I recently made my first trip to White Hart Lane as a Tottenham Hotspur fan (why Tottenham? Gary Linekar was my favourite player and I had watched repeatedly my ‘Road To Wembley 1991’ FA Cup VHS – There were no particular allegiances in my family apart from my mum’s Dad supporting Manchester United – and that wasn’t going to happen).
Glancing through the programme on the night, to my suprise was a full page picture and interview with former Bracknell Town manager and current Henley Town boss David Tuttle.
Coincidence huh! Things unfortunately didn’t work out for Tut’s at Larges Lane, but ever a good bloke and friend of the club, we’ve reproduced the programme interview here by kind permission of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.
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Defining Moment – 1991-1992 Season
HAJDUK BEATEN AGAIN ON SPURS’ EURO TRAIL
As part of a regular series, Andy Greeves talks to former Spurs players about defining moments of seasons past. Today, former defender DAVID TUTTLE remembers a fine victory over Hajduk Split in the now defunct UEFA European Cup Winners’ Cup.
On the back of our FA Cup Final victory over Nottingham Forest in May, 1991, we made a welcome return to European action for the first time in six seasons in the European Cup Winners’ Cup in the 1991-92 season.
Having negotiated a tricky a qualifying tie with SV Stockerau of Austria, winning 2-0 on aggregate, Spurs were handed a tough first round clash with Yugoslav (now Croatian) giants Hajduk Split. The ‘Bili’ or ‘Whites’ as they are known have an excellent pedigree in European competition, having made the quarter finals of the European Cup on three occasions as well as appearing in both UEFA Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup semi finals during their history. They have also won nine Yugoslavian league titles and six league championships in Croatia since becoming founder members of the division in 1992.
Due to the conflict in Yugoslavia at the time of the fixture, the first leg of our contest was played in Linz in Austria. A crowd of just 7,000 spectators saw the ‘home’ side take the advantage in the tie with a 1-0 victory on September 17, 1991. The return leg at White Hart Lane took place on October 2 and marked a special night for European debutant David Tuttle, who had not long made the step from our youth team to first team.
“I was very nervous coming into the side for such a big game,” reflects Tuttle on his appearance against Hajduk Split. “Terry Venables’ team at the time contained lots of stars, including the likes of Gary Lineker, Paul Stewart and Gary Mabbutt and you had to pinch yourself really that you were a part of it. Luckily it all went well on the night for me and Spurs.”
A good night indeed for the youngster Tuttle, who was not only part of a backline that managed to keep a clean sheet in our 2-0 win, but he also popped up with a goal at the other end. After just six minutes, Tuttle hit a left-footed volley from outside the area to level the scores on aggregate.
“The ball came out to me on the edge of the penalty area and I swung at it with my left foot and the next minute everyone was jumping on me,” recalls Tuttle. “When you’re as young as I was then, it’s a dream come true. Those kind of things don’t happen to a country boy like me. It was incredible.”
Scottish striker Gordon Durie doubled our advantage on the night eight minutes later, to secure our passage to the next round and another tough tie with Portuguese side FC Porto in round two. For Tuttle and co, it had been an excellent night under the White Hart Lane floodlights as they overcame the first leg deficit against a top class opponent.
“Hajduk were a major European side and they have always had a rich history in continental competitions, much like Tottenham… they were a big scalp to take,” says Tuttle. “Our route to the quarter finals that year also saw us beat FC Porto – another big name – and we were unlucky to go out against Feyenoord.”
The European Cup Winners’ Cup victory over Hajduk continued our excellent run of results against the team from the eastern shores of the Adriatic Sea. Our first meeting with them came at the first round stage of the 1967-68 Cup Winners’ Cup when we recorded a 2-0 win in Split thanks to goals from Jimmy Robertson and Jimmy Greaves on September 20, 1967. A 4-3 victory at White Hart Lane followed seven days later, with two more Robertson goals on the night added to by Alan Gilzean and Terry Venables.
En-route to winning UEFA Cup in 1984 it was Hajduk Split who we overcame at the semi final stage of the competition. A Mark Falco goal in the first leg in Split on April 11, 1984, proved to be crucial over the course of the tie. We went down to a 2-1 defeat in Yugoslavia but a 1-0 win at home on April 25 saw us progress to the final on the away goals rule. Micky Hazard was our goal scorer in the second leg.
The victory over Hadjuk in 1991 was all about David Tuttle of course. The Berkshire-born centre-half made a total on 18 appearances in our colours between 1990 and 1993 and he looks back fondly at his time at White Hart Lane.
“I loved every minute of my spell at Tottenham,” he says. “I would have liked to have been at the club longer, of course I would, but I’m equally really grateful that I got my opportunity and wouldn’t have changed a thing.”
Other Defining Moments – Season 1991-992
- Gary Lineker bowed out of English football at the end of the season, joining Japanese J. League side Nagoya Grampus Eight. Lineker scored 28 goals in 35 games during the 1991-92 campaign for us and netted a total of 67 times in 105 matches in three seasons at White Hart Lane.
- Nottingham Forest got revenge for their 1991 FA Cup Final defeat, with a 3-2 aggregate victory over us in the League Cup semi-final.
- Big money signing Gordon Durie scored on his League debut for us at Southampton on August 17, 1991.