Chivers scored on his Spurs debut against Sheffield Wednesday in January 1968, but the initial stages of his White Hart Lane career were relatively unsuccessful, with Spurs legends Jimmy Greaves and Alan Gilzean still preferred as an attacking partnership. Chivers remained a fixture of the England Under-23 squad and eventually became the most important goalscorer at Tottenham, following the sale of Greaves to West Ham United in 1970.
Chivers was often seen as a lethargic and lazy player, but his pace and natural strength established ‘Big Chiv’ as a star of the Spurs side and England throughout the early 1970s. The 1970–71 season was the beginning of Martin Chivers’ golden years, for both club and country. He played in all 58 competitive games and scored 34 times, including both goals in the League Cup final against Aston Villa, and 21 goals in the First Division as Spurs finished the season in third place. Chivers also scored his first senior goal for England a 3–0 win over Greece in April 1971.
During the 1971–72 campaign, Chivers hit the best form of his career, netting 44 times in 64 first team appearances. His seven goals in as many League Cup ties enabled Spurs to reach the semi-finals of the competition where they eventually lost to London neighbours Chelsea. The resurgent striker saved his most impressive form for the UEFA Cup, scoring eight times in 11 matches, including a hat-trick in a 9–0 demolition of Icelandic side Keflavik ÍF, and a superb double against Wolverhampton Wanderers in a memorable final. In the First Division, he surpassed his tally of the previous campaign, scoring 25 times in 39 appearances.
Chivers continued his prolific form in the 1972–73 season, finding the net 33 times in 61 appearances. His acclaimed goalscoring ability again guided Tottenham to League Cup success with two quarter-final strikes against Liverpool, and a crucial goal at Molineux where the Londoners drew 2–2 to reach the final. His European form was equally impressive, producing eight goals in ten matches, as Spurs reached the UEFA Cup semi-finals before losing to Liverpool on the away goals rule. In October 1973, Chivers won the last of his full England caps against Poland in an infamous World Cup qualifier. Despite scoring six international goals in the calendar year, the Spurs striker was a casualty of his country’s failure to qualify for the tournament and would later be ignored by caretaker manager Joe Mercer and future boss Don Revie.
Spurs again reached the final of the UEFA Cup in 1974 with Chivers scoring six goals, including the opener in a 2–0 home victory against East German side Lokomotive Leipzig. The two-legged final was to end in disappointment with Dutch giants Feyenoord winning 4–2 on aggregate as Spurs lost a major final for the first time. By the beginning of the 1974–75 season, Chivers was considered to be the senior forward at Tottenham, playing alongside Chris Jones, Chris McGrath and Scotsman John Duncan. In early September, he played his last game for the legendary Bill Nicholson, as Middlesbrough crushed Spurs 4–0 in the 2nd round of the League Cup. Injuries restricted Chivers to just 28 league appearances in which he scored 10 goals, including important strikes against West Ham United, Leeds United and local rivals Arsenal.
The 1975–76 season was Chivers’ last at White Hart Lane as he struggled to find the net in a relatively poor Spurs team. He made 37 appearances in all competitions, scoring nine times, before joining Swiss club Servette for an £80,000 fee. In his 8+1⁄2-year Spurs career, Chivers scored a total of 174 goals in 367 first-team appearances and remained the leading Tottenham goalscorer in European competition for 39 years until he was overtaken by Jermain Defoe on 7 November 2013. He was capped 24 times for England, scoring 13 goals.
- Full Name: Martin Harcourt Chivers
- Position: Forward
- Date of Birth: 27.04.1945
- Birthplace: Southampton
- Nation: England
- Club Career: Tottenham Hotspur
- Period: 1968-1976
- League Games, 278
- League Goals, 118
- Previous Club: Southampton
- Transfer Fee: £ 125 000
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