Video of the Day: Manchester City vs Tottenham Hotspur, September 1981

by | Feb 9, 2016

This weekend, Manchester City play Tottenham Hotspur in a Premier League that is likely to go some way towards further muddying the waters of where the trophy might end up come the end of the season. These two teams have, of course, a long history of matches between them, ranging from the “Ballet On Ice” of 1968, when Manchester City danced their way around the Spurs defence on a snowbound pitch five times, to the 1981 FA Cup final, when Manchester City’s Tommy Hutchinson scored at both ends before a moment of beauty from Ricardo Villa in the replay finally won the Cup for Spurs.

In amongst the excitement and the familiar, though, remain the rest of the matches between these two clubs. So, it’s September 1981, and it’s pouring with rain in Manchester. Both teams have reason to feel optimistic going into this match. Spurs are still on a high having one their first FA Cup in fourteen years just five months earlier. They’ve strengthened their squad significantly in bringing in the former Liverpool goalkeeper Ray Clemence – the goalkeeper’s shirt at White Hart Lane had been something of a poisoned chalice since the departure of Pat Jennings four years earlier – and were in eighth place in the table.

Manchester City, meanwhile, seemed to have recovered well from the disappointment of Cup Final defeat, were featuring a shiny new player of their own in the form of the former Nottingham Forest European Cup winner Martin O’Neill, and went into this match in fourth place in the table, tucked in behind the somewhat surprising group of early pace-setters, West Ham United, Ipswich Town and Swansea City. In case you were wondering, Manchester United were in ninth place, Liverpool were in eleventh, and Arsenal were in twelfth. The defending champions, Aston Villa, were in seventeenth place. This was, of course, the first season of three points for a win, and commentary comes from John Motson.

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