FEYENOORD 2 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 0 – 1974 UEFA Cup Final 2nd Leg, The Fejenoord Stadium, Rotterdam, 29th May 1974

A night that is not fondly remembered at White Hart Lane as not only did Tottenham’s defeat see them lose out on winning the UEFA Cup for the 2nd time in 3 years, the actions of some of the Spurs fans brought shame on their club and country, setting a precedent for years of misbehaviour by English fans abroad.

The match was played just eight days after the first leg 2-2 draw at White Hart Lane. With England playing East Germany in a friendly international the same night (and which will feature in the next story), the highlights of the game were held over to the Thursday night. Brian Moore was following England so Gerald Sinstadt was in the commentary chair for ITV. I have only found brief You Tube highlights, and there is a link to them at the bottom of the post.

Spurs only threatened sporadically, and will feel hard done by that they had a goal disallowed in the first half. A long ball was missed by the onrushing goalkeeper, Eddy Trejtel, falling kindly to midfielder Chris McGrath. The referee had blown his whistle, and the Feyenoord players had clearly stopped before McGrath finished from a tight angle.

Spurs did have another opportunity following an inventive piece of play by Martin Peters. With Spurs awarded a free kick on the edge of the box, the England man spotted the space left by the Feyenoord defence lining up on the edge of the penalty area to lift the ball over the wall and into the path of Steve Perryman, who had cleverly run in behind the wall. Unfortunately the midfielder was unable to control his effort and poked the ball past not only the onrushing goalkeeper, but beyond the post as well.

Feyenoord capitalised on the poor luck of Tottenham with a goal two minutes before the break. A free kick was floated into the penalty area from the right hand touchline. Pat Jennings came out to attempt to collect the cross, but at full stretch could only tip the ball to Rijsbergen, 12 yard out. The Dutch defender headed feebly goalwards, but the ball had just enough power and direction to evade the three scrambling Spurs defenders and creep into the net.

Whether the events of the first half were enough to tip the Spurs fans over the edge is debatable, however their actions at half time were appalling. A section of the crowd attacked their Dutch counterparts, causing a crush which resulted in 200 people being injured. Seats were broken and thrown into the Dutch end and fights broke out all over the terraces. The actions of the fans prompted Tottenham’s legendary manager Bill Nicholson to appeal for calm.

The second half did get underway, but Spurs seemed to offer nothing in way of getting back into the tie. Feyenoord hit a post before finally settling the tie six minutes from time. Theo De Jong, who had scored the crucial second equaliser at White Hart Lane, broke down the left hand side and crossed into the area. Peter Ressel cushioned a header back to substitute Johan Boskamp who held the ball before feeding back to the unmarked Ressel to fire across the goal and into Pat Jennings’ net at the far post.

The defeat spelt the end of an era, both for English football and for Spurs. Feyenoord’s win ended a 6 year stranglehold by English clubs on the UEFA Cup, whilst Bill Nicholson, disillusioned with football in general, from tactics to hooliganism resigned the following August. A golden period in the clubs history had ended, and the spectre of hooliganism added itself to the dark cloud hovering over the English game.

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