The UEFA Cup. The other two European tournaments proceeded with practically no upsets, but the UEFA Cup was full of surprises. Eliminated in the first round were: Atletico Madrid (FC Groningen won 1-2 and 3-0), Dinamo Kiev (beaten by Stade Lavallois 0-0 and 0-1), Real Madrid (Sparta Prague won 3-2 and 1-1), VfB Stuttgart (lost to Levski-Spartak 1-1 and 0-1), 1. FC Kaiserslautern ( lost to Watford 3-1 and 0-3), Sevilla (lost to Sporting Lisbon 1-1 and 2-3), Bordeaux (lost to 1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig 2-3 and 0-4), and Crvena zvezda (lost to Hellas Verona 0-1 and 2-3).
More unlikely exits in the 1/16 finals: Werder Bremen (lost to 1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig 0-1 and 1-1), Aston Villa (lost to Spartak Moscow 2-2 and 1-2), and Hellas Verona (lost to Sturm Graz on away goal rule – 2-2 and 0-0). Bayern barely survived, unable to best PAOK (Greece) – both legs ended 0-0 and Bayern had to fret at home terribly long penalty shoot-out until winning it 9-8.
Bayern expired in the third round, eliminated by Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 and 0-2. The other goners of high ranking: Inter Milano (lost to Austria Wien 1-2 and 1-1), 1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig (lost to Sturm Graz 0-2 and 1-0). Like Bayern, Celtic drew strong opponent – Nottingham Forest – and although started well away in Nottingham – 0-0 – managedto lose at home 1-2.
No surprises in the ¼ finals – the expected teams reached the ½ finals, although Hajduk Split and Nottingham Forest needed extra time to eventually prevail over Sparta Prague and Sturm Graz.
The draw for the semi-finals suggested English final: Tottenham was paired with Hajduk Split and Nottingham Forest played against Anderlecht. And after the first leg the possibility looked like certainty: Nottingham had comfortable 2-0 lead, Tottenham lost by a single goal in Split – 1-2. Tottenham won the second leg 1-0 and reached the final, as expected. However, Nottingham was unable to preserve its lead – Anderlecht came strong at home turf and won 3-0.
The final opposed Tottenham Hotspur against Anderlecht: up and coming Tottenham, managing to build a strong team after years of decline and suffering vs steadily strong and leading European club since 1975. The first leg of the final was in Brussels – a bit of advantage for the Londoners, if they managed to keep the Belgians at bay.
Which they managed – Miller opened the score in the 57th minute.
Anderlecht only equalized in the 85th minute, thanks to Morten Olsen. Defenders scored both goals.
Final 1st Leg, Stade Constant Vanden Stock (Parc Astrid), Bruxelles, 9 May 1984, att 40000
RSC Anderlecht (0) 1 Tottenham Hotspur (0) 1
57′ 0-1 TH: Miller
85′ 1-1 A: Olsen
Munaron; Grun, De Greef, Olsen, De Groot; Hofkens, Vandereycken, Scifo, Brylle; Vandenbergh (Arnesen 82), Czerniatynski (Vercauteren 64)
Parks; Thomas, Roberts, Hughton, Perryman; Miller, Stevens (Mabbutt 81), Hazard, Galvin; Archibald, Falco
Referee: Galler (Switzerland)
The second leg was all or nothing for each team, but Tottenham had the home advantage and thus higher chance to win.
It was a bit strange, but Anderlecht changed its captain for the second leg – now it was not Olsen, but Vercauteren. Tottenham kept its, of course, and there was a lot to thank him for later.
The match was not only tough and even, but in a way repeated the first leg. Almost to the minute.
Both teams were eager to win, no doubt, but contrary to the photo, Anderlecht scored first in the 60th minute. Czerniatynski was the hero. Note: Tottenham scored the first goal in Brussels in the 57th minute. And just like in Brussels, although more devastatingly this time, the home team was seeing the clock running and victory going to the opponent.
