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Memories of '81

Posted on 21 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 STEVE PERRYMAN...

Captain fantastic Steve Perryman lived the schoolboy dream of lifting the trophy at Wembley.

But, typically with his Spurs hat on, he saw the triumph as the moment we finally bounced back into the big time.

"We'd been relegated, I was captain, bounced back, started to improve and suddenly you are at Wembley and you can your credibility back in one hit," he said.

"The first final was disappointing but we've ended up winning it and you are doing all the silly things, the hugging, the kissing and suddenly someone taps you on the shoulder and says 'Steve, you have to pick up the cup'. As if it wasn't good enough! Words cannot describe that feeling.

"The pride, delight, the easing of pressure, the relief - seeing Tottenham people's faces as I went up the stairs. Just hearing the commentary sends shivers up the spine. We ended up play at Wembley seven times in 18 months. We were on a roll."