gary mabbutt - fact file

1982 - 1997            midfielder/defender


Born on 23rd August 1961 in Bristol, England.

Height : - .m  (5'10")

Weight : -  - kgs  (st lb)

Starting in the same team as Steve Perryman, Gary Mabbutt adopted his captain's loyalty and determination to serve Tottenham Hotspur with great distinction.

A young midfielder with Bristol Rovers, Mabbutt was persuaded to leave his home town for London by Bill Nicholson, who took a shine to this versatile and athletic player, making a mockery of the diabetes that he suffered from.  Signing in the summer of 1982, Gary made his debut in the FA Charity Shield, making an impressive start among a lot of bigger names in the team.

Initially, he was a box to box player, who scored the occasional outstanding goal and his control of volleyed shots made him the best at this skill in the club.  Covering lots of ground, with a prodigious leap to win headers, Mabbutt soon established his value to the team.

For four years Mabbutt played a variety of positions and was not a regular in the side in any of them, but taking Steve Perryman's place in defence for the second leg of the 1984 UEFA Cup final, he put in a sterling performance, doing his absent captain proud in the nail-biting match, which Spurs won on penalties.

When David Pleat took over, he brought in Richard Gough to partner Mabbutt and they made a formidable pairing.  Both good in the air and in the tackle, with an ability to read the game and break up moves before they got too near the goal.  Unfortunately, the team of 1986-87 played some fantastic football, but failed to have anything to show for it, with Mabbutt scoring at both ends in the FA Cup final against Coventry City.  Having put Tottenham 2-1 ahead with a header just before the break, he deflected Dave Bennett's cross and it looped up over Ray Clemence and into the net to give Coventry City a 3-2 win. 

However, the following season, with Gough Glasgow bound, Mabbutt took over the armband and his captaincy added a responsibility to his game, which rubbed off on his team-mates.  Respected by them, he led by example and took the team to the 1991 FA Cup Final, where against all adversity, Spurs won in extra time with Des Walker heading into his own net from a corner, with Mabbutt right behind him to apply the finishing touch had he missed the ball.  His pride in lifting the cup wiped away the memories of four years earlier, when he was distraught at having scored the winner for the Sky Blues.

In the 1994 New Year's Day Honours list, Gary was warded the MBE.

As the seasons went on Mabbutt's partners in defence changed as he became the senior professional at the club, but suffered some serious injuries, including a fractured eye socket and cheekbone by an elbow hitting him in the face, when he jumped for the ball with Wimbledon employee John Fashanu in November 1993 that threatened Mabbs' career and a broken leg in a challenge by Graham Fenton on the opening day of the 1995-96 season.

On 10th May 1998, Gary Mabbutt came on as a substitute in Tottenham's final game of the season to make his final appearance for the club, taking the captain's armband to huge cheers from the Spurs crowd.  A popular player with the fans, he had turned down the opportunity to move to Liverpool and Manchester United to remain at White hart Lane, with his loyalty a fast-fading attribute of the modern footballer, Gary Mabbutt was Tottenham through and through.

His consistency over a period of 11 years was the mainstay of the club's side through the Eighties and Nineties.  He was a regular, missing few games either through injury (a broken leg was picked up at the start of the 198-8 season) or through the diabetes that he suffered from.  However, playing has taken it's toll and at the time of his retirement, his left knee cap had become fragmented and he was no longer able to stand up to the rigors of a Premier League campaign.

So much so that in interviews after leaving the club, he still referred to Tottenham as "us" and was to go on to act as a major part of the campaign to win the staging of the World Cup for South Africa in 2010 and then became an ambassador for Tottenham to promote the club.

A gentleman on and off the field, Gary Mabbutt will be regarded as a Spurs legend for his service to the club.  A player who was brave on and off the pitch too, he always gave his all for the team and did so fairly, often in the face of others who did not.


NICKNAME :  Mabbs; Mabbsy

Career Record
Club Signed Fee Debut Apps Goals
Bristol Rovers ?? ?? ??  131 10
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1982 ?? 1982  v Liverpool (Charity Shield) (Wembley) 611 36
- ?? ?? ??  ?? ??

