Tottenham’s first experience of playing a European match against Swiss opposition was in the UEFA Cup in season 1973-74. It was a 1st Round tie with the first leg in Zurich against Grasshopper. The records show Tottenham won 5 – 1 but it was not as easy for Spurs. as the result suggests. It was the goalkeeping talent of Pat Jennings which kept Spurs in the game as he produced save after save. Spurs took an early lead from a Martin Chivers’ header but then Grasshopper created chance after chance only to be thwarted by Jennings. On the half-hour full back Ray Evans added a second for Spurs, very much against the run of play. Just before the interval the home side finally beat Jennings from the penalty spot to reduce the arrears but according to Martin Chivers in his book, Big Chiv, Spurs would have been three down at the interval had it not been for Jennings. In the second half Jennings continued to deny the Swiss with a succession of outstanding saves but then Chivers scored his second while Alan Gilzean added two more to add insult to injury and produce a quite extraordinary score line. The next day’s headlines were taken up with Jennings’ performance and manager Bill Nicholson was quick to acknowledge his goalkeeper’s outstanding display. Chivers also recalls one of Nicholson’s comments to the team after the game,
Not only last week’s match against Basel but also Tottenham’s record in Switzerland shows that they can expect a tough match in Thursday evening’s Europa League quarter-final tie. This will be their third European match in Switzerland and the previous two proved to be difficult encounters.Tottenham’s first European experience in Switzerland
“It might be 5 – 1 on paper but, to be honest, you all ought to give your bonus to Pat Jennings as he kept you in the game.”
Team: Jennings; Evans, Knowles, Coates (Holder), England, Beal; Pratt, Perryman, Chivers, Peters, Neighbour (Gilzean).
Last Match in Switzerland
Team: Gomes; Corluka, Dawson, Bassong, Assou-Ekotto (Huddlestone); Giovani, Palacios, Modric (Kranjcar), Bale; Defoe (Keane), Pavlyuchenko
Previous visits to Switzerland
Tottenham’s other visits to Switzerland have included a tour in 1966-67 following Spurs FA Cup success. Spurs won the three games they played:
FC Zurich – Won 2 – 0 Robertson (2)
BSC Young Boys – Won 3 – 2 Greaves (2), Bond
FC Servette – Won 4 – 1 Greaves (2), Venables, Saul
- In season 1957-58 Spurs went to Basel to play a match against the Swiss National XI. They won 5-4 with Bobby Smith scoring four goals and Dave Dunmore getting the fifth.
- In May, 1914 Spurs undertook an end of season tour of Germany, Italy and Switzerland. Two games were played in Switzerland – a 6-0 win over Zurich and a 3-0 success against St Gallen.
- The next tour that the club undertook was eleven years later when they played seven games in Switzerland in May, 1925. Again they were successful in every match. They defeated Basel Old Boys 3-0 in the opening game and scored a total of 29 goals while conceding only 2. The last game of the tour was against Basel, which they won 1 – 0.
- The other results on that tour were:
Zurich Young Fellows Won 2 – 0
Wintherthur Won 4 – 0
Lausanne Won 6 – 1
La Cheux de Fonds Won 8 – 1
Berne Won 5 – 0
Last week’s match at White Hart Lane plus the game in the Champions League showed that Swiss teams can not be taken lightly. Basel have an excellent home record in recent European competitions, defeating both Manchester United and Bayern Munich inn last season’s Champions League. They defeated United 2 – 1 in the final group match to qualify for the knockout stages, finishing ahead of United. Basel have the experience and know how to get a result in an important match and backed by their fervent fans they will be confident of completing the task against Spurs.
Tottenham, even with their injuries, are quite capable of getting a result with the right team selection, application and tactics. A repeat of the 1925 score line in Basel would suit nicely and see Tottenham into the semi-finals of a European competition for the first time since winning the UEFA Cup under Keith Burkinshaw in 1983-84 season.