a goal that would have matched Falco's effort. The ball had bobbled about in the goal area and broke loose for Gibson to slam a shot goalwards that Wood could only finger over the bar to Gibson's intense disappointment.

When the two teams emerged for the start of the second half, it became apparent that Arsenal had withdrawn Chris Whyte and sent on Vladmir Petrovic, withdrawing Talbot from midfield into defence in order to accommodate Petrovic.

Five minutes into the second half, Arsenal made their first telling move of the game. Rix chipped a ball in from the wing and Petrovic just failed to get a shot in before Mabbutt hooked the ball away.

Within a minute, Spurs had gone 4-0 ahead. Spurs were awarded a free-kick. Miller floated a long ball high and as Wood dithered in deciding whether to come out or stay on his line, Falco hammered home his second goal of the match with a blistering right foot shot that took his tally to five in four matches. As Falco disappeared beneath the back-slaps of his team mates, the crowd roared their approval. Not for many years had Spurs fans had the luck to see Arsenal so comprehensively humilated.

Spurs, 4-0 ahead, began to ease off. Arsenal were allowed to creep back into the game but fortunately for Spurs, Sunderland was woefully out of form. Yet it was Spurs who came closest to scoring for Arsenal! Clemence was on the far side of his goal area performing exercises when Roberts chipped the ball back. To the horror of the Spurs fans, the ball appeared to be bouncing towards the goal. Clemence tore across his goal in a vain attempt to catch the ball but, thankfully, the ball spun wide for a corner at the last minute.

So far, there had been only one booking. That had been just before half-time when Mark Falco had protested to the referee that Talbot had held him down as he had tried to meet a Mabbutt cross. Falco's booking means he had to serve a one match suspension on April 23rd. But in quick succession, Robson, for a foul on Gibson, and Rix, for dissent, were booked. Robson's booking automatically ruled him out of any replay against Manchester United.

Wood pulled off another brilliant save not long after the Rix booking when he fingered a long shot from Galvin over the bar but he could not do much a few minutes later when Alan Brazil completed the rout. Robson misjudged a header from O'Reilly and Brazil pounced to slam home his first ever goal for Tottenham.

Spurs had barely finished celebrating when disaster struck Arsenal. O'Leary went down heavily during a goalmouth scramble and did not get up. Despite lengthy treatment from Arsenal and England physiotherapist Fred Street, O'Leary had to be helped off. It was obvious he could not place weight on the ankle and it took him quite a while to limp to the dressing room.

A few minutes after that, Spurs should have gone 6-0 ahead when Gibson broke through but Wood timed his run right to foil him. Thereafter, Spurs played out time, intent on keeping their goal intact.

After the match, Keith Burkinshaw was beaming broadly. "We have waited a long time for that one," he commented. "Arsenal did us like that 5-0 not so long ago and it hurt. It's been five years since then and it's nice and sweet to see it happen today. We didn't let them play at all. Falco's first goal was probably the best I have seen for a long time. It pleased me more than anything else this season. It came from two lads who are home grown, Tottenham through and through. I'm just pleased we managed to get that win under our belts because things haven't gone as well for us this season as they might have done. You get a result like this and you believe in yourself a bit more."

Considering that Arsenal had lost as comprehensively so close to a big match, Terry Neill refused to criticise his team publicly beyond telling them they had forfeited their day off next day. "I would not wish to take anything away from Tottenham," he said. "They were totally in control and we were not good enough. My job now is to talk with the players about the reasons and the remedies."

Cheers, Brian

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