Friday, May 25, 2012

Spurs' Opponents in NI Milk Cup 2012

The draw fro the NI Milk Cup was made today at the BBC Blackstaff studio in Belfast.  Spurs are playing in the Premier Section which has twenty teams and is a competition which they have won twice and in which they finished fifth last year.

The NI Milk Cup commences on Saturday, 21st July and today the draw was made for the first three matches.  The tournament is in its thirtieth year and was described as 'the premier youth tournament in Europe" by local commentator, Jackie Fullerton.   Among the special guests at today's draw was Michael O'Neill, the Northern Ireland manager, and two internationals who have played in the competition in their earlier days, Corry Evans of Hull City and Andy Little of Rangers.  A South American delegate from FIFA was also present, Harold Mayne-Nicholls from Chile.  He spoke of the quality of the tournament making it easy to attract South American teams to the competition.  The Chairman of the Dairy Council Northern Ireland, the main sponsor of the tournament for many years, referred to the NI Milk Cup as "one of the best youth tournaments in the world".

Premier Section:
Spurs are playing in the Premier Section for players born on or after 1st January, 1995.
The twenty teams taking part are:

The six local County teams: Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Antrim, Tyrone and Londonderry.

Otago (New Zealand), South Coast Strikers (USA), Revo Express (Norway), Pachuca (Mexico), Desportivo Brazil, Ichfuna (Japan), CSKA Moscow, Bolton Wanderers, Benfica (Portugal), Etoile Lusitana (Senegal), Cherry Orchard (Republic of Ireland), Manchester United, Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur.

Spurs' Premier Section Fixtures:

Saturday, 21st July, 2012:  v County Armagh (venue: Shamrock Park, Portadown) 
KO: 2pm (probably)

This year the six local County teams are playing their first game at a venue in their own county before the tournament returns on the Monday to its traditional North coast venues.  This was first done to mark the twenty first anniversary of the competition and is being repeated this year to mark its thirtieth anniversary.

Monday, 23rd July, 2012:  v South Coast Strikers (USA)  (Evening KO)

Tuesday, 24th July, 2012:  v Otago (NZ)  (Evening KO)
(The venues for these two games will be announced later)

Spurs' Opponents:
County Armagh
Spurs have played a local County team in their last two Milk Cup tournamentsThe local sides usually give a good account of themselves.  In 2010, they defeated Londonderry by four goals to nil in their opening match and had a more difficult game than the score suggests.  Last year it was Fermanagh who gave them a difficult match.  Spurs were a goal down at half-time and only two goals from Kenneth McEvoy in the last ten minutes earned Spurs the points.

South Coast Strikers (USA)
Spurs played South Coast Strikers from California twice last year.  They met in the third match of the tournament and the 1-2 defeat suffered by Spurs denied them the opportunity to play in the play-offs for 1st - 4th.  They were a strong, well organised team and took an early lead last year.  Spurs fought back to draw level but after much pressure from Spurs, SCS scored late on the win the match.

The teams then met in the play-off for 5th and 6th place with Spurs winning a penalty shoot-out after a 1 - 1 draw.

Otago (NZ)
Spurs played Otaga in the opening match of last year's competition and won 4 - 0.  Dominic Ball who has Northern Ireland family connections, scored twice for Spurs who made an impressive start to the competition.

Following the opening three matches the places determine the play-off spots (1st - 4th/5th - 8th etc)

Spurs to Play in Milk Cup 2012:  Report

Spurs at the Milk Cup in 2011:  Report

Spurs at the Milk Cup 2010:  Report


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Spurs' Season Ends in Europa League

Late on Saturday evening, 19th May, the protracted finale to Spurs' season drew to a close when Didier Drogba scored the winning penalty in the Champions League Final shoot-out and so condemned Spurs to the 'third' class European experience of next season's Europa League.

Since the closing day of the previous season it has been a roller-coaster of an existence for Tottenham Hotspur, with many ups and downs and unexpected twists along the way.

'Luka Modric Saga'
Tottenham fans spent last summer fed on a diet of speculation and media rumour of the imminent departure of midfielder, Luka Modric, with Chelsea regularly offering increased bids for his services. Daniel Levy was playing 'hard ball' and refusing to negotiate, insisting that Modric would be remaining at White Hart Lane, but we'd all heard that before.

Poor Start to the season
Spurs made a late start to the season due to the postponement of their first match against Everton because of the riots in London and the damage that had been done in Tottenham.  Then, with their only new signing, Brad Friedel making his debut at Old Trafford, the two Manchester clubs swept Spurs aside with Friedel conceding eight goals in those opening games.  Meanwhile, Spurs had progressed to the Group stages of the Europa League which the manager regarded as an unnecessary obstacle to his main aim of achieving Champions League qualification.

On the resumption of the season after the international break, Spurs had strengthened their squad with the acquisition of two late signings, Scott Parker from West Ham United and Emmanuel Adebayor on loan from Manchester City while retaining the services of Modric.  The debutants immediately had an impressive influence on the team who won at Molineux with Adebayor scoring his first goal.  That was the start of an eleven match undefeated run in the League, as Spurs climbed to third place in late November with a comfortable home win over Aston Villa.  Spurs produced many outstanding performances in that sequence with a four goal success over Liverpool at White Hart Lane, fighting performances at Fulham and West Bromwich where they came from a goal down to win in the Midlands.  Many of the home wins were comfortable with Spurs settling for two or three goals when with clinical finishing they could have boosted their goal tally.  The triumph over Arsenal was particularly special for Kyle Walker who impressed in his first full season in the team with his attacking prowess and his shot from twenty five yards proved to be the winner, his first for Spurs.

