Sunday, April 30, 2006

Super Lennon Strike Keeps Spurs on Fourth Track

Sunday, 30th April - White Hart Lane

Spurs 1 Bolton Wanderers 0

It wasn't pretty, it wasn't their best display of the season, in fact it was one of their poorer showings but Spurs earned three points to keep control of the race for fourth and to increase the pressure on Arsenal to win their two matches in hand. As expected, Bolton proved very difficult to play and especially in the first half when they restricted the space that Spurs had to play in and competed for every ball. This forced Spurs to play the game like Bolton and they were coming off second best throughout the first forty five minutes.

Martin Jol used Danny Murphy in place of the suspended Edgar Davids, the only change from last weekend. Tainio had recovered from his injury but was almost totally anonymous in the first half which Bolton dominated and could have been ahead. They had a number of scoring opportunities, with a shot crashing off the post while Spurs rarely looked dangerous but the best moves came from a run by Carrick when he was upended on the edge of the box and a run from Lennon which showed how he could lift the team. Bolton were quicker to the ball and played a high pressure game with the ball constantly fired into the penalty area with their midfield support players looking to meet the knock downs. Spurs defended stoutly but created nothing going forward, with Keane and Defoe receiving little service or support.

The second half started with Robbie Keane being replaced by Lee Barnard, Keane suffering from an ankle injury. However, Spurs started with much more purpose and created more danger in the first few minutes than in all of the first half. They played their game, passing and moving to create space and looked much more dangerous. And this was how the goal eventually came - on the hour, a passing movement on the right between Carrick and Lennon saw Carrick go wide and play Lennon into the penalty area. Lennon took the ball on to score a lovely goal.

Bolton now started to pressurise again but the spurs' defence held firm with Dawson being outstanding. The one cause for concern came when Dawson seemed to bring Stelios Giannakopoulos down in the area but the Cup Final referee failed to award the penalty. (This could be regarded as justice for Defoe's goal being disallowed at Bolton).

Paul Robinson was commanding and even when under severe pressure he defended his goal courageously, coming to collect the ball and punching clear as Bolton pumped high balls into the area. Barnard worked hard and gave the Bolton defenders less time to clear the ball. Ten minutes from time Andy Reid, replaced Defoe who again failed to sparkle with the England manager watching and Davenport replaced an injured Murphy for the last crucial minutes.

There were four minutes added time but Spurs held on the receive the applause of the spectators and a standing ovation as they took their traditional end of season 'lap of honour.' For the first time in many seasons the players and manager were deserving of such accolades. 'Glory, Glory, Hallelujah' was clearly audible throughout the game and now with Europe secure and fourth or fifth guaranteed, Spurs travel to West Ham knowing that a win will bring them the satisfaction of finishing above their North London neighbours for the first time since 1995.

A little assistance from Sunderland, Manchester City or Wigan would be appreciated but Spurs are still fourth and in control of their own destiny and go into the final League game with something to play for the first time since 1996 when they were hoping to grasp the last UEFA Cup place. Ultimately, they failed - a draw at Newcastle not being good enough - but they were also dependent on other results being favourable while this time it's up to themselves, if Spurs win they will be fourth and there's nothing anyone can do about it.

Spurs finished their final home game with a win, in a season that has seen them lose at home on only two occasions, to the top two teams in the League. It has been an amazing turn round in fortune for the club since Martin Jol (Pic: Manager Martin Jol - amazing season) took over as a manager and it is looking very good for Tottenham Hotspur.

Team: Robinson, Stalteri, Lee, Dawson, Gardner, Murphy (Davenport 86), Tainio, Carrick, Lennon, Keane (Barnard 45), Defoe (Reid 78).

Subs Not Used: Cerny, Huddlestone.


30th April - Spurs in History

30th April, 1910

Spurs 2 Chelsea 1 (1st Division)

Spurs were elected to the Football League, 2nd Division, in 1908 from the Southern League. Finishing second to Bolton Wanderers in their first year in the Football League, they won promotion to Division 1 but Spurs had found life very difficult in the top flight.

This was a crucial last day of the season victory against fellow relegation threatened strugglers, Chelsea. The situation was clear, whichever team lost would be relegated. Spurs won before a crowd of 35,000 with goals from Billy Minter and the all important second goal from centre forward Percy Humphreys who had previously played for Chelsea.

Spurs victory ensured their 1st Division survival and so close was it at the bottom that the two points enabled them to move up to 15th place, while condemning Chelsea to relegation.

30th April, 1921

Spurs 1 Huddersfield Town 0

A week earlier Spurs had won the FA Cup so prior to this game the trophy was carried around White Hart Lane to the delight of the spectators. The winning goal was scored by right winger, Jimmy Banks.

Two goals from Steve Achibald brought Spurs their last win on his day.

Spurs last win was in 1983, a 2-0 victory over Liverpool at White Hart Lane. The goals were scored by Steve Archibald.

The last game played on this day was at Wimbledon in 1994. Teddy Sheringham scored a penalty but the team lost 1-2 and there struggle against relegation went on with two games remaining.


Saturday, April 29, 2006

Opportune Time For Spurs to Beat Bolton

After the hype, controversy and excitement of the North London derby, Spurs have an even more crucial game tomorrow. The point gained last week will be as nothing if Spurs don't win against Bolton in their final home game of the season. With Bolton having won their last six games against Spurs, a win for Tottenham is long overdue. It was Bolton who were at White Hart Lane last year on the day that the death of Bill Nicholson was announced and the visiting supporters and the manager showed great respect throughout.

Bolton had a very disappointing run through March but their last two results have shown some improvement, a draw at West Brom and a good win at home to Charlton. Bolton won the home game by a single goal, a great shot from Nolan who was in outstanding goalscoring form early in the season. However, Jermain Defoe was unlucky to have a good goal disallowed for off-side and Spurs could have brought something from the game. Spurs find Bolton difficult, with their total commitment and direct play throughout the ninety minutes. They can expect more of the same tomorrow and need to be prepared to match their opponents to ensure they have the opportunity to play their own game which has produced some very good passing football in the last few weeks.

Spurs have everything to play for, assured of Europe - they now require two wins to guarantee fourth place. The team should show little change from that which did so well at Highbury. King, Jenas and Mido are injured, so with Davids suspended, Murphy will probably come into midfield. Spurs play more controlled football without a tall striker and with Robbie Keane in such good form it's to be hoped that he can maintain his recent goal scoring form. The injuries over the weekend to Rooney and Owen should give Defoe (Pic: Jermain Defoe - Goals boost required) an added incentive to score tomorrow and prove his worth for England' s World Cup team. He has been so unlucky recently that it would be a great boost to his confidence to get a couple tomorrow and quash the negative comments of his doubters.

