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Memories of '81

Posted on 23 January 2004  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

Asked for his recollections of the 1981 FA Cup final replay against Manchester City, Chris Hughton describes the game, quite simply, as the most memorable game he has been involved in.

The original final, of course, was billed as 'Ossie's Dream' and the build up to the game centred on Ossie Ardiles and his compatriot Ricky Villa who, as Chris pointed out, were the highest profile overseas players at the time to have reached the FA Cup's showpiece occasion.

The story of the 1981 double bill is familiar to fans of all ages, Ossie went to Wembley but it was Ricky who suffered from a spot of the trembly on the Saturday and was substituted to his obvious heartbreak and a slow march around the dog track of the famous old stadium.

The 1-1 draw saw to it that the teams returned to Wembley the following Thursday and the nation was captivated by possibly the most compelling final ever.

"I'd have to say it was the most memorable and for lots of reasons," reflected Chris. "It was the first FA Cup that we won for quite some time and, for me, it was my first experience of playing in an FA Cup final.

"Of course there was the manner and fashion in which the game was won and the fact that Ossie and Ricky were the biggest name foreign players then to have graced the final.

"Taking it all into consideration, it was the most memorable and biggest occasion for me."

Ricky opened the scoring on replay night, Steve McKenzie levelled, Kevin Reeves put City 2-1 up, Garth Crooks made it 2-2 and then came the moment for which Ricky will be forever remembered.

But did the traditional pre-amble to the first game, with the focus very much on the Argentinean duo, take its toll when it came to the occasion itself?

"Maybe Ricky, not so much Ossie, as he was the most experienced of the two and played in the World Cup final. Ricky had played for Argentina, but Ossie had the real big occasions under his belt.

"So Ricky probably felt the pressure a bit and I think that showed in the first game, where his performance wasn't perhaps what he would have liked it to be. He very much made amends for that in the second game.

"The build up was about Ossie and Ricky, but it was also about a team that - certainly offensively - had played very, very well. Tony Galvin did a great job for us down the left hand side and we had a midfield with Ricky, Ossie and, of course, Glenn. You don't get more attack-minded than that."

Chris added that, in the days between the original final and the replay, the determination of Ricky to make an impact was clear.

"The desire was there for all to see and he wanted to do well but there is was always the question of whether he would play in the second game. Perhaps that went through his mind.

"He wanted to put it right and his performance on the night was outstanding.

"It was end to end stuff and they went 2-1 up from the penalty. At that stage you are wondering if you are going to lose the game and all of those type of things are in you mind.

"Of course, there was enough time to battle through. To win it with such a memorable goal, for me, makes it one of the most special finals ever."