Next time you find yourself debating exactly who is the greatest player ever to have pulled on a Tottenham shirt don’t be afraid to throw the name of Diego Maradona into the mix.
A World Cup winner and arguably the greatest footballer ever to have played for any team, the man who almost single-handedly took Napoli to two Italian championships graced White Hart Lane with a magical presence and wowed Spurs fans with a glorious array of fancy flicks and tricks.
If only he’d been around for more than one game.
On May 1, 1986, just a couple of months before jetting off to Mexico and inspiring Argentina to World Cup glory, Maradona took his place in the Tottenham side for his old mate Ossie’s Benefit match against Inter Milan.
Such was the desire to pay tribute to our long-serving little midfielder and to catch a glimpse of Diego in a Lilywhite shirt that the kick-off had to be delayed as thousands poured through the White Hart Lane turnstiles.
And, once the action started, they weren’t disappointed.
‘Maradona was sensational,’ recalls Clive.
‘He struck up an unbelievable rapport with Glenn (Hoddle) and the two of them put on an incredible exhibition.
‘Even though I was playing in the game I felt like a spectator. I just wanted either of those two to get the ball and, although Maradona was the best player in the world at that time, I have to say that Glenn was just as impressive on the night.’
While Maradona happily played to the crowd by juggling the ball in the corner before firing in scissor-kicked crosses, Clive also played a major role in the evening’s events — and not just by scoring our late winner.
‘Maradona turned up without any boots,’ he explains.
‘He was contracted to Puma and I had two pairs of Puma boots — one pair that I had been wearing all season and one pair that were brand new.
‘So when I realised he was looking for some size six-and-a-halves to wear I said ‘Be my guest.’
‘He went to take the worn ones but I insisted he took the new pair. Afterwards he signed them and I still have them at home.’
Clive’s late strike came after Mark Falco had given us an early lead and former Arsenal midfielder Liam Brady had equalised for the Italian side. It was Maradona’s fourth game in five days, having played for Argentina in Oslo the night before, but you would never have guessed it.
‘It was one of those nights that I’ll never forget,’ he said.
The teams that night were:
Spurs: Clemence (Jennings), Roberts (Thomas), Hughton, Mabbutt, Miller, Galvin (Samways), Ardiles (Waddle), Falco, Allen, C., Maradona, Hoddle. Subs not used: Chiedozie, Crook.
Inter: Lorieri, Bernazzani, Marangon, Marini, Ferri, Mandorlini, Fanna, Cucchi, Pellergini, Brady, Minaudo. Subs: Caniato, Pozzoni, Nunziata, Ciocci, Handelli.
By Joel Miller
Clive Allen looks back on a memorable night exactly 19 years ago today, when our old favourite Ossie Ardiles was honoured with a bumper crowd at White Hart Lane and a visit from one very special guest in particular ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