This will be another difficult game but the stakes are high and just as last week, there needs to be someone to step out from the collective team effort and do something special to make it a match winning performance. They are so close after a tremendous season, so it would be a terrible disappointment to fall short at the penultimate hurdle. Spurs have it in their own hands and a win tomorrow would increase the pressure on Arsenal who play three games in six days, starting at Sunderland on Monday evening.

Another 'Cup Final' game, another crucial must win game and a desire to end the season with a win in their final home match. Spurs have had fantastic support throughout the season and the players will be well deserving of their end of match tribute, so it would only be fitting that it be completed with the strains of 'Glory, Glory, Hallelujah' resounding from the stands as Spurs' destiny goes on to the final game at West Ham next Sunday.

'Glory, glory, Hallelujah,
Glory, glory, Hallelujah,
Glory, glory, Hallelujah
And the Spurs go marching on.'


29th April - Spurs in History

29th April, 1978

Southampton 0 Spurs 0 (2nd Division)

The conclusion to the 2nd Division was very close. On the final Saturday both Souhampton and Spurs needed a point to ensure promotion at Brighton’s expense. The match was an extremely tense and nail-biting affair. There were many dramatic moments and Southampton could have scored on a number of occasions but Spurs held on for the point they needed.

Spurs finished third claiming the final promotion place, two points behind Bolton, a point behind Southampton and level on points with Brighton. However, Spurs were promoted thanks to a superior goal difference. Spurs were top scorers in the division and their goal difference was nine goals better than Brighton’s, the exact score by which they had defeated Bristol Rovers, the previous October.

The Directors had shown faith in manager, Keith Burkinshaw (Pic: Keith Burkinshaw). In his first season in charge in 1976-77, the club had been relegated for the first time in 26 years but they gave him the opportunity to restore the club to the top flight and he responded and went on to bring further success to the club.

Team: Daines, Naylor, Holmes, Hoddle, McAllister, Perryman, Pratt, McNab, Jones, Duncan (Armstrong), Taylor.

29th April, 1967

Nottingham Forest 1 Spurs 2 FA Cup Semi-Final at Hillsborough

The teams who were to finish second and third met to decide which club would reach the FA Cup Final at Wembley to meet the winners of the other semi-final, Chelsea or Leeds United. Spurs had held the upper hand in the two League games earlier in the season, winning 2-1 at White Hart Lane and drawing 1-1 at Forest.

Forest went into the game without their key player, Joe Baker, injured in the previous round but for the first half hour they dominated the game until Jimmy Greaves struck. Greaves loved playing against Forest as he scored more of his goals against them than any other club. And so it proved on this day - a clearance from England was flicked on by Gilzean to Greaves who put Spurs ahead. Forest attacked constantly but with fifteen minutes left, Frank Saul scored Spurs' second and although Forest pulled one back it was only a consolation goal.

Spurs were in their third FA Cup Final at Wembley in seven years, where they would participate in the first all London final against Chelsea.

29th April, 1899

Spurs 3 Woolwich Arsenal 2 (at Northumberland Park)

A record attendance of nearly 14,000 crammed into Spurs' home ground, Northumberland Park, for this victory over Woolwich Arsenal in the United League. The ground was only suitable for half that number and when a number of spectators climbed onto a refreshments bar, it collapsed causing numerous injuries.

Having won the games, the club realised that the ground was too small and took steps to find a new venue. This resulted in Tottenham Hotspur moving to its current world famous home at White Hart Lane.

Spurs last win on this day was in 1989 against Millwall at The Den. A hat-trick from Paul Stewart and goals from Paul Walsh and Vinny Samways gave Spurs a resounding 5-0 win.

The last match played on this day was in 2000 when a goal from Stephen Clemence gave Spurs a 1-1 draw at home to Derby County. In 1995 a Jurgen Klinsmann goal brought Spurs a point from Highbury in a 1-1 draw.


Friday, April 28, 2006

28th April - Spurs in History

28th April, 1951

Spurs 1 Sheffield Wednesday 0

Amazingly, when Spurs won the League in 1951 and 1961 Wednesday were the opponents against whom they clinched the victory.

In 1951 the title race had been very close and any slip up would have proved costly. With two games remaining, Spurs went into this game knowing that the outcome was in their own hands and duly won with a goal scored by Len Duquemin.

Following a poor start to the season, it was a remarkable turn round to become Champions for the first time in the club’s history, only a year after winning promotion from the 2nd Division.

The ‘push and run’ team managed by Arthur Rowe and captained by Ron Burgess (Pic: Captain of Spurs - Ron Burgess) had put Tottenham Hotspur in the spotlight.

Team of 'Legends':

Ditchburn; Ramsey, Willis; Nicholson, Clarke, Burgess (Captain); Walters, Murphy, Duquemiin, Baily, Medley.

28th April, 2001

Spurs 0 Aston Villa 0

A dull, end of season affair in which the Spurs supporters in the crowd of over 36,000 entertained themselves by cheering every move of the Villa left winger. A rather unusual occurrence but this game was David Ginola's first game at White Hart Lane since his transfer to Villa the previous summer. The fans showed their appreciation of everything that he had done while with Tottenham and many still remember fondly his skills and sheer class. If only there was a left sided player of such quality available today.


Thursday, April 27, 2006

27th April - Spurs in History

Non-League Spurs Win FA Cup
27th April, 1901

Sheffield United 1 Spurs 3 FA Cup Final Replay at Bolton

Only 20,740 were present to see Spurs go a goal behind, five minutes before half-time. The goal had been against the run of play and Spurs continued to take the game to United and equalised after 55 minutes from John Cameron. Spurs then went ahead when winger Smith scored and Brown ensured victory with a header from the third of three quick corners, with seven minutes remaining.

Sandy Brown had become the first player to score in every round of the Cup, scoring 15 goals.

On the final whistle joyous Spurs fans invaded the pitch and when the team returned to London at 1.00am the next morning, the fans who had been waiting for three hours, gave them a tremendous reception.

Team: Clawley; Erentz, Tait; Morris, Hughes, Jones (Captain); Smith, Cameron, Brown, Copeland, Kirwan.

27th April, 1963

Spurs 4 Bolton Wanderers 1 (1st Divison)

Spurs goals were scored by Tony Marchi, Jimmy Greaves, John White and Bobby Smith. Spurs finished the season in second place while Bolton were 18th, four points above relegation. jimmy Greaves' goal was his 36th League goal of the season, equalling the record of Ted Harper (1931) and Bobby Smith (1958).

Greaves still had four games left to break the record.

