With fans returning to watch live football for the first time in 9 months, we choose some of the best – and the worst – matches we’ve had the joy/misery of witnessing.
Leicester City 0 – 1 Spurs, 21th March 1999
OK, there have been better games to watch. Others may have been more significant in terms of our growth as a club. But for an 8 year old, who was at the peak of their fandom, yet to witness a Spurs trophy win and going to a school almost exclusively full of Arsenal fans, the 1999 Worthington Cup win was pretty momentous.
This would be my second and last visit to the old Wembley, (the only other occasion was for a 2-0 friendly win over the Czech Republic the previous year) and for a kid who had read about Spurs’ Glory, Glory years but never experienced them, it felt like Ginola, Anderton and co were leading us into a glorious new age.
The game itself wasn’t particularly memorable, save for the late, great, Justin Edinburgh getting sent off for having a swipe at Robbie Savage, a reaction that most fans, both Tottenham and Leicester alike, had some sympathy with. At that point we thought it was all over – half an hour to go and down to ten men, we were in real trouble.
But we hold out and in the last minute, Steffen Iversen broke down the right, shot at Kasey Keller who could only parry the ball into the path of Allan Nielsen, whose diving header sealed the win. Sure, that golden age didn’t then materialise. But that moment, and that game, will stay with me for the rest of my life.
…and his worst.
Spurs 3 – 5 Manchester United, 29th September 2001
I mean, growing up a Spurs fan during the late 90/early 00s, I had a fair few matches to choose from – the 3-0 thumping at home from Sheffield Wednesday in 1998 was a particular lowlight of the era. But the game I’ve gone for is the 5-3 against Manchester United, the worst example of Spursyness you’re ever likely to see (apart from @djmerrriman‘s choice below).
I could barely believe what was happening at half-time. We were 3-0 up against the champions, with the late Dean Richards scoring on his debut, and Les Ferdinand and Christian Ziege adding the extras. Glenn Hoddle was bringing back the glory years.
Or not. Andy Cole, Laurent Blanc, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Juan Sebastian Veron and, finally, David Beckham all scored in the second half without reply. I still feel shell-shocked. I guess the only consolation I can draw from the misery is that I was at the end where all eight goals were scored.
Manchester City 4-3 Spurs (Agg. 4-4, Spurs win on away goals), 17th April 2019
Thinking of a best game certainly takes some choosing but I’ve gone for the one that came to mind immediately…even if it was a ‘loss’. In fact, as has been mentioned, it can be considered a draw (on aggregate), a win (on away goals) and a loss (on the night all in one).
I’ve never been more exhausted in an away end as I was 11 minutes into the Eastlands encounter. The adrenaline from four rip-roaring early goals, going behind, going ahead, being pinned back had me feeling that I was running the hard yards of Sissoko along with the rambunctious travelling party. Queue further seesawing goals and one disallowed one for the ages to the mix, and I think it had an objective edge over Ajax, given the pendulum of momentum swung more than once. That was until VAR saved Eriksen’s and all our blushes and further pandemonium in our stand ensued, though barely believable.
How badly the City fans took it to our immediate right made it even sweeter, although we could have done without the coins and other missiles thrown our way at FT. They say money can’t buy you class, so they threw it our way. The pennies were put towards booking the Eurostar to Amsterdam…
…and his worst.
Spurs 3–4 Manchester City, 4th February 2004
This led me to thinking about the worst, and in somewhat accidental symmetry, I’ve gone for exactly the same result! As a supporter who started attending in the mid-nineties, the FA Cup has only wrought misery and it feels apt to include an ignominious exit, all the more frustrating after a hard fought draw away.
3-0 up and coasting after Ziege’s free kick, it was not until I got home that I realised Joey Barton had been sent off in the tunnel at HT, such was the dominance/capitulation (it was usually the latter in those days). To top it off, it had to be an unremarkable journeyman – Jon Macken to seal the deal and secure a career highlight with a last minute winning header.
This certainly wasn’t the first total collapse I’d borne witness to at the Lane and it certainly wasn’t the last.
Spurs 4-1 Liverpool, 22th October 2017
In autumn sunshine and amid a fantastic atmosphere (for the national stadium) Spurs demolished Liverpool as they got to grips with their temporary home. Kane and Son ran Lovren ragged, and were 2-0 up inside 15 minutes. While Salah got a goal back, an Alli volley made it 3-1 before the break. When Mignolet spilled a Vertonghen shot early in the 2nd half, Kane reacted to the rebound to ensure a comfortable last 30 minutes and emphatic win.
…and his worst.
Spurs 1-2 Getafe, 25th October 2007
A desperate end to the Martin Jol era, as the Dutchman was sacked on the night of this Europa League tie. Even pre match reports were circulating that Jol’s time was coming to an end, and an odd atmosphere was felt throughout the ground. Defoe gave Spurs an early lead, but Ruben de La Red flicked in a free kick to level. In the second half the fans knowingly chanted Jol’s name, but it was all in vain as Braulio gave Getafe the win.