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?
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own