Where were you when Ronny scored?
Tue 04 February 2020, 17:02|Tottenham Hotspur
Ronny Rosenthal was hardly renowned for his deadly finishing but on 1 March, 1995, as we took on Southampton in an FA Cup fifth round replay at The Dell, he produced the kind of career-defining performance that many top strikers can only dream of.
With the team losing 2-0 and facing elimination from the competition, he came off the bench at half-time and scored an unlikely hat-trick to completely turn the tie around. Teddy Sheringham, Nick Barmby and Darren Anderton later got in on the act as the Saints crumbled and we won 6-2 after extra time.
Rocket Ronny’s terrific treble is still remembered fondly to this day.
As we prepare to meet Southampton in an FA Cup replay once again – this time at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – we provide a snapshot of who was where and what they remember about that dramatic night on the south coast 25 years ago...
Where he was: In midfield, just behind Ronny
“The first game was 1-1 and we were confident for the replay but a couple of decisions went against us and you’re thinking ‘what’s going on here?’ No-one could have imagined what was going to happen! We pressed to win in normal time, it went to extra time but once Ronny scored the third goal, the floodgates opened. Ronny was such a great lad and he had such a strong mentality. Things didn’t always go his way and people will always talk about his miss for Liverpool at Villa, but he just laughed it off. When he was on, he was on – and he was cooking on gas that night!”
Andy Scott, Spurs supporter
Where he was: Away seating area at The Dell
“The seats we were given as the visiting club were in the top tier along the side of the ground to the left. I remember I was up there that night and when Rosenthal scored the hat-trick, it was at the end where we were sitting. Looking down on the goals, even from the side, you could see the angles of them going in and Bruce Grobbelaar, the Southampton goalie, just grabbing at thin air. Because he got the hat-trick, though, I think it took away from how well we played in the second half and in extra time with the other players scoring as well – Darren Anderton, Nick Barmby and Teddy Sheringham.”
Where he was: On the bench after being replaced by Ronny at half-time
“I’d been subbed off, but I understood the decision. I was told to do a man-to-man marking job on Matt Le Tissier to start with – he was red hot at that time – but we found ourselves 2-0 down, Gerry Francis (manager) had to do something and I was the one to come off. Looking back, it was probably a wise decision! There’s a picture of us in the dugout going mad when the goals were going in. There were a couple of screamers in there, Ronny was just on fire that night. You couldn’t believe what was going on in front of you! I remember the celebrations at the end. It was a great cup night for the club.”
Lewis Coombes, Southampton fan
Where he was: Among the Saints’ supporters in the Archers Road end at The Dell
“Like every home game at the time, I was sitting in the ‘bike shed’, as it was affectionately known. I was in good voice as Neil Shipperley and a Matt Le Tissier penalty had put Saints 2-0 up by half-time. At that point you started thinking we could be in for a decent cup run, but Ronny Rosenthal seemed to have other ideas! His first was a decent finish, but Saints continued to give him so much room. Just a few minutes later Rosenthal cut in from the right and rifled a shot past Grobbelaar that seemed to go in before he even moved. A great strike – that meant in a flash the game was level. It’s the hat-trick goal in extra time that stands out – running in from distance with defenders backing-off, you could see it unfolding in slow-motion. Sure enough, Rosenthal hit a swerving shot that left Grobbelaar rooted, ending up in the top corner. From that point on, there was only going to be one winner. Spurs had a field day with a punch-drunk defence. Grobbelaar was all over the place and there was a spell of 20 minutes where every attack ended in a goal. When Sheringham made it four, people started to leave, Barmby made it five and the ground emptied – by the time Anderton drilled in the sixth, I remember being surrounded by empty red seats.”
Where he was: On the bench, then on the pitch at 2-2
“I was the other substitute in this game and I remember I had an absolute disaster of a haircut! I’d been to the hairdresser because the match was going to be on Sky, but unfortunately he’d put a big step in the back of my head. It was a terrible one, horrendous, and I would have got away with it if I’d stayed on the bench with my hat on! As it happened, Gerry brought me on for David Howells with about 15 minutes of normal time to go, just after Ronny had scored his second to make it 2-2. It was a crazy game. I can’t quite remember all of his goals but he hit one and it swerved from one side of the goal to the other and went in the top corner.”
