Ricoh Arena

Next Game

Coventry v Walsall

Saturday, 29 November 2014, 15:00

Sky Bet League 1

Weston Homes Community Stadium

Last Game

Colchester 0 - 1 Coventry

Saturday, 22 November 2014, 15:00

Sky Bet League 1

Houchen can sense another shock

A lot has changed since Keith Houchen helped Coventry take down Tottenham in the 1987 FA Cup final.

Last Updated: 04/01/13 at 15:27

Keith Houchen: Scores against Spurs in the 1987 FA Cup final

Keith Houchen: Scores against Spurs in the 1987 FA Cup final

But the Sky Blues icon is still confident his old team can pull off another shock win on Saturday when they travel to White Hart Lane for their third-round clash.

Houchen wrote himself into Coventry folklore 26 years ago when he scored a superb diving header during the midlanders' dramatic 3-2 extra-time win over Spurs at Wembley.

Although Coventry were underdogs that day, the size of their task looks minimal compared to what Mark Robins' men will have to undertake.

While Coventry have floundered since 1987, Spurs have won one FA Cup, one League Cup and have tasted Champions League football, thus retaining their status as one of the heavyweights of the English game.

Spurs may sit third in the Premier League - 52 places above Coventry in the league ladder - and have the likes of Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon among their ranks, but Houchen believes an upset could be on the cards when the two sides meet tomorrow in north London.

"There is every chance they can pull something off," said Houchen, who made 66 appearances for Coventry during a three-year spell at the club.

"That's the reason why people are so enamoured with the FA Cup - because it's a great leveller.

"I would love to see them pull a shock result off and there's every chance they could do it.

"The people of Coventry will think it's meant to be."

If the 1987 final is anything to go by, tomorrow's game should be an entertaining one.

In front of a crowd of 96,000 spectators Clive Allen gave Spurs an early lead at Wembley. Dave Bennett equalised for the Sky Blues, but Gary Mabbutt put the Londoners back on course for victory.

Then came Houchen's goal - a Coventry break from the halfway line that ended with him beating Ray Clemence with a perfectly-timed diving header that was recently voted as one of the top 10 goals ever scored at Wembley.

The striker's goal spurred the underdogs on to victory, which came in extra-time when Mabbutt unwittingly kneed the ball in to his own net.

"It (the goal) was huge, the stand-out moment in my career," said Houchen, who nearly missed the match through a bout of food poisoning he contracted from a trout caught by one of his team-mates.

"It was the perfect goal.

"Dave Bennett whipped the ball across the six-yard box. It was only a couple of yards away from me.

"It was a great cross. Remember in the 80s if you got a ball to curl it was almost a miracle. They weren't meant to bend.

"The only way it was going in was if I dived to get on the end of it and that's what I did.

"I put it right in the corner. I hit the ground and I was up within seconds. I just went berserk. I left everyone behind and I was over the (advertising) boards behind the goal bouncing for joy. It was just a wonderful feeling."

Coventry's fall from grace started 14 years after that magic day at Wembley. Following 34 years of successive top-flight football, the midlands club were relegated in 2001, and after 11 seasons struggling in the second tier, they dropped down to npower League one last summer.

The riches that have flooded the game since the turn of the century make Houchen's FA Cup-winning bonus of a £2,400 cheque and a Peugeot 306 look laughable.

Yet, as has been the case with clubs like Portsmouth, the TV money that came with the Premier League's birth does not guarantee long-term financial success.

Coventry were last month threatened with a winding-up order by Arena Coventry Ltd, who run the 32,500-capacity Ricoh Arena, over unpaid rent totalling £1.1million.

Houchen hopes a long cup run will help bring in some much-needed cash to the club as has been the case with Bradford, who recently beat Arsenal to make the semi-final of the Capital One Cup.

"The money from the gate receipts would help," Houchen added.

"Bradford say that they are comfortable for 18 months or two years because of their cup run.

"A run would give Coventry a lift and get the club noticed again."

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

sn'tthis strange. Last season we were worried that we were stuck with a Dinosaur in Moyes while Liverpool and Everton were disappearing into the distance with their young, spritely managerts, playing football from heaven. Progressive managers, they said. Managers who understand the modern game.........

HarryBoulton
Rodgers: The pressure's on

B

eing consistently and unrelentingly dog turd really takes it out of you. Try shadow boxing. That's what it's like watching Liverpool, punching thin air.

sinbadsdad
Neville: Reds need a rest

G

ood list, some crackers in there. For me, I'd have had Steve McManaman for Liverpool away at Celtic in the UEFA cup in 1997. I was in the ground that night and everyone kept screaming at him to make a pass, but he just kept going and going and going...brilliant, and in the dying minutes too.

uncle-muller
F365's Top Ten Counter-Attacking Goals

Footer 365

Franz Beckenbauer among FIFA names being investigated by Michael Garcia

Franz Beckenbauer and three FIFA executive committee members are under investigation by ethics chief Michael Garcia.

International football: England up seven places in latest FIFA rankings

England have jumped seven places to 13th place in the latest FIFA rankings following a six-match winning run.

Champions League: Carlo Ancelotti backs Basle against Liverpool

Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti expects Basle to avoid defeat against Liverpool and join them in the second round.

Mail Box

Makes Sense To Make Gerrard Liverpool Manager

That's the thoughts of one Mailboxer, who wants Jamie Carragher as defensive coach. Plus views on Arsenal, Malmo v Juventus, Alexis Sanchez & tremendous improvement...

Mails: Quit Massaging Mourinho's Ego

That's the message from the afternoon mailbox after it was claimed that the Chelsea boss has transformed Cesc Fabregas into a complete player. Plus, more on Arsenal...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property