'There must have been 100,000 fans behind me that night...'
23 May 2014|Tottenham Hotspur
Today - Friday, May 23 - represents the 30th anniversary of our memorable UEFA Cup triumph against Anderlecht.
Ask fans their outstanding memory of the night and many will pick the penalty save that ultimately won the trophy when Tony Parks launched to his right to turn away Arnor Gudjohnsen's spot-kick and was then off and running in sheer ecstacy.
The thrilling nature of the evening was summed up in the shoot-out after the final ended 2-2 on aggregate over two legs - both ending 1-1 - as 'Parksy' saved Anderlecht's first from Morten Olsen and all four of our takers hit the net - Roberts, Mark Falco, Gary Stevens, Steve Archibald - leaving Danny Thomas the task of scoring the fifth penalty to win the tie.
Of course, he was denied by Jacky Munaron but as the chorus of 'there's only one Danny Thomas' quietened, Gudjohnsen stepped up to attempt to take the shoot-out into sudden death.
Tony guessed the right way and the rest it history as the then 21-year-old sprinted off to his team-mates and the Lane erupted.
Thirty years on, here are Tony's memories of the day...
"The day itself was incredible. We drew the first leg 1-1 and played particularly well in Anderlecht. In fact, I thought we deserved to win the game on the night. We came away from that confident that we could finish the job in the return leg.
"Anderlecht at the time were a huge club, a good side and I remember it being such a long day waiting for the kick-off.
"As a young player, I wasn’t used to many long days like that, feeling quite nervous. Unlike today, when you’d relax at the hotel and be around your team-mates, then we were all at home. We'd all give ourselves enough time to get in because you knew it was going to be a busy game. You ate at home and you were on your own and when you are left alone with your thoughts and nerves, they can get on top of you, which they did on the day. I remember feeling particularly nervous. My nerves always tended to go once we kicked-off but that was a game I felt particularly nervous in.
"We used to have to get to the stadium and hour and a half before kick-off. It’s amazing really, if you were stuck in traffic you were in trouble! It’s different now, the lads will come in and have a pre-match meal together, so we’re together in plenty of time. That alleviates all those problems.
"It was buzzing when I arrived at the stadium. It was a super night. The Shelf was all standing and it must have been close to 50,000 and busy from an early point. It was one of those Tottenham nights, we were all in white and the crowd were always up for European nights. There was an electric atmosphere.
"My biggest memory of the game was how outstanding Anderlecht were, they were fantastic. Enzo Scifo went on to become a world star, he was a young lad then but he ran the show. They had Vercauteren, Arnesen and a particularly fantastic goalkeeper called Jacky Mularon, who played well.
"Their football was silky and slick and they took us by surprise because after the first leg, we thought they couldn’t get much better and we would be okay. They ended up taking the lead and for the next at least 50 minutes we were hoping to catch a break and fortunately we did when Graham Roberts scored the equasliser.
"The penalties were the only point on the night I wasn’t really nervous. If a player puts the ball down on the spot and does his job properly, the goalkeeper should stand no chance. On a training ground, any day of the week, they will score. But if they slightly miskick the ball, not quite place it in the area they want to and I guess correctly, I can make a save.
"It made my name making those two penalties but it’s such a limited area of goalkeeping it’s frightening. As a coach I pull my hair out when people say he’s a great goalkeeper because he saves a penalty!
"I wouldn’t change anything though because it won us the UEFA Cup on the night and got me a massive pat on the back from people and we’re still talking about it 30 years later. That’s the beauty of football. If it was black and white as it should be, it wouldn’t be worth watching.
"It’s strange when people say ’30 years ago’ because in my head, it’s yesterday. I can see the whole day all over again just how it was. I don’t tend to think about my playing career anymore because I tend to think I’m a better coach than I ever was a player, so I concentrate on that.
"I’m lucky enough to work for this great club, lucky enough to have played for it. I still feel connected. I don’t feel the need to have to look back in time because it’s all about looking forward. In that regard, I’m quite lucky. It’s amazing.
"We have a very proud and magnificent record in the UEFA Cup/Europa League and I generally thought we were unlucky to go out against Benfica this season. It would have been nice and there was a time when we got to 2-1 in Benfica, I was thinking ‘this could work our perfectly’ and I would have loved to have been the goalkeeping coach in the final 30 years later having played in one myself. That was me dreaming a little. I’d love to win trophies as a coach with Spurs having done it as a player.
"It also amazes me the amount of times I’ve spoken to people about that night and they were all behind the goal, every single one of them. There must have been 100,000 Spurs fans behind that goal that night! Everyone tells me they were there!"