27th April, 2002

Spurs 1 Liverpool 0

Spurs won this final League of the season with a goal from Gus Poyet.

27th April, 1945 - Happy Birthday Martin Chivers.


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Tottenham, England and the World Cup

'The 5 English Lions', or possibly 7, at Spurs

The England manager, Sven-Goran Eriksson, has only a few more weeks to decide on his squad for the World Cup finals in Germany this summer. As the season closes so he has to finalise his squad to be announced on Monday, 8th May. One of his strengths, some would regard it as a weakness, is that he is loyal to his players, rarely varying in his selection of players, even when questions are raised over current form or fitness.

With so many foreign players in the English Premiership, it has become more difficult for the manager, especially as most of the top sides are composed entirely of foreign players. Sven's visit to Highbury last Saturday was not to watch any Arsenal players, as once again their team consisted totally of foreign players, so he must have been checking on the Spurs players available to England. In the Spurs team for that game he had a smaller number of players to view as two of his possible squad were absent through injury.

Ledley King has now missed two games since his foot injury at Everton and is unlikely to appear again for Spurs this season. His manager, Martin Jol, speaks optimistically about his recovery and availability for England duty this summer but with a stress fracture to his toe it is difficult to accurately estimate the length of time required for recovery. If King were to miss out on the World Cup, it would be a great shame as he was certain to be member of the squad as his versatility provided options for central defence and the midfield anchor role. He has had an impressive season captaining Spurs and has never let England down.

Jermaine Jenas was a late absentee following his training ground injury on Friday morning. Various stories have circulated about the seriousness of his injury -from a broken leg to pain in his shins. The full extent of the injury is still not known generally so whether he will be available for next Sunday's game is open to debate. However, where England are concerned, he has been a regular squad member and his recent form has improved following his early season transfer from Newcastle to Tottenham. For much of the early part of the season he has played wide on the right, not his natural position, but with the emergence of Aaron Lennon, Jenas has moved into a more central position alongside Michael Carrick and they performed very well against Everton.

However, of the other England players on view, Paul Robinson was at his very best against Arsenal. He has made the England No. 1 shirt his very own and bar injury is certain to be in the team for England's opening game of the tournament. Robinson gave a very commanding and confident performance at Highbury, making crucial saves as Arsenal tried to get back into the game and clearing bravely in the final moments when Spurs came under serious pressure. As the season has progressed he has received accolades from former England 'greats' - World Cup winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks, current England goalkeeping coach Ray Clenmence and former Arsenal and England keeper David Seamen, all have heaped praise on him for his performances for Spurs and England and supported him as England's number one goalkeeper. Even today, German World Cup winning captain, Lothar Matthaus, has praised Robinson as being the final link in the England team.

Michael Carrick rose to the occasion and was 'Man of the Match' at Highbury, controlling central midfield and almost scoring a wonderful goal just before half-time. Carrick has made major strides since joining Spurs and he has Martin Jol to thank for giving him the opportunity. Signed in the transfer window of August, 2004, he became a pawn in a power struggle involving former manager, Jacques Santini, and Director of Football, Frank Arnesen. Santini obviously hadn't wanted to sign Carrick so didn't play him but when Jol took over, he selected Carrick and he has been a constant member of the team. Last summer, Carrick was impressive for England in the tour to America and rightly received high praise from reporters and pundits, especially Alan Hansen. It was thought that Carrick might play a part in the final qualifying games in the autumn but the chance didn't come but in a recent friendly he became a member of 'Spurs 5 England Lions' and again displayed his full capabilities. With his present form at its best he will be very hopeful of being a member of the party going to Germany. Carrick is a player who improves as the quality of the players around him increases, he raises his game accordingly.

The final member of the group of five Spurs players in the England team is Jermain Defoe. He looked to be certain of taking one of the striker positions and started the season well. He seemed to suffer a crisis of confidence following the autumn Internationals when with Michael Owen out, he was overlookeed by the England manager who altered his team formation to the exclusion of Defoe. A dip in form also saw him lose his place at Spurs to Robbie Keane and he spent a number of frustrating weeks on the subs bench. He has started recent games, playing alongside Keane and has had a number of near misses but is still looking for a strike on goal. He has been unfortuate in recent games but a couple of goals in the final two games should assure him of his place.

As Sven attends nearly every game at White Hart Lane or in his absence his assistant is present, they can not have failed to see the developing potential of two of Spurs young English players. In his first season in the Premiership, Michael Dawson has developed a very good understanding with Ledley King and gives total commitment every game. his over exhuberance can sometimes be a problem but with experience he will overcome that. He has impressed in the recent games where King has been absent and was a vital player against Manchester United over Easter. In defence every ball was drawn to his head or foot and in atack he could have scored his first goals for Spurs. With the injury to King, Dawson may come into the manager's thoughts as a possible replacement.

The most recent player to raise headlines about possible inclusion in the England squad has been nineteen year old Aaron Lennon (Pic: Possible late inclusion in England squad?). He was bought as a young player with potential but as the season has progressed he has become a vital member of the Spurs team and such was the confidence of the Spurs management in Lennon that Wayne Routledge was allowed to go to Portsmouth on loan. Lennon's display at Goodison alerted the journalists to his case and continuing impressive displays against United and Arsenal have only added to it. It will probably prove to be too early for Lennon but with Wright-Philips who was such an exciting player at Manchester City having had little opportunity at Chelsea this season, Lennon may be in with a shout of going to the World Cup.

If the circumstances were right, Spurs could have seven players in the party that Sven-Goran Eriksson selects in early May. While this is very unlikely and a very optimistic assessment it shows the advances that Spurs have made in the past eighteen months. That there is the potential for that number of players with serious claims to be joining the squad is incredible. With the club sitting on the verge of Champions League football for the first time and with further English players at White Hart Lane, Danny Murphy, Anthony Gardner, Tom Huddlestone and Wayne Routledge (on loan at Portsmouth), Spurs' policy of buying young English players is proving very successful.


26th April - Spurs in History

26th April, 1978

Spurs 1 Hull City 0 (2nd Division)

The previous weekend, Spurs had increased the pressure on themselves in their promotion bid by losing at home to Sunderland. This time there could be no mistakes against Hull who were bottom of the Division.

They say that fortune favours the brave and this was the case as the only goal was scored by Captain, Steve Perryman (Pic: Goal scorer and Captain, Steve Perryman). The game had reached the last ten minutes with the Hull goalkeeper standing firm to deny Spurs a goal when he caught a cross from a corner. As a forward challenged him he dropped the ball for Perryman to score.

The relief around White Hart Lane was unbelievable.

