This game is remembered for the score line and also for the outstanding goal scored by Jimmy Greaves. He picked the ball up inside the United half, ran at their defence, going past a number of defenders before rounding the keeper to tap the ball into an empty net - a classic Greaves goal!
Spurs had won five of their six home games and drawn the other but they had lost the last three away games. Pat Jennings replaced Bill Brown in goal for his first game of the season.
All five forwards scored that day – the other goals coming from Jimmy Robertson, Alan Gilzean, Eddie Clayton and Neil Johnson making only his third appearance.
Amazingly and unfortunately for Spurs, the return game in December also ended 5-1 to the home team.
In Keith Burkinshaw's first season as manager Spurs struggled from the very start. With only two wins in the opening eight games, Spurs were facing a long, hard season. Early season injuries to Pat Jennings and John Duncan, the previous season's top scorer, had disrupted the team and new signings Ian Moores and Peter Taylor were taking time to adjust to the team. Spurs had lost the previous game at West Bromwich by four goals to two when Taylor scored on his debut.
Going into the game Derby's record for the season was subdued - they had not recorded a win and had five points having drawn five of their seven games, a point behind Spurs on six points from two wins and two draws.
However, Derby found their form in spectacular fashion in this game against Spurs. Having gone two goals behind in the first half, Spurs rallied with a penalty from Keith Osgood and a goal from Captain Steve Perryman to be only 3-2 down at half-time and seemingly still in with a chance in the game. However when Derby scored their fourth on the hour, the flood gates opened and Spurs conceded another four in the final half hour.
The Derby manager was former Spurs' star Dave Mackay. Writing in his book, 'The Real Mackay,' he recalls how he felt sorry for Pat Jennings the only survivor from his time at Spurs. As the goals kept going in, 'I really wanted them to stop. Nobody likes to see a friend in discomfort. Fortunately for me, Bill Nicholson was no longer at the helm because if he had been I would have felt very, very uncomfortable.'
This is not Spurs' record defeat but it was an indication of the difficulties Spurs were facing in that 1976-77 season.