2 October 2007 :: by
Leeds United old boys played a pivotal role in the memorable 4-4 draw between Spurs and Aston Villa. It was was quite a 125th birthday party for Spurs but a couple of the guests will want to forget it. Martin O'Neill, former Celtic manager, and arguably the greatest manager Leeds nearly had, watched in frustration and horror as his side threw away a 4-1 lead at White Hart Lane.
However, it was former Leeds United goalkeeper and current England international keeper Paul Robinson who will not want to be reminded of the birthday party having added two more clangers to his burgeoning book of "The Art of Goalkeeping: How not to do it".
Gareth Barry's 22nd corner should have been dealt with by a routine catch for Beverley-born Robinson. However, in front of a crowd that included former Spurs greats Pat Jennings and Ray Clemence, Robinson dropped the ball. It first bounced off Martin Laursen then off a Spurs player before falling perfectly for Laursen to poke it past an embarrassed Paul Robinson.
But Laursen and Barry were not finished with Robinson. In the 33rd minute Barry sent over a cross that was met by Zat Knight. The ball hit fellow Villa defender Laursen on the chest and rolled though Robinson's legs. Pick anyone randomly from the crowd and their granny could have stopped that ball.
It was at that point that Paul Robinson's England career went down the toilet and it looked like Robinson had flushed away under-fire Spurs manager Martin Jol's career too.
But it was quite a party when Villa went 4-1 ahead and their fans sang choruses of "You're getting sacked in the morning" and "Happy Birthday Dear Tottenham" they were unaware that they were about to get a sharp lesson in humility.
For some reason Villa substitute striker Marlon Harewood felt he could help out his defence and promptly brought down Darren Bent. Up stepped another Leeds old boy Robbie Keane, the Irish international never one to miss out on a gift goal for the career record. The striker, who demanded a transfer from Terry Venables after only El Tel's second game in charge of Leeds United, made it 3-4 in the 82nd minute.
Yet another former Leeds player, Aaron Lennon was substituted in the 86th minute, just before the unbelievable denouement of Spurs' 125th birthday bash. It didn't involve a former Leeds player but, when Kaboul levelled the scores in injury-time there were two offsides in the build-up that were missed by the official. Martin O'Neill, who was denied the chance to succeed George Graham (who ironically has left to take over Spurs), as manager of Leeds United in October 1998, by the intransigent board at Leicester City, said after the match, "Jermain Defoe was offside about 15 times in the last minute.."
The name of the Villa goalkeeper who also let in four last night? None other than former Leeds United goalkeeper Scott Carson - on loan from Liverpool. Ironically Scott Carson was Paul Robinson's successor at Leeds, but Scott left us in January 2005 for Redder pastures. after revealing that, like Harry Kewell, he really was a Liverpool fan. Done them both a lot of good hasn't it?
A mixed night for former Leeds United players, and upon reflection maybe Paul Robinson really was only worth £1.5 million when he left!