Tottenham On This Day: Spurs Rule at Highbury On New Year’s Day 1985


Garth Crooks at Highbury in 1980s [Photo: Logan Holmes]Tottenham On This Day

1st January, 1985

Arsenal 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2 (1st Division)

Scorers: Woodcock  Crooks, Falco

Team: Clemence; Stevens, Mabbutt, Roberts, Miller, Perryman, Chiedozie, Hoddle (Allen, C.) Galvin, Crooks, Falco.

Spurs went into the game leading the 1st Division with 43 points from 22 matches while Arsenal were four points behind. Also in the chasing pack were Everton, Liverpool and Manchester United.

Peter Shreeves had replaced Keith Burkinshaw as manager and Spurs had been at the top of the League earlier in the season and had reclaimed first place during December.

Arsenal dominated the first half at Highbury and took the lead through Tony Woodcock three minutes before half-time. In the second half Spurs showed much greater determination and started to show the form that had seen them win four of their last five away games. Captain, Steve Perryman led by example but on the hour it was Glenn Hoddle who demonstrated his magnificent skills as he played a long ball from deep in defence towards the Arsenal area. It deceived defender and goalkeeper, allowing Garth Crooks to steal in and score his fifth goal in five games.

Tottenham continued to be more purposeful in their play and with seventeen minutes remaining, Tony Galvin passed to Mark Falco and his shot hit the back of the net.

Spurs started the new year with a win at Highbury and remained at the top of the 1st Division.

The Daily Express reported on the game.

‘Spurs opened a seven-point margin on their north London rivals in a derby that was a rich kaleidoscope of sinew and skill. The inspiration came from Glenn Hoddle who seems to have added the missing dimension of battling to go with his established qualities of passing and vision.’

Tottenham didn’t lose another away match for the rest of the season but poor home form and a bad sequence of results from mid-March through to the end of April saw Spurs lose out on the title to finish behind both Liverpool clubs with Everton finishing as champions. Injuries late in the season didn’t help Spurs cause plus losing a number of crucial home games to their closest rivals.