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Memories of '81

Posted on 20 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, starting with GRAHAM ROBERTS...

It could have been all so different for Graham Roberts.

The final certainly left its mark on the fearsome midfielder - courtesy of team-mate Chris Hughton's boot.

The accident left enough damage for manager Keith Burkinshaw to consider a substitution at half-time but Roberts was having none of it.

"I've still got memories of that final - Chrissie Hughton kicking my teeth out!" he recalled. "I'm still looking for those teeth now!

"I was told at half-time by the doctor not to go out for the second half and Keith was thinking about making a substitution, so I went to the toilet, went out the other door and straight onto the pitch.

"There was no way anyone was going to get me off the pitch.

"I was in a cup final and I thought I might not get to another one, so I wasn't coming off.

"I remember Ricky's goal and I still watch it on video now, the arms go all goosey every time.

"I've some great memories. To play at Wembley seven times in just over a year was amazing. Not many played there at all, I was there seven times in that short space of time."