Former Spurs player and coach opens up on love for club

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Chris Hughton has always been a popular figure at Tottenham, not just because of his years of service as a player and a coach but also because of how humble and polite he is.

Hughton, who was primarily a left back in his playing days, made his debut for Spurs 40 years ago back in September of 1979 against Manchester United.

He went on to make 398 appearances for the Lilywhites and enjoyed great success at the club winning the FA Cup in 1981 and 1982 and the UEFA Cup in 1984.

The former full back played with some top players during his time in North London including the likes of Ossie Ardiles, Ricky Villa, Glenn Hoddle, Steve Perryman, Graham Roberts, Paul Miller, Ray Clemence, Micky Hazard, Steve Archibald, Gareth Crooks, and Mark Falco.

Recalling his playing days at the club, Hughton told the club’s official website, “Wonderful times. The biggest highlight has to be the 1981 FA Cup Final, not just for me, but we were a group of players with Ossie and Ricky, who had won the World Cup (1978) and of course Stevie P won trophies in the early 1970s, Stevie Archibald at Aberdeen as well, but a lot of us hadn’t won a trophy.

“For myself, Robbo, Maxy, Tony Galvin, Garth, Glenn, it was our first achievement. It meant so much to a lot of us. It was my first one as well. That has to be closely followed by the UEFA Cup in 1984. It meant so much winning at White Hart Lane.”

The 60-year-old also reflected back on his 14 years as a coach at the club and insisted that the experience at Spurs set him up for his successful career in management.

He added, “From a coaching point of view, I loved all of it. I worked with a lot of managers, that range from Christian Gross through to Martin Jol and including Glenn, George Graham, even Jacques Santini.”

“From where I am as a manager now, there is no doubt Tottenham set me up for that in what I was able to be involved in as a coach.

“I’ve seen players develop, seen players have such great careers and I’m consistently seeing teamsheets with players who have had an association with Spurs, so many. That’s very rewarding.

“I managed to play just under 400 games at Tottenham and whenever anyone speaks to me about Spurs, the obvious thing is playing but I think of the whole lot, the 27 years.

“If you’d have asked me as a young player if I’d have had the coaching and managerial career I’ve had, I would have said ‘no’.

“I didn’t have the football background of other players so to go on and be a coach at Tottenham for so long, that’s something I never thought would happen.

“I tend to look at it all over a 27-year period, playing, coming back and coaching with Ossie, being at the club for so long, for me it’s been a privilege. That’s what I’m most proud of.

“As a young kid I never really supported a team. I was from east London, always playing football but didn’t support a team.

“My father wasn’t really interested in football. From the age I came to Tottenham, 13, that was it. Spurs are my team and always will be, no matter where I manage. That hasn’t changed and won’t change.”

Spurs Web Opinion

Hughton has always been a class act not just as a player and coach but also as a person. Even when he was managing the likes of Norwich, Newcastle, and Brighton, you could tell that Spurs always had a special place in his heart. Hopefully, he will be back managing in the top flight soon as that is where he belongs.

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