Career Record
Bristol Rovers
- League appearances; goals
- FA Cup appearances; goals
- League Cup appearances; goals
European appearances; goals
- League appearances; goals
- FA Cup appearances; goals
- League Cup appearances; goals
European appearances; goals

England international
16 full caps;  1 goal
9 B caps; 1 goal
7 Under-21 caps; 2 goals
11 Youth caps; ? goals
UEFA Cup winners medal 1983-1984
FA Cup winners medal 1990-1991
FA Cup runners-up medal 1986-1987

500th Spurs appearance  3rd October 1993  v Everton (Premier League) (home) won 2-1



Gary Mabbutt and Gary Lineker were given "Good News" awards from Barclays, for the example they set to youngsters.
November 1994  (Spurs Monthly)

Earliest memory : - Going to watch my father Ray play for Bristol Rovers around 1965/66. He was with the club for 14 years. I remember waiting outside with my brother and being very proud as we carried one handle of his bag each. Later he joined Newport County for two years before retiring from football.

Favourite toys: - A game called Mousetrap and Scaletrix

Favourite kids TV programme : - The Magic Roundabout.

Best playground game : - Football

Best swap ever : - Petrol garages used to give you football cards and team badges when you bought petrol and we would swap them, but I never swapped toys.

Football hero : - Bobby Moore. I was a West Ham supporter.

First football match : - For my primary school, Elmlea, when I was about seven years old.

Where did you play for fun : - We used to go down to the Clifton Downs in Bristol every Saturday, and apart form that, the back garden.

First club : - My local club, Parkway Juniors, in Bristol.

Best subject at secondary school : - Maths.

Worst subject : - Metalwork

The one option you should never have taken : - Physics. I failed that and never thought about re-taking it !

Worst punishment and what for ? : - I was given a detention by my PE teacher for missing his lesson on a Wednesday morning with a leg injury and then playing football for Bristol Boys that night ! I picked up the injury the Saturday before and because it felt bad during the day, I wasn't going to play in the game. When I got home though, my Dad got me running around the garden and I risked playing. The game was at Bristol Rovers' training ground and I scored the winning goal. The next week the local paper showed a photograph of me and obviously my PE teacher saw it !

Greatest honour : - I was captain for both Bristol Boys football and cricket teams.

Teenage idol : - Bobby Moore.

Favourite bands : - I was always a big Tamla Motown fan but apart from that I liked Sweet, Gary Glitter, Mud and the Jacksons.

Choice of fashion : - Everybody was wearing platform shoes at the time, with massive collars and baggy flared trousers called 'Oxford Bags'. Embarrassingly, that is what I used to wear.

Biggest hair disaster : - Not really a disaster – I just longer than it is today.

First record you bought : - “The Locomotion” by Little Eva.

First disco : - A club in Bristol called Platform One, which was inside a disused railway station.

First film seen on a date : - When we were children my brother and I went to see “The Railway Children” with a couple of girls from down our street ! I don't know if you would call it a date, but we all went on a train into Bristol for the first time, so it was quite an adventure.

First car and it's eventual fate : - An Austin 1300 GT, although it only had a reconditioned 1100 engine. It was an old H registration and I bought it from an auction for £250. It got me through my test, lasted another year and then I sold it for scrap for £20.

Favourite holiday destination : - Salou on the south coast of Spain

Bank holiday pastimes : Playing football usually

The one TV programme you never missed : - The Saint
Mabbutt had to pay for the watering of the ground for his testimonial match against Newcastle.

The attendance was just 17,200 and £100,000 was the widely quoted figure for the money he received from the day.

Became Patron of Tottenham Hotspur Ladies Football Club.
Favourite pre-match meal :  Scrambled egg on toast
What current Spurs player would you like to have partnered ? :  Jonathan Woodgate
Of the players you played with, who would have been worth £30 million ?  :    Glenn Hoddle, Ossie Ardiles, Paul Gascoigne, Gary Lineker, Jurgen Klinsmann
Favourite away ground :  Wembley Stadium
Most memorable game :  1991 FA Cup Final
What era were you at your best ?  :  1980s into 1990s
Most difficult opponents :  Marco van Basten, Ian Rush and Kenny Dalglish
Hardest player played against :  Bryan Robson or Graeme Souness
First pay packet :  £65 (a week) at Bristol Rovers



What they said about Gary Mabbutt
Keith Burkinshaw on signing Mabbutt ...  12.8.1995 (Gary Mabbutt Testimonial brochure)

"Bill (Nicholson) had met Peter Anderson , the former manager of Millwall at a game and Peter told him that Gary was available at a cheaper fee than most people in the game thought would be asked by Bristol Rovers.  Most people thought it would be around £300,000, but Peter said it would be no more than a third of that.

