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So near, yet so far

Posted on 14 October 2002  - 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).

Chris Waddle reflects on the magnificent, but ultimately trophy-less, 1986-87 season as we continue our countdown to Thursday's Tottenham Tribute Match.

CHRIS WADDLE admits the failure of our outstanding 1986-87 team to win a trophy was one of the major disppointments of his career.

David Pleat's vintage is regarded as one of the great Spurs teams but they ended trophy-less after finishing third in Division One, runners-up in the FA Cup and losing semi-finalists in the League Cup.

Now our director of football, then-manager David introduced an almost revolutionary 4-5-1 system spearheaded by goal machine Clive Allen - he bagged 49 goals in all competitions - and including the likes of Glenn Hoddle, Chris Waddle, Ossie Ardiles, Richard Gough, Gary Mabbutt and Ray Clemence.

While selecting his stint at Marseille as the best team he played in, Chris has no doubts as to that honour in England.

He reflected: "I always say Marseille were the best side I played in, great players, passing and movement, but that was the best side in England. It's such a major disappointment we didn't win anything."

The new system was introduced at Oxford in November of that season, a 4-2 win, and just seven defeats in 38 games in all competitions followed, including a league run-in of seven wins and two draws in our last nine games.

"It almost happened by chance," recalled Chris. "We had Clive Allen, Paul Allen, Nico Cluasen, Glenn Hoddle, Ossie Ardiles and myself and it was a case of how we could accomodate everyone.

"We had a formation where Clive played up front on his own in a 4-5-1 system with Ossie sweeping up in front of the centre-backs, nbot behind, and Glenn allowed to roam around.

"We were great technically and kept the ball, much like a European team.

"The secret was that we were all comfortable on the ball and were able to play to a high level technically in very tight areas.

"The one great shame was that we didn't lift any silverware. We were the great entertainers who didn't win a trophy.

"I think the FA Cup was just one game too many for us, even though we started so well come extra time, I think Coventry were stronger physically. They had played 10 games less than us and that's where it caught up with us. It was a great shame."