Where Are They Now? #16 – 1987 FA Cup Final (Tottenham)

FA Cup Week continues with a look back to a final that the legendary John Motson said was “the finest Cup Final I’ve had the pleasure of commentating on”. 1987 saw Coventry City (aided by Keith Houchen’s famous goal) defeated Tottenham 3-2 after extra time to win their first and only FA Cup in a match that featured no bookings. Let’s first look back to the losing finalists that day…

Note: There were only two named substitutes in the squad

1. Ray Clemence (Goalkeeper)


The legendary Clemence was nearing the end of his career and appeared in a record fifth FA Cup final in this final. He only played for one more season following the final as a knee injury forced him into retirement in 1988. He immediately joined the coaching staff at Spurs and eventually became first team coach under Doug Livermore in 1992. He left Spurs to join Barnet in January 1994 as manager. He led Barnet to mid-table finishes in his two full seasons there. He joined the England national team’s coaching staff in the summer of 1996, taking on a number of different roles as he stayed through the reigns of Glenn Hoddle, Kevin Keegan, Peter Taylor, Sven-Goran Eriksson, Steve McClaren and Fabio Capello before retiring in 2013 from coaching.

2. Chris Hughton (Right Back)


The first ever mixed race player to represent the Republic of Ireland, Hughton was replaced seven minutes into extra time by Nico Claesen. A product of the Spurs youth system, Hughton eventually left White Hart Lane in 1990 for West Ham after nearly 400 games for the club in 11 years. He acted mainly as cover at West Ham before moving to Brentford in 1992 before retiring in 1993. He moved straight into coaching at Spurs and worked his way through the ranks until he became assistant to a number of managers. He was fired alongside Martin Jol in late 2007 and was out of work until early 2008 when he joined the coaching staff at Newcastle. By the summer of 2009 and with Newcastle relegated to the Championship, Hughton took on the manager’s job and led the Magpies back into the Premier League at the first time of asking. He was fired in December 2010 by Mike Ashley, causing outrage in Newcastle. Hughton was unemployed until the summer of 2011 when he was appointed manager at Birmingham. He led the Blues in Europe and to the Championship play-offs but after losing to Blackpool in the semi-finals, he moved to Premier League side Norwich in 2012. He kept Norwich up in his first season but was recently sacked with the club nearing the relegation zone.

3. Mitchell Thomas (Left Back)


Signed from Luton in 1986, Thomas completed the full game against Coventry. A former England U21 international, Thomas left White Hart Lane in 1991 for London rivals West Ham after over 150 appearances. His time at West Ham was not as productive as at Spurs and he only played 38 times before he returned to his first club Luton in 1994. He was with Luton for another five years but when the club entered receivership in 1999, Thomas was one of many who were sold on for funds. Thomas joined Burnley that year and helped them to promotion in 2000. He retired from playing in 2002 and was last seen being investigated for his role in some allegedly dodgy transfers including his own to Tottenham in 1986.

4. Steve Hodge (Left Midfield)


More famous for providing the assist for Diego Maradona’s “Hand of God” (as well as swapping and keeping hold of Maradona’s shirt, which is on a long-term loan to the National Football Museum and the basis of the title of his autobiography “The Man With Maradona’s Shirt”) at the 1986 World Cup, Hodge was placed out on the left of an exciting Tottenham midfield 5 during his time at the club. He only stayed with Spurs for another season as poor form saw him lose his international place and be sold back to first club Nottingham Forest. His form picked up again as Hodge forced his way back into the England side and helped Forest to two League Cup wins. He left Forest again in 1991 for Leeds United but only played a bit-part role in their league triumph in 1992. After a loan spell with Derby, he was sold to QPR in 1994. The rest of his career would see him play little with QPR or his other clubs – Watford and Leyton Orient – before he retired in 1998. Hodge moved into coaching and having worked with Chesterfield and Nottingham Forest’s youngsters, he currently works with Notts County’s Development Squad.

5. Richard Gough (Centre Back/Captain)


Despite captaining the side at Wembley, Scottish defender Gough returned north not long after the final to sign with Rangers. He captained the club during its famous nine in a row league title streak as well as winning three Scottish Cups and six League Cups. He left Rangers in 1997 for America and the Kansas City Wizards but returned to Ibrox after just 17 league appearances in late 1997 despite being named in the MLS’ Best XI. He left Rangers again in 1998 for the MLS and San Jose Clash where he enjoyed a longer spell but returned to the UK in 1999 – first with a short loan spell at Middlesbrough before linking up with old manager Walter Smith at Everton. He was a regular in Everton’s defence and was made captain for his final season before retirement in 2001. Gough moved into management in 2004 with SPL side Livingston but resigned after saving them from relegation in 2005 over the playing budget for the next season. Gough has not worked in football since.

