Robson recalls historic Cup Final goal and Spurs rivalry

Monday 05 Jan 2015
Burnley's Jimmy Robson scores the 100th FA Cup Final goal at Wembley in 1962

"It was the 100th FA Cup Final goal at Wembley, but we didn’t go on to win the game," sighed Jimmy Robson.

The former Burnley striker is recalling the meeting of his old club and Tottenham Hotspur in The Final of 1962, the middle game of three successive FA Cup clashes between the pair during both clubs’ heyday.

So when the names of Burnley and Spurs were pulled out together in the Third Round draw earlier this month, for Robson and the fans and players of a bygone era, it evoked old memories.

Tottenham Hotspur celebrate their FA Cup victory over Burnley at Wembley in 1962.

Spurs beat Burnley by 3-1 in The FA Cup Final of 1962

"We played them in The FA Cup in three successive seasons, which seems incredible when you look back," said Robson.

"Both teams were competing for the First Division title at the time, so there was a rivalry there and to keep meeting in The Cup added to that.

"As soon as the draw came out this year, you just think back to those games and what could have been."

As Robson alluded to, the clubs were regular adversaries on two fronts in the 1960s by competing for the Football League title and The FA Cup.

In 1961, they met at Villa Park in the Semi-Final when reigning League champions Burnley were beaten 3-0 thanks to a Bobby Smith brace and a Cliff Jones goal. 

But the following season saw the rivalry taken to a new height as the clubs met at Wembley in The Final, with Spurs by now crowned as League champions, and it was a bittersweet day which Robson still clearly recalls.

"It was a big occasion, playing in front of 100,000 people at Wembley is something you never forget," he said.

"Playing in an FA Cup Final was a boyhood dream, and to score a goal in the game topped that.

"I just remember the ball coming over, it was a pacy cross, and I got my side-foot onto it from about eight yards out.

Burnley striker Jimmy Robson.

Robson scored 100 goals in 242 games for Burnley during his time at Turf Moor

"Because of the speed of the cross, the ball moved so fast it just went straight through the ‘keeper’s [Bill Brown] legs.

"But it was only an equaliser and we needed to go on from there."

Robson’s historic strike, which cancelled out Jimmy Greaves’ first-half opener for Spurs, gave the Clarets hope but Smith was on the mark again soon after to restore the Lilywhites’ lead.

And when Robson had a second equaliser ruled out for offside, it gave Spurs the platform to complete a 3-1 win through Danny Blanchflower’s late penalty and still leaves the 75-year-old wondering 'what if?'.

"The second goal came when I was put through, I took it around the ‘keeper and scored, but the Spurs defence had already appealed and when I looked the flag was up.

"It was unfortunate to come so close to winning The FA Cup after scoring in a Final, because it was a tight game and the teams were well matched."

Burnley had a chance to get their revenge the following year, as they were sent to White Hart Lane in the Third Round Proper of January 1963.

And Robson helped the Lancastrians to a comprehensive 3-0 victory on that occasion, after the tie was initially postponed twice following heavy snow in north London during a harsh winter that year.

"When we were drawn out against them again the year after, we couldn’t believe it," recalled Robson, who will be at Turf Moor for the tie on Monday 5 January.

Burnley

Burnley's Jimmy Robson

"We travelled down and the pitch was covered in snow at White Hart Lane, the game was postponed twice.

"They managed to clear it all though, and we played at 2pm on a Wednesday afternoon, before the frost hit the pitch again.

"And we won 3-0 to knock them out, which was great, but looking back now we would have taken that win a year earlier."

When the clubs meet again this season, it will be on Burnley’s home turf and with the Clarets now back in the top flight alongside Spurs, Robson feels Sean Dyche’s side have a chance to progress.

"It should be a great tie, I think it’s a good draw for Burnley to be at home and they will be up for it," added north-east born Robson, who scored 100 goals in 242 games for the Clarets after starting his career at the club.

"Hopefully there will be a good crowd there and they can put on a performance and I think they can get a result out of it.

"It’s always good to have a run in The FA Cup, so that would be great.

"They’ve done much better [in the Premier League] than I thought they would do this season.

"There’s a real spirit there, they’ve settled down, got used to the league and picked up a few results which they needed."

By Nicholas Veevers