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The Final Countdown - Team news

Posted on 22 February 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).

Club historian Andy Porter leafs through his records and takes a look at our previous League Cup finals.

LEAGUE CUP FINALS - OUR FOUR BEFORE

This year could see us field our oldest side in a League Cup Final. The 13 players used in the semi final second leg against Chelsea will have an average age of 28 years 240 days come the big day in Cardiff. The previous oldest team was in 1999 with an average age of 28 years 13 days. Skipper Teddy Sheringham is expected to become our oldest player in the final, at 35 years 280 days, overtaking previous record holder Alan Gilzean in 1973. Goalkeeper Neil Sullivan may be our first player to celebrate his birthday on League Cup Final day, when he turns 32.

Our cup run this season has seen us average more than three goals per game for the first time, scoring 20 in the six matches played so far. Our previous best when reaching the final was 17 in season 1970-71 and overall 25 in a nine game marathon stint to the semi final stage in 1986-87.

The 4-0 triumph at Tranmere Rovers in round three equalled our best margin of victory in an away fixture in the competition, set in September, 1984 with a 5-1 victory at Halifax Town. Our 5-1 win over Chelsea was only the third time that we had scored as many goals against fellow top flight opponents in the League Cup. The previous occasions were 5-0 successes versus West Bromwich Albion in October, 1970 and West Ham United during February, 1987.

Teddy Sheringham's goal against Chelsea was our 300th since we first entered the competition in 1966. The semi final brought our biggest aggregate win at that stage, with eight of our nine previous appearances in the last four being settled by a single goal margin. The only exception was a 3-1 win, after extra time, against Bristol City in season 1970-71.

We again knocked out three fellow top flight clubs on our way to the final, having also done so in both 1982 and 1999.

Here are the details of our four final appearances during the 20th century.

The 1971 final against Aston Villa - then a third division club - provided our youngest League Cup finalist to date. Steve Perryman was barely two months past his 19th birthday when he wore the number eight shirt on February 27. Jimmy Neighbour, who played on the wing, had only started nine senior games (plus six as a substitute) when given the nod by Bill Nicholson ahead of Jimmy Pearce. The average age of the eleven men used was 25 years, 137 days - the lowest of our four finals. Pearce stood by as an unused substitute. Martin Chivers scored two late goals to secure the trophy with skipper Alan Mullery receiving the cup.

The admission prices for the 1973 final on March 3 were unchanged from 1971 at one pound fifty to four pounds for seats and 60 pence for ground tickets. Perryman and Alan Gilzean were again the respective youngest and eldest members of our squad with the Scot having passed his 34th birthday. Ralph Coates came off the bench to replace the injured John Pratt after 25 minutes and notched the only goal of the final against Norwich City. Current director Martin Peters lifted the trophy. Our average age was 27 years 227 days.

By now the first seeds of commercialism in football had been sown. The Spurs Shop offered three special souvenirs; a single release entitled "Hot-Spurs Boogie" sung by the players, retailing at 50 pence; a top quality linen tea towel depicting both clubs' emblems, also 50 pence; plus a yellow duster, depicting Wembley Stadium, at 15 pence!

The disc had an unofficial rival "Nice One Cyril", recorded by the Cockerel Chorus, which reached number 14 in the charts during March, 1973.

We reached the 1982 final against Liverpool without conceding a goal. Steve Archibald, our youngest goalscorer in a final to date, put us 1-0 up in the early stages but Liverpool levelled late on and snatched a 3-1 victory in extra time. Perryman, the only man to feature in each of our first three finals, led the side. Ricky Villa came on as a 65th minute substitute for the youngest player on our side Micky Hazard. The average age of the twelve men used on March 13 was 26 years and 190 days.

Inflation had taken a hold in the intervening nine years with ticket prices ranging from seven to 16 pounds for seats and ground admission set at four pounds.

Our first defeat in nine visits to Wembley did prompt one of the most memorable chants to come from the Spurs faithful. Sung to the tune of "Lord of the Dance" it went "Sing, sing, wherever you may be, we lost the League Cup at Wembley, but we'll be back to win the other three, and we'll go down in history."

Reality shows the FA Cup being our only reward for a season when we went so close on all four fronts.

We recorded our best ever away form in the competition when reaching the final three years ago, with four straight wins and ten goals scored on the way to the final against Leicester City. This was our first Sunday final, each of the previous three having been played whilst a normal Saturday afternoon league programme was in progress.

Allan Nielsen's 93rd minute winner earned him the Alan Hardaker Trophy man of the match award. This after we had been reduced to ten men on 64 minutes with Justin Edinburgh being shown the red card.

Andy Sinton came on as a substitute for David Ginola after Nielsen's goal to take our tally of Full internationals used on the day to ten. Previous finals had seen eight involved in both 1973 and 1982 and seven in 1971. Seven different nationalities were represented amongst the twelve men used.

Sol Campbell received the cup, becoming our youngest skipper in a final by nearly five years. Espen Baardsen, Chris Armstrong, Jose Dominguez and Luke Young stood by as our unused substitutes.