Peter Bassett, Spurs supporter
Where he was: Following the game at home in Tottenham
“I vividly recollect following this game at various intervals at home on Ceefax. My evening television routine back then would be to lie on the carpet while our four-year-old daughter fell asleep on my wife's lap. Feeling utterly depressed at the half-time scoreline, I decided to do the washing up, hoping we could at least make a game of it and avoid exiting the cup in a non-embarrassing fashion. Washing up completed, I was amazed to see that it was now 2-2 thanks to super sub Ronny. It had to be back to the kitchen until the end of the game – not that us football fans are a superstitious type – and half-an-hour or so later the full-time score was confirmed at 2-2. At this point, a return to the carpet beckoned. I recall watching a programme on the television, determined not to check the score until extra-time had finished but, try as I may, it could not be done! By my reckoning there were five minutes left when it was time to visit good old Ceefax again. I couldn't believe my eyes! Surely it must be an error? The score was now 5-2 to us. I let out a shriek of delight that instantly woke up our daughter, which then led to my wife scoring a direct hit with a cushion, straight into my face! Thankfully our daughter wasn’t adversely affected as she is a season ticket holder like myself. The final score as we all know was 6-2 – quite an unbelievable evening.”
Where he was: Playing in defence as captain of the team
“Ronny came on and everything he touched turned to gold. It was unbelievable! Every time he got the ball, a goal was scored. My reaction was just ‘wow’. When you’re 2-0 down, as captain of your team, you’re looking around and trying to sort things out, but Ronny’s contribution turned the game. He was all over the place, defenders just couldn’t stay with him and everything he hit was flying in the back of the net. I remember his celebrations – I don’t think even he could believe he was doing it! He was on a different planet.”
Kevin Fitzgerald, Spurs supporter
Where he was: Back of the away section at The Dell
“I was there at The Dell, quite near the back of the Spurs stand, along the side as I remember. I guess nothing quite compares with Lucas Moura’s hat-trick in Amsterdam but this was up there and possibly even more unlikely given the relative scarcity of Ronny’s goals for Spurs. At half-time, 2-0 down and looking out of it, I had that sinking feeling – out of the cup, long journey home, late to bed. The goals? Most memorable are the two long shots – goals that surprised Grobbelaar even more than they surprised me. Ronny had already scored one, then he cut in from the wing and fired his first rocket, a missile from outside the penalty area. So, 2-2 and extra time. Ronny’s second rocket, an even longer-range missile after a run through the middle, led to what became an avalanche of goals.”
Where he was: Playing in midfield before being substituted at 2-2
“The first game was a real tough one at White Hart Lane, Southampton were a good side. They gave us a bit of a chastening in the first part of the match, then Gerry made the change, took Stuart off, got Ronny on the pitch, we started to get some pressure on them and obviously got a couple back to force it into extra time. I just remember Ronny’s goals – he had that in him, you never knew what he was going to do! He was the first to say it himself – it could be the most extraordinary performance and scoring three brilliant goals, as we saw on the night, or it could be something else! He’s a lovely guy and a very effective player in that he had that surprise package where you never knew what was going to happen.”
Martin Buhagiar, Spurs supporter
Where he was: Rushing into the away section!
“I remember this game well because we were running late and missed kick-off by a minute or two. We were able to dump the car in a quiet street and ran to the stadium. It was my first and only visit to The Dell and what a game it was! Our seats were towards the back of the stand which meant you were often moving to catch a glimpse of the game as the overhanging stand above and those in front restricted your view. By end of the game, that didn’t matter at all. We had to endure a setback first but, without falling behind, we wouldn’t have had the unbridled joy of turning this game on its head. By the time Matt Le Tissier had put a harshly-awarded penalty away to make it 2-0, we thought another FA Cup run which offered so much hope was about to come to an abrupt end. Down we went before half-time for a tea and pie hoping we could score the next goal and drag ourselves back into the game. Southampton had started well and it appeared unlikely. Rocket Ronny’s first goal came just after the break at the end where we were housed. You could see the belief flow through the side after that goal and suddenly it was us making all the noise again. It didn’t stop both on and off the pitch. I can remember the second goal so well. It looked like the ball was about to go out for a throw-in right in front of us, but Rosenthal kept it in. He cut in, beat his man and unleashed a thunderbolt which flew past Grobbelaar. The celebrations in the away end matched the reaction of the players on the pitch! That goal stirred Saints and Ian Walker made one very memorable save from Le Tissier before Sheringham, Klinsmann, Barmby, Anderton and Rosenthal took control and stamped their authority on the game in extra time. Rosenthal’s hat-trick goal was the best of the bunch. He picked the ball up on half-way and ran and ran and ran before hitting the most sublime swerving shot I think I’ve ever seen. Cue delirium in the away end! The second half of extra time was even better. Darren Anderton, booed by the home crowd earlier on due to his Portsmouth connections, ran the show, spraying passes everywhere. A break by Klinsmann set up Sheringham for our fourth and then Barmby made it five. Anderton deservedly scored too. Looking back, it is one of the games where you can say ‘I was there’. It was typical of that era where we would turn up and just outscore teams. The drive back home was a good one with dreams of a ninth FA Cup win in mind. I’m still dreaming about that now!”
And up to the present day...
Some 25 years on, Ronny Rosenthal will be our special half-time guest at the stadium for Wednesday night's FA Cup fourth round replay.