Born: 21 December 1951 (London, England)
Appearances: 854. Goals: 39.
FA Cup winner 1981, 1982
League Cup winner 1971, 1973
UEFA Cup winner 1972, 1984
The Club’s all-time record appearance maker
Most appearances in league (655), FA Cup (69), League Cup (66) and Europe (64)
Captain for 11 years
Footballer of the Year, 1982
Where to start with Stevie P? The most loyal, most decorated and one of the most respected figures in the history of Tottenham Hotspur.
The start was actually 1967, when, as an England schoolboy international, he signed apprentice forms for Spurs with a host of clubs also interested. A letter from Bill Nicholson sits proudly on Steve’s wall at home, to this day. In it, Bill writes ‘we shall never have been more pleased to welcome any boy to our club’.
A little over two years later, Steve made his debut against Sunderland, 27 September, 1969, and didn’t look back for the next 17 years.
Consistency was key for Steve, and took him to those 854 appearances, initially a bustling, ball-winning box-to-box midfielder, full of energy, later a right-back with great positional strength and the ability to read the game.
As a younger player, Steve’s job was to ‘keep it simple, keep it quick’, as Bill Nicholson drilled into him in his early days. Only 19 when he won his first trophy - the 1971 League Cup - he played in every final as we won the UEFA Cup over two legs against Wolves in 1972 and then the League Cup again in 1973. Steve’s golden moment came with both goals in the UEFA Cup semi-final, first leg against AC Milan at the Lane in 1972.
Above all though, Steve was a leader. Appointed captain in 1975, he led the team back into the First Division for the 1978/79 season after suffering dreaded drop in 1977/78 and with Keith Burkinshaw in charge, Glenn Hoddle and a number of youth graduates blossoming, pkus the arrival of the likes of Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa, Steve helped bring back the glory days with back-to-back FA Cup wins in 1981 and 1982 and the UEFA Cup triumph of 1984.
Steve eventually moved to Oxford in a player-coaching role in 1986, then had spells at Brentford and Watford before returning to Spurs as Ossie Ardiles’ assistant in 1993. He later hooked up with Ossie again for a successful spell in Japan’s J-League.
In 2003, Steve joined Exeter City as Director of Football, and embarked on another long-term stint at a club that would last until his retirement in 2018. Highlights included drawing against Manchester United in the FA Cup before losing in a replay at St James Park in 2005.
More recently, Steve published ‘A Spur Forever’, over 300 pages on his career and how Spurs made him as a player and a person. It’s available in the Spurs Shop...
“Steve educated us on all the ‘Tottenham way’, what Tottenham are and should be. He would tell us what was expected of us, how we were expected to behave, a bit like the Bill Nicholson days. Also, how to be winners, to want the ball and not to be afraid – ‘we’re Tottenham Hotspur and we have a bit of style and a bit of class’. No-one epitomised that more than Steve.”
Paul Miller, team-mate 1979-86
“Steve was a born captain and we were so lucky to have someone to follow the likes of Dave Mackay and Alan Mullery. He led by example, the same as Mackay. They were players who would never ask someone to do something they couldn’t do themselves. They were born captains and Steve went on to prove that.”
Pat Jennings, team-mate 1969-77
“For me, Steve is one of the greatest legends this club has ever seen, a captain who led from the front on the field but had such an incredible understanding of the game and the players that he captained that he was able to spot problems and put them right. He was a genius in the footballing mind. What he achieved for this club is phenomenal, almost second to none.”
Micky Hazard, team-mate 1980-84
“Stevie meant everything to this football club. He’s right up there with Danny Blanchflower and Dave Mackay as the greatest captains the club has seen. What can you say? 850 games, a one-club man, he has the club in his blood. When I first came here, he helped me a lot, made me into the player I became. If you didn’t do the right things, he made sure you knew about it. He kept your feet firmly on the floor and no-one was ever too big for this club. He made his mark on every player.”
Graham Roberts, team-mate 1980-86
- Made a record 854 appearances for us between 1969-1986
- Most honours at Spurs - UEFA Cup 1972; League Cup 1971, 1973; FA Cup 1981, 1982.
- Had to sit out the second leg of 1984 UEFA Cup Final through suspension
- Footballer of the Year in 1982
- Scored at least one league goal in 17 consecutive seasons - 1969 to 1985
- Played every FA Cup tie between January 1970 and March 1986, a run of 69 games
- Awarded MBE in 1986
- Capped once by England v Iceland in 1982