Tag Archives: White Hart Lane

Falco hoping Kane earns his spurs as a title winner

In 1984-85, Mark Falco scored 22 times for Tottenham Hotspur in the old Division One.

Falco was, in the words of the song fans sing at White Hart Lane, the last ‘One of Our Own’ to notch at least 20 league goals in one campaign.

Until, of course, last season – where if you fast forward 30 years – Harry Kane achieved the same feat.

It was a long time coming for a club steeped in homegrown heroes – the kind that bleed the blue and white of Spurs and live by their motto: ‘To Dare Is To Do’.

Spurs legend Falco says the fact that it took three decades for his mark to be equalled speaks volumes.

“I’m very proud of my record playing for Spurs. It took 30 years for Harry Kane to be the next homegrown player to score 20 league goals, so you see it’s not that easy.”

Team spirit

“Not that easy” is still putting it pretty modestly, but then Falco is one of the gentleman of the game.

Aside from the obvious comparisons between him and Kane, there are also many similarities to the team Falco featured in during the 1984-85 season and the one Kane is currently thriving in.

“I think some of us played nearly 70 matches, so we just ran out of steam”

“The current team is doing extremely well and looks like it could be a very successful season,” said the Bethnal Green-born striker.

“They seem to have the same spirit that we had as a team and are playing some very exciting football which we tried to play.”

That Spurs side, like the current one, were pushing for the league title. Unfortunately, arguably due to the sheer amount of games including European commitments, they fell away in the closing weeks of an arduous season.

Accolades

Were Falco’s personal achievements in front of goal rendered meaningless as his team fell short?

“Obviously it was a very big blow not to have won the league as we were so close, but then we didn’t have the big squads they have now.

“We were also in every competition and into the final phases of the cups. I think some of us played nearly 70 matches, so we just ran out of steam.

“It’s always nice to have personal accolades, but the team is more important. Besides, if the team is doing well then accolades normally follow.”

Now 55, Falco can certainly be proud of his career at his boyhood club.

Disappointment

Making his debut for Tottenham in 1979, he went on to score 98 goals in 236 games for the North Londoners, helping them win the 1984 Uefa Cup with one of their successful penalties in the shoot-out against Anderlecht in the final.

“It was a very great honour to be chosen, considering how many great players have played for the club and didn’t make the top 50”

“Goals mean different things,” he reflected. “I suppose my best goal was when we beat Arsenal 5-0, but my most important was certainly scoring that penalty to help win the Uefa Cup.”

It was, Falco admits, a real disappointment when Spurs told him he was surplus to requirements in 1986, but he went on to join Watford, followed by a successful spell at Rangers and then QPR before finishing his career at Millwall.

“It was very difficult as I had joined Spurs as a 13-year-old and made my way into the first team and was leading goal scorer at the time.

Fondness

“It was a bit of a surprise to be told that the club didn’t need me anymore,” he recalled.

“But that happens when a new manager comes in and has his ideas on how he wants his team to play. If you’re not in his plans, it’s best to move on.”

However, what is certain is that this decision hasn’t damaged his fondness for the club he loves.

In 2009, Falco was voted by supporters as one of the top 50 greatest Spurs players of all time.

“It was a very great honour to be chosen, considering how many great players have played for the club and didn’t make the top 50.”

Falco remains a familiar figure at White Hart Lane, working as a club ambassador on matchdays.

Will his successor Kane be the next name to oust a great from that list – and perhaps go one better and do it with a league winners medal in his back pocket?

Image courtesy of Tottenham Hotspur

Sorry, Spurs – I’m cursed

As any Spurs supporter will tell you, it’s a rollercoaster ride supporting our club.

Over the years I’ve had the privilege of watching superb comeback wins at the Emirates one week and the agony of dreary home defeats to Newcastle the next.

In my lifetime, Tottenham have always been seen as the team that just falls short, flattering to deceive and mixing some very good moments with some very bad ones.

However my first-hand experience supporting the team over the last two years has been filled with the latter. In fact, my last experience watching Tottenham win a game live was back in December 2013.

It was a very cold, wet and windy Wednesday night at Fulham. The game started with Spurs dominating possession but struggling to break down the opposition’s deep-lying defence, which was typical under Andre Villas Boas.

Surprise

Even more typical was when we went behind early on in the second half against the run of play. However, thanks to long-range efforts from Chiriches and former fan-favourite Lewis Holtby, I left Craven Cottage filled with joy – a feeling I haven’t felt since (well, when leaving a football stadium, anyway).

Since that day I have been to watch my side 11 times, spending over £600 in the process, and I am still yet to see them win.  In those 11 games I have witnessed nine defeats, ranging from  a 1-0 smash-and-grab scoreline against West Brom to a 3-0 thrashing at the hands of Liverpool.

“As the game wore on my nerves began to grow and when we conceded a corner late on, I knew what was coming”

The two draws consisted of a dull 0-0 against Palace and a late recovery to 2-2 against West Ham to salvage a point – the only flicker of a highlight I can boast, too.

My most recent visit to White Hart Lane was against the surprise title challengers Leicester City, and it didn’t end well for me or Spurs.

Before that, my only other visit to White Hart Lane this term was our first game there, against Stoke City – yet another go on the N17 rollercoaster that unfortunately ended on a very disappointing drop as the away side came from two goals down to snatch a draw late on.

Optimism

However disappointing that result was, it did kick-start a very impressive unbeaten run by my side that I enjoyed so much that I stopped myself going to any more games, out of fear that I’d end the run myself – against the wishes of my Arsenal-supporting uncle, who offered to buy me a season ticket upon hearing about my curse.

Once the run came to end, I felt it was safe to return to the Lane and, hoping that wheels would finally come off of their unlikely title challenge, chose the Leicester City game. But after the 2-2 home draw against them in the FA Cup just three days earlier, I was aware of what a tough ask it would be.

“Palace fans will be happy to know that my next live match will be at Selhurst Park. To all Tottenham fans, I can only apologise in advance…”

Like my last taste of victory from the stands, it was a very cold, wet and windy Wednesday night at White Hart Lane, which gave me at least a slight sense of optimism heading into the match.

Which grew even more as the evening wore on, as for the first time in a long time, I was witnessing an impressive performance first-hand. After 70 minutes, we seemed to have done everything but score, testing Foxes keeper Kasper Schmeichel on numerous occasions – but even when Harry Kane got the ball past the great Dane, the bar stood in his way.

As the game wore on my nerves began to grow and when we conceded a corner late on, I knew what was coming and when the ball hit the back of the net (Robert Huth unmarked, header) I was left with the same feeling I’ve had so many times before.

The more games that rack up, the more I wonder how long it will be until I see my side win again when I’m there. Crystal Palace fans will be happy to know that my next live match will be at Selhurst Park. To all Tottenham fans, I can only apologise in advance…

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.