6. Gary Mabbutt (Centre Back)


A constant in Spurs’ defence throughout the 1980s and 90s, Mabbutt scored twice in the Cup final. His first put Tottenham 2-1 up just before half time but this is often forgotten because his second was the game-winning own goal in extra time to make it 3-2 to Coventry. The ball came off his knee and has inspired a Coventry fanzine called “GMK” (“Gary Mabbutt’s Knee”). Mabbutt put that disaster behind him and, after being made club captain following Gough’s departure, he led the side to a FA Cup win in 1991. He suffered a broken leg at the start of the 1996-97 season which kept him out for a year and he retired in the summer of 1998. Since retirement, Mabbutt has made sporadic TV appearances as well as doing lots of charity and ambassadorial work for a number of groups including the 2010 World Cup, Tottenham, Prince’s Trust and is the patron of Diabetes UK.

7. Clive Allen (Striker)


Coming off a record breaking season in front of goal, Allen scored the opening goal of the final after just two minutes. He only remained at Spurs for one more season before joining French side Bordeaux in 1988. His season in France was successful but he returned to England to join Manchester City in 1989. His goals helped City stay up in 1990 but his form dropped off and he was sold to Chelsea at the end of 1991. Allen was only at Chelsea for three months as he was sold on to West Ham in March 1992 where he helped the Hammers get promoted to the Premier League in 1993. He rarely played for the Hammers in the Premier League and left in 1994 for short and unsuccessful spells with Millwall and Carlisle before retiring in 1995. He was a placekicker for the London Monarchs in NFL Europe in 1997 before moving into punditry and coaching at Tottenham.

8. Paul Allen (Centre Midfield)

Paul Allen

Cousin of Clive, Paul Allen made his name as a youngster at West Ham before joining Spurs in 1985. He completed the whole game against Coventry and was the anchor of the Spurs midfield right up until his departure in 1993. He joined Southampton but after his first season he lost his place in the side and was loaned out to Luton and Stoke towards the end of the 1994-95 season. He joined Swindon in 1995 on a permanent deal and helped them to promotion to Division One in 1996. He had a short spell with Bristol City in 1997 before playing his last season with Millwall before retiring in 1998. Following retirement, Allen worked for the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA).

9. Chris Waddle (Right Midfield)

Soccer - FA Cup Final - Coventry City v Tottenham Hotspur

One of the more naturally gifted players in English football, Waddle was an England regular who went on to miss a famous penalty in the 1990 World Cup semi final against Germany. He left Spurs in 1989 for a move to French side Marseille where he was adored by fans and voted the second best player of the century by fans behind Jean-Pierre Papin in 1998. He did eventually return to England in 1992 with Sheffield Wednesday but he couldn’t help them to success in their two cup finals in 1993 despite his form leading him to being named Football Writers’ Player of the Year that year. He left Wednesday in 1996 having short spells at Falkirk in Scotland, Sunderland and Bradford before joining Burnley as player-manager in 1997. Their season was poor and they only just survived relegation and Waddle left at the end of the season. He had a short spell at Torquay in 1998 before a stint doing coaching at Sheffield Wednesday in 1999. He moved into non-league football in 2000, playing two seasons for Worksop Town before short stints Glapwell and Stocksbridge Park Steels. He moved into punditry following this, working for the BBC and, currently, ESPN. He is also currently signed as a player to non-league side Hallam.

10. Glenn Hoddle (Centre Midfield)


Perhaps the greatest player to ever play for Tottenham, the defeat to Coventry proved to be Hoddle’s final game for the club. He moved to French side Monaco in 1987. Under manager Arsene Wenger and alongside George Weah and Mark Hateley, Hoddle inspired Monaco to the Ligue 1 title in 1988 and the quarter finals of the European Cup the following season. A serious inury cut his Monaco career short and in 1991 he left to return to England. He was quickly appointed player-manager of Division Two side Swindon. He saved them from relegation before leading the Robins to the Premier League through a thrilling play-off win over Leicester in which Hoddle scored. It proved to be his final game at Swindon as he joined Chelsea as player-manager in the summer of 1993. His time at Chelsea saw a number of unsuccessful cup final and semi final appearances and a host of big name players join the club. League form was not overly impressive but in 1996, only a year after he retired from playing, Hoddle became the new England manager. He led England to the 1998 World Cup where they crashed out to Argentina on penalties but, after a number of controversies (from omitting Paul Gascoigne from his World Cup squad to his comments on disabled people), he was sacked in February 1999, a decision many criticised as a “witchhunt”. He was appointed Southampton manager in 2000 after Dave Jones was given time off to clear his name of child abuse charges and kept them in the Premier League. Hoddle kept the job over Jones but left in March 2001 for the Tottenham job. Hoddle again led his team to semi finals and finals but did not win any silverware and after mediocre league form, he was sacked in September 2003. He was given the managers job at Wolves in December 2004 but missed out on the play-offs twice due to a lot of draws. He stepped down in the summer of 2006 citing difference in ambition with the board. Hoddle currently runs the Glenn Hoddle Academy in Spain which gives young players released in England an opportunity to earn a contract at a club (Scottish international and Watford star Ikechi Anya is one such graduate).

