JEP Sport’s temps passé feature series continues with Paul Lees looking back to when Tottenham Hotspur brought a team of superstars to Jersey for a midseason friendly, on 22 February 1982
I wonder if, in four decades’ time, we’ll look back to 2023 wistfully as a simpler time.
When you could buy a pint and still get some change out of a tenner. When passwords only had to be at least nine characters long and made up of a mix of upper case letters, lower case letters, numerals and symbols. And mindfulness was the latest fad to ease a troubled mind.
When a five-day, 40-hour working week only meant six days and 60 hours, rent took up only a third of your annual salary (*utilities not included), pronouns lost their meaning and taking little Archibald to whatever activities you forced him to do was only a 50-minute round trip every single day of your life.
Then there was that time Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and the rest of the Tottenham Hotspur team rocked up at Springfield, midway through the season, to play a Jersey Combination team on a Monday night. Hold on. That’s not right. Can you imagine? How ridiculously far-fetched.
But back in 1982, such flights were not so fanciful. Because 41 years yesterday, the Spurs of superstars Ossie Ardiles, Garth Crooks and Steve Perryman did just that.
Not all the big names came, though their squad was still chock-full of them. Spurs’ main attraction, in Glenn Hoddle, was away with the England team for a British Home Championship (remember that?) match 24 hours later against Northern Ireland at Wembley (he scored in the 89th minute to seal a 4-0 win), in which Ray Clemence also kept goal. Meanwhile, Chris Jones, Spurs’ very own Jerseyman, was unable to enjoy a homecoming due to injury.
That season was one of Spurs’ finest in their history too. A top-four finish, FA Cup win, League Cup runners-up and European Cup Winners’ Cup semi-finalists, going out to Barcelona by the odd goal over two legs.
It wasn’t the first time Spurs had brought their A-team to Jersey. In fact, they came the year before, in early February, this time with both Hoddle and Jones. Spurs won 5-0 against a Rothmans Jersey Football Combination select side, in front of a crowd of over 4,000. Scottish international striker Steve Archibald scored a hat-trick with Garry Brooke netting the other two.
In the days of who-you-know, both matches were arranged thanks to the friendship between Old Victorians Football Club president John Gruchy and Spurs’ assistant secretary Peter Day. ‘I understand they had the opportunity of playing in Cyprus and Portugal, but they chose Jersey,’ said Gruchy about his illustrious guests. They paraded the FA Cup too, which they won the year before, beating Manchester City 3-2 in extra time thanks to that famous Ricky Villa goal.
Meanwhile, the Rothmans Jersey XI (plus five subs) unintentionally antagonised their guests by wearing the Jersey jerseys of red with white sleeves to resemble arch-north London rivals Arsenal. Putting that on couldn’t have felt too comfortable for Brooke and big defender John Lacy, who had both been loaned to their hosts for the friendly.
Jersey’s line-up was notable for the presence of Brent Pitman (father of future professional Brett), Peter Vincenti (future Island manager and father of future professional Peter) and Peter Jones (no relation to Chris but father to future professional Rob, formerly of Liverpool and England).
Meanwhile, patronymics was also evident when JFC president Graeme Mourant picked his son, Graeme Mourant, to hold the midfield, captain the team and take all the corners, free-kicks, penalties and throw-ins.
Actually, Jersey were captained by Jerry Collins and Mourant junior was a second-half substitution, but let’s not let the truth get in the way of a good yarn.
Spurs were considered ‘the most attractive team in English football’ at the time and an official attendance of 3,500 was attracted to watching them, though the JEP correspondent on the day believed it was more like 5,000.
They, of course, won with ease – 8-3 – Ardiles the star of the show and ‘the outstanding player on the field’.
He laid on the opener for Garth Crooks to ‘brilliantly’ chip over Martin Le Blancq in the Jersey goal.
‘Having gone ahead, Spurs began to turn on the style even more with some fine touch-football,’ wrote JEP wordsmith Dennis Mannion.
Mark Falco ‘belted’ the ball into the net for Spurs’ second and Steve Perryman ‘steamed in to lash in’ their third before half time.
A weakly-hit shot by Micky Hazard was misjudged by substitute goalkeeper Allen Ferey to put Spurs four up and Terry Gibson made it five soon after.
The crowd were delighted when Jersey pulled a goal back, scored by Jim Wylie from close range, but that only spurred the visitors on. ‘Stung by this affront,’ Gibson scored again for the guests with a ‘thundered’ effort but Jersey never gave up.
Substitute Jan Huet produced a beautiful lob to score Jersey’s second, only for Spurs to restore their five-goal parity when Falco got his second of the game, ‘slammed in’ according to Mannion and his, by now, well-thumbed thesaurus. We got to ‘blazed’ when describing Chris Hughton’s penalty to score Spurs’ eighth, after Wylie had brought down Graham Robert in the box, and ‘blasted’ when Mourant hit a free-kick (told you) over the bar.
There was no adjective used to describe the final action of the night, when, in the final seconds, Huet made it a personal night to remember and scored his second from a rebound.
‘We only wished he could have turned it on like that against St Lawrence on Saturday,’ quipped his OVs’ team-mate Collins after.
Jersey: Martin Le Blanq, Peter Jones, John Lacy, Jim Wylie, Jerry Collins, Keith Le Cornu, Garry Brooke, Peter Taylor, Brent Pitman, Peter Lock, Peter Vincenti. Subs: Allan Ferey, Martin Rowley, Graeme Mourant, Jan Huet, Steve Dewhurst.
Tottenham: Tony Parks, Steve Perryman, Chris Hughton, Paul Miller, Paul Price, Micky Hazard, Ossie Ardiles, Graham Roberts, Tony Galvin, Mark Falco, Garth Crooks. Subs: Gordon Smith, Terry Gibson, Gary O’Reilly.
Referee: Kenny McCreanney