Wolves Programme Post 4 “HIGHBURY HEARTACHE”

Wednesday 15th April 1981 – Wolves V Tottenham Hotspur FA Cup Semi Final Replay 1980/1981

On Saturday 11th April 1981 Wolverhampton Wanderers travelled to Hillsborough for the 1981 FA Cup Semi Final. Steve Archibald put Spurs 1.0 up in the 4th minute however Kenny Hibbitt equalised with a great effort a minute later. Spurs went into the lead through Glenn Hoddle on 44 minutes. In the final minute of the game the referre however awarded Wolves a penalty after Glenn Hoddle was found guilty of fouling Kenny Hibbitt. Willie Carr dispatched the penalty in the final minute which resulted in the game going to a Extra Time however their were no further goals so a replay was required.

The FA decided on a very neutral venue for this replay which was of course Highbury home of Spurs North London Rivals, Arsenal. Very fair that the Wolves fans and players had to travel to the Capital for an evening game and Spurs had a quick hop across town. Sadly, for Wolves we were easily knocked out that night with a 3.0 loss. Garth Crooks scored two and the other came from Ricky Villa. Our best chance in this tie had really been lost in the Extra Time at Hillsborough when Wolves should have and could have won.

Wolves after this season of course headed for troubled times. This was at the time our 3rd FA Cup Semi Final in 8 years and 2nd in 2 years. We did not return to this stage until our appearance at Villa Park in 1998 against Arsenal. This of course was a repeat of the 1979 Semi Final. Spurs went onto win the Cup by beating Manchester City in a final that also went to a replay. This final is of course remembered for Ricky Villas famous goal.

Just over 12 months later Wolves would be relegated from Division 1 and also face bankruptcy in the Summer of the 1982. These two clubs were literally about the go in a totally different direction. Despite a slight resurgence in 82/83 Wolves were about to embark on the most turbulent period in our history. Spurs however went onto the Win the Cup. During the remainder of the 80s Spurs won the Charity Shield in 1981 and the UEFA Cup in 1984. They did not win anything else but did loose in the League Cup Semi Final in 1987 and the FA Cup Final the same year to Coventry. It is often said with their side and some of the players they should have won a couple of more honours really. One season in 1986/1987 Clive Allen for example scored 49 goals in all competitions. Spurs to be fair however were battling with two very good sides from Merseyside in this period too. Both Liverpool and Everton were very strong.

The Wolves team that played in the replay were Paul Bradshaw, Geoff Palmer, Emlyn Hughes, John McAlle, Gorge Berry Kenny Hibbitt, Willie Carr, Norman Bell, John Richards, Mel Eves. Wayne Clarke came on for Emlyn Hughes. The changes from the game at Hillsborough were Hughes came into the side for Wayne Clarke who had had a period this season playing in midfield after Peter Daniel had broken his left in January 1981. Norman Bell also came in for Gray. This was the last time Wolves fans saw Emlyn Hughes. He never played for us again and at the end of the season left for Rotherham to take up the Player Manager role. The attendance was 52,529.

FA Cup Fever is Upon Us. If only we had pulled Chorley.

See you Next Time Crumpy

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