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And If You Know Your History…Spurs’ League Cup Wins

After beating Brentford 2-0, Spurs are into their ninth League Cup Final, and will be hoping to win the trophy for the fifth time, after victories in the 1971, 1973, 1999 and 2008. Not only does the year end in ‘1’, but victory would make up for our most recent appearances in the final – 2009 and 2015 – where we finished as runners up.

Below, we take a look at the match-winning performances which have won us the three-handled trophy on four occasions:

1971 – Tottenham Hotspur 2 – 0 Aston Villa

Venue: Wembley
Attendance: 100,000

Lineup: Jennings, Kinnear, Knowles, Mullery (C), Collins, Beal, Gilzean, Perryman, Chivers, Peters, Neighbour
Sub: Pearce
Manager: Nicholson

Spurs had reached the League Cup Final for the first time after wins against Swansea, Sheffield United, West Bromwich Albion, Coventry and Bristol City. Although Aston Villa would go onto their most successful period in the mid-70s to early-80s, they were still in the Third Division (now League One for those who are working with new money.

The game had remained goalless for much of the game, with neither side able to find an opener. However, the great Martin Chivers found a way through in the 78th minute, with a parried shot falling to him at the top of the six-yard box with a only a single defender left to slide the ball past.

He soon followed that up with another just four minutes later. A floated ball from the captain, Alan Mullery, was brought down deftly by Chivers, who held off one challenge from an Aston Villa defender before shimmying past another and shooting into the bottom corner. The score remained 2-0 and Mullery and co. walked up those famous steps to lift the League Cup for the first time in Spurs’ history.

1971 was the last season where it wasn’t compulsory to enter the tournament, but the only club to not enter was Everton, the previous season’s league champions.

Full highlights of the match can be viewed here:

1973 – Tottenham Hotspur 1 – 0 Norwich City

Venue: Wembley
Attendance: 100,000

Lineup: Jennings, Kinnear, Knowles, Pratt, England, Beal, Gilzean, Perryman, Chivers, Peters (C), Pearce
Sub: Coates (26′)
Manager: Nicholson

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It didn’t take long for Spurs to register another League Cup victory. The passage through to the final wasn’t as smooth as 1971, with a win over Huddersfield in the 2nd round was backed up with a tie against Middlesborough which went to a first, then a second replay, with extra time being needed on both occasions. A win against Millwall was then followed by another replayed win over Liverpool before beating Wolves in the two-legged semis, again after extra time. In short, Spurs had to play nine games with three lots of extra time before they even got to Wembley.

Though captain Alan Mullery had left for Fulham the previous year, it was much the same starting eleven from 1971, with just three changes from that winning side over Aston Villa. However, newly-promoted Norwich weren’t to be underestimated, having beating Arsenal and Chelsea en route to the final, and were hoping to make it a trio of London scalps.

The game was by no means a classic, with the winner coming in the 72nd minute from substitute Ralph Coates. A long throw in from 1971’s hero Martin Chivers created a scramble in the area, before the ball fell to Coates just outside the area who thumped home the winner into the bottom corner. Despite a late chance for Norwich the game would finish 1-0 and, this time, it was Martin Peters’ turn to lift the cup.

It was to be the legendary Bill Nicholson’s last trophy as Spurs manager, his two League Cups wins adding to his haul of a League title, three FA Cups, the UEFA Cup, Cup Winners’ Cup and three Charity Shields.

The match can be watch in full here:

1999 – Tottenham Hotspur 1 – 0 Leicester City

Venue: Wembley
Attendance: 77,892

Lineup: Walker, Carr, Campbell (C), Vega, Edinburgh, Anderton, Freund, Nielsen, Ginola, Ferdinand, Iversen
Subs: Baardsen, Young, Dominguez, Sinton (90′), Armstrong
Manager: Graham

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After winning the League Cup twice just two years apart, Spurs had to wait more than a quarter of a century for their next trophy in the competition, with a 3-1 final loss to Liverpool in 1982 the closest they had got in the interim.

The highlight of the cup run had been the 3-1 victory over eventual treble-winners Manchester United in the quarter-finals, with wins over Brentford, Northampton, Liverpool and Wimbledon securing safe passage to the final.

Martin O’Neill had built a talented Leicester side who had won the competition two years previously, but the game, much like the one against Norwich in 1973, was largely a forgettable affair.

The late, great, Justin Edinburgh became the last player to be sent off at the old Wembley just after the hour mark following a swipe at Robbie Savage, but the game didn’t really spring to life until the dying moments of the game. Ramon Vega, who played the final with a stress fracture in his foot, made a last-ditch sliding tackle to deny Emile Heskey late on. Then, in the dying moments, Steffan Iversen’s shot/cross was parried by Kasey Keller into the path of Allan Nielsen who scored a diving header.

Hopes that the 1999 League Cup win would be the catalyst for a new golden-age at Spurs never materialised, but Spurs ended the decade with silverware nonetheless.

Highlights of the game can be viewed here:

2008 – Tottenham Hotspur 2 – 1 Chelsea (a.e.t)

Venue: Wembley
Attendance: 87,660

Lineup: Robinson, Hutton, Woodgate, King (C), Chimbonda, Lennon, Jenas, Zokora, Malbranque, Keane, Berbatov
Subs: Cerny, Kaboul (102′), Tainio (75′), Huddlestone (61′), Bent
Manager: Ramos

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Our most recent League Cup win after losses in the 2009 and 2015 finals, and, indeed, our last trophy full stop. It was the first League Cup Final to be played at the new Wembley and Spurs were up against Chelsea who were the holders after winning the trophy the previous year. However, Chelsea would end up finishing that season as runners-up in the League Cup, Charity Shield, Premier League and Champions League.

Spurs had beaten Middlesborough, Blackpool and Manchester City early on in the competition but the 5-1 dismantling of Arsenal in the semi-final second leg was the really standout performance.

Unlike in Spurs’ two previous League Cup wins, this was a belter of a game. Pascal Chimbonda headed the ball against the bar, with further chances for Robbie Keane and Dimitar Berbatov in the first-half. But it was Chelsea who took the lead in the 39th minute through a Didier Drogba free-kick.

Further chances for Keane and Berbatov followed, but it wasn’t until Berbatov converted a penalty from a Wayne Bridge handball in the 70th minute that Spurs drew level. There were more Spurs chances, but with the game at 1-1 after 90 minutes, the game went to extra time.

Just four minutes in Jonathan Woodgate grabbed what would prove to be the winner. Or, rather, Petr Cech punched a Jermaine Jenas free-kick onto Woodgate’s face and the ball rebounded into the goal. The immense pairing of King and Woodgate then saw out the game to win the League Cup for Spurs for the fourth time.

Let’s hope 2021 can deliver the fifth!

Highlights of the 2008 can be viewed here:

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