Tottenham On This Day: Spurs Lose To Liverpool In League Cup Final


Tony Galvin [Photo: Logan Holmes]Tottenham suffered their first defeat in a domestic Cup Final as they lost to Liverpool in the League Cup Final at Wembley. A ‘tackle’ by Graeme Souness on Tony Galvin had a major influence on outcome of the game.

13th March, 1982

Liverpool 3 Tottenham Hotspur 1 (aet) LEAGUE/MILK CUP FINAL at Wembley.

Scorers: Rush, Whelan (2)                    Archibald

Team: Clemence; Perryman, Hughton; Price, Hazard (Villa), Miller; Ardiles, Archhibald, Galvin, Hoddle, Crooks

Thirteenth, unlucky for some and certainly for Spurs in their centenary year. Two amazing records finally came to an end in this game – undefeated in domestic Cup Finals and unbeaten at Wembley.

It looked to be going so well for Tottenham when Steve Archibald gave Spurs the lead after 11 minutes, latching onto a through pass from Glenn Hoddle. Liverpool pressed but the Spurs defence was holding firm and then with four minutes remaining Archibald had a chance to secure victory but delayed his shot and the chance was gone.

Within a minute Liverpool had equalised through Ronnie Whelan and in extra time they scored twice more against a deflated Spurs team. Whelan added the second in 111th minute and with only one minute to play Ian Rush completed the scoring.

A crucial turning point in the game was an early ‘tackle’ on Tony Galvin by the former Tottenham player and Liverpool hard-man Graeme Souness. It made Galvin virtually a passenger and he had obviously been targeted by Liverpool as a threat who had to be dealt with. Graham Roberts who was one of the Spurs substitutes for the Final was furious and in an article in the New Sunday Times in 1984, he wrote,

‘The ball was knocked out to our winger Tony Galvin in a deep position and Souness, attempting a tackle, put his studs right down the lad’s shin. Tony could hardly walk and for weeks had to play with cotton wool stuffed under his pads.’

In a league match a few weeks later at White Hart Lane, Roberts admits that he was on the look out for Souness but the Liverpool player was only a substitute that afternoon and when he came on late in the game, Souness kicked the ball away every time Roberts came near to him.

Ronnie Whelan condoned Souness’ actions in his book,

‘Souey caught Tony Galvin in the 1982 League Cup Final against Spurs. He marked his territory that day with Tony: ‘This is my part of the pitch, if you want to come in here, you’re going to get hurt’. Tony was hurt in that tackle and we didn’t see him much in the game after that. Tackles like that had a purpose, they could have a real effect on a game. Tony was going to take a while to get back into the match, which would give us a bit more time on the ball. That’s what it was all geared to achieve. It wasn’t just to hurt someone for the sake of it, not usually anyway; it was to give us the time and the space to play our game.’

At the time of the defeat, Spurs, however, were still looking for success in the League, the FA Cup and in European Cup Winners’ Cup.