On February 24, 2008, Tottenham lifted the League Cup to finish their nine-year trophy drought.
It was the second that was purported to herald a brand new period of success for the membership underneath head coach Juande Ramos.
Nevertheless it proved to be a false daybreak, as that Carling Cup victory over Chelsea stays the membership’s final piece of silverware.
Fourteen years on, Sky Sports activities solely talks to the person who lifted the cup that day, Ledley King, to recollect the win and his “damage” on the membership failing to win something since.
It’s a particular night time for the youngsters concerned with the Premier League Kicks session in Tottenham. A shock look from Spurs legend Ledley King, to have a good time 15 years of the flagship neighborhood programme, brings some much-needed heat to a blisteringly chilly night on the Ferry Lane Cruyff Court docket, a synthetic pitch in north London.
However, as the kids obtain teaching and recommendation from King, it’s obvious that, within the week that marks 14 years since Spurs final gained a trophy, most of the younger contributors weren’t even born when he lifted the League Cup as captain in 2008.
“I am unable to consider it has been 14 years,” King solely tells Sky Sports activities on the occasion, which goals to help younger individuals in common and enjoyable exercise that creates extra inclusive communities.
“That League Cup win was undoubtedly the spotlight of my profession. I performed in my first remaining once I was 21 years outdated [2002 League Cup final defeat against Blackburn] and on the time you suppose that the following alternative goes to come back round quite a bit faster than it did.
“So for the 2008 remaining, I used to be decided to not let this one go previous, as a result of I by no means knew if it was going to be my final.”
It did certainly show to be King’s solely main honour in his 13 years at Spurs, because the 2-1 extra-time win over Chelsea noticed the one-club man obtain his childhood dream.
“I would seen many nice captains raise trophies earlier than me,” he says, “and it truly is a factor when gamers dream of lifting the trophy at Wembley as children.
“It is one thing that is actual, and to have the ability to try this was a dream come true.”
Trying again at Tottenham’s facet that day, it’s truthful to say they’ve had higher since. So what made King’s staff a trophy-winning one?
“I feel it had gamers that had been collectively a short while,” he says. “It was a great core of gamers used to enjoying collectively they usually had been hungry.
“It was a gaggle of gamers that hadn’t actually gained a lot of their careers. Robbie Keane, Jermaine Jenas, Aaron Lennon, Paul Robinson and Jonathan Woodgate had been all gamers of a great age they usually had been simply so hungry to recover from the road and win that trophy.
“I feel that basically was the distinction for us on the day.”
That starvation had actually been wanted in Spurs’ run to the ultimate. A 2-0 quarter-final win at Manchester Metropolis was adopted up by a well-known 6-2 semi-final combination victory over north London rivals Arsenal.
However the remaining towards Chelsea – who had been the defending champions, had gained two of the final three Premier League titles, and had a staff that includes the likes of Frank Lampard, John Terry and Didier Drogba – was all the time going to be their hardest take a look at.
The primary half proved it. Within the thirty ninth minute, Drogba scored a surprising 25-yard dipping free-kick that wrong-footed Spurs goalkeeper Robinson to offer Chelsea the lead.
Tottenham wanted “braveness and dedication”, says King, to battle again – and a bit little bit of luck.
A handball from Wayne Bridge within the seventieth minute noticed Spurs awarded a penalty. The ice-cool Dimitar Berbatov rolled it previous Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech to equalise. His celebrations although had been something however calm, as he thumped the returning ball again into the web displaying a ardour that belied his languid model.
“His penalty actually lifted us really,” King recollects. “Berba was such a cool participant however when he really struck the penalty in he set free a cry of emotion to the followers.
“I feel that lifted everybody within the stadium and the gamers, and we actually went on to consider we may win the sport.”
Berbatov’s ecstasy carried Spurs into extra-time, and 4 minutes in Jonathan Woodgate – making simply his fifth look for the membership after becoming a member of from Middlesbrough in January – turned the unlikely hero.
