Tottenham Hotspur head to Belgium to take on R.S.C. Anderlecht in the group stages of the Europa League on Thursday, but these two clubs have a history that stretches back 31 years to the finals of the 1984 UEFA Cup. After scoring late, Spurs took Anderlecht all the way to penalties, where they won
5 4-3 in dramatic fashion.
Tottenham entered the second leg of the final even after drawing Anderlecht 1-1 in Brussels. The match at White Hart Lane was manager Keith Burkinshaw's last match at the club resigning over conflicts with the Spurs board. Anderlecht opened the scoring midway through the second half off of a goal by Alexandre Czerniatynski, only to see Spurs captain Graham Roberts equalize six minutes from time after Ossie Ardiles fired a shot off the crossbar.
The match went all the way to penalties. Danny Thomas had Spurs' fifth PK blocked, but Spurs' legendary goalkeeper (and former goalkeeping coach, now at Aston Villa) Tony Parks blocked two shots to earn the win. It was the last time Spurs lifted a European trophy as champions.
The 1984 Anderlecht side included not only future Spurs sporting director Frank Arnesen, but also Arnor Gudjohnsen, father to one-time Spurs player Eidur Gudjohnsen.
Several years later, it emerged that Anderlecht's presence in the final was the result of match official bribery; the Anderlecht chairman had reportedly given £27k to the official to influence the semifinal against Nottingham Forest, which Anderlecht won under dubious circumstances.
The stakes for Thursday's match aren't nearly as high, but it's fun to look back at one of Spurs' most dramatic wins of all time in European competition.