Saturday, March 25, 2006

25th March - Spurs in History

25th March, 1922

F.A.Cup Semi-Final at Hillsborough

Preston North End 2 Spurs 1

Refereeing decisions have had a bearing on many of Spurs semi-final appearances and even away back in this game Spurs didn’t have the rub of the green.

Spurs, the Cup holders, had beaten Preston in the previous year’s semi-final and Jimmy Seed gave them a half time lead in this game. In the second half Preston were revitalized and equalized but then Spurs suffered a refereeing injustice. Spurs should have taken the lead from a Bert Bliss shot but the referee blew his whistle to attend to an injured Preston player. The referee claimed that he had blown the whistle prior to the ball crossing the line and disallowed the goal. To make things worse, the player wasn’t even injured.

Preston then went on to score a winning goal.

Spurs had to wait until the 'Double' team, 39 years later, for another FA Cup Final appearance.

'Old' 2nd Division Days:

25th March, 1950

Spurs 4 West Ham 0

Arthur Rowe the manager of Tottenham Hotspur had developed a style of play 'Push and Run' and around him he had a team of players who had quickly adapted to his leading and they were ensuring that his first season in charge would end with promotion to the First Division. Many of the players had had their careers severely interrupted by the Second World War but they were making the most of this opportunity and the crowds were flocking to White hart Lane to see them play, fast moving football. Over 51,00 were present for this game while four weeks earlier 70,302 had packed White Hart Lane for the visit of Southampton.

The visitors to Tottenham were London rivals, West Ham United who were struggling near the foot of the table. Spurs showed no mercy and won with goals from Sonny Walters (2), Les Bennett and Les Medley. the team was comprised of players who were to become 'Legends' at the club - Ted Ditchburn (goalkeeper), Bill Nicholson, Ron Burgess (Captain), Len Duquemin, Sonny Walters and Eddie Baily.

Spurs went on to finish the season as Champions with 61 points and the team with only one addition to its personnel, Alf Ramsey from Southampton, went on to win the 1st Division Championship the following year.

25th March, 1978

Mansfield Town 3 Spurs 3

Pic: Pat Jennings, transferred the previous summer

After their promotion to the 1st Division in 1950, Spurs retained their position in the top flight for 27 years. It was in 1976 - 77 season that they were relegated but instead of making whole scale changes at the club, the Directors showed confidence in the manager and players by giving them the opportunity to restore Spurs to the top league. Manager, Keith Burkinshaw had not been as fortunate as Arthur Rowe, all those years previous, the club being relegated in his first season in control.

However, the next year he set about correcting the situation. Spurs started the season purposefully and were making good progress towards their goal of immediate promotion. As the season progressed it became a four way battle for promotion between Spurs, Bolton, Southampton and Brighton.

The one major change in the team had been the departure of goalkeeper, Pat Jennings to Arsenal. Burkinshaw had mistakenly thought that Pat's best days were behind him and he wanted to give young goalkeeper, Barry Daines, an opportunity. Daines was an ever present in this season, which was to be his best at Spurs, but while being competent, he was no 'Pat Jennings.' In this game, which was played on a very wet Saturday afternoon on a very muddy pitch Glenn Hoddle's class showed through as he scored two of Spurs' goals, including the last minute equaliser. One was from a superb free-kick and the other from a penalty, while Chris Jones got the third. However, the memorable moments from this game also include mistakes by Daines that led to two of Mansfield's goals. Comedy moments supreme, as he charged out of his goal and took a fly kick at the ball but missed and Mansfield scored. The other was of him lyingh on his back in the goal mouth and deflecting the ball into his own net. Mansfield were relegated at the end of the season but held Spurs to two draws, 1-1 at at White Hart Lane in December - Spurs generous Christmas nature.

For the final weeks of the season, Spurs were under pressure where promotion was concerned but they held on and in the end managed to secure the point needed on the final day at Southampton in a scoreless draw to join Southampton and Bolton in promotion, while Brighton unluckily lost out on goal difference - the difference being the 9 goals Spurs scored against Bristol Rovers early in the season.


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