Trying to satisfy Jenas’ free-kick, Cech’s punch rebounded off Woodgate’s head and bobbled into an empty internet.
For such a monumental purpose, there was no magnificence to it.
Requested whether or not he laughs when he watches Woodgate’s winner again, he smiles: “We do not joke about it! We nonetheless raise him up within the air once we see him, that is how a lot it means to us!
“It was a fantastic ball and Woody received his head in the way in which and clearly received fortunate.”
However there was nothing lucky about Woodgate and King’s efficiency on the again for Spurs. The pair had been colossal in repelling Chelsea’s assaults.
King’s 120-minute show was made much more spectacular contemplating his harm report and the actual fact he had solely accomplished 90 minutes 4 occasions previous to the ultimate that season.
He laughs: “The very last thing I needed was extra-time! I would not performed because the semi-final, so I hadn’t performed for a month or so! That was the very last thing on my listing!
“It was for sure I used to be struggling in extra-time and I suppose Woody was not in the most effective bodily form both, however we managed to get by means of it.
“I even struggled to rise up the steps to raise the trophy, however nothing was going to cease me!”
Amid the jubilant celebrations on the remaining whistle, Robbie Keane was in tears.
The Irishman, who had been on the membership for practically six years, had deputised for King as captain for a lot of that season. King felt indebted to Keane and selected to share the crowning second along with his good buddy, which led to an iconic picture of the pair hoisting the trophy aloft at Wembley.
“Behind my head I mentioned to myself that if we win I’ll raise it with Robbie,” he reveals, “so it is good for me to now see the photographs of the 2 of us lifting the cup collectively.”
Within the aftermath at Wembley, Spurs head coach Juande Ramos set his sights on extra success, declaring he needed to “repeat” such a “distinctive expertise”.
However that remaining was pretty much as good because it received for the Spaniard. He was sacked simply eight months later, with Spurs backside of the desk with simply two factors from eight video games.
Requested why it didn’t work out for Ramos regardless of the League Cup win, King responds: “It is troublesome. I feel we misplaced some gamers in the summertime.
“Robbie and Berba moved on [the pair joined Liverpool and Manchester United respectively that summer], they usually had been a fantastic partnership for us.
“We suffered from the lack of their objectives and the impression that they gave the staff. We struggled by way of scoring objectives.
“It did not work out the way in which the supervisor would’ve needed on the time, however he left his mark on the membership in his quick area of time.”
Fourteen years on from Ramos’ departure, Spurs have appointed six everlasting managers within the hope of breaking their trophyless run, however none have managed to recreate that magical day at Wembley.
Three League Cup remaining defeats in 2009, 2015 and 2021, a heartbreaking Champions League remaining defeat to Liverpool in 2019 and a second-place Premier League end in 2016/17 had been all close to misses.
It has made for irritating viewing for King, who retired in July 2012.
“Fourteen years is simply too lengthy,” he admits. “It has been powerful. They’ve come so shut on so many events.
“I am a fan as nicely, so it hurts me once we lose finals.
“I consider this group of gamers need to win a trophy, they deserve that feeling and to recover from the road.
“It is simpler mentioned than finished although, as there’s so many good groups within the Premier League, so it’s extremely powerful.”
As King continues his kickabout with the youngsters, he now believes greater than ever that they are going to quickly get to see Spurs raise a trophy for the primary time of their lives.
The explanation for King’s confidence? The person in cost – Antonio Conte.
“We’ve got probably the greatest managers on the planet and he is a winner,” he says. “In every single place he is been as a participant and a supervisor he is a winner, so the gamers should have the identical mentality and hopefully with that we will recover from the road.”
Ledley King was talking to Sky Sports activities in celebrating the “native legends” of Premier League Kicks, to mark the 15-year anniversary of the neighborhood programme which has seen the Premier League make investments nearly £66m and can assist an estimated 80,000 younger individuals this yr.