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View from...Down Under!

Posted on 1 October 2009  - 12:00

Don McAllister lived a footballer's dream - and shared it with over 50,000 fans at the Lane.

View from...Down Under!

Don McAllister lived a footballer's dream - and shared it with over 50,000 fans at the Lane.

An apprentice at Bolton, the defender climbed the ranks at the Trotters' former home at Burnden Park, helped them win the then Third Division title in 1973 and had earned the reputation as one of the best defenders in the Second Division when Spurs came calling in February, 1975.

Initially in and out of a side that suffered the unthinkable of relegation in 1976-77, Don went on to make 202 appearances and made a crucial contribution as we were promoted back to the First Division at the first attempt in 1977-78.

Don's key moment arrived on April 8, 1978 and, as fate would have it, Bolton were on the receiving end.

Only five games remained as we battled it out with Bolton, Southampton and Brighton for promotion. We were top on goal difference from Bolton going into the game and 50,097 fans watched Don throw himself at full length to convert a diving header in the 35th minute to win what turned out to be a crucial two points.

There were still a few nervous weeks ahead though as the team lost its next two games to Brighton and Sunderland before victory against Hull and a goalless draw at Southampton on the final day clinched the third promotion place.

Now based in Sydney, Australia, it seemed the perfect time to track down Don as his former clubs prepared to meet in the Premier League this weekend.

Don's goal

"You never forget a goal like that," said Don.

"It was a set-play we used to use. Johnny Pratt took a corner to the near post, Glenn Hoddle flicked it on and I came flying in at the centre of the goal and connected with a diving header. I ended up in the back of the net with it.

"It's one of those situations where if you are going to have a dream the night before, that's the dream - scoring a spectacular goal, seeing the headline 'McAllister scores winner against former club' - and that's exactly what happened.

"It was like a dream come true, the event and the timing was absolutely perfect.

"A few games later we were promoted on goal difference so it was a vitally important goal to have scored."

Many of Don's former team-mates and players he'd come through the ranks with at Bolton were in the side that day - the likes of Peter Reid, Roy Greaves and Paul Jones - alongside a certain Sam Allardyce and the one and only Frank Worthington.

So what was the reaction of his 'friends' after grabbing such an important winning goal? "Obviously they weren't too happy!" he laughed. "Once you are on the field though you do your best, afterwards you are friends again. That's the best thing about football."

It was all change at the Lane after that promotion.

Keith Burkinshaw completed the famous double coup of Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa and within three years, the great side of the early 1980s was ready to bring back the glory, glory days both domestically in the FA Cup and on the European stage in 1984.

Don played his part - he was a regular in 1978-79, 1979-80 and 1980-81 before injury got the better of him and he moved to Charlton in August, 1981.

Don v Liverpool, 1980

"I remember playing when Glenn Hoddle made his debut at Stoke," he recalled. "Then we got Ossie and Ricky, then Steve Archibald, Garth Crooks and the squad really took shape.

"I spent six years at the club and it was a transitional time from the side that included the likes of Pat Jennings, Cyril Knowles, Martin Peters, Martin Chivers - great, great players for this club.

"Those guys were on the way out and we the next generation, myself, John Duncan, Willie Young, Glenn and Steve Perryman was captain.

"It was a bit of a shock for a team like Tottenham to be in Division Two but we played our way out of that division, we built from the back and didn't play the long-ball game. We played good football and it worked well."

Based on the other side of the world for the best part of 20 years now, Don still keeps in touch with what is happening at the Lane and in English football.

"We probably get more live games on television here in Australia than you will in England," he added. "We get half-a-dozen live games a week, highlights, all the European games - we get it all here.

"It's been a dream start to the season, fantastic. Harry did a great job last season and now we've started magnificently. If the lads can keep this up, who knows what they could do?"

A 1-0 win at the Reebok Stadium courtesy of a spectacular diving header in the 35th minute will do for starters!


Take advantage of the Club's newly-introduced match experience package and meet a Spurs legend!

If you've not managed to visit the Lane this season then now's your chance.

We are offering a limited number of exclusive matchday deals for forthcoming Premier League home matches against Stoke City, Sunderland, Wigan Athletic, Wolves and Manchester City.

The offer includes a seat in the West Stand Upper, a two-course pre-match meal and access to a bar in the comfort of a match lounge. You'll also get the chance to meet a Spurs great such as Pat Jennings and even ask them a question or two as part of a Q&A session.

Prices start at £150 (+ VAT per person), but remember you'll be getting much more than 90 minutes.

For more information or to make a reservation call 0208 365 5010 or email