Hughton’s best moments as a Spurs player… by his team-mates
16 April 2018|Tottenham Hotspur
To this day they still call him ‘charmer’ – and it’s not hard to see why Chris Hughton has always been held in such high regard by his former Spurs comrades.
An all-action, attacking full-back, the Republic of Ireland international always carried himself with dignity and class, from his playing days – where he helped us win back-to-back FA Cups in 1981 and 1982, plus the 1984 UEFA Cup during 398 appearances between 1979 and 1990 – right through until becoming a respected, long-serving member of our coaching staff in the 1990s and early-2000s.
He later won admirers further afield for his work during managerial reigns at Newcastle, Birmingham and Norwich and is now close to securing Brighton & Hove Albion’s Premier League status after guiding them to promotion from the Championship last year.
Ahead of Tuesday night’s trip to take on Chris’ Seagulls side at the Amex Stadium, we asked some of his ex-playing colleagues here at Spurs to pick out some of the left-back’s best matches and moments in a Lilywhite shirt…
Spurs midfielder, 1978-1988
“After I arrived at the club in 1978, Chrissy came into the team very shortly afterwards and he was one of the players that I played more games with than anybody else. He was there for a lot of time – the 1981 and 1982 FA Cup Finals, the 1984 UEFA Cup Final, even the 1987 FA Cup Final when we lost, so I have a lot of memories of playing in the team with him.
“He was always a very consistent player – he played very well. If you asked him what his best game was, he would find it difficult himself to answer the question but one particular match that I remember was Nottingham Forest away in 1984 when he scored a goal. It was a very good one. I remember it because he played a one-two with me and scored late in the game to equalise for 2-2. He didn’t score many but I remember he was very happy with that one.”
Spurs defender, 1980-1986
“The one I remember when it comes to Chrissy was when he kicked my teeth out in the FA Cup Final in 1981! He still owes me for that! In terms of performances, I remember the game when he scored two goals against Arsenal in 1983, when we beat them 5-0. For a left-back to score two goals in one game was excellent, but that was Chrissy’s nature. There were loads of games where he was absolutely outstanding. Every week he would give you minimum seven out of 10. He was always a steady player and he’s a brilliant person as well.
“He always got forward, but I was with him on that left side of the defence so we had a good understanding. Maxi (Paul Miller) was on the other side with Stevie Perryman and it was me and Chrissy on the left. He was a left-back but he was right-footed so he had to be good with both feet really. He was quick but he knew how to defend and he got his nickname ‘charmer’ because of his character – he’s that kind of person.
“Ever since he’s been at Brighton he’s done an amazing job and, for me, I think he only needs one more win or maybe two points – I’m 99 per cent sure they’re going to stay up. The first year they just missed out on going up, the second year they got promoted – what more do you want from a manager? He’s doing a brilliant job.”
Spurs striker, 1978-1986
“I remember he played his part in the FA Cup wins in 1981 and 1982, especially in the first one against Manchester City. Most of his games were good games, he was a very consistent performer and a full-back who can score goals is always good to have.
“Obviously he scored twice in that Arsenal game in 1983 so I suppose that would be the game that stands out for me most – I have fond memories of it as well, having scored two. He was effectively in a centre-forward position when he scored those goals and it was pretty rare for a full-back in those days to end up how he did on the pitch like that. He was very quick, a good passer of the ball and a good team-mate. He was a nice person to have in the team.”
Above: Paul Miller, Chris Hughton, Tony Galvin and Garth Crooks celebrate FA Cup glory in 1981.
Spurs winger, 1978-1987
“Obviously Chris was a great over-lapping full-back but probably the game that really would stick out, when he was really outstanding, was when he scored two goals against Arsenal, when we beat them 5-0. It was on Easter Monday in 1983. He was outstanding in the 1984 UEFA Cup run that we had as well – in several games he was very good.
“I got to know Chrissy really well. He always said that if he went forward, I would just naturally cover for him on that left side. He was at his best when he was bombing on. He was ahead of his time in terms of overlapping full-backs really.”
Spurs defender, 1977-1987
“Chris made his debut against Manchester United in the League Cup in 1979, during a period where Keith Burkinshaw was having to blood a lot of us young players. It was late August and we hadn’t started the season well. Myself, Tony Galvin and Mark Falco had played the previous season but Chris was the first one to come in that season. I’ve known Chris since I was 13, he was training with us anyway, but three full-backs got injured in the two days before the United game – Gordon Smith, Jimmy Holmes and I think Don McAllister, so Chris came in as a fourth-choice.
“That was his debut. He got a late shout, he wouldn’t have known about it until the morning of the game or the day before when someone got injured in the practice match, but he got pushed in and that was it – he never looked back. He had an outstanding game and to be honest he was never really left out of the team after that. United were a good side but he came in, showed a lot of composure and had great pace. We knew how good he was because we’d played with him a lot in the youth team and reserves but now all of a sudden he’d shown it on the big stage. It was the game with the famous goal from the free-kick where Ossie flicked it up and Glenn (Hoddle) volleyed it in.
“Charmer was his nickname and it still is. He’s a charming bloke, politely, lovely… you couldn’t meet a nicer, warmer person than Chrissy Hughton. He’s the right person for that name.”