Tottenham On This Day: League Cup Final Success Over Leicester City


Tottenham on this Day

21st March, 1999

Leicester City 0 Spurs 1 WORTHINGTON CUP FINAL at Wembley

Scorer: Nielsen

Team: Walker; Carr, Vega, Campbell, Edinburgh; Anderton, Freund, Nielsen, Ginola (Sinton); Iversen, Ferdinand. Subs (unused): Baardsen, Young, Dominguez, Armstrong. 

Tottenham recorded the third of their four League Cup successes on this day in 1999. By this time the League Cup was known as the Worthington Cup and after some memorable wins on the way to Wembley against Liverpool, Manchester United and in the semi-final, 2nd leg game against Wimbledon, the Final was a huge disappointment.

The previous September, George Graham had taken over as Tottenham manager from Christian Gross and he had brought organisation and a battling determination to the side which was particularly evident in Spurs’ Cup displays that season.

In a Final that has long been forgotten by all but Tottenham supporters, it was a rather dour game, as Leicester played as all Martin O’Neill teams tended to play, in a very well-organised, disciplined defensive formation. Leicester were set up to deny Spurs time and space but had few attacking ideas of their own. Spurs were unable to take advantage of these negative tactics and were drawn into a game of attrition. Spurs only came to life when reduced to ten men after the dismissal of Justin Edinburgh for a minor altercation with Robbie Savage in the 63rd minute but even then Leicester didn’t show any urgency or inclination to try to win the game. 

Just as it looked as if everyone was going to have to endure thirty minutes of extra time, Spurs had the ball in midfield Les Ferdinand laid the out to the right to Steffan Iversen who broke forward and powered in on goal. He delivered a cross/shot, Kasey Keller, a future Tottenham goalkeeper, could only parry his effort and Allan Nielsen who was following up, flung himself forward to head the ball into the net. The 90th minute had come and gone so supporters knew that the goal was going to be the winner. Cue great scenes of rejoicing among Spurs supporters around Wembley and celebration as Sol Campbell lifted the Cup. It wasn’t the greatest of Finals but Spurs had the joy of winning another trophy and were back in Europe once again.

Cup Final Heroes

Allan Nielsen

Allan Nielsen, a Danish international midfielder, joined Tottenham in 1996 from Brondby for a fee of £1.65 million. He made 96 League appearances for the club, scoring 12 goals. He made 18 Cup appearances and scored 6 goals, including three in the Worthington Cup – all coming in the Cup winning season with the Wembley winner as the most memorable. He received the ‘Man of the Match’ award as Tottenham lifted their third League Cup trophy.  However, the arrival of Tim Sherwood from Blackburn Rovers who was Cup-tied for this competition restricted Nielsen’s opportunities and the following season he went out on loan and was transferred to Watford for £2.5 million in July, 2000.

Steffan Iversen

Steffan Iversen signed for Spurs in December, 1996 for £2.5m from Rosenborg. He was part of the Worthington Cup winning team of 1999, scoring the semi-final goal at Wimbledon to secure Tottenham’s place in the Final. He scored 41 goals in 138 League appearances for Spurs and it was his powerful run and centre late in the Final against Leicester City which created the goal for Allan Nielsen. One of his best Spurs’ performances was at Sunderland when he scored a hat-trick in a 4 – 0 win in March, 1996. He moved from Spurs to Wolves in 2003 after seven years at White Hart Lane and spent a season at Molineux before returning to Norway. In 2011-12 he returned to England for a year with Crystal Palace.