Pat Jennings

Forget the cups, the glory, glory European nights and the personal accolades, when asked about the most important match of Pat Jennings’ great career, the legendary goalkeeper goes back to 1975 and the night Spurs avoided relegation by beating the great Leeds United at the Lane.

An official crowd of 49,886 raised the roof at the Lane and helped inspire their struggling team to overcome reigning champions Leeds United 4-2 on Monday, April 28, 1975 and therefore beat the dreaded drop.

Cyril Knowles was the inspiration with two goals with Alfie Conn – who famously sat on the ball during the match – and Martin Chivers also on target.

Leeds were soon to play in the European Cup Final but still included all the names – Cherry, Madeley, Hunter, Lorimer, Bremner, Frank and Eddie Gray and their goalscorers that night included a certain Joe Jordan, now our first-team coach.

As we prepare to face Leeds at the Lane again this time in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday, Joe joined Pat in turning the clock back 35 years and recalling that great escape.

“I’ve described this result as being better than any of our cup wins,” said Pat. “That was how important it was for me, because I didn’t want to be part of a team that took the great Tottenham Hotspur down.

“We were struggling that season and quite simply if we lost, we were relegated.”

“As Pat will tell you, Leeds United didn’t play ‘just another game’ at that time,” said Joe. “It was significant for us because we knew the consequences were so severe if Tottenham lost.

“We went into it the same way but on the night, we were just beaten by the better team.

“It was a traumatic season for us, the season Brian Clough was in charge (for 44 days) and we had a horrendous start. Jimmy Armfield came in and steadied the ship and we had some great victories in Europe, but not the same consistency in the league. There was a lot of upheaval at the club and it was the first season in many years that we’d finished outside the top four.”

Pat added: “In a way we were lucky because Leeds were going into the European Cup Final the week after and like Joe said, they’d had their upheavals.

“But they were still reigning champions and still a great side. When we looked at the team that night it was still Bremner, Hunter, Lorimer, Gray, Joe…and we needed to beat them to stay up! That’s why I go so much satisfaction out of the result.”

The full, four-page special on 1975 with Pat and Joe is in this Saturday’s official matchday programme against Leeds.


Harry Rules Out Signing Ruud van Nistelroy

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has ruled out signing Real Madrid’s Ruud van Nistelrooy due to the striker’s prohibitively expensive wages.

Van Nisterooy, 33, has also been linked with West Ham, who are interested in an unnamed “special player”, who would want £100,000-a-week salary.

“We don’t pay that type of wage here,” said Redknapp. “It would break our wage structure by an awful long way.

“The chairman runs a good business and wouldn’t pay that sort of money.”

After joining Manchester United from PSV Eindhoven for £19m in 2001, the Dutch international scored a 150 goals in 219 games in all competitions during his five years at Old Trafford, before he moved to Real for £10.2m.

But the Dutchman has featured only four times for the Spanish side this season.

Is the fact Tottenham are run too much as a “good business” one of the reasons we don’t get the success a club of this size should be getting?

“It’s a gamble because he has been injured,” added Redknapp.

“A fit Ruud van Nistelrooy is world-class but it’s a gamble as to whether he’s fit. If you have him for 18 months and he’s not fit it’s a big problem to have a massive wage on your bill.”

Meanwhile, Russian striker Roman Pavlyuchenko’s future at White Hart Lane shows no sign of being resolved.

Spartak Moscow are interested in signing Pavlyuchenko after selling him to Tottenham at the start of last season, but the Russian club have been unable to reach a deal with Spurs.

Spartak director of football Dmitri Popov said: “Now everything depends upon Tottenham. If they make just a step in our direction, the problem with Roman’s transfer will be solved.

“Some other teams want to sign him, too. But as far as I know if Pavlyuchenko returns to Russia, he would prefer to come back to Spartak.”

Source: BBC.CO.UK

Cracking tie – Harry

Harry Redknapp is expecting a ‘real cup tie atmosphere’ when we take on Leeds United in the FA Cup at White Hart Lane on Saturday.

The League One pacesetters and giantkillers of Manchester United in the third round will bring a healthy travelling support for this fourth round clash at the Lane. We kick-off at 5.15pm.

“It’s got all the makings of a really good cup tie,” said Harry. “They will bring down a fantastic support and I’m sure it will be a real cup tie atmosphere, cut and thrust, with both teams going for it.

“It will be difficult for us. We’ve watched Leeds’ win at Manchester United and they were terrific that day, they played really well.

“So we’re not expecting an easy game but if we play as we can, we know we’ve got a great chance. We feel we’re as good as anyone at home.”

Harry said immediately after Wednesday night’s loss at Liverpool that he wanted the team to quickly move on, starting against Leeds.

“We’re looking for another good performance,” he added. “Everyone has a blip, we all have days when we get beaten, but it’s all about how you pick yourselves up from a defeat and go again. That’s what we’ve got to do.

“We’ve been on a great run since I’ve been at the club and we’ll now try to get through to the next round.

“Winning is a good habit. We’d love to go to Wembley again this season and we want to finish in the top four. Those are the ambitions of the club. We have to beat Leeds to do that.”