Kasey Keller, who was in goal for City that afternoon, and his opposite number Ian Walker have since traded places.

We showed very little interest in the old League Cup in the early days and, after being knocked out by the only goal at the first hurdle by West Ham United in 1966, we did not even bother entering the following season!

But now, although our name is more synomonous with the FA Cup, we also have a good League Cup pedigree.

After lifting the trophy in 1971, we became the first club to have won the trophy twice when we did it again in 1973. We also reached the semi-final in 1969, 1972 - what a hat-trick that would have been! - and again in 1975, 1987 and 1992.

We made it all the way to Wembley in 1982 but lost 1-3 to Liverpool after extra time. So we've certainly had our moments in the competition.

In season 1970-71 we enjoyed good fortune with each passing round as we played every tie here at the Lane, apart from the two-legged semi-final when we returned from Bristol City with a 1-1 draw but still needed extra time to finish them off here.

City were struggling at the wrong end of the Second Division at the time and we then faced Third Division Aston Villa in the final. But Villa had defeated Manchester United to reach Wembley so certainly warranted every respect while there had been recent successes by Third Division sides over First Division opposition in League Cup finals with QPR beating West Bromwich Albion and Swindon Town shocking Arsenal.

So we took nothing for granted and indeed Villa hit the woodwork and Steve Perryman cleared off our line before Martin Chivers nailed them with two late goals. We were back in Europe in our 'lucky' year.

By 1972-73 we were finding life a bit more difficult and struggled to overcome Second Division Middlesbrough who twice took us to extra time and even a second replay in the third round.

Liverpool in the fifth round was also a struggle that went to a replay before we could finish the job while we needed extra time to dispose of high-flying Wolves who had also tested us to the full in the previous season's UEFA Cup Final.

Ralph Coates, of course, won the final for us with the only goal against Norwich City when he went on as substitute for John Pratt.

Then a long gap - despite the promise of '82 - right up to season 1998-99 when we defied the odds - and Justin Edinburgh's late sending off - to defeat Leicester City 1-0 in the Final just when the game looked set to go into extra time when City's numerical advantage would have been decisive.

Who can forget Allan Nielsen diving header after Steffen Iversen's great break and powerful shot? Certainly not City goalkeeper Kasey Keller, now an important member of our current squad. Interesting that the two 'keepers on that Wembley day should swop clubs, even in such a roundabout way!

Once again we started our run slowly with Brentford only defeated by the odd goal in both second round games and going close to causing quite a shock. We showed character to beat lowly Northampton Town in poor conditions at Sixfields - a real night for an upset! - and then knocked out both Liverpool and Manchester United as we hit top form.

By the semi-final we seemed to by playing Wimbledon every week and were up against it after a 0-0 draw here but Iversen won the return for us with that long-range lob at Selhurst Park. And the beaten goalkeeper that night? Of course, current Spurs number one Neil Sullivan!

Funny old game this, as someone who scored a League Cup semi-final goal here for us against Arsenal, once said.

Route to the Final - 1970-71
Round 2 - Spurs 3 Swansea 0 (Perryman, Peters, Morgan). Round 3 - Spurs 2 Sheffield United 1 (Chivers, Pearce).
Round 4 - Spurs 5 WBA 0 (Peters 3, Gilzean 2).
Round 5 - Spurs 4 Coventry 1 (Chivers 3, Gilzean).
SF1 - Bristol City 1 Spurs 1 (Gilzean).
SF2 - Spurs 2 City 0 aet (Chivers, Pearce).
F - Spurs 2 Aston Villa 0 (Chivers 2).


Route to the Final - 1972-73
Round 2 - Spurs 2 Huddersfield 1 (Chivers, Gilzean).
Round 3 - Middlesbrough 1 Spurs 1 (Pearce).
Spurs 0 Middlesbrough 0 aet. Spurs 2 Middlesbrough 1 aet (Peters, Gilzean).
Round 4 - Spurs 2 Millwall 0 (Peters, Perryman).
Round 5 - Liverpool 1 Spurs 1 (Peters).
Spurs 3 Liverpool 1 (Chivers 2, Pratt).
SF1 - Wolves 1 Spurs 2 (Peters, Pratt).
SF2 - Spurs 2 Wolves 2 aet (Chivers, Peters).
F - Spurs 1 Norwich 0 (Coates).


Route to the Final - 1998-99
Round 2 - Brentford 2 Spurs 3 (Carr, Dominguez, Vega).
Spurs 3 Brentford 2
(Nielsen, Campbell, Armstrong). Round 3 - Northampton 1 Spurs 3 (Armstrong 2, Campbell).
Round 4 - Liverpool 1 Spurs 3 (Iversen, Scales, Nielsen).
Round 5 - Spurs 3 Manchester Utd 1 (Armstrong 2, Ginola).
SF1 - Spurs 0 Wimbledon 0 Wimbledon 0 Spurs 1 (Iversen).
F - Spurs 1 Leicester 0 (Nielsen).