26th April, 1986

QPR 2 Spurs 5

A grandstand finish to the season gave Spurs nine wins, three draws and two defeats in the final 14 games from late February. A number of them were high scoring like this final away game at Loftus Road. Mark Falco (2), Clive Allen (2) and Glenn Hoddle were the scorers.

However, in spite of this flourish, manager Peter Shreeve lost his position and Spurs only managed to finish 10th.

David Pleat was next in the manager's chair.

1946 - HAPPY 60th Birthday - Ralph Coates

1970 - Birthday Greetings - Dean Austin


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

25th April - Spurs in History

Contrasting fortunes in Europe on this day - similar results but different outcomes.
25th April,1984

Spurs 1 Hadjuk Split 0 UEFA Cup Semi-Final (2nd Leg)

Having lost the first leg game by 1-2 with Split scoring twice in the second half Spurs were under pressure to regain the initiative. They scored after six minutes when at a free kick outside the penalty area, Micky Hazard (Pic: Micky Hazard - Spurs' goalscoring hero) managed to bend the ball round the wall and inside the post. If the score line remained unchanged Spurs would progress on the away goals rule.

Hadjuk attacked and Spurs survived a scare when Parks parried the ball onto the bar which it rolled along before dropping to the ground where a flapping and relieved goalkeeper fell on it.

Earlier in the season manager, Keith Burkinshaw, had announced that he would be leaving at the end of the season and the players were determined to give him a leaving present, the UEFA Cup. At least, they had reached the Final.

25th April, 1973

Spurs 2 Liverpool 1 UEFA Cup Semi-Final (2nd Leg)

Although Spurs won to level the aggregate score, the Liverpool goal took them through on the away goals rule. Spurs had been hoping for an early goal to cancel Liverpool's advantage from the first leg but it didn't come until the second half when Martin Peters scored the first of his two goals. Having levelled Spurs went in search of a second and were caught at the back allowing Liverpool to equalise. This left Spurs needing two to qualify for the Final, Peters got a second but a third goal was a step too far for them.


Monday, April 24, 2006

Press Comments after Spurs Game on Saturday

Following his rant on Saturday over the Spurs goal scored by Robbie Keane, the Sunday papers are ripping into Arsene Wenger.

"Wenger and his players are not known for accepting adversity with a dignified sang froid. Can football ever have thrown up a better example of the pot calling the kettle black?" - Sunday Telegraph

"Wenger said he found Spurs' attitude "very, very disappointing, the first time I have seen that in Eng-lish football". Which is, perhaps, where [his] selective myopia sets in." - Independent on Sunday

"Forget Arsenal versus Tottenham, the most entertaining encounter at Highbury came when a certain Mr Pot met his mate Mr Kettle, as Arsene Wenger accused Martin Jol, his opposite number, of myopia, lying and 'stealing the game away'." - Observer

One more to show Arsenal in all their glory...
"Finally there were the most extraordinary scenes in the directors' box, with Arsenal's managing director, Keith Edelman, threatening to evict some of the Spurs party because of their celebrations. That was truly ridiculous, and a little shameful." -
Independent on Sunday

(Thanks to Oxygen on COYS Messageboard for these extracts)

Other remarks worth noting from the match reports:

'Spurs football in areas that invited a congestion charge was exemplary and, having extricated themselves from tight areas, they looked to spring the jet-heeled aron Lennon into threatening areas. The youngster was up to the challenge, a smart one-two with Keane taking him clear, but the winger could not decide between the shot or the cross.' - Trevor Haylett Sunday Telegraph

'Inevitably, the German goalkeeper was outraged - he makes Basil Fawlty look like Sven-Goran Eriksson on Valium - and Robert Pires also remenstrated with Davids, but no-one else seemed too put out until Wenger had his say, which included a claim that Jol was not to be believed when he asserted that he had not seen the incident. Can football ever have thrown up a better example of the pot calling the kettle black.' - Patrick Barclay Sunday Telegraph

' ....David's cross found an unmarked Robbie Keane, who tapped in. Cue outrage. Arsene Wenger, who is prone to the odd seizure of fury, angrily confronted Martin Jol and for a while they stood like rutting stags, squaring up to each other. Robert Pires sprinted 40 yards to throw a fist at Davids and Jans Lehmann ran 20 yards to barge into him. To his credit the Dutchman did not go down or respond.... (Pic: Davids took the brunt of Arsenal players' anger) Amazingly, Pires and Lehmann went unpunished. Quite why Davids, of all people, was to blame, only they could explain. By then there was enough righteous anger around to blind even far-sighted Arsenal players.' Rob Draper Mail on Sunday


24th April - Spurs in History

24th April, 1963

OFK Belgrade 1 Spurs 2 European Cup Winners’ Cup Semi-Final (1st Leg)

Spurs took the lead in this tie after 25 minutes when John White volleyed home a shot after Bobby Smith had nodded down a Tony Marchi free kick. OFK equalised nine minutes before half time from the penalty spot.

Into the second half Spurs continued to attack but they lost Jimmy Greaves who was unluckily sent off after 55 minutes. Not deterred, Spurs continued to push forward and took the lead when Terry Dyson scored with twenty minutes left.

Greaves was the first Spurs player to be sent off in over 39 years. On the night, Greaves was consoled by the Spurs trainer, Cecil Poynton, who had been the last player dismissed all those years earlier.

24th April, 1965

Spurs 6 Leicester City 2

The final home game of the season and Spurs managed to maintain their unbeaten home record - 18 wins and 3 draws during the season. This was the third and most recent time they have achieved this feat - it was also completed in 1919-20 and 1932-33.

The high scoring finale came with goals from Greaves (2)(1 pen), Gilzean and Jones (3).

In contrast their away record was the worst in the division, only one win and 4 draws away from White Hart Lane. The win came at Christmas against Nottingham Forest.

24th April, 1974

Spurs 2 Lokomotiv Leipzig 0 UEFA Cup Semi-final (2nd Leg)

With a 2-1 lead from the first game Spurs the result was never really in doubt. Spurs were undefeated in all of their previous nine games in the competition during the season, scoring 27 goals and conceding 7. The goals to maintain this record were scored in the second half by Chris McGrath who returned to the team after missing the first game through injury and by martin Chivers, four minutes from time.

McGrath was having an outstanding season after making his debut in October. He scored vital goals especially in the European games when Spurs raised their game in each round.


Sunday, April 23, 2006

23rd April - Spurs in History

23rd April, 1921

Spurs 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 FA Cup Final at Stamford Bridge

The year ends in ‘1’ and Spurs have reached their second F.A. Cup Final against 2nd Division, Wolves, twenty years after first winning the trophy as a non-League side.

