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1971/72: Spurs keep Wolves at bay

1971/72: Spurs keep Wolves at bay

Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur FC
(McCalliog 72; Chivers 57 87)
Tottenham Hotspur FC 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers FC
(Mullery 30; Wagstaffe 41)
(agg: 3-2 to Tottenham)

New competition, same old story. Season 1971/72 might have seen the launch of the UEFA Cup, formerly the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, but it brought no change in the balance of power. If anything, the fine-tuning done by European football's governing body seemed to strengthen the hand of English clubs.

Entry was now limited to the highest-placed teams that had not qualified for the European Champion Clubs' Cup or UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, while teams from the same country were barred from meeting until the quarter-finals. There was nothing to stop them meeting in the final, though, as happened with the face-off between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Wolverhampton Wanderers FC.

Both had a European tradition to uphold. Spurs had lifted Britain's first European trophy in 1963; Wolves had blazed an earlier trail with their floodlit friendlies against Kispest Honvéd FC and FC Spartak Moskva in the 1950s. Indeed, the Molineux side rolled back the years with a series of impressive displays against Clube Académica de Coimbra, ADO Den Haag, FC Carl Zeiss Jena, Juventus FC and Ferencvárosi TC, the pick being the 3-2 aggregate defeat of Juventus.

But despite this, and the presence of tournament top scorer Derek Dougan, they came unstuck against Spurs. Martin Chivers' late strike gave the Londoners a 2-1 away success in the first leg, which they consolidated with a 1-1 draw back at White Hart Lane. Spurs, who had emerged unbeaten from ties with Keflavík, FC Nantes Atlantique, FC Rapid Bucuresti, FC UTA Arad and Milan AC, now had a UEFA Cup to add to their UEFA Cup Winners' Cup.