Alan Mullery: "I walked across the pitch for the last time and I could hear the crowd again, all cheering"
11 May 2017|Tottenham Hotspur
The days, hours and minutes are ticking away to 'The Lane, The Finale' and the final match at our famous old stadium against Manchester United on Sunday. To mark the occasion, we've spoken to a number of legends for their memories of White Hart Lane. Next up - legendary UEFA Cup-winning midfielder Alan Mullery...
- 373 appearances, 1964-72
- FA Cup winner 1967, League Cup winner 1971
- Captained team to UEFA Cup success, 1972
- Also played over 350 league games for Fulham in two spells, reached FA Cup final in 1975
- FWA Footballer of Year in 1975, awarded MBE
- Capped 35 times by England, scoring in 1970 World Cup Finals
Arriving from Fulham in 1964, the final chapter of Alan's story at Spurs is like something out of a film script. He was back at Fulham to help his recovery from a hip injury in 1971, recalled to Spurs, made captain and in his last game for the Club, the second leg of the UEFA Cup Final against Wolves at the Lane in May, 1972, he scored the goal as we drew 1-1 to secure the trophy 3-2 on aggregate. His last actions as a Spurs player - and captain - were to lift the trophy before being lifted shoulder-high by fans for a lap of honour.
Below: Alan heads home in the 1972 UEFA Cup Final, second leg at the Lane
It's no wonder Alan took a moment to himself...
"I felt quite sad after the game against Arsenal," he told us this week. "I stood on the pitch and took it all in. I thought ‘in a couple of weeks' time, they will knock this place down’.
"White Hart Lane will always be remembered, for years and years and years. Always. That was the last time I’ll see it as it is, and I didn’t know that at the time because, unfortunately, I can’t make it now for the finale on Sunday.
"Anyway, I walked across the pitch for what turned out to be the last time and it was lovely, brilliant. I could almost hear the crowd going back 40 years, all cheering. It was a lovely moment."
Below: Alan with the League Cup, 1971
It led to Alan thinking about his first day at the Lane. "When I came to Spurs in 1964 I was playing for a football club (Fulham) that I suppose you could call it fun, if you won it was great, if you lost there wasn’t too many people worried about it because there was a game the following week," he recalled.
"At Fulham, when you turned up, especially if you were a few minutes late, you couldn’t get the right shirt, shorts or top. When I got to Tottenham, this was all laid out for us with initials on! The tracksuit had the same initials. I had brand new pumps, they knew what size of boot I took, 7½, and it was just a different place completely.
"The first day I was there, we played squash and I had a new racquet, with my name on it! I’d never played squash in my life!
"Everything about the place was class. You drove in and saw decent cars in the car park. It just hit you that you were involved with history and success and that had to be continued.
"We had to make our own history, that was always expected – and even now, it’s the same for Mauricio Pochettino and the players.
Below: Alan with Cliff Jones as he's inducted into the National Football Museum Hall of Fame, 2015
"And then my first game was against Manchester United, 60-odd thousand in at White Hart Lane. I drove in from where I lived in Surrey around the North Circular and by the time I got to the Great Cambridge Roundabout, I saw traffic like I’d never seen traffic before!
"What always struck me was the history of the Club. The first club to do the double, an absolutely amazing achievement. Bill Nicholson in charge, one of the greatest managers ever. To join a football club like that, at that time, probably the biggest side in Europe, that was special.
"I always say, I didn’t want to go to Arsenal, I didn’t want to go to Chelsea, I wanted to go to the place where they were playing the type of football you could watch on television and drool over. That was Spurs, and that was White Hart Lane."