This article featured in MEHSTG No.5 October 1990
|When the time came for me
to vote for my "Favourite Spurs Player -
Current" in this summers MEHSTG Poll, I hardly had
to stop and think. There can be no doubt who is currently
in the spotlight or who the main man is when it comes to
scoring goals, but for me there has been one player, who
over the last five years has been one of the most
under-rated but most consistent players at White Hart
Lane - Paul Allen.
During my youth, growing up as a Spurs fan in the heartland of the "Academy" was no easy task, and to put it bluntly , I did not like Paul Allen. Not because of his footballing ability, but because all my friends raved about him and all the girls at school were in love with him !!! He could do no wrong (He even cried at Wembley !!!) and therefore in my eyes was Public Enemy No. 1. July 1985, Paul Allen signs for Spurs. A thousand teenage hearts in the East End are broken, his picture is ripped off bedroom walls, but for me a new era was about to begin.
He made his debut in a truly unforgettable match against Watford along with Chris Waddle. Paul scored one and helped make the other three in a superb 4-0 victory, Chrissie scored two of the others and my heroes were born!!!
Paul had a good season in a Spurs side which, as appears to be our trademark recently, promised much but offered little in terms of silverware. Spurs were an attacking force, in Allen and Waddle's first season we finished tenth yet scored score more goals than anyone bar Liverpool and Everton . Unfortunately Paul failed to score again that season, but as always his unselfish running created numerous goals and chances for everyone else. His lack of goal scoring was also not helped by his numerous appearances at Right back, a position in which, as always, he acquitted himself superbly.
Playing alongside Hoddle and Ardiles everyone hoped that Paul would gain enough experience to earn a place in England's World Cup squad in 1986, but although he had a wealth of U21 and U23 experience this was not to be, and Paul remains one of the best players never to have earned an England cap. He admitted that it took time for him to settle at Spurs, a period of baptism which was not helped by his young daughter suffering from a serious illness.
The next season was an incredible one for all involved with Spurs. Filled with almost every possible high and low. It was of course Paul's cousin Clive who picked up the headlines for his quite incredible goal scoring feats, but don't forget who it was that made many of those goals with his excellent running down the right wing. In a year when we were so close to success in everything we did, Paul was truly outstanding. The pressure for him to succeed must have been tremendous, having failed to go to Mexico after he had been Player of the Year at Upton Park two seasons previous, everyone was beginning to wonder if he had made the right decision. But in that one season, a season when we all felt something was going our way, Paul played a major role, and to use that awful cliché "earned his Spurs"!!! Unfortunately his goalscoring once again let him down, although a goal at villa Park in the FA Cup Semi-final must have made up for a lot of it.
It is Paul's determination which is his outstanding factor, his attacking, battling mentality which never gives in and which, it must be said, is never more noticeable than when playing against the "Academy". As the fans in the Chicken Run start to jeer and call him Judas you can almost see the determination on his face increase.
During the doom and gloom of the 87-88 season Paul only missed two games and was often, along with Chrissie and Paul Walsh, the only saving grace in a dire season.
1988 started with everyone trying to look forward, certainly looking back was a frightening thing to do. Paul was able to look forward to the fact that it finally appeared that his constant moves from one position to another was to end. Venables had obviously realised that Paul played his best when given the freedom of the right hand side of midfield with its flexibility to attack and defend. Paul scored the equaliser against Charlton in October and celebrated the goal in a fashion that left everyone in no doubt about how desperate he was to score goals. What we once again got was a player giving 100% every time he turned out, pushing forward at every opportunity and, perhaps more importantly in a midfield which has looked weak since Graham Roberts left, fighting for the ball all the time. Unfortunately, what we didn't get was more goals. By this time of course, Paul was no longer a young star, nor was he a newcomer at The Lane. In his fourth regular season at Spurs his education was over and everyone had to come to terms with the fact that he would never be a prolific scorer.
Last season started with the disgraceful act of the Club, seemingly, trying to "dump" Paul. He did not want to leave, but if the papers were correct the club would have been happy if he had joined Millwall, they even decided to leave him out of the Official team photo!!! Fortunately, Paul stayed, and it was obvious at the start of the season that he was on a crusade, The crowd loved it, they sang his praises and Paul responded with goals in our first two games. The first against Lu ton was celebrated by him running to the Spurs fans in the Park Lane, followed by a chorus of "Are you watching Venables". He ended last season with seven goals, his best tally since joining Spurs and included two goals in our superb victory over Forest at the City Ground, certainly no-one deserved the satisfaction of those goals more than he.
Through the limelight of a major cross-London move, the ignominy of the general feeling that he had failed to fulfil his potential and the lack of honours gained, Paul has always played out of his skin for Spurs. He is a true professional, a man who can still play a major part in Spurs future. He has stuck with us through thick and thin, hopefully the new contract will show to one and all that he is a respected and essential part of the Tottenham set-up.
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