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Catching up with...Hoddle, Perryman and Roberts on City '81

15 December 2017|Tottenham Hotspur

Steve Perryman describes it as 'the game that changed our lives'. Glenn Hoddle said he was 'overwhelmed' and Graham Roberts believes it was the spark that ignited our trophy wins of the early 1980s. As we prepare for a huge Premier League game at City, we look back at that famous night at Wembley in May, 1981, the night 'Ossie's dream' came true, in this 'Catcing up with...' special with Stevie P, Glenn and Robbo...

To set the scene, the initial final on May 9, 1981 ended in a 1-1 draw. Tommy Hutchinson opened the scoring for City but then had the unfortunate record of scoring at both ends as Glenn's free-kick deflected off him and home to force a replay.

The replay goes down as one of the glory, glory nights. Played on Thursday 14 May, Ricky Villa opened the scoring, Steve Mackenzie levelled with a belter and then City led through Kevin Reeves' penalty on 50 minutes.

Garth Crooks levelled 20 minutes later and then Ricky's golden moment as he weaved his way into Spurs and FA Cup folklore, turning left and right before slotting home not just the winner, but a goal voted the best at Wembley in the 20th century.

A year later, we were back at Wembley twice, a League Cup Final loss to Liverpool before retaining the FA Cup again via a replay against QPR and then the night of all nights at we lifted the UEFA Cup at the Lane in 1984.

Below: Steve with Ossie at Wembley


In a recent visit to Hotspur Way and with our latest trip to the Etihad around the corner, Steve, Glenn and Graham sat down to share their memories of that special night in 1981...

What do you think when you are asked about the 1981 FA Cup Final?
Steve: “For me, it was the game that changed all of our lives. The Club had been through some tough times in the mid-1970s, including relegation, but all of a sudden winning that trophy put us back on the stage. The Club got a bit of its glamour back because of the quality of that win. So as great as it was and as well as everyone played, that trophy put the Club back to where we belonged. And bringing us up to date, with a good team, when we win that first trophy the rest of it will flow. The first one is the most difficult and that’s what that win over Manchester City did for us.”
Glenn: “The greatest thing for me was we got away with it in the first game, we didn’t play well, but the second game was outstanding. I was overcome that night - one, being a Spurs fan all my life, but having been relegated, that night meant to so much to me. We got relegated in 1977 and that hurt me so much, I just yearned for the day we’d win something. It meant so much to me personally, as well as for the Club. As Stevie said, it put the Club back on the map.”
Robbo: “It gave us so much belief, we just believed we’d never get beaten and that went for Europe as well. Don’t forget, we also reached semi-finals (European Cup Winners' Cup in 1982) and the League Cup Final  (1982) as well. Everything was flowing…”
Steve: “The Club and the players regained their credibility that night.”

Below: A bloodied Graham Roberts gets stuck in


How did it feel to lift the trophy?
Steve: “You are having the best day of your life, all my family were there, the team has won, you’ve regained that credability and everything that goes with it and then someone taps you on the shoulder and says ‘Steve, you’ve got to go and pick the up the FA Cup’. I’d never even considered that. I didn’t think ‘if we win, I’ll pick the cup up’, it just happened. What a feeling.”

At that time, it was the glamour day in English football - did it live up to expectations?
Robbo: “Definitely. I woke up at five in the morning, took a walk around the garden at the hotel and went back to bed!”
Steve: “Looking back, the arrangements were so good from Keith (Burkinshaw, manager) and Shreevesy (Peter Shreeves, coach), being that close from the training ground to the hotel, it was so well orchestrated by them and we only know that now because we’ve been in that situation.”
Glenn: “Ossie and Ricky had just come from winning the World Cup two years before.”
Robbo: “Look what it meant to them…”
Glenn: “I think they were taken aback by how big the FA Cup is in this country. There was a live satellite link from the hotel back to Argentina. They were blown away! They said ‘this didn’t happen in the World Cup!’.”
Robbo: “It meant so much to all of us, and the fans.”

Below: Glenn pictured after the first final ended 1-1


Talking of the fans, do you all realise how much it meant for all Spurs fans? Does that ever sink in?
Steve: “Glenn was the real Spurs fan. I’m from west London. I didn’t really support anyone but I went to watch QPR and Brentford. I don’t know when it happened, when I was seduced by the name of Tottenham Hotspur and Bill Nicholson and everything that went with it. But there are moments that happened through our careers where you think ‘wow’. It’s what people say to you after your career, how much it meant them, winning in ’81, the UEFA Cup…”
Glenn: “During it, you don’t realise that, you are just out there playing.”
Steve: “You go from one game to the next. That’s what a footballer does, one to the next. You can’t dwell too long on a defeat, or a win but when you look back at what it means to people...imagine you are a 10-year-old watching those Spurs games on TV, there was every chance, wherever you were in the country, that you’d be a Spurs supporter after that. You meet people who tell you exactly that. And we were always encouraged to be humble - there is always a defeat around the corner.”
Glenn: “If there is one thing in football, you know you are going to be brought back down to earth.”

Finally, your thoughts on this weekend's match at City?
Glenn: “I’m working that game for BT Sport and when I looked down the calendar, I thought ‘I hope I’m down for that one’. I can’t wait.”
Robbo: “Last season was tough at their place, we went 2-0 down but fought back for 2-2, so we’ve nothing to fear.”
Glenn: “It might just be the one...someone has to topple them.”