1st January, 1986
The main talking point during and after this scoreless draw at Highbury on New Year’s Day 1986 was Graham Roberts’ challenge on Charlie Nicholas which deposited the Arsenal player in the crowd.
The match was the first goal-less draw between the two clubs at Highbury in 77 years of competitive action. That, however, was given little thought or discussion when there were was something of greater interest to chew over.
The Times reported the incident as follows:
‘Despite spurts of genius from Ardiles, Hoddle and Nicholas, it was regrettably true that the game would be best remembered for one horrendous tackle by Roberts on Nicholas which carried both players off the field, through an advertising hoarding and into the laps of the ringside spectators.
Roberts’ ‘tackle’ had all the finesse of a charging rhino but though hopelessly ill-timed – as so many of his challenges this season have been – I do not believe it was malicious. For a moment it threatened to spark a riot as Arsenal players reacted furiously to the referee’s decision merely to warn Roberts. Peter Shreeves, the Tottenham manager, commented:
Roberts was totally committed. Charlie never complained. And he’s an honest lad. Situations in front of the main stand always do tend to flare up.
Fortunately tempers cooled before any real damage could be done, the hoarding apart. The least affected seemed Roberts who ten minutes later went in a trifle roughly on Davis as if to prove his mental well-being and was booked by the referee with a keenness that suggested he had had self-recriminations about his earlier decision to absolve Roberts.’
On such events are reputations built and for that act alone, Graham Roberts will be forever remembered by Tottenham supporters, never mind his goals and all-action performances which helped to bring silverware to White Hart Lane during his time with the club.
Happy New Year
Graham Roberts at Legends Evening: Read more