Throwback Thursday: Tottenham’s 1991 FA Cup triumph

1991: Paul Gascoigne
1991: Paul Gascoigne /

Spurs last tasted FA Cup glory when they defeated Nottingham Forest 2-1 in the 1991 final after beating Arsenal in the first-ever Wembley semifinal. 

First ever Wembley FA Cup semifinal

Tottenham brushed aside the Gunners 3-1 in the first ever Wembley semifinal, a classic encounter in which Paul Gascoigne scored a stunning early opener from spectacular a long-range free kick.

David Seaman infamously said his studs got stuck in the Wembley turf, which is why he was unable to keep the long-range missile out.

Sounds like a typical Gunners excuse, though, as everyone who remembers that strike knows Seaman’s explanation is pure hogwash.

Arsenal took the league that year, but Spurs won the day in a timeless, epic encounter.

Gary Lineker scored a brace to ensure Tottenham were victorious in the maiden Wembley semifinal. There was something special in the air that day and most people felt, after one of the club’s most important victories, that fate would not deny Spurs in the final.

1990-91 FA Cup final glory vs. Nottingham Forest

Spurs played a Nottingham Forest team who hadn’t made it to an FA Cup final for 32 years. Led by Stuart Pearce, Nigel Clough and Gary Crosby, Forest were hoping to disrupt Tottenham’s somewhat unlikely FA Cup run.

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Gascoigne had to leave the final due to a knee injury he suffered on a full-blooded challenge in the 15th minute. Gazza had played in his last FA Cup match with Spurs.

To alleviate a heavy financial burden, he was transferred to Lazio for £5.5 million that summer.

Pearce scored the opener on a venomous drive on the resulting free kick, providing Forest with an unlikely early lead.

Destiny favoured Spurs on the day but not before the Tottenham faithful were forced to endure some nail-biting, apprehensive moments. Gary Lineker was taken out by Forest keeper Mark Crossley, his misjudged tackle presenting the England legend with a golden opportunity to equalize from the spot.

Crossley, however, redeemed himself by stopping Lineker’s fierce penalty. While powerful, Lineker’s spot kick lacked the precision he usually took his penalties with. He was the second player to miss an FA Cup final penalty.

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But Spurs would not be denied, as Paul Stewart levelled the match on right footed drive in the 55th minute. Spurs eventually won the final on a Walker own goal in extra time.

Tottenham won their eighth FA Cup trophy, the most of any team at the time. Spurs haven’t won the FA since but it will start feeling a lot like ’91 with a victory against Chelsea on Saturday.