11. Ossie Ardiles (Centre Midfield)


One of the first foreign players in England alongside compatriot Ricky Villa, Ardiles was replaced after a minuted of extra time by Gary Stevens. A World Cup winner with Argentina in 1978, Ardiles left Spurs in 1988 and, after short spells at Blackburn, QPR and Fort Lauderdale Strikers in the US, he was appointed Swindon manager (he also played a couple of games for the club). He overhauled how the club played and got them promoted to the top flight in 1990. This was taken from them due to some irregular payments to players. With the club having lost all the money from promotion it was struggling and most of the promotion winning side was sold on. By February 1991, Ardiles had left with the club struggling to take over at Newcastle. He was sacked after only a year as the club lay bottom of the Second Division. He was quickly appointed by West Brom in the summer of 1992 and led them to promotion through the play-offs in 1993. This led to Spurs giving him the managerial job at White Hart Lane that summer but despite the big money signings of Klinsmann, Dumitrescu and Popescu, he was sacked in October 1994 with the club in the bottom half of the table. After a short spell in charge of Mexican side Chivas Guadalajara in 1995, he was hired by Japanese side Shimizu S-Pulse with whom he won two Tokai Cups, a Nabisco Cup and J. League Manager of the Year in 1998. He left Japan that year for a short stinit with Dinamo Zagreb in 1999 before joining Yokohama F. Marinos in Japan in 2000. He led Yokohama to the J. League first stage title before being fired in 2001. His managerial career since has seen a number of short spells around the world including Tokyo Verdy and Machida Zelvia in Japan; Huracan and Racing Club in Argentina; Al-Ittihad in Saudi Arabia; Beitar Jerusalem in Israel and Cerro Porteno in Paraguay. He has been out of work since leaving Machida Zelvia in 2012.


12. Nico Claesen (Striker)


Belgian international striker Claesen was brought on for Hughton in extra time and had a solid career at Spurs. His two years at the club came to an end in 1988 when he returned to Belgium with Royal Antwerp. He left Antwerp in 1992 and had spells with Germinal Ekeren, Royal Antwerp (again), KV Oostende, Sint-Niklase SK and K. Beringen before retiring in 2000. He moved into management in 2005 with Patro Eisden where he spent three years. He currently works as manager of RFC Liege.

14. Gary Stevens (Midfielder)


A former England international, Stevens replaced Ardiles at the start of extra time. His career was ruined by an injury sustained in 1988 when Vinnie Jones of Wimbledon tackled him and seriously injured his knee. He remained at Spurs until 1990 when he joined Portsmouth. His time on the south coast was ruined by injury and he retired in 1992. Stevens went into the media, hosting for Sky Sports and TalkSport but eventually left those roles. He moved to Azerbaijan to be Tony Adams’ assistant in 2010 and left a few months after Adams in 2012. Stevens is currently assistant manager to former Scunthorpe manager Ian Baraclough at Irish side Sligo Rovers.

David Pleat (Manager)


The man who had made Luton an attractive side in the early and mid 80s, Pleat led Spurs to 3rd in the league and the cup final in his only full season in charge, playing some excellent football. He was sacked in October 1987 following revelations that he had been cautioned three times for kerb-crawling by the police. He was quickly appointed by Leicester in the Second Division but after three uninspiring years, he was sacked in 1991. Pleat returned to Luton in 1991 but couldn’t keep them to secure a place in the new Premier League. He was unable to get Luton promoted but did get them to a FA Cup semi final in 1994. He left Luton for Sheffield Wednesday in 1995 and led them to 7th in the Premier League in 1997. However, he was sacked not long after following a poor run of form. He returned to Spurs in 1998 as Director of Football but had to serve three spells as caretaker manager in 1998, 2001 and most of the 2003-04 season. He left Spurs in 2004 and returned to hometown team Nottingham Forest as a football consultant in 2006. He left his role in 2011. Pleat currently works for Al Jazeera as a commentator and has worked for many other broadcasters in the past.

Stay tuned for more of FA Cup final week tomorrow as Coventry’s Cup winning side of 1987 are profiled.



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