Previous Cup-ties with Leicester City :
1913-14 1 A 5-5 Bliss (2), Middlemiss, Minter, Cantrell
1R H 2-0 Bliss, Walden
(as Leicester Fosse)
1927-28 5 A 3-0 O'Callaghan (2), Dimmock
1947-48 5 H 5-2 Duquemin (3), Cox (2)
1956-57 3 H 2-0 Blanchflower, Robb
1957-58 3 H 4-0 Smith (2), Stokes, Medwin
1960-61 F W 2-0 R Smith, Dyson
1973-74 3 A 0-1
1981-82 SF VP 2-0 Crooks, Wilson (o.g.)
We have never previously met in the League Cup.
And so we're on our way to Wembley. Eight years of anger, bitter
disappointments, frustrations and humiliation are hopefully going to be
cast away in the euphoria of a Cup Final victory. Hopefully, we are going
to see big Sol Campbell trotting up the stairs to collect the League Cup
Final trophy on Sunday afternoon. And the huge irony of it all is that we
are achieving this with a management duo that claimed so many victories at
Wembley with our deadliest rivals from the other end of the Seven Sisters
Road ........ Who in their wildest nightmares at the height of our
troubles in the early '90s would have dared to have predicted that kind of
scenario? Anyone predicting that kind of forecast would have been fitted
out with appropriate kit and consigned to a lunatic asylum ...... And yet,
and yet, here we are, singing "Bloke in a cashmere overcoat's blue and
white army!" simply because we can't bring ourselves to say *HIS* name!!!
Time was when we travelled to Wembley anticipating lots of flair, panache,
glory and all those memories of Chas 'n' Dave, 'Ossie's Dream' and all the
rest of it. Who has forgotten Hoddle's free-kick and Hutchinson diverting
the ball behind Corrigan in 1981? Or Villa's surging run in the replay
when he seemed to skip past the entire Manchester City defence? Or Graham
Roberts' surging run a year later that led to Hoddle's penalty? Or Paul
Stewart's vital goal in 1991 after Gazza had been taken to hospital?
But this year my memories will come from May 1961 when we played Leicester
at Wembley and completed the Double. It was never a classic Final. The big
pre-match shock was that Matt Gillies, Leicester's manager, decided to
drop the experienced Ken Leek, who was dropped in favour of the inexperienced
Hugh McIlmoyle. He only played 20 senior games for Leicester before he
moved elsewhere, beginning a tour of the lower divisions in a 16-year
career in football. It was a big shock as Leek had scored in each of the
rounds that season. Leek promptly demanded a transfer and left for
Newcastle without kicking another ball for Leicester.
Spurs were tired after the tension of clinching the Championship and were
looking forward to taking a break from football. Leicester, led by Frank
McLintock, were good value for money and were playing very well up to that
awful moment when Chalmers was trying to wrest the ball from Bobby Smith
and Allen accidentally clattered him.
There was no intent as Allen dashed up to help Bobby Smith to win the ball
but Allen clattered him on the shin and in the same instance Chalmers
wrenched his knee as he collapsed in agony. The Leicester trainer found he
had severe abrasions and bruises from just below his knee right down his
shin bone. Chalmers refused to go off for treatment, well aware of the
Wembley hoodoo for injuries. Everyone had assumed it would be Spurs who
would hit by the hoodoo. It might have been better for Chalmers had he
gone off for treatment and had an injection to ease the pain he must have
been undoubtedly feeling.
That was undoubtedly the turning point of the match. In those days
substitutes were not allowed. It was to be another three years before
substitutes became a part of the game but it was the 1961 Cup Final that
prompted a serious debate about them. As far as I can recall, we have only
seen two serious injuries in a Cup Final since then. One was Mick Jones in
the 1972 Cup Final, who dislocated a shoulder against Arsenal. The other
was, of course, Gazza in 1991.
Spurs could and should have been ahead long before that unfortunate
injury. Manager Nicholson planned the final impeccably. Well aware how the
springy turf could sap the energy of his tiring players, he gave
instructions they were only to attack Leicester's goal for the first five
minutes of the game. If they could score in those five minutes, well and
good. If not, they were to contain Leicester and make them do all the
running, tiring themselves out, allowing Spurs to conserve their energies
for the final fifteen minutes or so of the game.
So, Spurs roared into the attack from the start of the game. After four
minutes, the late great John White found himself eight yards out from
Gordon Banks' goal with the Leicester defence confused. White drove the
ball wide and the chance of an early goal was gone. Blanchflower promptly
called his troops back to midfield, leaving the rotund Smith to patrol a
lonely furrow up field.
