Special Feature
FA Cup final defeat a double whammy for Galvin

By Steve Carpenter 23/04 Updated: 24/04 13:45

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Buy photos » Tony Galvin in action for Spurs against Coventry during an FA Cup revisited match last year. Photo by Jon Mullis

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Coventry City's famous FA Cup triumph over Tottenham Hostpur, the Observer has teamed up with Coventry City's Former Players' Association (CCFPA) to re-capture the memories of players, managers and fans from the club's greatest day on May 16, 1987.

This week Spurs winger Tony Galvin recalled how he was forced to watch the famous final from the sidelines.

It's every players nightmare to have been involved in an FA Cup run but to miss out on a place in the side through injury. But that is exactly what happened to Galvin.

The former Republic of Ireland international injured his right knee during a league game just weeks before the final and could only sit and watch his side fall short at the hands of the Sky Blues.

"I had to have an operation which meant that whatever happened in terms of team selection I would be unavailable for the cup final," said Galvin.

"Whilst I did not expect to feature in the final squad, only two subs in those days, it was still very disappointing, however I was able to be very much part of the day."

David Pleat's side were firm favourites to lift the famous trophy and Galvin remembered the pain felt throughout the squad at the final whistle.

"Obviously we were all distraught afterwards, although it is only the players who performed on the pitch who experienced the real pain.

"That night the club had organised a post match dinner in a marquee on the Spurs pitch. The event however was a massive anti-climax.

"Leading up to the final Spurs were favourites but the players definitely did not underestimate a very strong Coventry team, with outstanding players of their own.

"In all honesty when I looked at our line-up featuring a host of international stars with Clive Allen in the form of his life I was confident that over 90 or 120 minutes Spurs would be victorious.

"Winning the cup would be reward for a long season. However, as we all know, cup finals are decided by the best team on the day and so it proved, though only by a whisker.

"The 90 minutes finished with Coventry looking slightly the stronger of the two teams, though Spurs were still playing some enterprising football.

"From the bench it seemed that whilst Coventry finished the stronger, Spurs had the capability of scoring that vital goal.

"A few minutes into extra time however a cross from the tireless Lloyd McGrath deflected off Mabbutt's knee and spiralled, it seemed in slow motion, over Ray Clemence's head into the net.

"Of course Gary was totally blameless and neither he nor Ray Clemence could do anything about the goal. It was just one of those unfortunate occurrences that an can, and do, decide cup finals."

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