Video of the Day: Port Vale vs Tottenham Hotspur, January 1988
There was a time when the FA Cup was at the absolute top of the list of priorities for Tottenham Hotspur. The club and its supporters were proud of holding – jointly, for many years, with Aston Villa – the record for having won the competition the most times, even if the competition has been diminished in recent years by changing priorities on the part of the biggest clubs and administrative incompetence on the part of those charged with running it in the first place.
For those of us born in the 1970s in north London, Spurs’ twin FA Cup wins of 1981 and 1982 came to take on a totemic significance which fr outweighed their actual importance. The 1982 win tied Spurs with Aston Villa on seven wins of the oldest cup competition in the world, and against this background defeat at the hands of Coventry City at Wembley in 1987 was a true shock to the season. Spurs had been widely expected to win that match. A Gary Mabbutt own goal five minutes into extra-time sent to the trophy back to the West Midlands instead.
The next season saw Spurs’ campaign in the competition as a distraction from stuttering league form. Having finished in third place in the Third Division in 1987, the team was struggling in mid-table this time around. Meanwhile, in the FA Cup, they won by four goals to two at Oldham Athletic to set up a Fourth Round trip to Vale Park to play Third Division Port Vale. This was the first time that Vale had reached this stage of the competition since 1964, and the cameras of the BBC were there to capture one of the defining results of that year’s tournament. Commentary comes from Tony Gubba.
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