Today we welcome a new, regular columnist - the one and only Micky Hazard!
A skilful playmaker in his day, Micky joined us as a schoolboy and went on to lift the FA Cup and UEFA Cup in his first spell, progressing through the junior ranks to make 148 appearances between 1976-1985. He returned to play another 32 times between 1993-95 before retiring at 35 - almost 20 yards after initially making a huge sacrifice to leave home in Sunderland and join Spurs.
Now a popular matchday host and Spurs fan through and through, Micky always raised the roof at the Lane when he was interviewed at half-time, his emotion and love for the Club shining bright.
Here is Micky's first column - and we'll look forward some Chelsea-related tales next week!
Micky on... the Tyne/Wear rivalry
I joined Spurs at a very early age, so I never really had a time to get into the rivalry between Sunderland and Newcastle, because I simply never was a Sunderland fan. I’m from Sunderland but even when they won the FA Cup back in 1973 I’d already signed for Spurs. Of course, Newcastle fans always regarded me as the enemy! Whenever we played at St James, they’d properly got stuck in! But the more they called me out, the better I played.
Newcastle is a massive club, let’s make no bones about it. I remember playing at St James Park as it was back in the 1970s, 80s and 90s. It was such an intimidating place to play. For me, it always carried extra feeling because of the Sunderland-Newcastle rivalry and I always wanted desperately to win there, and we did okay there to be fair!
Below: The one and only Gazza
Micky on... Gazza - a genius
I first came across Gazza on September 7, 1985. It was the last game of my first spell at Spurs. I was on the bench and a certain Paul Gascoigne was also on the bench that day. I didn’t know too much about him at that time but during his early years, I played against him on three or four occasions and it was clear to see he was a very talented individual, but also a proper character.
Even from a young age he was out there having a laugh. You are so focused out there and that’s all you think of - but not this kid. Gazza wanted to have a laugh, he wanted to do funny things like pull your shorts down, he wanted to make the crowd laugh as well. We’ve always had those characters, but those characters are generally not the best players, just great characters. Gazza broke that mould, he was a proper character but then put a ball at his feet and he was a magician.
It was no surprise to me that he became as good as he did - and we saw the best of him at Spurs, that run to the FA Cup in 1991 and of course the year before, his performances for England at the World Cup. It was such a shame he suffered that injury at the end of his wonderful season in 1991, and as magnificent as he was, I never felt we saw him at his ultimate best after that. That was incredibly sad because he was a genius. I’m sure he would have given even more. Just imagine how good he would have been without that. He was a special talent and a great guy as well.
Below: Micky in action in his first spell at Spurs
Micky on... What do we all do without football?
Do you know what, the best way I can describe it is this...when I was playing the game I love, at the end of the season I’d have 10, 11 weeks off, fully paid, I never really thought about the summer break. You needed a bit of time off to recharge the batteries and get your body healthy. Now I’m a fan, I just want it to continue! This summer break is too long! I remember that wonderful finale at White Hart Lane, then the wins against Leicester and Hull that followed, just basking in that last couple of weeks, then suddenly there is no football. What did people do before football? What was life like before football? We have two months without it and no-one knows what to do at the weekend! What on earth do we all do? I’m on Facebook and Twitter and all I hear from fans is ‘when is this season going to start?’ Now it’s finally here again!
From FA Cup winner to extra preliminary round!
I’m manager of Hadley FC in the Spartan South Midlands League and believe it or not, we’ve already played in the FA Cup this season! We played Langford in the extra preliminary round and we ended up winning 9-1. It was a fantastic start to our FA Cup campaign. Last season we had a great run and fell just short of the first round proper. That was incredible for us. In fact, the team who beat us (Eastbourne Borough) went on to beat Aldershot Town in the first round! I’m a bit of a dreamer in football, I love to play the ‘beautiful game’ and preach that at the club. Last season, when we were winning these FA Cup games, I honestly believed we were going to get to the third round proper and draw Spurs! That would have been a dream – but how would I have explained to the chairman why I’d put the Under-16s out against Spurs!