Xtra - Beal, Chiv on 'The Glory, Glory Nights'
In a stunning new book, The Glory Glory Nights – The Official Story of Tottenham Hotspur in Europe, legends Martin Chivers and Phil Beal discuss the great Spurs team of the early ‘70s and the glorious campaigns they enjoyed travelling the continent.
In this extract taken from the book the pair talk about the team they played in and the characters that helped form such a tight-knit and successful unit.
In conversation with Martin Chivers & Phil Beal
Bill Nicholson’s third trophy-winning side was one that re-established the club’s reputation in Europe. In a remarkable period between 1972 and 1974, Spurs reached two European finals and a semi-final – rekindling the glory nights flame in the hotly contested environment of the UEFA Cup.
Two of the key protagonists of that era made their mark with outstanding displays and each with 30 appearances or more: Phil Beal, a reliable defensive rock, and Martin Chivers, who set a record as Tottenham’s top European goalscorer.
Spurs had a superb level of consistency over those three seasons. What lay behind that success?
Martin Chivers: When you look round that team it was as good as anything. It was a strong unit. Almost everyone was an international. Skill-wise we could match most teams. We had two great full-backs in Cyril Knowles and Joe Kinnear. People talk about overlapping full-backs – I think they were two of the first. In Mike England we had one of the best centre-halves who was powerful in the air and very skilful for a centre-half; Phil Beal read the game as well as anybody and would have played for England if Bobby Moore hadn’t been in the way.
Phil Beal: A lot of people have said that to me. That’s just one of those things. No one can take away how good Bobby was. I just got on with what I had to do for Tottenham.
MC: Pat Jennings was worth a goal every game; we relied on him and he never failed. Then we had the midfield of Stevie Perryman, Alan Mullery and Martin Peters – I think there’s enough skill among those three to match anybody – and up front unbelievably skillful Alan Gilzean, who was the perfect foil for me, and Ralphie [Coates] who never stopped
running and scored some important goals.
What about Chiv, Phil?
PB: Chivvo was a top, top goalscorer. He wasn’t hard as such but strong. There were times we had to keep on at him. And it would work! But we had a good team spirit. Bill Nick expected that. I was brought up in the Dave Mackay era. He would train with the youngsters when the first team had finished training. Well, it didn’t matter if you were 15-years -old or 30: if you were on Dave Mackay’s side in a five-a-side game you had to win [laughs]. It was part of the Spurs team spirit and why we got on so well.
MC: The camaraderie of the players was second to none. That’s why we became such a good family. Most of the players played eight years at the club, many had testimonials. There was loyalty at the club. We stuck together and were as a good as any team partly because we were so close.
PB: We had a great side together for a long time, between eight and 10 years, as Chiv said. We just knew everybody completely and were organised, and knew what to do. Bill Nicholson had us off to a fine art. Everyone knew where to go for corners, free-kicks, even Pat – he was told to kick the ball out to a certain area.
MC: We practised free-kicks till we were blue in the face at Cheshunt.
Europe and Spurs were a good fit?
MC: I loved European football, not because I was strong. It was because we had a go at teams when we played away, and I was in a very strong team. I was the fortunate one to get the accolades by scoring goals.
You’re being modest.
MC: It suited me. I wasn’t an out-and-out physical player, I was very strong but I wasn’t a typical English centre-forward who used to put his weight about and knock people about, I feel I had a better touch than (that type of) player and we literally played good football right the way through.
Europe suited us down to a tee. Don’t forget we were a very successful cup team in domestic competition. I just think we were better suited to cup rather than league football, which was a disappointment as we were good enough to beat anyone on our day. We played 60 games and more a season and, as a result, the league tended to take second place because we just couldn’t turn it on every week. We won the UEFA Cup with 16 players – teams these days have a squad of 16 for just one game. If you look at the appearances, over three years a good half a dozen of us played in 30-odd games in Europe.
The full interview with Martin and Phil can be read in The Glory Glory Nights – The Official Story of Tottenham Hotspur in Europe by Martin Cloake and Adam Powley. Priced at £25 it is available from all the Spurs Shops.
A preview of the book can be seen at visionsp.co.uk/gloryglorynights
Martin, Cliff Jones and Mark Falco will appear at the Megastore, White Hart Lane before Thursday night's match against Panathinaikos to sign copies of the 'The Glory, Glory Nights'. The legendary trio will be there 4pm-6pm.