Tottenham v Sunderland: ordeals at the Lane, fun in the snow


At roughly this time last year, Salut! Sunderland pulled together some reminiscences of visits to White Hart Lane in previous seasons. The cold snap that saw snowfall in parts of Britain today – including a few flakes in London – brought back memories of a 3-3 draw in the bleak midwinter, a good enough excuse for looking at those past encounters again …

See also: The Spurs “Who are You?”: We’ll hammer you 4-1.

Not everyone knows this, and Spurs fans would just laugh anyway. But Sunderland have won the top flight title three times as often as Tottenham. And while the down side for us is that three of our six championships came in the century before last, and the most recent was 1936, they had to wait until 1951 for the first of only two.

But most us are realistic about our chances on Sunday at a ground where he have won only once in the league – 2-1 in 2009 – in 33 years. Last season, we were under the cosh until they scored in the second half but came back strongly and pinched a point with a classy finish by Asamoah Gyan, setting us up nicely for the momentous events of Stamford Bridge a few days later. A repeat would be highly satisfactory, especially if followed by a win at Loftus Road next Wednesday.

Prior to that? This is how we reported it a year ago a few hours before that 1-1 draw:

Unlucky in 2009-2010, the false dawn when Cissé scored a winner in the season before that, jubilant in the 1984-85 Milk Cup run – tonight’s game at White Hart Lane has fans wallowing in potted nostalgia over at Ready to Go.

OscarO is one of several to mention that first away game of 2008-2009. “What a great day that was!” he says.

And when Andy 78 remembers that he “honestly thought we were in for a great season when that happened”, Oscar replies: “You weren’t the only one. Didn’t we play (Man) City the game after?”


We did. And what happened? I’d flown all the way back from Abu Dhabi to be there (OK, and have a milestone birthday party at the Stadium of Light too). Hammered 3-0 at home, albeit after an even first half, on the eve of Citeh’s Abu Dhabi takeover, and completely drenched afterwards in the heaviest downpour I’d endured in years.

As for the “great season”, that collapsed into yet another relegation scrap which we very nearly lost (Toon Doon helping to save us).


Andy 78
doubtless recalled all that, too, when he added: “Typical Sunderland that like.”

Wearsider was another with pleasant memories of the 2-1 victory in which Cissé scored and also summarises last season’s defeat: “Playing exceptionally well but losing 2-0, quite undeserved. Bent had a penalty saved at 1-0.”

Mind, it was a poor penalty, not awful on the Malbranque/Gray scale and certainly not by Jeff Whitley playoff standards, but poor all the same. And that was the game that saw Defoe unpunished for a reckless challenge that sidelined Craig Gordon for months.

Killasafc‘s memory goes back a lot longer and includes a priceless bit of ingenious self-preservation: “Turner saves from Graham Roberts’s penner last minute 1985 Milk Cup. Apologised to Chris Turner many years later for calling him “Turner you Fecking kernt” ( I was in the Spurs end, had jumped in the air, when he saved it ”

But it took Ottawa Mackem to remind me of the extraordinary game 20 years ago in which Sunderland led 2-0 and 3-1, remaining two goals ahead until a cruel late recovery by Spurs, Gazza plonking a free kick on to Gary Lineker’s head for the stoppage time equaliser.

“3-1 up with 2 minutes go, and a Lineker brace levelled at 3-3 in 90/91. Think Davenport and Marco scored for us. Spurs were top-drawer back then and ended up winning the cup that season.”

The sequence at Ready to Go runs in part:

Oddjob:

“Pascoe played a blinder. Really bad weather that weekend I had to stay on an extra day at my mates before I could make it back home.”

Tramp the dirt down:

“Loads of snow Nearly didn’t go. Went with my mate (sadly dead now) and two Spurs fans. Didn’t get home till early hours & electric was off due to snow. Abiding memory of chanting Fat Geordie Bastard to Gazza. Mind you he did look Happy when they equalised.”

HeaderDownBrown, who had travelled down in appalling conditions with the SAFCSA South Shields branch:

“Think it was Pascoe (2) and Davenport. We played some great stuff that day – seem to recall Paul Walsh coming on and changing the game … did well to get down there. Loads got turned back. Was worth it apart from Lineker’s 94th minute equaliser. Remember me Dad going off it: took his watch off and asked the steward to give it to the ref. Was only 13 at the time – never heard him swear so much!”

It was Dec 8 1990. The crowd was 30,430 plus me and I remember shivering at the game, looking at the skies and, having only to cross London to be home, wondering how our fans who’d come from the North East would get back. And the gutsy display did no wonders for our overall form: we went down with Derby County.

Spurs fans like to regard themselves as cultured and elite, but Haway 501 talks of the 2001 last-game-of-the-season carnival atmosphere marred by Tottenham neanderthals “attacking families and supporters in fancy dress (with bottles) as they walked past the pub at the top of the road from Seven Sisters”.

To be fair, Haway 501’s testimony has its limitations (“me and me mate missed it due to getting pissed in Camden and not realising how far away it was!”) though maybe he saw the ugly aftermath if not the game. And Wrenthorpe Mackem “saw one Sunderland fan pushed in front of a car” and that’s attempted murder if I’m not mistaken, m’lud.

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5 thoughts on “Tottenham v Sunderland: ordeals at the Lane, fun in the snow”

  1. Thanks Pete, when you haven’t been for quite some considerable time you lose track. If I see you there I’ll introduce myself.

  2. Nothing near the ground, Eric. Haringey Irish Club is cheap, welcoming and within 10 minutes of the ground. Beer is all fizz, but it is always full of Sunderland fans.

  3. Sorry to go off topic but can anyone recommend a decent and safe pub to visit pre-match? No longer a regular away traveller so a bit out of touch.

  4. Do we remember Shackleton Indyfan?

    Do you remember Danny Blanchflower? 🙂

    Shack is a legend, a greater God. A pure magician with the ball. He was great alright. None better.

  5. Been a long time since i saw Sunderland at WHL – I left England over 50 years ago, BUT I Do remember when we played you guys in or around 1950 in the FA CUp – you had a much-vaunted 100,000 pound forward line , including Len Shackleton….you were home and we went up North and beat you 5-1 :).
    Do any of you remember Shackleton? – he was a great player. It’ll be a good game this weekend and I’ll enjoy watching it on tv.

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