Just before kick off a torrential thunderstorm turned the pitch into a quagmire making it very difficult for both teams to play any football, with the ball constantly sticking in the mud. One piece of inspiration from 20 year old winger, Jimmy Dimmock, after 55 minutes was enough to won the trophy for Spurs. Picking up the ball on the left wing he made progress then cut in, ignoring other team members, he escaped the defenders and his shot from fifteen yards skidded off the greasy surface, under the body of the Wolves goalkeeper.

Team: Hunter; Clay, McDonald; Smith, Walters, Grimsdell (Captain); Banks, Seed, Cantrell, Bliss, Dimmock.

23rd April, 1960

Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 Spurs 3 (1st Division)

This is the game that is that set Spurs up for the 'Double' in twelve months time - the team came to realise what their capabilities were.

At Easter Spurs had been looking to win the title but two home defeats had set them back and Wolves took over at the top of the table. This was the penultimate game of the season and Spurs, inspired by Dave Mackay put in one f their best performances of the season. Bobby Smith put them ahead within two minutes and although Wolves equalised, goals from Mackay and Cliff Jones ensured Spurs victory.

This was a shock to Wolves and although they won their final game, they were pipped to the title by Burnley, the first time they headed the League all season. Wolves went on to win the FA Cup but th edefeat by Spurs denied them the 'double', a feat Spurs were to achieve so spectacularly the following year.

23rd April, 1994

Spurs 3 Southampton 0

the last game and the last win on this date came through goals from Steve Sedgley, Vinny Samways and Darren Anderton. With Ossie Ardiles as manager, it was Spurs' first win in four games and helped secure their presence in the Premiership for the next season although it was not certain for another couple of weeks.


Saturday, April 22, 2006

Spurs Make a point at Highbury

Arsenal 1 Spurs 1

The game lived up to it's pre-match hype and had everything - goals, exciting football, chances, tension and controversy. Spurs played exciting flowing football and dominated play for considerable spells in which they created scoring opportunities but having taken a second half lead, Arsenal equalised with eight minutes left and with Edgar Davids dismissed for a second yellow card, two minutes later, they were left to hold on for a point.

Injuries dictated Jol's team selection - Gardner returned in place of Davenport and Tainio replaced Jenas who was injured in a freak training ground accident on the eve of the game. Tainio played in central midfield alongside Carrick with Davids on the left. Mido had not recovered from injury so was not part of the squad, where Barnard was the striking option.

In a packed, vibrant Highbury, the game started briskly with Arsenal chosing to rest Henry. Spurs took a few minutes to settle but picked up the pace and gave Arsenal considerable cause for concern especially when Aaron Lennon had the ball. Three first half chances so nearly brought Spurs the lead. Defoe was put through by Lennon but with Davids free to his left, he shot weakly. Then he almost made amends when he controlled Carrick's lofted pass over the defence but he smashed the ball straight at the goalkeeper who saved bravely. The best chance came on the stroke of half-time when Michael Carrick ran with the ball into the penalty area, past defenders and round the goalkeeper, only to fire into the side netting. It would have been a fitting goal to round off a great first half performance from Carrick and the team.

The second half started in similar fashion with Spurs having much the better of the game but as Arsenal prepared to bring on Henry after an hour, van Persie broke through and Robinson dived bravely as he shot just wide.

Then after 65 minutes - the controversy. Two Arsenal defenders collided as they tried to dispossess Carrick, he played the ball to Tainio who put Davids through on the left. Edgar went on and crossed for Robbie Keane to score a thoroughly deserved goal. Arsenal were furious, they thought that Spurs should have played the ball out as two players were down but the referee who was close by was satisfied and allowed to play to carry on.

Wenger was most perplexed and angry on the touchline and the two managers stood toe to toe as Wenger's anger boiled over.

Spurs continued to be in control with everyone being totally committed but with Henry on the pitch there was always the anxiety that he would produce something special.

Into the final ten minutes and Spurs were now coming under increasing pressure, Danny Murphy had replaced the tiring Lennon and Robinson had to make a vital save to keep Spurs alive. Then with eight minutes left, Stalteri was out-muscled, perhaps fouled, on the right and the ball in found Henry who equalised.

Two minutes later Davids was sent off for a second yellow card and Spurs had to resort to all out defending to hold their point. Robinson played his part, punching and clearing bravely but with a man short there was no opportunity to attack in search of a winning goal.

Spurs held on, a point ensures UEFA football next season and keeps the Champions League qualification question within Spurs' control. Two wins in the final two games against Bolton and at West Ham will ensure Spurs finish fourth.

All the players deserve credit for their fine play and for the way they dominated a team of Arsenal's experience - they played the better football and created the best chances.

Robinson was outstanding in goal - he was commanding and confident in everything that he did.

The back four were tight and covered well and were rarely stretched. Dawson and Gardner were strong and comfortable throughout while the two fullbacks did all that was required and Lee's crossing has improved when attacking.

In the midfield Carrick was excellent, he controlled the game and pushed forward with good effect and could so easily have been on the scoresheet. Tainio played very well supporting the forwards and covering in defence - he had a very good game. Davids worked hard and used all his big match experience and was unfortunate to be sent off as the Arsenal players were targeting him throughout and especially after his involvement in the goal. Lennon was again an inspiration for the first hour and it is so exciting to see him taking on his man and beating him with ease.

Keane worked very hard, the responsibility of captain sits lightly on his shoulders and he took his goal well. Defoe tried hard but had little joy, especially when left alone at the front for the closing minutes.

At the end Wenger went off down the tunnel without shaking hands with Martin Jol but the players all took the deserved plaudits from the spectators.

So the season continues with everything to play for. Spurs can achieve fourth place with two more wins but may lose out Champions League qualification, if Arsenal win the competition. However, today's result is only worthwhile if the next games produce similar performances and the required points.

An excellent performance, we would have taken a point at the start and that's what we'll have to be satisfied with but for a few minutes it looked as if the impossible dream was going to become a reality. The players would have become Tottenham Hotspur 'legends'.


22nd April - Spurs in History

22nd April, 1978

Spurs 2 Sunderland 3 (2nd Division)

Tottenham wwere endeavouring to gain promotion from the 2nd Division at the first attempt but It was getting very close for the three promotion spots at the top of the table. Earlier in the season, Spurs had been sitting quite comfortably but now four teams, Bolton, Southampton, Brighton and Spurs were in pursuit of promotion.

In their two previous games Spurs had overcome Bolton at home but lost away to Brighton and were sitting in second place.

However, this result put another dent in the Spurs promotion bid and created additional anxiety and uncertainty among the players and the supporters.

Spurs had taken the lead within 30 seconds through Peter Taylor but Sunderland equalised before half time and went 3-1 up midway through the second half. Spurs tried to retrieve the situation and scored through John Duncan who was returning from injury, but it wasn’t enough.

