Monday, August 16, 2010

Spurs in Switzerland

Tottenham Hotspur face Swiss opponents, Young Boys Berne, as they strive to qualify for the group stages of the Champions League for the first time in their history.  Spurs supporters will of course point out that their club did appear in the European Cup, the fore-runner to today's Champions League, in season 1961-62 when they were unfortunate to lose in the semi-final to Benfica.

This is only the second occasion in all their European ties that Spurs have been drawn against a team from Switzerland.  The previous meeting with a Swiss club was in 1973-74 in the 1st Round of the UEFA Cup when Spurs played Grasshopper Zurich.  The aggregate win was 9-2 in Spurs' favour which suggests a very comfortable passage for the north London team but this could not be further from the truth as Spurs endured a very difficult evening in Zurich for the first leg.  It was the goalkeeping talent of Pat Jennin which kept Spurs in the game as he produced save after save.  Spurs took an early lead from a Martin Chivers' header but then Grasshopper created chance after chance only to be thwarted by Jennings.  On the half-hour Ray Evans added a second for Spurs, very much against the run of play.  Just before the interval the home side finally beat Jennings from the penalty spot to reduce the arrears. 

In the second half Jennings continued to deny the Swiss with a succession of outstanding saves and then Chivers scored his second while Alan Gilzean added two more to add insult to injury and produce a quite extraordinary score line.

Team: Jennings; Evans, Knowles, Coates (Holder), England, Beal; Pratt, Perryman, Chivers, Peters, Neighbour (Gilzean).

The second game was much more comfortable - Mike England, Martin Peters (2) and an own goal ensured a 4-1 victory at White Hart Lane.

Team: Daines; Evans, Knowles; Pratt, England, Beal; Gilzean, Perryman, Chivers, Peters, Coates

Previous visits to Switzerland have included a tour in 1966-67 following Spurs FA Cup success.  The second game of the tour saw then play Young Boys Berne.  Spurs won the three games they played:

FC Zurich - Won 2-0 Robertson (2)
BSC Young Boys - Won 3-2 Greaves (2), Bond
FC Servette - Won 4-1 Greaves (2), Venables, Saul

In season 1957-58 Spurs went to Basel to play a match against the Swiss National XI.  They won the game by 5-4 with Bobby Smith scoring four goals and Dave Dunmore getting the fifth.

In May, 1914 Spurs undertook an end of season tour of Germany, Italy and Switzerland.  Two games were played in Switzerland - a 6-0 win over Zurich and a 3-0 success against St Gallen.

The next tour that the club undertook was eleven years later when they played seven games in Switzerland in May, 1925.  Again they were successful in each match:

v Basel Old Boys Won 3-0
v Zurich Young Fellows Won 2-0
v Wintherthur Won 4-0
v Lausanne Won 6-1
v La Cheux de Fonds Won 8-1
v Berne Won 5-0
v Basel Won 1-0

In March, 1955 Spurs played FC Servette in a friendly at White Hart Lane.  They had a 5-1 victory with goals from Gavin (2), Brooks, Duquemin, McClellan.   

Players from Switzerland:

Spurs have had two players from Switzerland on their books in recent years - Ramon Vega and Reto Ziegler. 

Ramon Vega
Vega made 64 appearances for Spurs and was a member of the Worthington Cup winning team in 1999 which defeated Leicester City 1-0. He scored 7 goals in his four years at White Hart Lane. He went to Celtic on loan and then signed for Watford after being released by Tottenham.

Ziegler was a young player who made 23 League appearances, scoring once, under Martin Jol and is now playing for Sampdoria.  Both players represented their country in full internationals.

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