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Dinamo Tbilisi vs Spurs - Pat's memories of 1973

21 August 2013|Tottenham Hotspur

Two things stand-out in Pat Jennings' memory from our visit to Tbilisi almost 40 years ago.

We travelled to the former Soviet Union for a third round tie of the UEFA Cup on November 28, 1973.

The away leg finished in a 1-1 draw - Ralph Coates on target - before a 5-1 victory in the second leg at White Hart Lane took us through 6-2 on aggregate. Martin Chivers and Martin Peters both scored twice in the return on December 12, 1973 with Chris McGrath also on target.

Ralph told reporters at the time 'it was the best goal of my life' and it's his performance and the state of the pitch out in Georgia that legendary goalkeeper Pat can still remember clearly.

"Ralphy scored a fantastic goal out there, a shot from the edge of the box," said Pat, who played 590 times for us between 1964-1977.

"They couldn't handle him that night and if fact, over the two legs. I recall that he was outstanding in the second leg as well, he delivered cross after cross. He was a great player, Ralph."

The pitch at the Locomotive Stadium was described as a 'rubble heap' in the Daily Mirror. "I do remember the stadium and the pitch, but that's the way it was back then," added Pat.

"We trained in the stadium the day before and it was absolutely packed.

"It was a new experience for us to play in these European games.

"I was more used to it playing for Northern Ireland and going out to places like Albania. It wasn’t the easiest to get out to the former USSR. We couldn’t fly direct, so we had to go to Moscow and then get a connection from there. They were always tough games as well, really, you didn’t know what you were up against.

"Bill Nicholson told us it would be a tough game out there and warned us about the return with it standing at 1-1, but we ended up winning 5-1 back at White Hart Lane.

"We always looked to score in the away leg, that was important and hopefully keep a clean sheet. We always fancied it back at White Hart Lane."

Spurs v Dinamo Tbilisi, November 28, 1973 - Jennings, Evans, Knowles, Pratt, England, Beal, Naylor, Perryman, Chivers, Peters, Coates.