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1991 and all that: Spurs’ memory lane

OPINION: After sweeping past AFC Wimbledon and Newport County in this season’s FA Cup, Tottenham are evoking memories of Chesney Hawkes, Gary Lineker and that awful Robin Hood film

08 February, 2018 — By Richard Osley

Gary Lineker: Match Of The Day presenter and Spurs FA Cup hero of 1991

IT’S been 27 years since Spurs last won the FA Cup. In those ancient times, John Major was prime minister, Chesney Hawkes was topping the charts with The One And Only. It was 1991, the year that awful Robin Hood film came out. Some of you weren’t even born yet or were still gurgling milk or playing with an Etch-A-Sketch.

For there was no iPads, my friends, there was no internet. To think that distant day was the last time Tottenham won anything of any real importance.

Children, this will shock you: you know the funny man on Match Of The Day who sells crisps? Well, he was playing on the pitch that day. Yes, kid, yes he was. And Arsene Wenger, that wise-looking man who you think has been manager of Arsenal since the birth of time? Well, he wasn’t, he was at Monaco then. Yes, it’s all true, yes he was. And you see that bald man up there on this page? He had a full head of picturebook hair in 1991, which made the girls queue around the block and the other lads sick with envy.

No, son, that’s right, some of that isn’t true – but you get the picture.

Anyway, given how many attempts Spurs have had at trying to repeat their last drop of joy all those years ago, the laws of probability state that eventually they would be handed an easy route, paving a way for a return to the final. And here we are, the jackpot: AFC Wimbledon, Newport County and Rochdale. Has there ever been a simpler route through the competition? It would almost make winning the trophy null and void.

At this stage, most Tottenham fans counter that Arsenal played two non-league teams last year and riff about “them Gooners” always having it easy.

Au contraire! Crisis-club Arsenal’s three FA cup wins in the last four years have been hard-fought. Last year, they also beat champions Chelsea and (this year’s champions) Manchester City. Easy?

And, over the course of their special run in the competition, they also defeated Everton, Liverpool and Manchester United at Old Trafford. Are we missing anyone? Well, there’s Spurs.

And that’s where Arsenal’s fun began on the way to winning the Cup: a 2-0 victory against Spurs – the one where Theo Walcott, bless him, was stretchered off with his fingers up reminding the hecklers of the score.

A simple draw? Don’t be so hard on yourself, Spurs fans.

In comparison, Tottenham have dodged teams from the top two leagues at every turn. With such good fortune, you have to ask yourself about Tottenham and their FA Cup quest: if not now, when?

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