3813: League Cup: Tottenham tie brin
by : Alex Wolstenholme
Tottenham Hotspur will host Port Vale in the last sixteen of the Carling Cup, a tie which for the Potteries club will revive memories of one of their most famous days.
January 1988 saw a Vale side struggling in the old third division drawn against Terry Venables’ star-studded Tottenham side, FA Cup finalists the previous season, in the 4th round of the famous competition after scraping past non-league Macclesfield in the previous round.
"The only problem Spurs will have is finding the place,” said TV pundit Jimmy Greaves at the time but it turned out that Tottenham would have more problems than that.
Goals by Phil Sproson and Ray Walker gave John Rudge’s side a famous victory that sparked an upturn in Vale’s fortunes with promotions and trips to Wembley becoming a feature of the next few years.
Vale have been through some lean times since then, including administration and a transfer embargo but look to have come out the other side thanks to some tough financial management from chairman Bill Bratt and his board and the hard work of manager Martin Foyle, a former Valiants striker and an archetypal unsung hero of the lower leagues.
Players have been developed and sold on including Trinidad & Tobago World Cup star Chris Birchall who joined Coventry for £300,000 in the summer, Sam Collins and Billy Paynter who moved to Hull City in January and Dave Hibbert who was snapped up by Preston in June 2005.
They currently lie 10th in League One after a bright start to the season which has faded slightly in recent games while Norwich City became their third Championship victim on the way to making the 4th round of the League Cup for the first ever time.
"It is great news because we were desperate to get a Premiership club, said Foyle after the draw was made.
"Hopefully there might be a crowd of nearly 35,000 down there.
"We are all delighted and it is great reward for the chairman and all the players after their efforts against Norwich.
"When we saw Wycombe and Notts County drawn together, the signs looked good for us and I'm sure they are bitterly disappointed to be playing one other. It is a great draw for us. It is all about getting the money in the coffers and that's hopefully what we will get from this."