Updated: May 10, 2020
For many Spurs fans who watched the team during the 1980s, Graham Roberts was the best. We knew he loved the club. He was the sort of player you loved as a fan and hated on the opposition because they symbolised their club. We met in a cafe in west London after Spurs had just stuffed Arsenal 5-1 in theCarling Cup semi-final. As luck would have it, Paul Merson was in the same cafe, so we could witness some merciless abuse which also underlined how strongly the Spurs blood still runs through Roberts’s veins.
Roberts recounts some great stories, including the tale of how he took a pay cut to come to Spurs from his apprenticeship in a shipyard. He’s another forthright character, and in recent years this has caused some friction with the club. He’s characteristically forthright about how his days at the club ended and, in particular, about a character who was the subject of strong criticism from more than one of the Boys from White Hart Lane – David Pleat.
“The first words he ever said to me were ‘You’re not my sort of player, you’re on the transfer list and as soon as i get the right offer you’ll be sold’,” Roberts told us. When Rangers eventually came in with an offer, Roberts got a phone call from Pleat saying simply “We’ve sold you, you’re going to Rangers, don’t turn up tomorrow.” It was a sad end to a great career at the club and, perhaps, a reminder of why modern players don’t fall for the loyalty blarney that fans often expect them to.
• The Boys from White Hart Lane is available direct from Vision Sports Publishing in paperback for £6.99 or ebook on Kindle for £5.97.