Today, we hear from former striker Martin Chivers.
FINAL COUNTDOWN – MARTIN CHIVERS – LEAGUE CUP WINNER 1971, 1973
Two Wembley triumphs, three more semi-finals, 23 goals – it’s no surprise that the League Cup has a special place in the heart of one of our greatest goalscorers, Martin Chivers.
Third in our all-time goalscoring list, Martin scored a hat-trick in his first League Cup tie for us against Aston Villa in September, 1968, and in his eight seasons at the club, won the trophy in 1971 and 1973 and reached the last four on another three occasions.
The pinnacle for the England great arrived in 1971 when he struck both goals in our 2-0 victory over Villa, who were then in the old Third Division (League One) but achieved the dream of reaching the Wembley final.
That fairytale lasted until the 78th minute when Villa’s resistance was broken. Jimmy Neighbour’s shot was parried by heroic goalkeeper John Dunn into the path of Martin, who couldn’t miss from six yards.
The clinching goal was a different story, a wonderful individual effort as Martin pulled down Alan Mullery’s pass on the edge of the box, turned away from two Villa defenders and drilled into the bottom corner.
“It was the schoolboy dream,” reflected Martin this week. “It was the first time I’d played at Wembley so to score two goals on your first appearance has to be the greatest of all dreams.
“We edged it in the end against Villa. I was gifted with the chance all strikers dream of – six yards out, no goalkeeper – I just had to keep the ball down and stick it in the back of the net. The second wasn’t bad though! That was the icing on the cake.”
Two years later, we were back at the home of football for another League Cup Final, this time a narrow 1-0 win against Norwich City – Ralph Coates striking the only goal of the game.
“Ralph was my room-mate, God bless him. He scored the goal and we always took the mickey out of him – he made that shot a yard further out every year!
“He also did that celebration where he ran right around the back of the goal and it was only Stevie P who had the energy to keep up with him! We all looked at him and thought ‘what are you up to Ralph?’ We all had to wait for him to come back to the half-way line!
“I was so pleased for Ralph. He deserved something special from his time at Spurs, he worked so hard for the team and was an unsung hero for us.”
Martin left us for Servette in Switzerland in 1976 after playing a huge part in the glory years of the early 1970s.
As well as the League Cup success documented above, we won the UEFA Cup in 1972 – Martin scored his most famous Spurs goal in the first leg of the Final against Wolves, a 35-yard humdinger – and reached the UEFA Cup Final again in 1974.
"It was a great team, like a family," added Martin. "Every player had such a long affiliation with the club and you could easily name the team then. We all knew each other so well.
"If one of us wasn’t quite doing it, we’d say so. I used to get some right dressing-downs from the lads, let alone Billy Nicholson or Eddie Baily! They knew what I was capable of, they played with me and knew my strengths and knew it would come good if they gave me the service.
"We all want success for the fans more than anything. The fans here are fantastic. They lifted me when I was playing. I was eight-foot tall when I went out there."