As Manchester City fans celebrated their team lifting the League Cup on Sunday afternoon, there will have been supporters from the older era who will have seen the victory as revenge exacted on the North London side.
It was 40 years ago that the blues, managed by John Bond, faced Spurs at Wembley in the FA Cup Final. City were massive underdogs for the match as they were in the semi-final against Ipswich, but that didn’t stop the faithful from descending on the famous twin towers on a sunny May afternoon. Nor did the title of underdogs or the label of ‘unfashionable’ play on the minds of the team when they took the lead in the 30th minute, thanks to a brilliant diving header from Tommy Hutchison.
The hero turned villain 11 minutes from time when he diverted a free kick past Joe Corrigan to draw Spurs level, and the Londoners went on to win the replay 3-2 five days later in a fashion that I’m sure we are all aware of.
Since that day, City struggled to get anywhere near a cup final, while Spurs have had considerable success in both the FA and League Cup competitions. The blues have faced off against Spurs in six knock-out competition ties, with their only success coming in 2004 when City came back from 3-0 to win 4-3 at White Hart Lane in the FA Cup.
Not only that, but every time great FA Cup goals have been shown, that goal by Ricky Villa has always flashed upon the screen, reminding us blues of that night in May when a touch of Argentine magic denied City the famous trophy, and lead the blues into a barren spell of trophyless seasons.
It was that day at Wembley that has haunted many of the faithful for so many years, and fitting it was that a headed goal from a defender at the same end as Hutchison scored twice, would end that 40-year curse against Spurs and deliver a trophy at the expense of their London opponents.
As has happened a few times this season, another ghost has now been laid to rest.