Gathered together to entertain supporters at a special Goalkeepers Union Dinner at White Hart Lane earlier this month, former Northern Ireland stopper Pat Jennings, legendary ex-Liverpool, Spurs and England custodian Ray Clemence and our current goalkeeper Brad Friedel – capped 82 times by the United States – spoke to us to look back on their respective experiences, both in League Cup Finals and in their wider careers...
THFC: The League Cup is a common denominator between the three of you, because you’ve all won the competition. Sadly, though, memories of those achievements don’t always resonate well with our fans! Tell us about when you lifted the silverware...
BRAD: That’s a little difficult for me to talk about at the moment because of who we beat! I was with Blackburn when we won the 2002 final at Tottenham’s expense but, looking back on it now, we had quite a few injuries on the day. I can remember a certain Mark Hughes at 38 or 39 years of age playing in the centre of midfield for us and it was one of those games where at times we had our backs up against the wall.
I think the first half was quite comfortable, but in the second half Tottenham applied a lot of pressure on us and showed they were a very strong side. Two individuals I remember vividly were Les Ferdinand and Teddy Sheringham, while Darren Anderton played as well. He had a couple of chances in the game and it was a difficult day for us but, thankfully for Blackburn at the time, we came through victorious.
RAY: As far as the League Cup Final goes, I’ve been lucky enough to win it and I’ve also been unlucky enough to lose it twice! I won it with Liverpool in 1981 (pictured, right), having previously lost once with them, and of course we lost the Final in my first season here at Spurs in 1982. It’s ironic the way that football is, in that during my first season here at the club we got to the League Cup Final and ended up playing my old team – Liverpool!
We were 1-0 up for most of the game in ‘82, Steve Archibald had a fantastic opportunity 10 minutes from the end which unfortunately he didn’t take and Liverpool then got an equaliser to take the game into extra time. We’d had a long season, we’d played a lot of games that year, so we struggled in extra time and unfortunately they beat us 3-1.
PAT: We won the competition in 1971 and again in 1973. Our opponents in 1971, Aston Villa, were in those days a Third Division team, but make no mistake about it – they were still a good side. It was the same with Norwich City in 1973 to be fair – both Finals were really tough matches as you would imagine, but then any appearance at Wembley is. Everybody is always up for playing at Wembley and both Finals were good from my point of view because we kept clean sheets!
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