As Tottenham followers “Ole‘d” each cross, revelling in Actual Madrid’s humiliation, ideas drifted again to the final time Spurs had hosted the European champions. White Hart Lane reasonably than Wembley was the setting for Inter Milan’s go to in November 2010 however then, simply as now, Spurs despatched a message to Europe with a seismic Three-1 win. Then, it was Gareth Bale and Luka Modric, now of Actual, who got here of age and on Wednesday it was Dele Alli, Eric Dier, Kieran Trippier & Co.
The win over Inter was Tottenham’s first memorable night time in Europe for many years and there’ll by no means be something fairly like Bale’s destruction of Maicon, even when Trippier gave it a go in opposition to Marcelo.
Like Actual, Inter have been the home, European and world champions however that they had already misplaced treble-winning coach Jose Mourinho they usually have been a pressure in decline. They haven’t received a trophy since. Actual are unlikely to fade in the identical manner and Tottenham’s triumph seems like a extra vital outcome, which can go down as the most effective European nights within the membership’s historical past.
Of late, there was scarce competitors. After profitable the UEFA Cup in 1984, Spurs competed in simply seven European campaigns till Harry Redknapp led them into the Champions League for the primary time. In these wilderness years, there was no event for the ages, and probably the most memorable night time is likely to be the 2-1 defeat to Getafe in October 2007, when information that supervisor Martin Jol had been sacked unfold round White Hart Lane at half-time.
Between Spurs’ first foray into the Champions League and final season’s inglorious return underneath Mauricio Pochettino, there was additionally nothing to rejoice over 5 consecutive seasons of Europa League soccer which have blended into one gruelling Thursday night time, come-from-behind win. For supporters, the names of Spurs’ opponents should appear each alien and oddly acquainted: Rubin Kazan, Maribor, Anzhi Makhachkala, Sheriff Tiraspol, Tromso, AEL Limassol, Qarabag.
What a distinction to the 1984 UEFA Cup closing second leg in opposition to Anderlecht — for a lot of gamers concerned, the greatest-ever night time at White Hart Lane. Gary Mabbutt revamped 550 appearances for Spurs however the spine-tingling environment after they beat the Belgians on penalties will at all times stand out. For Ossie Ardiles, it’s also probably the most memorable.
Spurs’ different UEFA Cup win, away at Wolverhampton in 1972, and the two-legged semifinal in opposition to AC Milan are additionally among the many membership’s glory nights, whereas Cliff Jones — a part of the 1961 double-winning aspect — will always remember a outstanding victory over Polish aspect Gornik Zagreb in 1961, when Spurs recovered from Four-Zero right down to win the second leg 6-1 at residence.
Jones was additionally a part of the group that thrashed Atletico Madrid 5-1 in Rotterdam within the 1963 Cup Winners’ Cup closing, when Jimmy Greaves scored twice as Invoice Nicholson’s Tottenham grew to become the primary British membership to win a European trophy.
Most of these well-known nights ended with silverware, whereas Spurs earned nothing however respect in opposition to Actual. However in lots of instances, these trophies have been additionally the top of one thing.
The 1984 UEFA Cup closing was Keith Burkinshaw’s final recreation as a supervisor and the membership went into steep decline after his departure. The 1963 Cup Winners’ Cup additionally signalled a hiatus in Spurs’ trophy-laded dominance underneath Nicholson, though they received the FA Cup in 1967.
Again in October 2010, the win over Inter promised to be the beginning of one thing, even when Redknapp’s tenure at all times felt extra febrile and fleeting than Pochettino’s undertaking. Spurs did go on to beat AC Milan within the Champions League spherical of 16 — each legs additionally go down among the many membership’s nice European nights — however Redknapp’s group was damaged up quickly after and Spurs slipped away once more. The Inter victory was not the top of an period nevertheless it was the high-water mark.
The win in opposition to Actual Madrid has immediately commanded a spot among the many membership’s “Glory, Glory nights” and it’ll at all times be remembered as a standalone recreation, the night when Spurs humbled the European champions and made Wembley really feel like residence.
However over time, it is going to be all of the extra vital if it proves to be not an finish however the starting. Pochettino has focused trophies and even promised to show Spurs into one of many largest golf equipment on the earth.
That sort of declare is at all times handled with scepticism at Tottenham, the place they’re used to false dawns, however considered one of their biggest ever European nights has made their supervisor look extra like a visionary than a dreamer.
Dan is ESPN FC’s Tottenham correspondent. Observe him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.