|Spending time amongst fellow Spurs fans is mostly time well spent, but spending time with four ex-Tottenham players from the 1984 UEFA Cup winning team and fellow Spurs fans (and unfortunately one Gooner) was even better.
Having travelled to Chelmsford Theatre for the event, there was a generous smattering of Spurs shirts and scarves among the people waiting to go in, with raffle tickets on sale to win Spurs memorabilia – all money going to Graham Roberts’ Centre Algarve charity.
Once inside the auditorium, the buzz of excitement rose as the compere came on and introduced the former Spurs players who would be regaling us with their anecdotes – namely, Paul Miler, Graham Roberts, Osvaldo Ardiles and Tony Parks. Robbo was hosting the event, with the others all providing colour to the path to the UEFA Cup final against Anderlecht in the first half of the show. Memories of the tournament were a little cloudy, but interesting background to not only the matches but also what was going on behind the scenes provided an eye-opening view to the things that the normal supporter isn’t aware of.
The audience were advised that filming of the event was prohibited and the language was fairly industrial, but some of the views expressed were of the type that “what happens in the show stays in the show”. However, the banter between the four was clear to see and they didn’t hesitate to poke fun at each other, with the main joker being Ossie, who pointed out that it was easier playing for Roberts and Miller, as all they had to do was kick people. Maxie told the story of his goal against Anderlecht in the away leg and “Stan” Parks talked us through his experience of facing penalties after extra-time at White Hart Lane. Robbo said it was the proudest moment of his life picking up the UEFA Cup in the absence of the suspended skipper Steve Perryman.
The second half of the show was a Q&A section and some of the most interesting points came out of this part of the night. Tony Parks’ frank analysis of his playing career versus his coaching career showed an insightful and mature look back on his time in football that ends with his children not believing that he used to be a goalkeeper, saying he is too fat ! Ossie told the tale of Sylvester Stallone’s penalty save in the film “Escape To Victory” that was started shooting in bright sunshine, but, by the time it came to escape, it was dark. He also bemoaned that fact that every time Ricky Villa comes over to England he bangs on about “that” goal ! Robbo went through his exit from Spurs, which was quite shocking in its brutality and Miller explained that Bobby Moore had guided him towards Tottenham when, as a youngster, he was deciding which club he should choose, with the West Ham man regretted not heading to White Hart Lane in 1968 when Spurs were looking for a replacement for Dave Mackay.
Other topics covered were VAR (unsurprisingly); the innovations that Keith Burkinshaw and Peter Shreeves brought to the club in the 1980s which were ahead of their time; the camaraderie of the 80s squad v the modern players; their views on the various Spurs managers they played under and have been in charge since and Ossie’s decision on who was better – Maradona or Messi. All were covered frankly and in length, but not too long or they were cut short by Ardiles’ “snoring” !
With each half running into the amount of added time that we experience at the THS these days, the show lasted a good couple of hours. Some of the stories we have heard before, but on the whole, it was a great night out and I would recommend it if the show comes to a theatre near you.
John Lacy’s Love-Child