Bill checked with Bobby Gould, who was manager of Rovers at the time and Bobby admitted that Peter Anderson was right.  We eventually agreed a fee of £105,000."

Keith Burkinshaw on Mabbutt's best position ...  12.08.1995 (Gary Mabbutt Testimonial brochure)

"Early on I asked Bill (Nicholson) what he thought Gary's best position was and Bill replied, "I don't know.  He's so versatile he can play in any number of positions.  I've seen him at full-back, centre half and in midfield.  We need an all-rounder with the injuries we've got."

Adrian Heath former Stoke City, Everton and Burnley striker on Gary Mabbutt...  06.10.1993 (THFC programme)

"Gary and I go back a long way – right back to his days at Bristol Rovers in the early 1980s and our time together with England (Under-21s).  He has lost nothing since then.  It's a credit to Gary that he is still performing at the highest level, especially as he has had to overcome his diabetes as well.  For me, he is a model professional, someone for every young player to look up to.  We've had a fair few tussles over the years.  You know you're always in for a competitive game against Gary because he never gives up."

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What Gary Mabbutt said about ...
a FA international trip to Afghanistan to promote football there ...  .. ()

"The last time this ground was seen on worldwide television, 'criminals' were being hung from the goalposts and shot in the centre circle."

the 1984 UEFA Cup Final second leg at White Hart Lane ...  02.10.1991 (THFC programme)

"It was a tremendous atmosphere at Anderlecht's stadium, a ground very similar to an English First Division club, with the fans very close to the pitch.  But that was nothing compared to the atmosphere at White Hart Lane in the second leg.  That was the best I have ever known, it was really a tremendous night. After the game, the whole High Road was packed with supporters.  We went to the front windows of the offices at the club with the Cup and it was certainly carnival time in Tottenham."

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Season League FA Cup League Cup UEFA Cup Other
1978-1979 (Bristol Rovers) 11 (0 goals) 2 (0 goals) - -  
1979-1980 (Bristol Rovers) 33 (0 goals) 1 (0 goals) - -  
1980-1981 (Bristol Rovers) 42 (5 goals) 2 (1 goal) 6 (0 goals) -  
1981-1982 (Bristol Rovers) 45 (5 goals) 1 (0 goals) 4 (1 goal) -  
1982-1983 (THFC) 38 (10 goals) 3 (0 goals) 5 (0 goals) 4 (1 goal) 1 (0 goals)
1983-1984 (THFC) 21 (2 goals) 2 (0 goals) 2 (0 goals) 9 (2 goals)  
1984-1985 (THFC) 25 (2 goals) 2 (0 goals) 4 (0 goals) 4 (0 goals)  
1985-1986 (THFC) 32 (3 goals) 5 (1 goal) 5 (0 goals) - 6 (0 goals)
1986-1987 (THFC) 37 (1 goal) 6 (3 goals) 8 (0 goals) -  
1987-1988 (THFC) 37 (2 goals) 2 (0 goals) 3 (0 goals) -  
1988-1989 (THFC) 38 (1 goal) 1 (0 goals) 5 (0 goals) -  
1989-1990 (THFC) 36 (0 goals) 1 (0 goals) 7 (1 goal) -  
1990-1991 (THFC) 35 (2 goals) 6 (1 goal) 6 (0 goals) 8 (1 goal) 1 (0 goals)
1991-1992 (THFC) 40 (2 goals) 2 (0 goals) 6 (0 goals) -  
1992-1993 (THFC) 29 (2 goals) 5 (0 goals) 2 (0 goals) -  
1993-1994 (THFC) 29 (2 goals)   3 (0 goals) -  
1994-1995 (THFC) 36 (0 goals) 6 (1 goal) 2 (0 goals) -  
1995-1996 (THFC)       -  
1996-1997 (THFC)       -  
1997-1998 (THFC)       -  


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