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'I don't know why I kept running, JD was never going to pass!' - Paul Stalteri on Upton Park, 10 years on...

Posted on 5 May 2017  - 09:15

Tell most fans it was over 10 years ago and they can't quite believe it. In fact, even the hero of the night responded by saying 'wow, really?'

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It's a night Spurs fans, certainly those present, will never forget - that night at Upton Park in March, 2007.

That night where we came from 2-0 down to level at 2-2, only to go behind again five minutes from time.

That night where Dimitar Berbatov curled home an exquisite free-kick to level again at 3-3 on 89 minutes.

That night where Paul Stalteri - yes, full-back Paul Stalteri - found himself with an open goal to pop home the winner in injury time.

 


A legend back home in Canada, where he won 84 caps between 1997-2010, Paul spent seven successful years in the Bundesliga at Werder Bremen including winning the title in 2003-04 before joining us in 2005. He made 56 appearances for us between 2005-2008, spent time on loan at Fulham and ended his playing career back in Germany at Borussia Monchengladbach.

Now coaching Canada's Under-17s, Paul was more than happy to look back at his goal-den night in east London as we prepare to travel to West Ham again tonight - this time, our first visit to the London Stadium.

Below: Paul with Ledley King and Brad Friedel during our visit to Toronto in 2014

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First of all Paul, this memorable match was 10 years ago! Can you believe it?
Paul: "Wow, 10 years...no I can't believe it's been that long. Time really does fly by!"

What do you remember about that night at Upton Park?
Paul: "I am pretty sure it was a Sunday evening match (it was - Sunday, March 4, 2007). The match was entertaining from the first minute. The vibe from start to finish was thrilling and having victory come right at the end created an extremely memorable game. It was one of those special matches that makes the Premier League so entertaining."

Below: That famous late finish

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Okay, what on earth were you doing in front of goal in the 94th minute?
Paul: "Lol, I remember it was a set-piece against us, I think Young-Pyo Lee (one of funniest guys I ever played with) cleared the ball and I remember finding Jermain Defoe with a pass. All of a sudden I looked up and I saw acres of space, so I just continued running, not exactly sure why as I knew there was absolutely no chance Jermain was ever going to pass the ball! Those things happen so quickly and before you know it, the ball was sitting there ready to be rolled in for the winner! What an amazing feeling..."

This is a magic moment for so many fans – you have gone down in modern day Spurs folklore - did you realise that at the time?
Paul: "No, not at all. I knew it was a big goal at the time but never thought that it would be remembered year after year."

Below: Paul celebrates a goal at the Lane against City in April, 2006

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If you didn’t then, you do now!
Paul: "Yes indeed, once a year I get reminded of that special night at Upton Park!"

What are you up to now Paul?
Paul: "I have been part of the Canadian Soccer Association Coaching staff for the past few years now. Recently, I have been in charge of the Under-17 team. I am currently enjoying the coaching part of the game and working with quality players coming through Canadian football. It is great to work with young players and nurture the future generation."