Born in Bethnal Green, Vinny came up through our youth ranks to play 247 times for us, scoring 17 goals between 1987 and 1994, his crowning glory coming in 1991 when he helped us lift the FA Cup with a 2-1 extra-time victory over Nottingham Forest at Wembley.
These days running a football agency based in Spain, which also conducts business in South America, the 48-year-old was back in north London for May’s unforgettable White Hart Lane Finale and as he soaked in the atmosphere in the company of many illustrious fellow ex-players and managers, he was quick to praise the work of the current team.
“It’s fantastic here and I think they’ve got the nucleus of a young squad that’s super-talented,” insisted Vinny, who represented Everton, Wolves and Birmingham City before initially departing UK shores in 1996 for Las Palmas and latterly Sevilla, then briefly returning with Walsall in 2003-04.
“Hopefully now they can push on to the next level because they’ve proven they’re as good as any team in the country and that they can sustain a title challenge. Hopefully this time next year or perhaps a little way down the line, they’ll have gone one better than this year and won the league.”
So what were Vinny’s emotions as he returned to White Hart Lane for one final time last month?
“Obviously for me it’s the most special place because, being a Tottenham supporter and having grown up and come through the system, it was a dream come true to play here and seeing it today is very emotional,” he said.
“The atmosphere when you played here was always red hot. It didn’t matter what game you played in, the supporters were fantastic and I’d imagine taking that across to the new stadium now is going to be something special.
“It’s an absolute privilege to be here on such a fantastic occasion and there are so many legends here, but this is what this great club has always had – they’ve had some absolute world class players grace the pitch over time and I’m sure with the team they’ve got now, they’ll have even more in the next year or so when they arrive in the new stadium.”
Naturally, Vinny has several fond memories of wearing our famous Lilywhite shirt. Asked to pinpoint his favourites, he explained: “The FA Cup win in 1991 was obviously the super-special one but I remember the year when we avoided going down when we played away at Oldham with two games to go before the end of the season (2-0 victory in May, 1994).
“I scored one of the goals – that was just more relief really – but as for memories of special moments, the FA Cup semi-final in 1991 against Arsenal when we won 3-1 and obviously winning the Cup itself was the ultimate.”