Strange how some matches stick in your mind. One such match was a Stoke game in October 1969 against Spurs. It was memorable because Stoke were down as far as they could be in having enough players to field. In fact with all their keepers injured, Banks had a broken wrist and Farmer bruised ribs Stoke had to borrow a keeper from Manchester City Harry Dowd. For the Spurs game The Potters had 10 players injured and were down to 12 men. It was an incredible run of injuries.
Against a minimal Stoke team was a full strength Spurs squad with Chivers, Greaves, Gilzean , Knowles, Jennings and England all playing. Spurs a few years down the road would be the subject of one of the greatest books about the dynamics of a football club must be Hunter Davies’s book “The Glory Game” published in the early 70s, but it still has a great deal to say about the game even though it was written over 40 years ago and aspects of the game have moved on. Still it’s difficult to think of Rooney or anyone in the modern game admitting as Chivers confessing when his wife is away “I really am scared. I don’t know why. I don’t like the dark and going to bed on my own… I go to pieces on my own. I must have company”.
It was a spirited start from Stoke although they received a setback in the 8th minute when Gilzean headed home a Morgan cross. Stoke tried a speedy response and a Burrows free kick thundered against England. Dowd impressed when he punched clear a Greaves free kick and Bernard did well to intercept a Chivers through ball. Considering I thought that Stoke would be easily crushed given their depleted ranks they were matching Spurs for effort and application. They still went in one down at half time.
It did not take Stoke too long to get an equaliser. Burrows crossed aiming for the far post. The ball was palmed away by Jennings and fell to Herd whose scuffed shot bobbed over the line.
The Potters set a furious pace and Burrows burst through past several defenders, his goal bound shot was stopped by the legs of Jennings. Stevenson was bought down in the penalty area by English although appeals for a penalty were spurned by the ref. At the other end a Gilzean header was cleared off the line by Pejic. I think we breathed a collective sigh of relief that Stoke had got a point in the most trying of circumstances.
The main reason that I recall the game when I was 14 was that I was helping out for the Labour Party in the Newcastle under Lyme by election where John Golding was the candidate. We had been handing out leaflets in the Ironmarket in the morning and Dad ani stood on the Stoke End surrounded by Spurs fans who were expecting an easy victory . We went to the match turning down the possibility of going on a procession through Newcastle led by the less than charismatic David Ennals MP. Apparently the crowd adopted a Stoke chant “Zigger Zagger we want Labour” as they went along. Golding won with a much reduced majority and I won something like £9 at the Election Night rally at Chesterton Working Man’s Club by getting within 30 voted of the total votes cast 21, 753 and collecting my winnings.