Stoke City: Haslegrave earns his spurs with winning strike
STOKE City will turn the clock back to the heady days of the mid-1970s if they avoid defeat at Tottenham tomorrow.
A draw or a win will extend Stoke's unbeaten run to eight successive league matches.
That would be a record for Stoke in the Premier League – and their longest undefeated sequence in the top division since 1974.
Back then, in the heyday of Tony Waddington's wonder boys, Stoke eventually went unbeaten for 10 games – one short of the club's record of 11 in the top flight.
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Like their current run, it was launched on the back of a defeat at Norwich City.
And their 10-match sequence back in 1974 bears an uncanny resemblance to today's scorelines as Stoke only conceded twice in those 10 fixtures.
The 1974 run also featured a 1-0 win over Spurs – a good luck charm ahead of tomorrow perhaps – and the man beating Pat Jennings in the Tottenham goal that day was that under-rated Potteries-born midfielder Sean Haslegrave.
He remembers it well, possibly because it was his only goal that season, and he fondly remembers his six-year spell at the Victoria Ground.
"Jimmy Greenhoff fed the ball to me, I fed it back, then I made a sprint into the box and Jimmy clipped it to the near post," he said.
"I just got in ahead of Pat's fist, and that was a big fist, and glanced it in.
"Pat was a giant. I remember we went on a trip to Yugoslavia once, because Waddo loved taking us away, and on that trip there was Pat, Gordon Banks and Peter Shilton. Fancy going on a trip with those three goalkeepers!"
The record books show Haslegrave only netted five goals in 113 appearances for Stoke, but it's record that belies his true calling in the game.
"In my life, I loved providing goals," he explained. "Luckily, I could play on both wings and get the ball in with my left foot or my right foot.
"I just loved laying it on for others, it was brilliant. When I crossed it beyond the first man for Jimmy, big John Ritchie or Geoff Hurst, you couldn't beat it... it was a magical feeling.
"Being at Stoke back then was a brilliant time in my life. We were a family who looked after one another.
"Just to play in a midfield with the likes of John Mahoney, Alan Hudson, Geoff Salmons and TC on the outside of you.
"Terry Conroy was a giant. He was a typical Irisman, never one to take second best."
He remains close to TC, in particular, but is also indebted to Denis Smith's wife for a later move in his career.
"Denis was manager at York when he took me there, but his missus was the one who actually signed me.
"It was between me and another player who they signed, but Kate told Denis: 'Take Sean because you know him and you can trust him.'
"I was there with him for four years and then he got me a spell at Torquay as assistant manager to Cyril Knowles."
Haslegrave, who is grateful for the fact he's spent most of his life in and around the game, has long been coaching and mentoring 16 to 19 year-olds at a college in Preston.
His brother Russ is a season-ticket holder at the Britannia, so he often joins him to watch Stoke's home matches.
And he'll be keeping a close eye on events at White Hart Lane tomorrow to see if Stoke can home in on that 10-match unbeaten run once-upon-a-time.
"At this time, nobody wants to play Stoke because they are so solid. They've got a great keeper and two great centre-backs who don't take any rubbish.
"The midfield is a lot better than last year, very solid now, then you've got Peter Crouch, who's a genius."
But one thing the current crop cannot ever hope to match is their forefather's stamina for football.
One glance at events in 1974 (see table) shows you that Haslegrave and Co played eight games in 26 days during that 10-match unbeaten run.
And that included three games in four days over Easter with largely the same starting line-up.
A feat of endurance that stood Haslegrave in good stead last summer when, at the age of 61, he walked 1,500 miles in 58 days from Preston to Santiago in Spain to raise money to send physically and mentally disabled children to Lourdes.