Leicester played well for the next quarter of an hour. They had been able
to relax since the semi-final as they were safe from relegation and were
not involved in the title hunt. They were thus fresher and more relaxed
Once Chalmers was injured, that was that. Spurs knew that provided they
did not incur any injuries themselves and kept Leicester quiet, they would
win. Leicester were forced to reshuffle their side. McLintock dropped back
to right back, Keyworth to right-half and Chalmers hobbled about on the
wing nearest the trainer's bench in front of the Royal box.
Spurs finally had the ball in the net in the 38th minute when Dyson
provided a low cross for Jones to drive in. As Cliff raised his arms in
celebration, he spotted Mr New, the linesman, holding his flag up to show
that he had been offside. We did not have the benefit of slow motion
replay in those days on TV but few thought Cliff had been offside. It was
more likely his pace had deceived the hapless Mr New.
Half-time came and went with still no sign of a goal. But Danny
Blanchflower was watching for the first signs of approaching tiredness and
when he spotted it, Spurs began to press forward again. It soon became
obvious that Spurs were going to score.
With twenty minutes or so left, Allen pushed the ball to Dyson, who pushed
it out to the unmarked Smith on the right of the Leicester goal area.
Smith pivoted with all the grace of a ballet dancer and smashed the ball
behind the despairing Gordon Banks.
Seven minutes later, Chalmers, hobbling on the wing, could not prevent the
ball rolling to White. The Scot pushed it on to Smith, who lumbered to the
bye-line before centring the ball to the oncoming Dyson, who outjumped
King, who was twelve inches taller than him, to head a spectacular goal.
At that moment, with Spurs having one hand firmly on the Cup, Chalmers cut
a sorry figure as he limped off the pitch, keenly showing his
disappointment. The Spurs hordes at one end of the ground were singing as
Spurs played out time. Then, Blanchflower was climbing the stairs to be
greeted by the late Duchess of Kent, Princess Marina, to receive the FA
Cup for the third time in Spurs' history and to complete the coveted
Double for the first time in the club's history.
Spurs : Brown; Baker, Henry; Blanchflower, M Norman, Mackay; Jones, White,
R Smith, Allen, Dyson.
Leicester : Banks; Chalmers, R Norman; McLintock, King, Appleton; Riley,
Walsh, McIlmoyle, Keyworth, Cheesebrough.
Referee : Mr J Kelly (Chorley)
There were undoubtedly better Cup Finals. But this was a historic Cup
Final. But let us look at three other Cup Finals : the three Football
League Cup Finals.
Our first was in 1971 when we beat Third Division Aston Villa at Wembley,
2-0. Villa gave us a torrid time and it was not until late in the match
that Chivers scored the two goals that won us the tie. Indeed, Spurs
almost lost the game when Lochhead and Peter Collins collided and
collapsed in a heap. Everyone stopped playing to tend to the two players
whilst the ball ran loose towards Spurs' unguarded goal. Perryman took no
chances and blocked the ball on the goal-line and hoofed it to the nearest
wing. When play resumed, with the score still 0-0 at that point, the
referee awarded a throw-in to Villa ............
Two years later, Spurs beat Norwich City in a very disappointing match.
Pratt was injured after only 9 minutes and limped off to his bitter
disappointment. Coates came on and scored the only goal of the game when
he mis-hit the ball when Keelan had it perfectly covered where Coates had
intended his shot to go.
Our last appearance in the Final of this competition was in 1982. No
serious student of our game will want to recall that match as it was the
very first time we lost a domestic Cup Final at Wembley. We were winning
1-0 with just a few moments to play, thanks to a goal by Archibald. At
that point, with minutes left, Archibald saw his shot hit an upright and
bounce the wrong way, and Liverpool broke away to equalise. From being
inches away from leading 2-0, we lost 3-1 in extra time.
So to Sunday's Final .... Much will depend on which side settles first. It
depends very much on who scores the vital first goal and the timing of
that goal. It is well known that a goal scored just before half-time can
give a side a psychological lift as the teams go into half-time. Another
factor that will be taken into account by George Graham as he decides
tactics will be the state of the Wembley pitch as it can be tiring to play
on, as he will remember from his own experiences as a player in two League
Cup Finals for Arsenal. Leicester have been hit by injuries in the run up
to the Final but they have had the advantage of not playing in the week
going in to Sunday's game. Tottenham might find that their game at
Barnsley will have an effect on their performance on Sunday's game.
I think the outcome of Sunday's final may be closer than many people
imagine. I can visualise it going to extra time. I think that may well be
when the tie is finally settled. I hope I'm wrong and that we win the game
in the normal ninety minutes. And the score? I think it may well be 1-0.
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