Ardiles was sent to the pitch in the 73rd minute and still nothing…
It was desperate rush, even captain Roberts went ahead, escaped the tackle of Olsen,
and finally drove the ball in the Belgian net. 1-1 in the 84th minute (Anderlecht equalized in the 85th minute in Brussels). In both legs the home team was losing and managed to equalized near the end of the game. All goals were scored almost in the same minutes, uncanny. And still no winner! It took penalty shoot-out to decide who gets the trophy – only now Anderlecht missed and the stadium erupted with joy.
Dramatic final and the winners may have been just lucky, but who can blame them?
It was so wonderful to walk around the stadium and cheer with exalted fans – what is better than home victory? Even when one is dressed in the colours of the foe and even when one played only a handful of minutes! For Ardiles it was perhaps most special moment: back with his beloved club, which he had to leave temporary because of the war between Great Britain and Argentina, not a regular at the moment, but given a chance to play a bit and thus to become European Cup winner. The love between Ardiles and the fans was mutual, so it was a moment of perfect happiness for both. Unforgettable moment at White Hart Lane.
Final 2nd Leg, White Hart Lane, London, 23 May 1984, att 46205
Tottenham Hotspur (0) 1 RSC Anderlecht (0) 1
60′ 0-1 A: Czerniatynski
84′ 1-1 TH: Roberts
Aggregate 2-2, Tottenham won 4-3 on penalties
Parks; Thomas, Hughton, Roberts, Miller (Ardiles 73); Mabbutt (Dick 77), Hazard, Stevens, Galvin; Archibald, Falco
Munaron; Hofkens, Grun, De Greef, Olsen, De Groot; Arnesen (Gudjohnsen 77), Vercauteren, Scifo; Czerniatyniski (Brylle 103), Vandereycken
Referee: Volker Roth (West Germany)
Anderlecht lost, but it was unbeaten. Tough luck, but the club was running strong. Regretfully, Anderlecht was unable to win consecutive UEFA Cups, but what a record the Belgians had so far: this was their 6th European final and they won half of them (2 Cup Winners Cup – 1975-76 and 1977-78, and 1 UEFA Cup – 1982-83). They were running on top gear for almost 10 years, managing to replace one squad with another smoothly. All players used against Tottenham were national team players, representing Belgium, Denmark, and Iceland. Established European stars and bright up and coming talent made this team – it was not easy to beat them and it was a bit strange to see them empty-handed. Wonderful team, but the winner cam be only one. One thing Anderlecht benefited from was the lax Belgian rule on foreign players – everywhere else maximum 2 foreigners were allowed to play. In Belgium the limit, if there was any, was much higher. This was great, because small Belgium had tiny pool of strong players – so gaps were filled with foreigners (Olsen, Brylle, Arnesen, Gudjohnsen, at the finals).
The moment of pure joy with the UEFA Cup in the middle. Well, Tottenham may have been lucky and, compared to other formations, may be not especially outstanding squad, but in the same time their victory cannot be narrated just by ‘nobody judges victors’. One has to look back and to take into account the reality of English football at that time. In general, money were short and for most clubs it was very difficult to make and keep strong team. Tottenham had its share of difficulties, went into quite long decline, was even relegated to Second Division. Almost 10 years were dark and difficult. Rebuilding really started around 1980 and now the team was in great shape – may be not as great as the one of the late 60s-very early 70s, but one of the strongest and most promising English squads at this moment. Osvaldo Ardiles was more than lucky signing – he fit perfectly in the team, to a point, was the key player, the face, the representative of this squad. There was one player left from the earlier great team – Steve Perryman – the living link between past glory and new one. There was one more great star – the Scottish striker Archibald. It was lesser squad, compared to Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal, Nottingham Forest, but it was up and coming and still not at its own peak. It was felt that with little fine tuning, with another classy player or two, this vintage may challenge Liverpool. Winning the UEFA Cup was certainly a boost capable of propelling Tottenham to the very top not just of Englsih football. And there was more, usually missed: this was the 3rd European trophy for Tottenham Hotspur – 2 UEFA Cups: 1971-72 and 1983-84, and 1 Cup Winners Cup 1964-65. Internationally, they were the most successful London club – their rivals Arsenal, Chelsea, and West Ham United managed only one European trophy each and quite in the past too – the most recent was Chelsea’s Cup Winners Cup won in 1971. It was nice to rub the noses of the neighbours – internationally, London was Tottenham. Sky was the limit!