They've met before.. a trip down sport's memory lane with United and Spurs

27 February 2009 10:45
Manchester United

take on Tottenham

in Sunday's Carling Cup final with the first domestic trophy of the season up for grabs.

It is the first time these two marquee clubs of the British game have met in a major final but they have produced many memorable matches in the past.

One of my favourite years has always been yesteryear and this seems an appropriate time to begin our weekly look back at past sporting encounters.

1967 CHARITY SHIELD: MANCHESTER UNITED 3 SPURS 3It won't be often that Charity Shields make the cut when it comes to memorable matches, but I make no apologies here.

United had just won the league title for the second time in three seasons, and they would famously go on to win the European Cup in 1968.

Alan Gilzean celebrates as United goalkeeper Alex Stepney lets a Pat Jennings goal kick bounce over him

Bobby Charlton was on target twice for United in the 1967 Charity Shield

Spurs also had a fine side at the time, and had beaten Chelsea at Wembley three months earlier to win their third FA Cup in seven seasons (remember the tournament was worth much more in terms of achievement and prestige back then).

The first game of the season at Old Trafford was eagerly awaited and didn't disappoint.

Two of United's legendary holy triumvurate of the era were on target, with Bobby Charlton scoring twice and Denis Law once.

Jimmy Robertson and Frank Saul scored two of Tottenham's goals, but it was their other goal that made the match famous.

A booming goal-kick from Pat Jennings completely caught out United keeper Alex Stepney, bouncing over his head and into the net.

Have a look at the teams on the day - they weren't too shabby.

Manchester United: A Stepney, S Brennan, A Dunne, P Crerand, W Foulkes, N Stiles, G Best, D Law, R Charlton, B Kidd, J Aston.

Tottenham Hotspur:  P Jennings, J Kinnear, C Knowles, A Mullery, M England, D Mackay, J Roberston, J Greaves, A Gilzean, T Venables, F Saul.

1983 FIRST DIVISION: MANCHESTER UNITED 4 SPURS 2 Kevin Moran scored twice in a televised match that always sticks in the memory

For some reason this game always sticks in the memory banks when others disappear.

One of the major reasons for this is that the game was live on the box - one of those Friday night games that the BBC showed for a couple of seasons.

It's hard to explain to a generation that have grown up being able to watch Barcelona matches live, but these were a rare event back then (indeed this was the first season that league games were shown live).

There was something about those Friday night matches on Auntie - there was Ian Rush and that superb second half hat-trick for Liverpool against Aston Villa (his volley that flew towards the camera in the corner of the net was used at the top of Grandstand for a long while after). Manchester United 4 Arsenal 2 at Old Trafford. A marvellous Danny Wallace overhead as Southampton beat Liverpool at that dear place The Dell.

And then there was United 4 Spurs 2 - a fabulous night of entertainment on a cold December night.

Arthur Graham (remember him United fans?) scored with a strange goal from the touchline - a cross that eluded everybody and crept in. Alan Brazil, he of the wireless today, equalised with a lovely overhead kick just after half-time.

Mark Falco scored one of Tottenham's goals in their clash with Manchester United at Old Trafford in 1983

Kevin Moran put United back in front before Graham headed a third, and after Mark Falco pulled a goal back for the Londoners, Moran sealed victory ten minutes from time.

Big Ron Atkinson had a decent United team at the time, but one that was far better equipped to deal with one-off cup matches than the long hard slog of a league season.

They beat Barcelona in an unforgettable European-Cup-Winners Cup quarter-final but lost out to Juventus in the semis.

Tottenham also had a team that could beat anybody on their day and would go all the way in the UEFA Cup.

Spurs saw off Hadjuk Split to reach the two-legged final against Anderlecht (remember what I said about live games being rarer then? - the first match was only shown in highlights form on Sportsnight).

They won on penalties in the second leg at White Hart Lane in what has to be the most memorable Tottenham game I've ever seen (Spurs fans of a certain age - do you agree?), with goalkeeper Tony Parks their match clinching hero for ever and a day.

2001 PREMIER LEAGUE: SPURS 3 MANCHESTER UNITED 5Now here was a match - as dramatic as they come and as near perfect a symbol of United's years of dominance as you could wish to see. Can it really be eight years ago?

The never-say-die spirit and attitude of United teams has come to be one of the major characteristics of Sir Alex Ferguson's long reign, and they showed it again on this September afternoon in riotous fashion.

Tottenham rushed into a three-goal lead with goals from Dean Richards, Les Ferdinand and Christian Ziege, and had played some fine football in the process.

May the fourth be with you: Juan Sebastian Veron scored United's fourth goal in their memorable match at White Hart Lane in 2001

But Ferguson must have read the riot act in some way at half-time because United came out like a different team after the break.

Andy Cole headed a goal back within a minute of the restart, and Laurent Blanc scored another soon after.

David Beckham celebrates scoring United's fifth goal in their 5-3 win

Sir Alex Ferguson celebrates victory at White Hart Lane: the United boss rated the game against Tottenham as his most memorable

The champions scented a famous comeback at that stage, and Ruud van Nistelrooy equalised with 18 minutes remaining.

When Juan Sebastian Veron scored again four minutes later, the comeback had been completed and David Beckham fired home a fifth goal to put the icing on the cake for the visitors.

Who remembers that this match came during ITV's brief and ill-fated experiment to show Premier League highlights on a Saturday night at prime time?

Shamelessly they kept viewers hanging on until the very end of the programme to show the events from White Hart Lane.

It was worth the wait however, and even Sir Alex seems to rate the match as the most memorable in his time as United boss.


United had just won three league titles in succession, but Arsene Wenger's Arsenal would break the run that season, and there would be also be a heartbreaking defeat against Bayer Leverkusen in the semi-finals of the European Cup.

Tottenham, then managed by Glenn Hoddle, finished ninth in the Premier League and reached the League Cup final, where they lost to Blackburn in Cardiff.

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Source: Daily_Mail