The pressure was on with two games remaining - at home to Hull City in mid-week and away to promotion rivals, Southampton, in a week's time.

22nd April, 1944

Arsenal 3 Spurs 3 (Football League South)

This away war-time fixture was actually played at White Hart Lane and did not have as much significance as today's meeting but I would certainly take that result, although could my nerves hold up to a six-goal thriller. The goals were scored by Ron Burgess, Pat Beasley (war-time guest player) and Frank O'Donnell (war-time guest) .

22nd April, 2000

Spurs 2 Wimbledon 0

The last win on this day was courtesy of goals from Chris Armstrong and Darren Anderton.

22nd April, 1967

Southampton 0 Spurs 1

An Alan Gilzean (Pic: Scorer of last away winning goal on this day) goal gave Spurs victory at The Dell, their last away win on this day.


Friday, April 21, 2006

Spurs - 'Time to Stand up and be Counted!'

The North London derby is always a tense affair, eagerly awaited by both sets of fans, even though Arsenal try to make out it's just another game and they have more important things ahead. Be certain, they want to win this game at all costs.

What a game:
  • the last derby at Highbury,
  • Tottenham are looking for their 50th win over their neighbours,
  • they want to keep Champions League qualification within their own hands,
  • they are eager for three points to increase their lead to seven points,
  • they need a point to be certain of European football next year and to maintain their four point lead over Arsenal
  • they want to end their seeming inability to win against the top teams
  • they want to win at Highbury for the first time since 1993 (3-1 win).

Spurs have had a much better season where injuries have been concerned but they have struck at a most inopportune time and taken out key players. King is out and now Jenas is also injured. There are still doubts over Gardner, Mido, Lennon and Tainio.

Against United, Spurs gave a good team performance but made individual mistakes and United used all their experience and punished them. Unfortunately, against the top teams this season, Spurs have committed a number of these errors and they have proved costly. Mistakes cost goals in both games against United, against Arsenal at White Hart Lane and at Stamford Bridge. Mistakes against lower teams can be recovered and Spurs have made other teams pay for their blunders but Spurs have made a high proportion of errors in these crucial games. This is an area where Spurs must improve. In a season which has shown vast improvement, they have competed against the top teams but as yet have not been able to produce a win against United, Chelsea, Liverpool or Arsenal. To achieve that would show that they are stepping up into the top flight.

Martin Jol will presumably keep the same back four with Davenport to play alongside Dawson. Dawson was outstanding on Monday against United, being fully committed and involved in everything while Davenport was very assured beside him. Lee will want to put right his mistake from Monday and showed his professionalism by getting on with the game and contributing in the second half. If Tainio is fit, he will play on the left and probably Davids will play in the centre with Carrick. Murphy hasn't yet shown what he can do and Lennon will continue on the right with Keane and Defoe starting. Mido, if he is fit,will be useful as a sub to come on late in the game. The rumours of his problems appear to have been sorted for the moment and jol is quoted as saying that he expects himmto sign a contract soon. With the inuries, Jol has few options available and whoever is selected must be totally committed, prepared to give his all, make no individual errors and take whatever scoring opportunities come their way.

This year Spurs have come away with plaudits for effort and commitment but few points. Now is the time for a player or players to step forward, take responsibility and show that they can perform at the highest level when the stakes are greatest. If they do and Spurs win, or even draw, the final North London derby at Highbury, they will become a Spurs 'Legend.'

Spurs' end of season is in their own hands. A positive result keeps it in their control but a defeat puts Arsenal in the driving seat. Arsenal have been talking about resting players for next week's European game. They are convinced they will win the Champions League and so this game is not as important but they do want to win this game. Before the past two games at White Hart Lane, Arsenal's results were disappointing but they raised their game and made sure they didn't lose - it will be the same tomorrow.

Spurs have not had the best of luck against Arsenal in the recent past, perhaps it will change tomorrow but whatever happens the players will need to raise their game and be prepared to fight and battle throughout the match to compete, restrict Arsenal and play their own game. No early lapses are essential so that Arsenal aren't given a lift - wear them down and than strike.

It will be an enthralling game, I can't see it remaining scoreless but this the 'THE' Cup Final I talked about a few weeks ago - it's virtually a matter of 'winner takes all', so high are the stakes. Spurs have come through the recent games with improved form and have achieved results where previously they would have failed, other results have gone in their favour and teams around have slipped back so now is the time for Spurs to take matters into their own hands, take control of their own destiny and a win would certainly do that.

The team and Martin Jol have achieved a great deal this year and deserve credit for the amazing progress - a good result tomorrow would confirm that all that has been done has been worthwhile.

It's been an incredible season - can it continue to the Champions League? Tomorrow will go a long way to giving us an answer.

A win puts Spurs in control for the final two games, a draw keeps them four points ahead of arsenal who have a game in hand while the unthinkable, a defeat hands the initiative to Arsenal. It is balanced on a knife edge -whoever holds their nerve and takes their chances will prevail.

Come On You Spurs!


21st April - Spurs in History

21st April, 2003

West Bromwich Albion 2 Spurs 3

The last time Spurs played on this day, two Robbie Keane goals and one from Teddy Sheringham, (Pic: Teddy Sheringham) his last for the club, gave Spurs al three points. Spurs had twice been behind but came back to equalise and a goal from Keane, seven minutes from time won the game. This was to be their last win and point from a season that had started to go wrong from mid-January. In that time they only two other games - Glenn Hoddle was under severe pressure to hold on to his manager's post, yet after the game he was still talking of a possible European place.

The team was: Keller, Carr, Bunjevcevic, Gardner, Richards (Perry), Davies, King, YToda (Poyet), Etherington, Sheringham, Keane. Subs: Sullivan, Iversen, Acimovic.

How things have changed!!

21st April, 1982

Barcelona 1 Spurs 0 European Cup winners' Cup (SF) 2nd Leg.

Going into this game all square Barcelona managed to score the goal necessary to take them to the Final. Spurs had been campaigning on four competitions with prospects in them all but now they were left with only the FA Cup. Too many games had proved their downfall as the season progressed intio the latter stages. The goal came in the second half but despite their best efforts Spurs could not score.

21st April, 1990

Spurs 2 Manchester United 1

It's good to record a win over United to complete the 'double' over them. Spurs had won 1-0 at Old Trafford in december. Spurs goals were scored by Gascoigne and Lineker.

Spurs finished the season 3rd, United were 13th.


Thursday, April 20, 2006

20th April - Spurs in History

20th April, 1901

Sheffield United 2 Spurs 2 FA Cup Final at Crystal Palace

Tottenham Hotspur, the non-League Giant Killers playing in the Southern League, had reached the Final but no-one expected them to win again as no non-League team had won the FA Cup since the formation of the Football League.

An attendance of 114,815 watched as Spurs took on the experienced League team who took the lead after twelve minutes. Spurs equalised through Sandy Brown, thirteen minutes later and he put them ahead five minutes after half time. However, a dubious refereeing decision gave United an equaliser one minute later. Clawley, the Spurs goalkeeper, fumbled a shot but when challenged managed to scramble it clear for a corner as signalled by the linesman. However, the referee awarded the goal that never was. From this point the game drifted to a draw and a replay. Two nights after the Replay, cinematic newsreel shots showed that the ball had not crossed the line and the United equaliser should not have counted.

The Replay was arranged for Bolton a week later.

20th April, 2005

Spurs 1 West Bromwich Albion 1

Spurs were hoping for a place in the UEFA Cup and West Brom were fighting against relegation. Spurs had drawn at The Hawthorns at the start of the season and also in the Cup but had won the replay at White Hart Lane. West Brom took a first half lead and although Robbie Keane scored the equaliser early in the second half, Spurs were unable to push on for the three points that would have helped their search for Europe. However, the point helped West Brom in their successful relegation struggle which went to the final day of the season.

20th April, 2002

Bolton Wanderers 1 Spurs 1

A Steffan Iversen goal gave Spurs a point in this game.

20th April, 1999

Charlton Athletic 1 Spurs 4

Spurs last win on this day came at The Valley in front of 20,000 spectators. Spurs goals were scored by Iversen, Campbell, Dominguez and Ginola.

This was the highlight of the closing weeks of the season as they lost four of the remaining five games. However, the season had seen the team win the Worthington Cup and they were assured of UEFA Cup football for the following season.

20th April, 1962

Spurs 4 Blackburn Rovers 1

Jimmy Greaves scored Spurs' third goal against Blackburn which brought him a new club record of scoring in his 9th consecutive game. The run had started against Bolton at the end of February and in total he had scored eleven goals in that period. He failed to score in the next game but managed to score in the final three games of the season and also on the opening day of the next season. This was Jimmy's first season with Spurs - he made his debut, scoring a hat-trick against Blackpool on 16th December. By the end of the season had scored 21 League goals from 22 games and 9 FA Cup goals from 7 games.

The other goals against Blackburn were scored by Terry Medwin, Bobby Smith and Cliff Jones.


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Response for Spurs to Mirror Article

In the Mirror, today, Wednesday, 19th April, the reporter, Oliver Holt, wrote an article entitled:
'Sorry Spurs, but Arsenal Deserve Champions League Place'

My response to that article is:

The article gives a very biased view favouring Arsenal Football Club. I acknowledge that over the past number of years, under Arsene Wenger’s management, Arsenal has achieved much success while playing exciting and attractive football.

This season has been a crossroads for the club, there have been changes in personnel and with injuries they have found it more difficult in the Premiership. At this moment in time, while playing in the Champions League semi-finals, the club is not assured of Champions League football next season, as they are four points behind Tottenham Hotspur, with one game in hand.

Arsenal may well beat Spurs on Saturday and go on to take fourth place in the Premiership to earn their place in the Champions League or they may win the competition and if Spurs were to finish fourth, a position they have held since December, Arsenal would qualify as the rules state and so deprive Spurs. If that happens, so be it.

However, for you to suggest that it’s desperately important for English football that Arsenal qualify’ is incredible. It means that there has been no point to all the football that has been played in the Premiership for the past nine months – Arsenal must qualify because they have been so good in the past and they deserve another season in the Champions League. Presumably, the same applies to Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea. By maintaining the status quo, season after season no-one else has a chance of playing on the biggest stage in European football. This has been an argument that has been used against Spurs supporters for years - that we live in the past glories and won’t accept the evidence of the team’s short-comings.

This has been another season of transition for Spurs but one which has seen them make more progress than anyone could have envisaged at the start of the season. In August, Tottenham would have been accepted a place in the UEFA Cup next year but such has been the progress of the young team under Martin Jol that their aspirations have suddenly risen. At present Spurs have won the same number of game sas their North London neighbours and lost three fewer so their position in fourth is on merit. They are on the threshold of taking the biggest step forward that the club has seen in over two decades and you want to deny the players, management and supporters.

Your introductory praise of the current Spurs team is worthy and your comments about the team ‘are not quite ready’, are understandable and I would tend to agree with those views although other Spurs supporters would take me to task over that. However, if qualification for the Champions League is achieved, then it is the responsibility of the management staff and directors to ensure that suitable players are signed during the summer to strengthen the squad appropriately. For many seasons, as Spurs have inquired about certain players, their reluctance to come to White Hart Lane has been due to a lack of European football. That opportunity can now be offered to future players.

‘Arsenal…… desperately need the oxygen of the Champions League to allow their dreams to breathe. They need the Champions League so they can hang on to Thierry Henry….’

Spurs need the oxygen of Champions League football to holds on to their best young players – Ledley King, Paul Robinson, Michael Carrick, Jermain Defoe, Jermaine Jenas, Robbie Keane, Aaron Lennon, Michael Dawson and others. How long will they remain with the club without Champions League football?

The England manager openly encourages the English players to be seeking European football, Spurs lost their captain, to Arsenal, five years ago because he wanted to win trophies and play in Europe, something Spurs could not offer at the time and his departure made it more difficult for the club. If Spurs qualify for the Champions League they will be offering seven exciting, young English players the opportunity to play against the best players and teams in Europe, surely that has to be a beneficial experience for those players and be a positive for the next England manager.

They need it to allow the club to prosper when it moves to the Emirates Stadium next season.’

Arsenal, as you say, 'have no divine right to play in the Champions League', but you seem to suggest that they deserve to have one. Every club has to live by the decisions they make and the results the team achieves. Nottingham Forest, Leeds United and many others, including Spurs, have had to come to terms with the slide from the highest level and cope with the difficulties. Arsenal are no different to any other club, even taking into account their recent success.

‘English football will be the loser if Arsenal don’t make it into the Champions League and all their promise begins to dissipate.

Our game will be the poorer if it loses Henry and Fabregas and Eboue…’

Arsenal lost Viera last season, Henry and Pires are considering going this season. Players move on – Klinsmann (Pic: A Loss to Spurs) and Popescu left Spurs in 1995 because they couldn’t offer European football – it’s no different today. Spurs and the Premiership would have been better if those players had stayed but they didn’t. Spurs had to cope with that, nobody wanted to give them a helping hand because they had had such an exciting season at White Hart Lane. The facts were that despite their best efforts they didn’t win anything or qualify for Europe that year.

Players come and go now-a-days as supporters have come to realise and every player can be replaced and every team has to move on accordingly – it is the manager’s responsibility to address these issues and I’m sure Arsene Wenger is very capable of doing so.

Last season, no-one suggested that Liverpool should have a right to a Champions League place when Everton were in fourth place. Liverpool’s history of success in the European Cup is well known but last year in the League, they didn’t achieve the success they desired. So why was Spurs’ improvement this year denigrated in such a way? Spurs showed the football they are capable of and their progress has been considerable and if they achieve qualification for a Champions League place, they are deserving of it.

Your wish may be granted over the next weeks but if it is taken to its full extent, football as a competitive game will be gone forever – the ‘big’ four will be guaranteed their Champions League place every year – something they all crave.

Arsenal have had success over a number of years, perhaps a new order is on its way.


19th April - Spurs in History

19th April, 1972

AC Milan 1 Spurs 1 UEFA Cup SF (2nd Leg)

After their sterling performance to take a one goal lead into the second leg this draw enabled Spurs to reach their second European Final. Spurs were looking for an early goal and it came from their inspirational captain, Alan Mullery (Pic: Captain and goal scorer, Alan Mullery led by example). A Chivers shot was blocked, the ball fell to Perryman, the scoring hero from the first game and he played the ball off to Mullery who scored from 20 yards.

A few weeks earlier Mullery had been playing for Fulham, on loan, in the old 2nd Division, now following his unexpected recall, he was leading Spurs to a European Final and received a call up to the England squad.

Spurs defended well and restricted Milan's scoring opportunities. The home side's only real shot at goal was a penalty awarded with twenty minutes to go. It was a harsh decision, the referee being pressurised by the crowd. Having equalised Milan continued to look for a winner but Spurs remained in control and went through to the final over two legs against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

19th April, 1975

Spurs 2 Chelsea 0

The crucial relegation six-pointer, whichever team lost would almost certainly be relegated. This had been a very traumatic season for Spurs. Manager Bill Nicholson had resigned at the beginning of the season following a poor series of results in the opening four games. He was replaced by Terry Neill, former Arsenal captain, and the season was one long struggle against relegation. There were few high points in the season but with three games remaining Spurs still had it in their own hands to avoid the drop.

In a very tense game, with crowd trouble before, during and after the match, Spurs managed to win with goals from Alfie Conn and Steve Perryman. They lived to fight another day in the battle against relegation which was to go to the final match of the season before safety was assured. This defeat didn't help Chelsea's cause and at the season's end they were relegated on goal average, two places and one point behind Spurs.

19th April, 2000

Spurs last game on this day was at Leicester when a David Ginola goal gave them the three points. This was Spurs' first win in six games since they had beaten Southampton 7-2 at White Hart Lane in mid-March. From those previous five games, they had gained only one point in a draw at relegated Watford.

19th April, 1958

Leicester City 1 Spurs 3

In another win at Leicester, the final away game of the season, Spurs continued an impressive end of season run with their fourth successive win. The goals were scored by Terry Medwin, Bobby Smith and Cliff Jones.

Since early February, Spurs had played thirteen League games and suffered only one defeat. The nine wins and three draws, including a 4-4 draw against Arsenal at Highbury, had seen Spurs move up to third place in the League. The season closed the following weekend with another win, at home to Blackpool, 2-1, with Medwin and Smith scoring again.

Bobby Smith equalled the 1931 record of Ted Harper, scoring 36 League goals in the season.

Spurs have maintained an impressive sequence of results on this day (19th April) since 1969:

1969: West Ham (h) Won 1-0 Greaves
1972: AC Milan (a) Draw 1-1 Mullery
1975 Chelsea (h) Won 2-0 Conn, Perryman
1976 Coventry City (h) Won 4-1 Pratt, Osgood, Duncan, Neighbour
1980 Everton (h) Won 3-0 Miller, Ardiles, Galvin
1986 Manchester United (h) Draw 0-0
1997 Aston Villa (a) Draw 1-1 Vega
2000 Leicester City (a) Won 1-0 Ginola


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Has Mido played his last game for Tottenham?

Speculation is rife that the Spurs' Egyptian striker, Mido, (Pic: right) may have played his last game for the club.

Rumours have been rife that his recent 'injury' has been a cover for problems behind the scenes at White Hart Lane. A training ground row was rumoured to be behind the original problem a few weeks ago but that seemed to have been sorted as Mido returned to the team, initially as substitute and then started the game against Manchester City. However, at the end of that game as the players left the pitch, Mido and manager, Martin Jol seemed to have words.

Mido did not play against Everton due to a groin 'injury' and it is now reported that he declared himself fit for yeaterday's game against Manchester United but the medical staff disagreed with him. On hearing that he wouldn't be part of the squad, Mido is reported to have left the ground. The club claim that it was with Jol's permission but team mates and other staff at the club were reported in the 'Daily Mail' to be stunned.

Mido is nearing the end of an eighteen month loan period from Roma and with the goals that he has scored and Jol's preference for a tall striker, ensuring that he started most games this season, it had been thought that the move would be made permanent.

The early reports appeared to suggest talks had taken place with Roma and a settlement was imminent. However, later comments from Mido's agent said that Spurs were dragging the process out and other clubs were showing interest.

However, in the past few months things have not gone as well for Mido. He went to play in the African Nations Cup for Egypt in January but had a blazing and very public row at the side of the pitch with the manager when he was substituted. He has subsequently been banned from playing for Egypt and missed the Final which his home country won.

Mido has a history of problems at his previous clubs and with the managers but it appeared that he had turned over a new leaf and Jol was handling him well. He also has a problem that his weight seems to fluctuate but last summer he spent extra time training to be in good shape for the start of the season. This paid off for him as he started in the team ahead of Fredi Kanoute who was transferred. However, on his return from Egyptian duty Mido seemed to have gained weight and his performances were not as they had been in the earlier months of the season.

If the current rumours are true, it would seem very unlikely that Mido will remain at White Hart Lane and may well not appear in the team again this season as Spurs complete their final three games, striving to ensure European football for next year.


Club reaction to reports about Mido:

Martin reacted angrily to a newspaper report suggesting that Mido had left without permission before the game.

"Mido came in for an early fitness test but it was just too painful for him. We all agreed he was not fit to play, we also thought he might have a bit of an infection so it was sensible that he returned home. He desperately wanted to play. All season he has been training hard and I know he wants to help us get results in the last few matches."

"It's an injury that has niggled away at him, but I expect him to be out on the training ground again in the next 48 hours and I can assure you that he will do everything again this week to be available for Arsenal."