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The Big Interview - Pat Van den Hauwe

26 August 2015|Tottenham Hotspur

No-nonsense defender Pat Van den Hauwe was part of the successful Everton side of the mid-1980s before switching to White Hart Lane in the summer of 1989.

Having started out at Birmingham City, the tough-tackling centre-half joined the Toffees in September, 1984, and won the Division One title and European Cup Winners’ Cup with them during his first season at Goodison Park.

A further league title followed two years later, while he was also involved as Everton reached the FA Cup Final in 1985, 1986 and 1989 – only to finish as runners-up on each of those three occasions.

He moved to Spurs ahead of the 1989-90 season and in 1990-91 got to the FA Cup Final once more, this time in our colours.

Thankfully for the Belgium-born Wales international, he at last claimed a winner’s medal on that day as we triumphed 2-1 against Nottingham Forest after extra time at Wembley.

In total, Pat made 145 appearances for us in all competitions before joining Millwall in 1993.

In his first interview with the Club for several years – for this Saturday’s matchday programme for the visit of his former club Everton – Pat reflects on his transfer to White Hart Lane and looks back on some of his most memorable moments in a Spurs shirt...

Above: Pat celebrates with Everton skipper Kevin Ratcliffe (left) after clinching the league title in May, 1985.  

You won two league titles and the 1985 European Cup Winners’ Cup with Everton before linking up with us in 1989. How did that move come about?

The team at Everton was slowly breaking up, a few of the players were starting to leave and when they replaced them – no disrespect to some of the players that came in – it was never the same. Colin Harvey, the Everton manager at the time, came to me one day and said: “Tottenham Hotspur have come in for you but I’m offering you another four-year deal to stay at Everton.”

I had to weigh it up within 24 hours, but I thought I’d done my time at Everton. We’d achieved a great deal in the four-and-a half years I was there and I thought it would be a great challenge to go back down to London and play for another very big club in Tottenham Hotspur under Terry Venables.

You were an FA Cup runner-up three times with the Toffees, so how much of a relief was it to at last win the trophy with us in 1991?

It was fantastic! It was three times no go at Everton but then I ended up at Tottenham and, thank goodness, I finally got a result the first time out in the Final. The whole experience was very memorable, especially the semi-final win against Arsenal at Wembley. That was a great occasion and then to go back to Wembley and eventually win the trophy against Nottingham Forest was a marvellous achievement. I was very happy.

Above: Pat challenges Nottingham Forest's Lee Glover in the 1991 FA Cup Final.

How much do you recall about your Spurs debut against Aston Villa in September, 1989?

I remember Terry coming up to me after the game and asking if I was feeling alright. I said: “No – I feel absolutely shattered!” I’d hardly trained to be fair. I think I’d had just over a week’s training when I left Everton and I was more or less thrown straight in, so it was tough.

What was your favourite moment in a Spurs shirt?

To beat Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-final was important. It was a great goal from Gazza that day, everyone will agree. To me, Gazza was a great character, always funny, having a laugh and winding people up. But ability-wise I’d say he was the best player I’ve ever played alongside.

So you got on well with Gazza then...

Yes. I recall seeing him in the Final against Nottingham Forest that year and the way he went for that tackle early on in the game and smashed his knee up. That was a sad occasion. I remember sitting in the stands at Spurs once, shortly after that happened, and having a chat with him after a game. It was only me and him – we just disappeared off into the stands alone and sat down for about 20 minutes, had a beer and a chat. He opened his heart a little bit – he thought that his whole career was over but I just told him to carry on, keep going, and that you never know what’s coming around the corner.

We also had some impressive defenders during your time at the club – the likes of Steve Sedgley, Gary Mabbutt, Justin Edinburgh and Gudni Bergsson. Were you close to many of those players?

I more or less kept myself to myself, to be honest. I knew a couple of the boys, we used to go out every now and again but I wouldn’t say I was especially close to one particular player.

I enjoyed playing next to Mabbsy in defence, though. I came from an organised and structured team at Everton and I always found that, playing for Spurs, if we played well, we played very well and on our day we could beat anyone.

Do you still get to watch much Premier League football?

Basically I’ve been in South Africa for the last 20 years so it is very rare that I get to see Tottenham or Everton play, but if they do come on TV then I’ll always watch them. I was there at Goodison Park on the last day of last season when Spurs won 1-0, sitting in the stands among the Everton fans. It’s nice because, touch wood, I’ve never got really bad reviews from Evertonians. Even now when I go to watch a game, people still come up and talk to me – it’s a fantastic thing, that.

Pat Van den Hauwe was speaking to us for Saturday’s official matchday programme – on sale from several points around the stadium and from the Spurs Megastore on the day, priced at £3.50.