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It was 30 years ago today...

19 October 2013|Tottenham Hotspur

Today marks 30 years since one of our most famous European matches at White Hart Lane – a UEFA Cup second round first leg tie against Feyenoord which was billed as the battle between Glenn Hoddle and Johan Cruyff.

It was October 19, 1983, in the early stages of our UEFA-Cup winning campaign of 1983/84, and the game marked our first encounter with Feyenoord since they got the better of us over two legs in the final of the same competition in 1974.

Both sides had a headline-making creative midfielder in their ranks – a Hoddle, in his mid-20s, representing us against a visiting side which included the experienced Cruyff.

An intriguing battle was expected, but few could have predicted the shining performance of Hoddle in the first half. He set the match alight with a blistering display of midfield wizardry, and played a key role in the build-up to all four of our goals as we surged into a 4-0 lead before half-time.

Feyenoord got a couple back in the second half, but it was Hoddle’s outstanding display which led to us getting the job done against the Dutch side over two legs, en route to an eventual victory over Anderlecht in the final.

Tony Galvin, who scored twice against Feyenoord that night, this week recalled the furore the match created.

“There was a lot of publicity about it,” he recalled. “Johan Cruyff was probably a little bit near the end of his career then, and obviously Feyenoord and Spurs had a lot of history previously, so there was a lot of spice to the game.

“Feyenoord were quite a strong team at the time – them and Ajax were two top teams in the Netherlands so it was a very big game, and obviously it turned out to be a very good night and a  great  game of football.

“It was typical Spurs, quite open, and I can’t remember us playing much better in one half of football as we did in that first half against Feyenoord.

“Glenn was just absolutely outstanding. He was on fire in that particular period of his footballing career, and I don’t think he’d ever played a better half for Spurs. If he had, there can’t have been many, because he was absolutely outstanding.

“It was a big game – Feyenoord were fancied. It was a tough game but we really blew them away in the first half. They came back in the second half and it was a bit dodgy at the start of the second leg (which we won 2-0 thanks to goals from Chris Hughton and Galvin, ensuring a 6-2 win on aggregate) as they had a bit of a spell, but I think once we scored in the first half in the second leg, that was them finished.

“They were highlights of that season, the European games.”

Tony’s goals in the first leg added to a brace from Steve Archibald, and the 57-year-old recalled the decisive moments this week.

“I remember Glenn crossing one ball and for some reason I finished up in the middle of the goal. I couldn’t really miss it. I had to head it, I didn’t have to jump, it landed on my head.

“The other one, I ran through the middle and again it was a pass through from Glenn and I just sort of put it beyond the goalkeeper.

“We were playing with a lot of fluidity that night, there was a lot of movement and Glenn’s passing – well, I mean, it was second to none. If you make the run he’ll find you.”

Cruyff had tried to man-mark Hoddle in the first leg, but later admitted the error of his ways.

“I wanted to test myself against the young star of the present,” reflected Cruyff.  “Glenn was a great player in my book.  He played football the way that I wanted to see it played.

“It was a bad error of judgement by me.  I thought I could mark him and keep him quiet.  The result shows that I could not.  It was only on the pitch that I realised how good he really was.  I was a shadow without any presence.”

Fast forward 30 years, and we’re looking to make an impact on the continent once again. After an impressive run to the quarter-finals of the Europa League last term, we’re looking to mount another charge this time around.

And with a squad brimming with talented stars, Tony reckons we’ve got every chance of bettering last season’s run.

“The squad that Spurs have got really sets them up nicely,” he said. “At the moment Spurs are favourites to win the Europa League, but obviously you wait for the teams to drop out of the Champions League.

“Spurs probably have the strongest team in the competition at the moment, and I would expect them to go further than they did last season. I’d be very surprised if they didn’t get to the semi-finals at least.”