Watch an FA Cup giantkilling classic as goals from Ray Walker and Phil Sproson secure a Port Vale victory over Spurs.
Port Vale 2-1 Spurs background
Vale had been drawn against the mighty Tottenham Hotspur – cup winners the previous year in the fourth round match in 1988. The hype for the game started on the eve of the match. On live daytime TV, pundit and ex-Spurs player Jimmy Greaves dismissed Vale’s chances out of hand. “The only problem Spurs will have is finding the place” said Greaves. The jibe reportedly fired the Vale players up, while the appalling pre-match weather only added to Spurs’ difficulties. It was a classic giant-killing situation.
For 25 minutes, Vale put on a spectacular start. Ray Walker took on a pass from Gary Ford and struck a curling shot from 25 yards over Spurs’ goalkeeper Tony Parks’ head.
It was to get even better for the Valiants. Within a few minutes, Vale were 2-0 up. Walker took a free kick that dropped like a mortar bomb into a crowded penalty area. Darren Beckford challenged the goalkeeper. The ball broke loose to Phil Sproson who belted it into the net. He wheeled away in delight as crowd and players went crazy with delight.
In the second half Spurs rallied and as Vale’s legs tired the visitors managed to get a goal back through young defender Neil Ruddock. The last fifteen minutes were fraught but Vale held on to claim one of the most famous cup upsets of the twentieth century.
At the end the crowd went crazy, no-one wanted to leave and people shouted themselves hoarse. It was a day that would live long in Port Vale’s history.
The match had been broadcast live on Scandinavian TV and shown as highlights on BBC Match of the Day. The Valiants had captured Europe’s attention by now and attracted many valued Scandanavian supporters as a result of that match.