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Memories of '81

Posted on 22 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).

What's the first thing you think about as we prepare for Sunday's FA Cup clash against Manchester City?

If you are a Spurs fan, odds are that one year, 1981, and one name, Ricky Villa, will spring to mind.

Thursday May 14, 1981, was the night the Argentinian created one of the great stories in football history, the night we got our hands back on the FA Cup after 14 years, the night a legend was born.

All Spurs fans know the story. Up against City in the final, Villa was substituted as Saturday's first tie ended 1-1 - the pictures of a crestfallen Villa trudging around Wembley, head bowed, are almost as memorable as his famous goal five days later. Had his dream gone?

Of course it hadn't. In a fantastic replay, Villa opened the scoring, Steve McKenzie levelled, Kevin Reeves put City 2-1 up, Garth Crooks made it 2-2 and then Villa's moment.

Close your eyes and you will see it in your mind. Villa picks up the ball on the left touchline, dribbles towards goal, keeps going, into the box, jinks around Tommy Caton, back again and suddenly he's sliding the ball under Joe Corrigan after scoring the most famous FA Cup Final goal of all time.

That goal was voted as the best goal in Wembley history in numerous polls when the Twin Towers were knocked down and, in our special feature last year, only Gazza's free-kick against Arsenal topped it as we asked fans to name their greatest Spurs moment of all time.

In a special feature this week, we'll recall that night with the players - today with the hero of the night RICKY VILLA...

It seems amazing, but Ricky Villa struggles to come to terms with fans still going into raptures about his Wembley wonder goal.

The likeable Argentinian wrote himself into Spurs folklore on that Thursday night in 1981.

Ricky returned to these shores a couple of years ago to pick up an award from Subutteo for scoring the greatest goal in Wembley's history.

Loved at the Lane, he described the goal as 'really good'.

"I believe it was a really good goal in the right place at the right moment as Spurs won the cup," said Ricky on his visit.

"It is a great memory for me. I still can't believe every time I come back people still remind me of that goal. That is great.

"I have to say thanks to English football, English fans and, most of all, Spurs.

"It's an honour for me to be remembered, the goal stays in the memory of fans here and I a pleased with that."