Spurs must avoid repeat of Perryman's darkest nights

Own goal then red card for legend who still seethes over injustice in Madrid which left 'nasty taste'

If Harry Redknapp's Tottenham Hotspur players are hoping Tuesday brings one of the nights of their lives under the Bernabeu lights, for Steve Perryman the club's one previous encounter with Real Madrid was more the stuff of nightmares.

Perryman was captain of the Tottenham side whose Uefa Cup defence ended at the hands of Madrid, the eventual winners, in the 1984-85 quarter-finals and, for the then 33-year-old, things could scarcely have turned out worse. Not only did he score the own goal that separated the teams at White Hart Lane – Spurs' first home defeat in Europe – but he was then sent off in a second-leg stalemate that even today stirs a sense of injustice.

A contemporary match report at the conclusion of the 1-0 aggregate defeat suggested Perryman would "never forget his two nights of darkness" and he has not forgotten Swiss referee Bruno Galler's decision to disallow Mark Falco's headed goal for a push, shortly before his 78th-minute dismissal. "We came out of it thinking Real needed a slice of luck, which was an own goal, unfortunately by me, and an incredibly bad decision by the referee," says Perryman, now director of football at League One Exeter City.

"He got up between two defenders and headed in – there was a metre's daylight between each defender," he adds of Falco's Bernabeu strike. "It was great to play against a fantastic club but we came away with a nasty taste. There was a bit of doubt as to the validity of the result." According to The Times, the referee had "hesitated suspiciously" before penalising Falco.

Perryman's personal horror show began 12 minutes into the first leg when Spurs keeper Ray Clemence got his hand to an Emilio Butragueño cross but "touched it on to my chest and the momentum of me running back knocked the ball into an empty net". His red card in Madrid followed a crude body-check on Jorge Valdano – retribution for a nasty challenge by the Argentinian, who is now Real's director general.

"I was a little bit selfish, which was unusual for me," Perryman says. "I got a bit of revenge on Valdano, who really did me badly from behind down the Achilles. Ossie [Ardiles] told me later he'd thought I was [Graham] Roberts, because Roberts had apparently kicked him. It was my last ever game in Europe so a shame it ended that way."

For Perryman, Spurs' record appearance-maker with 64 in Europe and 866 overall, it was a sad close to a long European career. A 20-year-old in Bill Nicholson's team that beat Wolves to win the all-English Uefa Cup final in 1972, he was captain 12 years later as Keith Burkinshaw's side reclaimed the trophy – although he was suspended for the second leg of the final against Anderlecht.

According to the 59-year-old, "Bill Nick", his old boss, "would be purring" at the manner in which Tottenham have lit up Europe this term. "I said to someone the other day that Bill Nicholson, bless him, would be really proud of Harry and his style and his team. It has progressed since he took over. They can go a goal down and get back. They can hit people with pace, go aerial, or a combination. They have some terrific match-winning players like [Luka] Modric, who I love, and [Rafael] Van der Vaart.

"What I like about Harry is he is coping with so many flair players as a unit, and if you get the combination of that you've got a real chance," adds Perryman, who considers this to be Spurs' finest crop since they last visited the Bernabeu. Tottenham's starting XI then featured six homegrown players who "had a true feeling about the club" and no lack of talent, as Perryman underlines. "When you have Glenn Hoddle and Ossie Ardiles in a team you can compete with the best."

Perryman was Ardiles's assistant manager during the Argentinian's 17 months in charge in 1993-94 and he maintains his good friend was "in the right job at the wrong time". Experiences such as working under Alan Sugar at Tottenham made him wary of those with "money and power telling me what I should and should not be thinking about football" so he found success instead managing in Japan, and now with an Exeter side promoted twice in four seasons.

Yet if he does not miss the "spin and image and ego" prevalent in top-level football today, he will still be glued to his TV down in Devon on Tuesday, hoping his Spurs successors can avoid the unhappy fate his own team suffered at the Bernabeu all those years ago.

Real Madrid v Tottenham is on Sky Sports 2 on Tuesday, kick-off 7.45pm

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
peopleAt least it's for a worthwhile cause
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Life and Style
Sexual health charities have campaigned for the kits to be regulated
healthAmerican woman who did tells parents there is 'nothing to be afraid of'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments