Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Hero Needed

‘Come On You Spurs’ – Give Us A Hero!

The lyrics of Paper Lace’s 1974 anti-war song, ‘Billy Don’t Be a Hero’ remind us of the great loss of life brought about by war and the grief brought upon family and friends. A young woman is distraught that her fiancĂ© chooses to leave the area with an Army contingent passing through the town, and go with them to fight. She laments,

"Billy, don't be a hero! Don't be a fool with your life!
"Billy, don't be a hero! Come back and make me your wife!"
And as Billy started to go, she said, "Keep your pretty head low!"
"Billy, don't be a hero! Come back to me!"

The song goes on to describe how Billy is killed in action in a pitched battle after volunteering to ride out and seek reinforcements. In the end, the woman throws away the regret letter notifying her of Billy's "heroic" death.

Football is only a game and the heroics achieved over ninety minutes on the pitch are as nothing compared to the bravery of soldiers prepared to give their lives in the line of duty – but on Wednesday evening as Spurs make their second visit to the Emirates Stadium – the one thing their game is crying out for is a hero to keep his head high and while all around are feeling the pressure, he will come through and show his true worth to the team. It’s a long, long time since Spurs have had a player who has risen to the occasion and produced an outstanding display against all the odds and when it has really mattered.

The top teams have players who are all capable of producing top-class performances when it really matters. The current Liverpool team doesn’t stand comparison with the teams of previous generations but they have won the FA Cup, the League Cup, the UEFA Cup and the biggest prize of all, the Champions League. Why? They have Steven Gerrard who has time and time again risen to the occasion, produced an outstanding performance when everything has been going against Liverpool and pulled them through – the Champions League Final, three down at half-time, in last season’s FA Cup Liverpool could have gone out in the opening round at Palace but for Gerrard and then in the Final itself, two outstanding goals with the spectacular goal at the death to snatch victory from West Ham and take the game into extra-time and eventual success. In fact, such was his influence on Liverpool winning the Final that the DVD for the Final is called ‘The Gerrard Final!’

The major difference between Spurs and Liverpool at the moment is one player who can produce amazing performances which lift the players around him and produce results above what they deserve. If only Spurs could find such a player but with their pay structure at the club they’ll never get a player of Gerrard’s caliber. However, at the moment there is a great need for one of the current players to step forward and take that mantle and make themselves a hero and what better place to do it than the Emirates Stadium – they would become an instant ‘Legend’, remembered for years to come.

In summing up last week’s 1st Leg match a radio commentator stated that at two nil Spurs had a great chance but by the end it had gone. There was an opportunity to really put one over Arsenal and make the 2nd Leg academic but it wasn’t taken. The departure of Berbatov with injury changed the game but there were enough experienced players on the Spurs’ team who should have been able to take control and dominate the game for Spurs but they didn’t and it cost them dearly – they bottled it.

Now at 2-2 for the second game on Wednesday, Spurs have it all to do. With the away goals against them Spurs can’t let the game drift and hold on to what they’ve got because in terms of reaching the Final at the moment they don’t have anything. Spurs will need to be positive against probably the Arsenal young team who will greater experience among the re-enforcements, waiting to be called upon if necessary. This is where Spurs need every player totally committed to the cause but sometimes even that isn’t enough. There have been numerous occasions in recent seasons when Spurs have given it everything, put up a fighting, gutsy performance but lost to a late goal or some other hard-luck story. To take that step to the Carling Cup Final it will need a player to really shine – be dominant, take the goal scoring chances that are presented – we’ve had enough of being the nearly team, the unlucky losers, it’s time for Spurs to strike out for glory.

Spurs have had players in the past who achieved such heights – Gascoigne and his contribution in the 1991 FA Cup being almost single-handedly responsible for getting Spurs to the Final and nobody will forget that semi-final goal! A decade earlier, Ricky Villa in the FA Cup semi-final at Highbury and then in the Final replay he was able to shake off the disappointment of the first game and scored the goals to bring the FA Cup to Tottenham. Graham Roberts in the UEFA Cup Final when all looked lost led from the front, scored the equaliser and stepped up to dispatch the first penalty in the nerve-wracking penalty shoot-out. If supporter message-boards had been around in Martin Chivers’ day he would have been criticised endlessly but in big games, he produced the goals – two in the League Cup final of 1971 and another ‘double’ against Wolves in the UEFA Cup semi-final. Jimmy Greaves, Dave Mackay, Teddy Sheringham and Jurgen Klinsmann, 1994 FA Cup semi-final excluded, were all able to show their worth – we need a player of that ilk in the team today.

Who will raise their game and take that chance to be the ‘star’ and become a hero?
If Spurs win, all eleven players will be heroes but there is a need for someone to up their performance when it really matters and inspire those around them to greater heights. It’s all very well to score the goals against Southend or Villa, or to perform lesser teams - it keeps all of us happy, but when the trophies are being handed out the question that has to be asked is, ‘Where were your goals against the best?’

The top players have that star quality and will do it in the vitally important games. Spurs’ need for a new hero on Wednesday is critical. Step forward and take that opportunity now. Robinson, Chimbonda, Dawson, Rocha, Lee, Lennon, Jenas, Zokora, Malbranque, Defdoe, Keane or whoever is selected, your chance to be immortalised in the history of Tottenham Hotspur awaits you.


Spurs in History - 31st January

31st January, 1968

Spurs 1 Manchester United 0 (FA Cup 3rd Round Replay)

This replay was a very tight and combative affair. Jimmy Greaves was re-instated to the Spurs team but the match remained scoreless after ninety minutes. Meeting four days after the original match, some old scores had to be settled and in the second half Joe Kinnear and Brian Kidd were sent off for a tussle in the Spurs penalty area.

In extra time the match was settled by a disputed goal from winger, Jimmy Robertson – United players felt that Mike England had impeded their goalkeeper, Alex Stepney.

As so often happens in these situations, the two teams met again at White Hart Lane on the following Saturday in the League. United won on that occasion.


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Carling Cup Preview

Carling Cup Semi-Final (2nd leg)

January, 2007  Arsenal v Tottenham

At 2 - 0 in the 1st leg, Spurs had a chance but now they’ve got it all to do. The draw probably means that the Arsenal youngsters will be entrusted with reaching the Final, although I’m sure there’ll be a number in reserve to help out if required.

At least Spurs go into the game knowing exactly what they have to do. With the away goals against them I really can’t see Spurs getting through with a draw – so quite simply Spurs need to become the first away team to win at the Emirates Stadium. It is possible and Spurs showed in the home game that they can cause havoc in the Arsenal defence and were able to deal with the Arsenal attack through the first half. It was only when Spurs played deeper after half-time that they allowed Arsenal to take control.

To win Spurs need to:
· show the level of commitment that was experienced in the early part of last Wednesday’s game and maintain it throughout. They have managed that on a number of occasions against Arsenal in the past few seasons – all of the last three home games and at Highbury last April – and Arsenal didn’t like it. Spurs must sustain it for the full game – not just the first half or for the first hour but for the full ninety minutes plus.

· ensure that their own mistakes aren’t the cause of their downfall. Against the top teams Spurs have let individual errors spoil the team performance and those mistakes have been punished. Every player needs to be in control and concentrate throughout the match to eliminate such problems. It will be difficult enough to win without presenting them with gift wrapped opportunities.

· take whatever goal scoring chances that are created – a ruthless spirit to clinically finish off a team and give them no second chances. The loss of Berbatov affected the course of the first game but Defoe and Keane are capable of scoring against anyone – now is their chance to prove it.

· be inspired and believe that they can win whatever happens during the game – not to be put off by a decision that goes against them or an early setback. This needs leadership from someone on the team – Spurs need a ‘hero.’ It’s a long time since Gazza inspired Spurs to the FA Cup win in 1991, another ten years to Ricky Villa’s inspired goals in the FA Cup semi-final and Final, another ten to Martin Chivers’ goals in the League and UEFA Cups but Spurs need someone to step forward and lead by example so as to inspire those around him and lift everyone to a better performance. Who could be the inspiration? Anyone – even the most unlikely of candidates could do it -Ronnie Rosenthal did it against all odds with his hat-trick against Southampton in 1995.

Situation vacant – become a Spurs hero, a Spurs ‘legend’ inspire the team to victory at the Emirates Stadium and take Tottenham Hotspur to the Carling Cup Final.



Spurs in History - 30th January

30th January, 1960

Crewe Alexandra 2 Spurs 2 (FA Cup 4th Round)

This 4th Round F.A.Cup game was an extremely difficult match for Spurs. The result was no ‘fluke.’ They were glad to get the replay at White Hart Lane and can thank goalkeeper Bill Brown who made an excellent save to ensure they achieved the rather fortunate draw.

Spurs goals were scored by Les Allen and Cliff Jones. The team which were to finish third in the First Division that season were made to struggle and the team contained ten of the players who were to write their names in history in the following season as part of the great ‘Double’ winning side.


Monday, January 29, 2007

Spurs in History - 29th January

29th January, 1910

The Steel Brothers - Bobby, Danny and Alex

Spurs 0 Bradford City 0 (1st Division)

A scoreless draw in Spurs second season in the Football League and their first in the First Division would appear to have little significance in the history of Spurs but its position of eminence is due to the make up of the team on that particular Saturday.

For the only time in Spurs history, three brothers appeared in the same team. Bobby Steel and Danny Steel had been almost ever present in the Spurs team during the first two seasons in the League and for this game their brother, Alex, made his one and only League appearance at right half. Danny played at centre half while Bobby played at inside forward.


Sunday, January 28, 2007

Spurs in History - 28th Janauay

28th January, 1961

Spurs 5 Crewe Alexandra 1 (FA Cup 4th Round)

Crewe must have arrived at White Hart Lane for the 4th Round game, with worries of a repeat of the previous season’s record defeat on their minds. Having lost 13-2 in a replay at the same stage of the FA Cup, twelve months earlier Crewe were determined to give a better account of themselves.

However it was difficult for them and their fears must have been raised when Spurs scored an early goal. Spurs won easily and only the performance of the Crewe goalkeeper, Williamson, kept the score down.

Spurs took the lead in the fourth minute through Terry Dyson, went further ahead with a goal from Bobby Smith before Crewe scored in a breakaway. Dave Mackay scored another before half-time and then Cliff Jones and Clive Allen, the two 'tormentors in chief' from the previous season completed the goal scoring in the second half.


Saturday, January 27, 2007

Spurs in History - 27th January

27th January, 1968

Manchester United 2 Spurs 2 (Fa Cup 3rd Round)

Spurs two goal Hero - Martin Chivers

A difficult 3rd Round tie at Old Trafford saw Spurs earn a replay in a thrilling action-packed game with a last minute equalizer from Martin Chivers.

Mike England returned to the team, having been out for two months with injury but Jimmy Greaves was left out and Phil Beal played as an extra defender.

Martin Chivers, making only his third appearance for Spurs since signing from Southampton earlier in the month, scored after four minutes but United equalized within two minutes. Half way through the second half, United took a lead which they looked like holding until Chivers' last minute strike.

Team: Jennings, Kinnear, Knowles, Mullery, England, Mackay, Robertson, Gilzean, Chivers, Venables (Jones), Beal.


Friday, January 26, 2007

Spurs and the FA Cup 4th Round

Spurs - A Stepping Stone on the Road to Wembley
(Spurs and the FA Cup 4th Round)

Many of the FA Cup ties that linger on the memory are associated with the 3rd Round or the Semi-Final or Final while the games in the intervening rounds tend to merge into one, as the 4th, 5th and 6th Rounds become indistinguishable as part of the journey, which one hopes will lead to success. As always, there are exceptions with the double spring spectaculars in 1985 at Southampton and Anfield.

Having overcome Cardiff in the 3rd Round Replay, Spurs have been rewarded with a second Cup visit from Southend United. This 4th Round tie will probably be consigned to join the many games that are overlooked in history unless it becomes memorable for all the ‘wrong’ reasons in that the Championship side gain an unexpected victory or hopefully the game has some spectacular goals which make it a step towards a Spurs’ victory in the Final in May.

It is for the ‘wrong’ reasons that a recent 4th Round game is remembered. Only three years ago supporters were left reeling after Spurs managed to lose a three goal half-time advantage to ten-man Manchester City. At half-time supporters were contemplating a 5th Round game at Old Trafford – Spurs were three ahead and City had just had a player sent off - nothing could be more straight forward. But City staged the most unexpected of come-backs to win the replay 4-3. The lowest point in a very low season as Spurs with David Pleat as caretaker manager, waited patiently for a new manager to replace Glenn Hoddle.

Unfortunately, even the greatest of managers can suffer the ignominy of such defeats. In 1973, with less than ten minutes to play, Bill Nicholson’s side were 3-1 ahead in the 4th Round Replay against Derby County at White Hart Lane. Spurs’ goals had come from Martin Chivers, Alan Gilzean and a Mike England penalty but then the Derby centre forward, Roger Davies came to life and scored twice to take the game into extra time. He then scored a third as Derby completed a remarkable recovery to win 5-3 in front of 53,000 disbelieving spectators.

In 1966 a visiting centre forward who also scored a hat-trick in a 4th Round tie was less fortunate. Willie Irvine, a Northern Ireland international scored three for Burnley in a seven goal thriller but went home on the losing side when Alan Gilzean matched his hat-trick and Frank Saul added a fourth for Spurs who had been two down early on and were trailing 2-3 with only minutes remaining.

The repercussions from a shock defeat can sometimes be very unexpected. In 1970 Spurs were knocked out of the Cup by Crystal Palace in a 4th Round Replay. Only a few weeks earlier Spurs had comfortably completed a League double over their London rivals and so must have assumed that progress to the next round of the Cup would be reasonably straight-forward. However, Palace achieved a scoreless draw at White Hart Lane and a single goal was enough in the replay. Manager Bill Nicholson was frustrated with the disappointing performance of his players and for the next game made wholesale changes. Dropped from the team were Alan Gilzean, Joe Kinnear, Cyril Knowles, Steve Perryman and Jimmy Greaves. Through time four players managed to regain their places but the other, Spurs’ leading goal scorer, Jimmy Greaves, never played for Spurs again. By mid-March he had been transferred to West Ham United as part of the deal to bring Martin Peters to Tottenham. Those supporters present at Selhurst Park that night in January didn’t realise that they were witnessing the demise and swan-song of Spurs’ greatest goal scorer – Jimmy Greaves’ last appearance in a white Spurs’ shirt.

However, games worthy of more favourable mention, include the 2nd Round tie back in 1901, when no-one could accuse Spurs of having an easy ride in the FA Cup. Having removed 1st Division Preston from the competition in the previous round, they were drawn against Bury, the FA Cup holders. In the previous year’s Final Bury had brushed aside Southampton, Spurs’ rivals from the Southern League. Spurs had home advantage but 1st Division Bury took the lead within two minutes, before some of the record crowd of 20,250 had taken their places inside White Hart Lane. Bury then dominated the game putting Spurs’ defence under constant pressure but after half an hour Spurs managed to score – very much against the run of play. From a rare foray into the Bury half, winger Tom Smith centred from the right and Sandy Brown scored the goal that completely changed the game. Spurs were filled with confidence and in the second half were a different team. Brown scored a second goal and while Bury recovered to fight back in an effort to retrieve the situation, it was Spurs, the non-League side, who were playing the cultured football and deservedly progressed to the next round.

In 1921, the next occasion that Spurs won the FA Cup, their early progress was quite straight-forward. It had been expected that their 1st Division rivals, Bradford City would provide stiffer opposition than Spurs had experienced in the previous round but despite their defensive display holding Spurs in the first half, they were swept aside after half-time as Spurs scored four goals without reply. Jimmy Seed was the star, scoring twice in two minutes early in the second half. He controlled the game for Spurs and completed his hat-trick with a shot from twenty five yards, after winger, Jimmy Banks had scored the third. It was Jimmy Seed who received the rave reviews in the newspaper reports for his performance and his goals.

In 1961 Spurs had a home 4th Round tie against the side they had met at the same stage of the competition twelve months earlier. Then Spurs had been drawn away and were relieved to come away from Gresty Road with a 2-2 draw after Crewe Alexandra had twice pulled back from being a goal behind and only a magnificent save from Bill Brown prevented Spurs becoming the victim of a Cup upset. Les Allen and Cliff Jones scored in the first game and both maintained their scoring in the replay, being responsible for eight of the thirteen goals that Spurs scored that night. At half-time Spurs were 10-1 ahead and added three more in the second half to record their highest win, 13-2. Allen scored 5, Bobby Smith got 4, Jones scored 3 and Tommy Harmer completed the scoring. It is said that Crewe left London Euston from Platform 13 and arrived in Crewe at Platform 2.

A year later, Crewe determined not to suffer another heavy defeat gave a credible account of themselves before losing 5-1 to the Spurs team that was well on the way to recording the first League and Cup ‘double’ of the twentieth century. Crewe must have feared the worst when Terry Dyson put Spurs ahead after four minutes but their goalkeeper, put in an outstanding performance. Smith scored Spurs’ second but three minutes later Crewe pulled a goal back. Dave Mackay scored a third before the interval and second half goals from Jones and Allen completed Spurs’ victory.

The 4th Round draw in 1962 took Spurs on the long journey to Plymouth who were in the 2nd Division. Spurs won 5-1 with goals from Terry Medwin, John White, Jimmy Greaves (2) and Cliff Jones.

The 1967 4th Round game saw Portsmouth as the visitors to Tottenham. In the 2nd Division, Portsmouth held Spurs through the first half in spite of early Spurs’ chances and pressure. It was two goals inside a minute from Alan Gilzean early in the second half that changed the game. Greaves added a third before Portsmouth scored their consolation goal.

The 100th F.A. Cup competition in 1981 saw Spurs with a home tie in the Fourth Round against Third Division strugglers, Hull City. Going into this game, Spurs were in a period of impressive form with Archibald and Crooks taking the chances created by a midfield including Hoddle, Ardiles and Galvin, so the result should have been a formality. However, Hull gave Spurs a scare and the deadlock was only broken when substitute Garry Brooke, who had replaced Ardiles, scored with seven minutes remaining. Brooke then forced another save from the Hull keeper and set up Steve Archibald’s last minute goal. It was with relief that Spurs progressed to the next round.

The following year Spurs faced 1st Division opposition in a home game with Leeds United. As in the previous round against Arsenal, it was a very tight game and it was Garth Crooks who again provided the goal which took Spurs through to the next round for their third game against 1st Division opposition, Aston Villa.

The 1991 FA Cup triumph was achieved amid the financial difficulties encountered by the club and the events off the pitch were a major distraction. However, Paul Gascoigne managed to single-handedly turn everyone’s thoughts back to the football with his outstanding performances in the Cup games, in spite of needing a hernia operation. It was hoped that he could be nursed through to the end of the season and against Oxford United he showed no ill effects from the problem by scoring twice to give Spurs a comfortable passage to the next round. The other goals in a 4-2 win were scored by Gary Mabbutt and Gary Lineker.

While Terry Venables masterminded Spurs’ FA Cup success in 1991, his first three seasons at White Hart Lane were not so distinguished. Spurs were knocked out in the early rounds, showing none of their traditional Cup winning characteristics, including a 4th Round exit in 1987 to Port Vale. The 3rd Division side, fifty two places below Spurs were two goals ahead after twenty five minutes. When Spurs wakened up after half-time they scored through central defender Neil Ruddock mid-way through the half but it was too little too late and their humiliation was complete – from finalists at Wembley the previous May to Cup fodder for lowly opposition eight months later – the FA Cup is no respecter of anyone’s reputation.

Spurs’ progress in January, 1979 was proving problematic. They had the good fortune to receive a home tie in both of the opening rounds but after being taken to a replay by non-league Altrincham, Wrexham also managed to earn a draw at White Hart Lane in the 4th Round. The replay win over Altrincham had been Spurs’ first FA Cup success for six seasons, since defeating another non-League side, Margate, in 1973 which had been Bill Nicholson’s last FA Cup win as manager. Spurs and Wrexham shared six goals in the first game with Glenn Hoddle, Chris Jones and an own goal accounting for Spurs’ quota. Wrexham were deserving of the replay and Spurs were grateful to a hat-trick in successive rounds with centre forward Chris Jones providing the much needed goals to see Spurs through by 3-2 after extra time.

A memorable game from recent times when Spurs’ FA Cup success has been minimal was back in 2001. Spurs were drawn away to fellow Premiership side Charlton who had won the earlier league game by a solitary goal and had earned a scoreless draw at Tottenham a few days earlier. Spurs found themselves two goals behind early in the second half but staged a remarkable comeback to score three goals inside six minutes to change the game. Gary Doherty, Darren Anderton and Oyvind Leonhardsen got the goals while a late strike from Sergei Rebrov sealed the victory.

A defeat in the 4th Round of the FA Cup often signals an early ‘end’ to the season. This year Spurs are fortunate that they still have the UEFA Cup games and the second leg of the Carling Cup to maintain interest in their season as well as endeavouring to close the gap on those European places for next year. However, defeat to Southend is not a prospect that anyone at White Hart Lane would want to contemplate so while the temptation will be there to rest important players ahead of next week’s Carling Cup game, Southend must be given they respect they are due. They showed in the Carling Cup that they will compete for every ball so Spurs must be prepared to dig deep and produce the required effort and application to keep alive the hope that it will be another stepping stone on the road to Wembley.



Spurs in History - 26th January

26th January, 1991

Spurs 4 Oxford United 2 FA Cup 4th Round

Spurs' progress in the Cup continued with this 4th Round victory thanks to an outstanding performance from Paul Gascoigne. The game marked a re-surgence in Gascoigne’s form as he displayed all his skills and it continued throughout the Cup run, in spite of injury problems as he played on while in need of a hernia operation.

He scored two goals against Oxford and created the other two which were scored by Gary Lineker and Gary Mabbutt.


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Spurs in History - 25th January

25th January, 1964
Spurs 3 Aston Villa 1 (1st Divison)

This was a season of transition as Bill Nicholson started to replace members of the ‘Double’ winning team. Injury had taken Blanchflower, Mackay and Medwin from the team and reserves were getting their opportunity.

For this game, Derek Possee replaced the injured Cliff Jones on the right wing for his only game of the season and scored on his debut. The other goals came from Jimmy Greaves and Terry Dyson.

Possee who had come through the Junior teams at Spurs, made a number of appearances in subsequent seasons before being transferred to Millwall in 1967 for £25,000.


Carling Cup Preview

Spurs v Arsenal Preview
Carling Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg

Now that all the wrangling about tickets and prices has been resolved, it’s time to look at this much awaited match which throws up a number of dilemmas:

Should the heart or the head rule when assessing the game?

Which Arsenal team will turn up – their Carling Cup youngsters or their Champions League side?

And more importantly, which Spurs side will appear? – the one that battled with pride and passion against Chelsea and that has imperiously swept aside all that Europe’s best UEFA Cup teams could throw at them or the side that has shown so little enterprise away from home and brought such fear and lack of ambition to their home game against Liverpool that for an hour they tried to contain and ultimately paid the penalty.

Only if Spurs show passion, determination, commitment – all of those words – will they achieve any success against Arsenal. They showed none of them at the beginning of December when making their first appearance at the Emirates Stadium. They must not make that mistake again.

Many criticize Martin Jol for his failure to get the tactics right but on occasions he has shown an awareness and got the tactics spot on – in Europe, home and away, both games against Arsenal last season, against Chelsea both last season and this, at Old Trafford on a couple of occasions – the team has been well prepared and up for the game. He certainly needs to get it right on Wednesday night and that should mean getting among the Arsenal players to deny them time and space, to put them under pressure and on the back foot so that Spurs can dictate the tempo of the game.

Spurs’ overall record in League Cup semi-finals isn’t great, although no-one will ever forget the 5-1 defeat of Chelsea in 2002. Spurs have reached 11 semi-finals and progressed to the Final on five occasions, winning three of them. They have met Arsenal in two previous semi-finals and on both occasions went out to late goals.

In 1968, a late goal at Highbury in the 1st leg gave Arsenal the advantage and a late equaliser at White Hart Lane gave them a draw and aggregate win.

In 1987, David Pleat’s team won at Highbury with a Clive Allen goal and another Allen goal gave Spurs a first half lead in the 2nd leg. Arsenal scored twice in the second half, the winner coming in the final minutes. A third game saw Allen put Spurs ahead again but when Arsenal scored their second in the last moments of the game, it was the first time they had been ahead on aggregate over the three games – a great opportunity missed by Spurs.

Spurs haven’t beaten Arsenal in the League since November, 1999. Goals from Iversen and Sherwood gave them a 2-1 win but in a number of those games Arsenal were relieved to take away a point while Spurs felt they had deserved more. The fight that was shown in those games is what is needed – Arsenal don’t like teams that get among them as Bolton, Fulham and Sheffield United have shown to good effect – so Spurs need to find that inner resolve to compete and give Arsenal nothing. If they can find that inspiration and commitment, accept whatever goal-scoring chances are on offer and get a little rub of the green, then Spurs could set themselves up for a very interesting return game in a week’s time.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Spurs in History - 24th January

24th January, 1981

Spurs 2 Hull City 0 FA Cup 4th Round

The 100th F.A. Cup competition saw Spurs with a home tie in the Fourth Round against Third Division strugglers, Hull City.

Spurs were in a period of impressive form, going into this game, and with Archibald and Crooks taking the chances created by a midfield including Hoddle, Ardiles and Galvin, the result should have been a formality.

However, Hull gave Spurs a scare and the deadlock was only broken when substitute Garry Brooke, who replaced Ardiles, scored with seven minutes remaining. Brooke then forced another save from the Hull keeper and set up Steve Archibald’s last minute goal.

Relief for Spurs as they progressed to the next round.

Team: Daines; McAllister, Miller, Roberts, Perryman, Yorath, Ardiles (Brooke), Hoddle, Galvin, Archibald, Crooks


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Spurs in History - 23rd January

Teddy Sheringham celebrates Spurs semi-final victory over Chelsea.

23rd January, 2002

Spurs 5 Chelsea 1 (Worthington Cup Semi-Final 2nd Leg)

A goal down from the first leg of this Semi-Final clash, Spurs set about overcoming Chelsea with a style and determination, often missing from Spurs teams.

An early goal, within two minutes, from Steffan Iversen set Spurs on their way. Tim Sherwood scored before half-time and in the second half, further goals from Teddy Sheringham, Simon Davies and substitute, Sergei Rebrov, ensured Spurs were in the Worthington Cup Final, before Chelsea’s late consolation goal.

This was Spurs best performance of the season and the best result of Glenn Hoddle’s time as manager. What a way to overcome the Chelsea jinx who hadn’t lost at White Hart Lane since 1987.

Unfortunately, the euphoria of this result was not carried forward to the Final in Cardiff where Spurs lost to Blackburn Rovers.

Team: Sullivan, Taricco, Davies, Perry, Gardner, King, Sherwood, Poyet (Leonhardsen), Anderton, Sheringham, Iversen (Rebrov)


Monday, January 22, 2007

Spurs in History - 22nd January

New Signing Danny Blanchflower inspired Spurs to victory over Sheffield Wednesday

22nd January, 1955

Spurs 7 Sheffield Wednesday 2 (1st Division)

In a transitional season for Spurs, two new signings played their part in this victory over Wednesday. Winger, Johhny Gavin had signed from Norwich city in October and these goals gave him six in fifteen appearances. Danny Blanchflower had joined from Aston Villa in December for £30,000 as a replacement for Bill Nicholson.

Spurs were a goal up after one minute when Johnny Gavin scored. Wednesday equalized but then Spurs went further ahead through goals from George Robb, Eddie Baily and Gavin.

In the second half further goals from Johnny Brooks, Len Duquemin and another from Brooks sealed Spurs victory although Wednesday scored a second.

Spurs, inspired by Danny Blanchflower, made light of the muddy conditions to put on a slick goalscoring performance against a struggling Wednesday side.

Team: Reynolds, Ramsey, Hopkins, Blanchflower, Clarke, Marchi, Gavin, Baily, Duquemin, Brooks, Robb


Sunday, January 21, 2007

Spurs in History - 21st January

21st January, 1976

Newcastle United 3 Spurs 1 (League Cup Semi-Final 2nd Leg)

Spurs narrowly avoided relegation the previous season but showed improved form and a good run in the League Cup saw them facing Newcastle in the Semi-Final. Having won the first leg at White Hart Lane 1 - 0, thanks to a goal from John Pratt and a superb performance from Pat Jennings, Spurs were disappointed to miss out on an opportunity to appear in another Wembley Final.

Don McAllister scored the goal in the second game but it was not enough to overcome Newcastle who won 3 – 2 on aggregate.


Saturday, January 20, 2007

Spurs in History - 20th January

The 1951 team after winning the 1st Division title
(Photo - courtsey of

20th January, 1951

Spurs 2 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 (1st Division)

Having won promotion in great style the previous season, the Spurs ‘Push and Run’ team got off to a disappointing start to their first season back in the First Division since 1935.

However, they gradually found their way and by December were top of the division. After going out of the Cup, they lost at Manchester United, but this game against Wolves saw them back in their true style.

66,796 spectators packed White Hart Lane to see goals from Sonny Walters and Sid McClellan give them a much needed and encouraging victory.

The team went on to win the First Division title and become Champions for the first time in the Club’s history.

The players who achieved that feat and gained themselves a place as 'Legends' in the history of the club included greats like Ted Ditchburn, Alf Ramsey, Bill Nicholson, Ronnie Burgess, Sonny Walters, Len Duquemin and Eddie Baily. The manager was the former Spurs' player, Arthur Rowe.

Team: Ditchburn, Ramsay, Willis, Brittan, Clarke, Nicholson, Walters, Murphy, McClellan, Baily, Medley.


Friday, January 19, 2007

Spurs in History - 19th January

19th January, 1994

Spurs 1 Peterborough United 1 (aet) FA Cup 3rd Round Replay
Spurs won 5-4 on penalties.

Having survived the first game by scoring a late equalizer from Jason Dozzell, this Cup replay went to extra time and then a penalty shoot out, the first at White Hart Lane since the UEFA Cup Final win in 1984.

Spurs had taken an early lead through Nicky Barmby but once Peterborough equalized, the game remained deadlocked.

Ian Walker became the hero when he saved the fourth ‘Posh’ penalty, while Spurs scored all five from Caskey, Kerslake, Anderton, Barmby and Sedgley, to go into the next round 5 – 4 on penalties.


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Spurs in History - 18th January

18th January, 1965

Spurs 5 Torquay United 1 FA Cup 3rd Round Replay

Due to wintry weather conditions, the original replay had to be postponed but Spurs managed to win comfortably against the Division 4 side that put up a gallant fight especially in the first half.

A hat-trick from Jimmy Greaves and goals from Alan Gilzean and Jimmy Robertson ensured Spurs first Cup win since they won the trophy in 1962.

In the first tie, Spurs had come from a goal down to lead 3 – 1 with seven minutes remaining but Torquay scored twice in two minutes for a grandstand finish through the last five minutes that Spurs managed to survive – JUST! Spurs goals had been scored by Maurice Norman and Alan Gilzean (2).

This was the first FA Cup tie that Spurs had won since their Cup success back in 1962 - three seasons without a Cup win.

Team: Jennings; Knowles, Henry, Mullery, Norman, Clayton, Robertson, Greaves, Gilzean, Jones, Dyson.

[In the first game at Torquay - Tony Marchi had played in place of Eddie Clayton]


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Spurs in History - 17th January

17th January, 1968
Sheffield Wednesday 1 Spurs 2 (1st Division)

Martin Chivers became the most expensive player ever, when signed from Southampton for £125,000.
He made his debut in this game at a ground where Spurs had not won since 1937, and justified his price when four minutes from time he powered through the Wednesday defence to flight a looping shot into the net. Spurs had gone a goal down in the 42nd minute but a well worked goal from Greaves right on half-time brought the scores level.

Team: Jennings, Kinnear, Knowles, Mullery, Beal, Mackay, Robertson, Bond, Chivers, Gilzean, Greaves.

17th January, 1989

Spurs 1 West Ham United 0 (Premier League)

Jurgen Klinsmann scored his first goal for Spurs since re-joining the club in December. He had returned to Tottenham in an attempt to regain full fitness prior to the European Championships to be held in the summer in England and to assist Spurs' struggle against relegation.

It was a very difficult season at White Hart Lane as manager Christian Gross endeavoured to exert his authority at the club while he was highly ridiculed by the media and many fans who were sceptical of this unknown manager.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Cardiff City Preview

Wednesday, 17th January, 2007
at White Hart Lane KO 8.00pm

Cardiff City Preview (FA Cup 3rd Round Replay Replay)


In the first game, Cardiff were exactly what it said on the tin – ‘a Championship side who gave it everything in their ‘Cup Final’ backed by a vociferous and expectant crowd.’

That Spurs came through unscathed was ‘a job well done’ and if they had achieved that result in a European away match everyone would have been well-satisfied. However, as it was only Cardiff some became rather critical of the result and the performances of some of the players.

Martin Jol’s first priority was to ensure the players were prepared to compete and ensure they didn’t become victim of a Cup upset, similar to last season’s two fiascos. Having achieved that Spurs must now ensure the job is completed successfully at White Hart Lane on Wednesday evening – show their greater skill and class and make it count to overcome a Cardiff side which hasn’t scored in their last four matches, including Saturday’s home defeat to Southend. After a bright start to the season, Cardiff are now eighth in the Championship but have not won any of their last twelve games. The last victory was in mid-November at home to Burnley when a Scimeca goal brought them success. Of those twelve games 8 have been draws, 6 of them scoreless, so Cardiff are difficult to beat and don’t concede too many goals, although they did concede four at Hull a month ago.

The Cardiff manager, Dave Jones, has his team well organised defensively but if Spurs play the style of quick, passing football that they displayed against Newcastle, surely they can’t be as unfortunate in front of goal as they were then or be up against as inspired a goalkeeper as Shay Given. In the first game, Neil Alexander in the Cardiff goal looked competent and played his part in ensuring that Spurs didn’t score but it is to be hoped that he will be kept busier on Wednesday evening. In defence they have Darren Purse who has played for both Birmingham and W.B.A. Their leading goal scorer is Michael Chopra who has scored 12 in the League, while Scimeca and Thompson have five each.

The only previous FA Cup contest at White Hart Lane between the two clubs was back in 1921-22 in the quarter finals with Spurs winning 2-1. That was the same result as the last time the two clubs met at Tottenham in Spurs’ promotion season of 1977-78 when John Duncan scored both goals.

The last Cup meeting was in 2002-03 in the 2nd Round of the Worthington Cup which Spurs won with a single goal scored by Teddy Sheringham. The team that night was:

Keller, Taricco (Doherty), Richards, Bunjevcevic, Thatcher, Davies, Freund (Iversen), Acimovic, Etherington, Keane (Ferdinand), Sheringham

Spurs’ home record against Cardiff (League and Cup):
P 22 W 12 D 5 L 5 For 39 Ag 24

Port Vale and Southend have already shown that nothing can be taken for granted so with an eight o’clock kick off, it might be a long evening but with the League results slipping over the past few games, continued good results in the Cup competitions are essential as Spurs search for a European place for next year. With the prospects of a home tie in the next round against Southend United, Spurs should accept their good fortune with the draw and ensure progress in the competition that has meant so much to the club and the fans over the years.


Spurs in History - 16th January

16th January, 1963

The End of the Road

Spurs 0 Burnley 3 FA Cup 3rd Round

The end of the road for the Spurs successful FA Cup winning team. After two seasons undefeated in fourteen F.A.Cup games, Spurs lost comprehensively to Burnley who finally gained revenge for defeats in the Semi-final in 1961 and the Final the following year.

Only Blanchflower and Medwin, through injury, were missing from the previous seasons’ successful teams. John Smith who had been signed from West Ham in 1960 but had few opportunities to play, replaced Blanchflower while Jones and Dyson resumed their role on the wings.

Team: Brown, Baker, Henry, Smith J., Norman, Mackay, Jones, White, Smith R., Greaves, Dyson.


Monday, January 15, 2007

It Just Wasn't to Be!

Defoe scored his 13th goal of the season in the 13th minute against Newcastle but it turned out unlucky in the end as Spurs lost 2-3

Well, it's a new day and looking back at yesterday's defeat to Newcastle, it's obvious that for Spurs it just wasn't going to be their day.

Shay Given saved enough shots in the opening quarter of an hour to have seen Spurs safely home and then having taken the lead, admittedly Defoe was offside - about the only slice of luck Spurs had all day, they immediately let Newcastle back into the game.

Even the equaliser had it's share of good fortune - the original header from the free-kick was going nowhere until it hit Siberski on the back of the head and fell kindly for Huntington to have another go and his shot across goal hit Robinson's foot to end up in the back of the net.

Malbranque missed an open goal from way out in the first and in the second half after going ahead Spurs had so much possession that Newcastle were chasing shadows but Spurs could not score thanks to Given, stout defending and their tendency to make one pass too many.

The equaliser was another once in a life-time 'screamer' - why are they always against Spurs?

Even when behind Spurs had a shot blocked on the line and Defore hit the post - by that time the realisation had dawned that this wasn't going to be Spurs' day.

Three points lost and slipping away from the top six - a UEFA Cup place is becoming more difficult to achieve with every dropped point and so there is added pressure for Cup success.

The 'Tottenham way' is about playing with style, regardless of the result, and certainly Spurs played some exciting passing football yesterday and some people are satisfied with that.

I'm still disappointed that they let the three points slip away when they were there for the taking. Newcastle who played their part in an exciting game were an injury hit team but they won't care that they spent most of the game chasing and harrying the Spurs players, allowing Spurs to play the 'attractive' football, because at the end of the ninety minutes they had the three points and are now only three points behind Spurs.

When will Spurs get three points from a performance similar to that of Newcastle?

When did they last get three points from a performance like that?

I can't answer either question - sadly Spurs' just don't seem to have the character to dig deep like that.


Spurs in History - 15th January

15th January, 1923

Spurs 9 Worksop Town 0 (FA Cup 1st Round Replay)

The Worksop ground was thought unsuitable for the replay and Spurs readily agreed to play it at White Hart Lane. So, on the Monday after the first game, non-League Worksop sent out the same eleven players to face Spurs. Relieved at having an opportunity to put things right, Spurs won very easily.

Spurs were unchanged and as playing conditions had greatly improved, Spurs were six up by half-time. Their goals were scored by Alec Lindsay (4), ‘Tich’ Handley (3), Jimmy Seed and Jimmy Dimmock.

Team: Blake, Clay, Pearson, Smith, Lowe, Grimsdell, Walden, Seed, Lindsay, Handley, Dimmock.


Sunday, January 14, 2007

On This Day - 14th Janaury, 2007

Spurs Discover Another Way to Lose!!!

Spurs 2 Newcastle United 3 (Premiership)

Frustration, sheer frustration - that's the only way to describe my feelings following this afternoon's defeat at home to Newcastle.

Throughout the game - there was constant irritation - the stream for the game on the internet was constantly buffering, a few minutes or less and it was gone - it even contrived to ensure I missed Defoe's opening goal, created by Malbranque.

Then there was the commentators - going on and on endlessly about the long injury list that Newcastle had and the young team they had to put out - it was painful to listen to.

Then low and behold Spurs having dominated the first fifteen minutes until they scored, managed to concede a goal from a free kick two minutes later - the first time they had got near the Spurs goal. More frustration - another game without keeping a clean sheet.

There may have been frustration among the players at half-time but it was nothing compared to the way I was feeling. The second half improved and after some initial Newcastle pressure Spurs came to life and took the lead with a goal from Berbatov. Great - that helped my Fantasy football team.

For the next period Spurs controlled the game and the pressure mounted on Shay Given's goal but Spurs couldn't score. Then the whole day fell apart - two minutes and two goals - not for Spurs but Newcastle were ahead and no matter how much Spurs huffed and puffed the three points were on their way back to Tyneside.

I hate Sunday matches - I spend all weekend waiting for it and then when they lose my weekend is ruined and I'm still annoyed the next day when I go back to work - at least if they lose on Saturday I've got over it by Sunday.

And so Spurs have added another way to lose to their already lengthy list:

- dominate the game, take the lead twice and lose three goals on the counter attack.

This joins this season's favourite away ploy:

- try to contain for half an hour, then concede and give up, losing by three
(@ Liverpool & Arsenal)

- get caught cold and concede three early goals rendering the rest of the game meaningless (@ Newcastle past two seasons)

Last season's favourite was:

- concede an injury time goal

A previous favourite of Glenn Hoddle was:

- go three up by half-time only to lose 5-3 (v Manbchester United)

But then David Pleat had to better that:

- go three up by half-time but lose to ten-man Manchester City (FA Cup)

Under Martin Jol such results seemed to be a thing of the past but this year there has been a decline to the bad old ways of previous regimes - maybe we have got our Tottenham back!

I wonder what excitement next Wednesday holds for the faithful who make the trek to see the Cup replay at White Hart Lane against Cardiff City.


Spurs in History - 14th January

14th January, 1978

Notts County 3 Spurs 3
(2nd Division)

Spurs' season in the Second Division was going well and this game came in the middle of an unbeaten run of nineteen League games. However, eleven games were drawn and this was making the promotion that should have been a certainty a little more difficult.

Spurs were also were involved in a number of high-scoring matches and against County, John Pratt scored twice and Colin Lee got the other goal.

This gave Spurs another point which would ensure their immediate return to the First Division.

Team: Daines, Naylor, Holmes, Hoddle, McAllister, Perryman, Pratt, McNab, Duncan, Lee, Armstrong.

Read more about John Pratt at
John Pratt

14th January, 1956

Arsenal 0 Spurs 1
(1st Division)

A goal from left winger, George Robb, was sufficient to overcome North London neighbours, Arsenal, at Highbury. This win enabled Spurs to complete the 'double' over Arsenal, having won 3-1 at White Hart Lane in mid-September. That game had been Spurs first win of the season as they struggled against relegation.

Ironically, the four points gained from their local rivals enabled Spurs to retain their 1st Division place. Spurs finished the season in 18th place with 37 points, two points ahead of Huddersfield in 21st position and 4 points above Sheffield United in 22nd place.


Saturday, January 13, 2007

Spurs in History - 13th January

The Tale of Two Non-League FA Cup Ties

13th January, 1923

Spurs 0 Worksop Town 0 (FA Cup 1st Round)

What an embarrassment this First Round tie was.

Spurs were at home to a team from the Midland League. Spurs, the Cup winners in 1921, semi – finalists in the Cup and runners up in the League in 1922 and with six members of the Cup winning team still playing - failed to score and overcome determined opposition.

Wintry weather conditions made the pitch difficult to play on but the non–League team adapted to the conditions and showed greater determination and bravery to earn their place in Cup history.

After the game the Worksop officials decided to play the replat at White Hart Lane rather than on their home ground. Spurs quickly agreed to this request and the game was arranged for two days later, Monday, 15th January.

Team: Blake, Clay, Pearson, Smith, Lowe, Grimsdell, Walden, Seed, Lindsay, Handley, Dimmock.

13th January, 1973
Margate 0 Spurs 6 (FA Cup 3rd Round)

Another non-League opponent was Margate in 1973. The UEFA Cup holders having been to the vast San Siro Stadium to play AC Milan the previous spring had to adapt to the closeness of the Margate ground at Hartsdown Park.

In the Margate team that day was former Spurs' player, Eddie Clayton. He made over 100 appearances for Spurs before signing for Southend United in 1968 and joined Margate two years later.

Margate should have scored first but Spurs ran out easy winners through goals from Cyril Knowles, Martin Peters, Martin Chivers (2), John Pratt and Jimmy Pearce.

The term "Nice one Cyril" was coined that day.

The attendance that day was 14,169 although the official ground limit had been 8500. Extra tickets had been sold to meet the demand to see the game swelling the crowd to that much higher figure with chair5s being placed around the side of the pitch. Health and Safety regulations would prevent anything like that happening today.

Team: Jennings, Evans, Knowles, Pratt, England, Naylor, Gilzean, Perryman (Pearce), Chivers, Peters, Coates.


Friday, January 12, 2007

Spurs in History - 12th January

12th January, 1953

Spurs 9 Tranmere Rovers 1
(FA Cup 3rd Round Replay)

Tranmere were a mid-table team in the Third Division North and they had held Spurs to a 1 – 1 draw at home the previous Saturday when Les Bennett had been the goal scorer.

The Replay was a different matter. Played at White Hart Lane two days later, Spurs had to make four changes to the team as Clarke, Burgess, Bennett and Walters were missing through injury. Colin Brittan, Eddie Gibbins, Sid McClellan and Roy Hollis came in as replacements and helped Spurs win through goals from McClellan(3), Duquemin(2), Hollis(2)and Baily(2). Gibbins and Hollis were making their Spurs debut.

The successful team of the early 1950s had not made any impact in the F.A. Cup and many thought that this could be their year but after nine games, including four replays, scoring 21 goals with nine against, they failed in their fifth semi – final, against Blackpool by 2 – 1 when a late mistake by Ramsay, led to the winner.

Team: Ditchburn, Ramsay, Willis, Nicholson, Gibbins, Brittan, McClellan, Duquemin, Hollis, Baily, Medley.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

Spurs in History - 11th January

11th January, 1975

Newcastle United 2 Spurs 5
(1st Divison)

This was a very disappointing season. Poor early results brought about the resignation of Bill Nicholson. He was replaced by Terry Neill who signed some new players but the results continued to be poor and Spurs were involved in a relegation fight throughout the season.

This result was totally unexpected and was inspired by a hat-trick from Alfie Conn, the last player signed by Bill Nicholson. Conn had been signed from Glasgow Rangers for £150,00 during the summer. The other goals came from Cyril Knowles and John Duncan.

At the end of the season, Spurs avoided relegation thanks to a last match victory over Leeds United, but they had much to thank Newcastle for – four points from two wins and 8 goals scored with 2 conceded.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Spurs in History - 10th January

10th January, 1970

Spurs 2 Derby County 1
(1st Division)

From late November to mid February, Spurs were to play eleven League games but would only record two victories, this was the second of them. The poor form was to have repercussions that were not apparent at the time of this match which saw Spurs win with goals from Greaves and Roger Morgan.

However, as results continued to disappoint, Bill Nicholson decided to drop some of the star names. All managed to win back their place in the team but Jimmy Greaves’ career at Spurs came to a sudden and unexpected end and so this was the last League goal that he scored for the club.

10th January, 1914

Leicester Fosse 5 Spurs 5 FA Cup 1st Round

On this day in 1914 Spurs shared ten goals in an FA Cup match with Leicester, Spurs' highest scoring draw in the competition. The goals were scored by Fanny Walden, Billy Minter, Jimmy Cantrell, Bert Bliss (2).

In the replay at White Hart Lane, two goals from Walden and Bliss were sufficient to take Spurs into the next round, an away game against Manchester City. For the replay, centre forward Jimmy Cantrell was injured and was replaced by George Gemmell who was making his debut for Spurs, having scored in his previous four reserve games for the club. This was Gemmell's only senior appearance for Spurs and still remains the only player to have made his only appearance for Spurs in the FA Cup.


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Spurs in History - 9th January

9th January, 1980

Manchester United 0 Spurs 1 aet.
(FA Cup 3rd Round Replay)

Spurs and United had drawn 1-1 at Tottenham in the 3rd Round, Ossie Ardiles scoring, but Spurs progressed the hard way. The replay was scoreless, in spite of Glenn Hoddle having to take over in goal for the injured Aleksic.

Hoddle played confidently and as extra time was drawing to a close, Ossie Ardiles managed to summon a last ounce of energy to score the winner.

Spurs, under Keith Burkinshaw, were now beginning to re-establish themselves in the 1st Division although further Cup success would have to wait for another season ending in ‘1’.

Team: Aleksic(Pratt), Hughton, Miller, Yorath, McAllister, Perryman, Ardiles, Armstrong, Gibson, Hoddle, Villa


Monday, January 08, 2007

Spurs in History - 8th January

8th January, 1921

Spurs 6 Bristol Rovers 2 FA Cup (1st Round)
Scorers: Bliss, Smith, Cantrell, Seed, Clay (pen), Walden

In January, 1921 following promotion, Spurs, after a disappointing start to the season, were coping well in the 1st Division. Their first game in the FA Cup (1st Round) saw them drawn at home to Bristol Rovers who were in the 3rd Division, their first season in the Football League.

The two clubs had met at Bristol the previous year at the same stage of the competition.  Spurs won 4-1 on that occasion and this again turned out to be one of Spurs’ easiest opening rounds – they were one up after four minutes and four ahead by half-time, ensuring a comfortable victory.

After taking an early lead through Jimmy Seed they added to it with a Tommy Clay penalty. Goals from Bert Smith and Fanny Walden gave them a 4 – 0 lead by half-time. Rovers scored early in the second half, before Jimmy Cantrell scored and then after Rovers’ second, Bert Bliss added a late sixth.

These names were to become part of the illustrious history of Spurs.