Ex-Spurs coach reveals player stopped him from punching Arsenal legend

Ex-Tottenham player, Clive Allen, worked at the club as a coach for nine years under a number of different managers, including the likes of Martin Jol, Juande Ramos, and Harry Redknapp.

However, Allen has now revealed that he had a long-running feud with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger than spanned over multiple gaffers.

Allen speaks about the incident in his new book, Up Front, as well as in an article for the Evening Standard, including a time he was seconds away from punching the Arsenal boss.

It all started during a match at Highbury in 2006, when Spurs chose not to put the ball out after Eboue and Gilberto Silva collided, with Robbie Keane eventually scoring to make it 1-0.

The match eventually ended 1-1, but Arsene Wenger was not best pleased with the actions of the Tottenham players and staff, labelling them cheats.

Allen reveals how this sparked a long-term desire to shake Arsene’s hand as part of a winning team.

He said (Up FrontStandard): Martin [Jol] was doing his post-match media interviews, while Chris Hughton and I went and had a chat with Arsene’s backroom staff, as we would do with most opposing teams at full-time.

There was a little manager’s office opposite the home team dressing room. As we walked in, Pat Rice was there, alongside Arsenal’s goalkeeping coach, Gerry Peyton. I’d played alongside Pat and he was captain at Arsenal when I was there briefly.

It was all very amicable. They offered us a glass of wine and we began exchanging pleasantries, when all of a sudden the door slams open and in comes Arsene.

“I am not drinking with you,” he said. “You are cheats.”

I took offence to that and turned to Chris.

“I’m out of here, I’m not having that,” I whispered to him. Chris told me under his breath to stay put. Nobody said -anything out loud, so Arsene’s words hung in the air.

I was adamant I wanted to leave. As I went past Arsene, I looked him in the eye. “Don’t call me a cheat,” I said. “I was sitting eight rows back in the dugout. I didn’t cheat.”

“You are all cheats,” Arsene said.

I walked out. Chris told me I shouldn’t have said anything.

“I’m not being called a cheat, Chrissy, it’s not on.”

Arsene came out of the manager’s room a few seconds later and I decided to have another word.

“You know what? If that had been your team and they’d kicked the ball out, you’d have gone mad they didn’t play on. The referee said play on to whatever conclusion.”

“No, no, no,” he said. “You cheated.”

From that point on, all I wanted to do was shake his hand as a winner.

We actually beat them twice — once thrashing them 5-1 in the 2008 League Cup semi-final and again in the League in November 2010 — but Arsene just walked off.

It ended up third time lucky. In October 2011, Rafael van der Vaart and Kyle Walker scored as we won 2-1 at White Hart Lane.

I was wrong to do it, but at full-time, I jumped up and went straight to see him nose to nose.

I stuck out my hand to shake, but he just walked past me, because he’d lost. That’s the way he is. I chased after him down the tunnel.

“Come on Arsene!” I shouted. “Are you a man or a mouse? Shake my hand.” He wouldn’t.

At that point, I lost it. The tunnel area was teeming with stewards, press and the players, who were beginning to make their way off the pitch. I couldn’t believe his attitude.

“Where are you walking to? You’re a mouse!” I screamed at him. I was ready to blow. “Just because we’ve won for once!”

I called him a few choice names. He kept looking at me, edging away. I was ready to punch him.

Just as I went to swing for him, reserve goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini saved the day. He threw his arm over my shoulder.

“Clive, what was the score?” he said, smiling. He dragged me away and into our dressing room.

The club were furious with me. They told me to write to Arsene, offering an apology. I refused and I don’t know to this day whether they ever held that against me.

Spurs Web Opinion:

Little stories like this from behind the scenes at Spurs are amazing. I am sure that Clive was not the first, nor the last, to have a grudge on Arsene Wenger. If not for Carlo Cudicini, I would imagine that Allen would have been sacked by Spurs, although he may have been held in even more esteem by the fans.

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