Terrace admission was at £2.20 for adults; Concessionary prices for kids and wrinklies at £1.10; A seat in the East Stand for as little as a fiver; Men's replica shirts at £11.50; The match-day programme for 50p. Yes, we're back in 1983, when you could just turn up at White Hart Lane and get in, when all-ticket matches were a rarity, when sell-outs were unheard of.
Having finished fourth at the end of the 1982-83 season, that elusive League championship seemed that bit closer for Tottenham. The new season kicked off in the last week of August - none of this starting towards the end of the month which is happening nowadays. The opening day brought a visit to Portman Road and saw debuts for the club's big summer signings - Gary Stevens (culinary specialty Spaghetti Bolognese) and Danny Thomas (engaging personality and keen sense of humour) from Brighton and Coventry respectively. They were bought to plug the notoriously leaky Spurs defence, but things didn't quite work out with Ipswich running out 3-1 winners, with Eric Gates, allegedly Britain's ugliest dwarf footballer of the time, scoring twice. Whether the Spurs defence were too scared to approach him is open to conjecture. Two days later, Coventry were the visitors for an evening match on August Bank Holiday Monday. In the Sky Blues side, was Terry Gibson, who, having burst into the Spurs first team as a pint-size skinhead at the start of the 80's, had failed to win a regular place in the side and had left for the Highfield Road club during the 1983 close-season (the close season was a time when there used to be no football - a frightening prospect, I'm sure you'll agree. But fear not, those dark days will never return). With Tottenham leading late on through a Glenn Hoddle penalty, Steve Archibald went off with a twisted knee, thus reducing Spurs to ten men - these were also the days of only one substitute and the sub on that day, Mark Falco, had already replaced the injured Alan Brazil. Up popped Graham Withey (not one of Coventry's most memorable players) with a late equaliser. Final score 1-1.
Archibald turned up for training the next day, having recovered from the injury which had forced him off. Tottenham manager, Keith Burkinshaw, came to the conclusion that Archibald hadn't been so badly injured so as to warrant coming off before the end of the Coventry game and accused him of letting the team down. Archibald and Burkinshaw had a row, which wasn't kept within the confines of the club, but fought on the sports pages of the tabloids. The Battle of the Wounded Knee had begun.
The season of 1983-84 had hardly started ideally for Tottenham. One point from a possible six and a feud which would cost the first team the services of its main striker for the next few games ...
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