It was certainly a tense way to decide the destination of the silverware, the tie having ended 2-2 on aggregate after Graham Roberts’ late equaliser evened up the second leg at 1-1 following Alex Czerniatynski’s strike on the hour.
It was Robbo’s fellow centre-half Paul Miller who was on target as we drew 1-1 in the first meeting in Brussels on May 9 – but the man they call Maxy this week admitted he was left wondering what might have been on the plane home from Belgium that night.
“We’d won trophies before, we’d come close to winning the league, but we felt a European trophy was long overdue,” he began.
“We really wanted to win the trophy. The UEFA Cup in those days was the toughest trophy to win.
“But we were confident ahead of the first leg because, even though we were without Ossie (Ardiles) and Glenn (Hoddle), we were playing well and we felt we had goals in us.
“Looking back on it, I think the only surprise for all of us in that game was that we didn’t score more. Archie (Steve Archibald) and Mark Falco missed a hatful of chances, which was unlike the pair of them because they were both prolific, and although we came away with a 1-1 draw, we felt very disappointed that we hadn’t put the tie to bed. We thought we should have won by at least two or three. The tie really should have been over.”
As things transpired, it was Maxy’s second half header from Micky Hazard’s corner that put us in front on 58 minutes, only for Morten Olsen to restore parity five minutes from time.
Recalling the moment he hit the target, Paul continued: “It was good for me personally. I hadn’t scored that season and I’d missed half the campaign with a bad knee injury. I came back in January and I was only just starting to get fit really – I didn’t want the season to end!
“For the goal, Micky swung a corner over and I managed to get my head to it. I knew it was coming towards me and obviously I was running to meet it. I fancied I’d get a good head on it and once it hit my head it flew into the top corner. I watched it go in sideways – it was one of my better headers!
“It was a nice moment and a good feeling but, as I said, coming back on the plane we were a bit disappointed because the scoreline wasn’t more convincing.”
Any regrets we had from the first leg would be extinguished, however, on May 23, with Paul nevertheless grateful for the chance to get the job done in front of our own fans.
“To win it on our on patch was good and very rarely will it happen again that a team wins a European trophy on their own ground,” he added. “It might happen now and again if you get lucky and if your stadium’s the one that’s nominated to host the final, but not very often will the team whose home it is be there.
“We’ve won two UEFA Cups and won them both at White Hart Lane. We’re the only club in the world that’s got that record.”