A late equaliser by Newcastle at St James' Park was the only blemish on the perfect record but at the time the Geordies were unbeaten in the League.  Through this time, to rest his first team players,  Harry Redknapp had used squad players and young professionals in the Carling Cup and Europa League.  They acquitted themselves well but lost in a penalty shoot-out at Stoke in the Carling Cup after a goalless two hours.  At the half-way stage of the Europa League, Spurs headed their group.

Stoke City
Spurs' undefeated run came to an unexpected and abrupt end at the Brittania Stadium when a poor first half defensive display enabled Stoke to take a two goal lead.  Any chance of a Spurs recovery in the second half was thwarted by an inept display of refereeing by Chris Foy and his assistants.  They disallowed a good goal scored by Adebayor, ignored a number of genuine penalty appeals and gave Stoke the freedom to employ rough-house tactics to deny Spurs at set-pieces.  As one report at the time said, 'the Stoke defenders, having conceded one penalty, felt able to employ such tactics, secure in the belief that the referee wouldn't award Spurs another penalty.'

Early Europa League Exit
Two consecutive defeats, in Russia against Ruban Kazan while Harry Redknapp was absent, recovering from heart surgery, and at home to PAOK Salonika, left Spurs reliant on a favourable result in Greece while they had to defeat Shamrock Rovers by five goals in the final game.  Spurs scored four with Harry Kane scoring his first senior goal but exited the tournament before Christmas, allowing Redknapp and his team to concentrate on their goal of Champions League football.

Title Contenders
Spurs recovered from their Stoke set-back with a hard earned home win over Sunderland when substitute, Roman Pavlyuchenko, came off the bench to score the winner, which would prove to be his last League goal for Tottenham, ahead of a January transfer.  Mixed results and performances over the holiday period resulted in a home draw with Chelsea when Spurs scored early but then allowed the visitors back into the game.  Having said that, Adebayor had another goal ruled out incorrectly and it took a goal-line clearance by John Terry in the final moments to preserve the visitors' point.

An outstanding display at Norwich where Gareth Bale scored twice having been given a freer role in the team was followed by a point at Swansea when the home team scored a late equaliser.  Then followed a sequence of four consecutive home League and Cup matches in early January.  Roy Hodgson's defensively minded West Brom, Cheltenham in the FA Cup and Everton all left White Hart Lane defeated.

The win over Everton took Spurs level on points with Manchester United and only three behind the leaders, Manchester City, and with a gap of eight points to Chelsea in fourth with Arsenal a further point behind.  Newspaper and media talk was of  Tottenham as 'title contenders', not something many Spurs fans have experienced in recent times.

Football Can be So Cruel
The 'title contenders' tag didn't sit easily with Spurs and was very short lived as Wolves took a point from them at the Lane in the next game with a goal scored from a corner that should not have been awarded and then benefited as Adebayor had a third goal disallowed for offside when he was clearly on-side.

The next game took Spurs to the Etihad Stadium and after conceding two goals in three minutes in the second half, immediately recovered to score twice in five minutes, with all the goals coming in a nine minute spell.  Spurs were finishing the stronger and had the opportunity to score a winner in added time but Jermain Defoe, just failed to get proper contact on Bale's cross.  City then scored from a penalty to deprive Spurs of even one point.  It was after this match that I received a text saying, 'Football can be so cruel' and over the next few months that statement proved to be very true from a Spurs' perspective.

The Monday following that game, Harry Redknapp's court case commenced, so reports about Spurs appeared on both the back and front pages of the papers.  Spurs managed to progress to the 5th Round of the FA Cup with an unimpressive win at Watford and then defeated bottom club Wigan at White Hart Lane.  Redknapp had to make a quick journey from court to the ground to attend both matches but at the Wigan game, the supporters showed tremendous support for their manager.  The transfer window closed with Spurs acquiring Louis Saha and Ryan Nelsen, while Pavlyuvchenko was sold and Corluka, Pienaar and Townsend going out on loan.  A weakened team drew at Liverpool while Redknapp was in London but after a great defensive performance, in the final minutes, Spurs had the best chance of the game to take the three points.

The innocent verdict was announced and a few hours later Redknapp became the focus of morer media headlines - 'Redknapp to Manage England' - as the Football Association and Fabio Capello parted company.  Redknapp was the overwhelming favourite of the popular press and it appeared to be only a matter of time before he would be approached.  In an amazing performance against Newcastle United, Emmanuel Adebayor created four goals and scored himself as the supporters again backed Redknapp.  Spurs were on a high and had opened a ten point gap on Chelsea and Arsenal.  It seemed that the departure of Redknapp to manage England might be the only blot on the landscape.

After struggling at Stevenage in the Cup, Spurs went to the Emirates and were two up after thirty four minutes which would have put them thirteen points ahead of their neighbours if they had maintained that result.  Arsenal, however, scored twice in three minutes before half-time and Spurs never recovered, conceding another three in the second half. 

A home defeat to Manchester United followed and Spurs apparently secure hold on third place in the League was slipping.  A defeat at Everton and a home draw with Stoke meant they dropped to fourth and in the nine matches after defeating Newcastle, they only picked up six points with the defeat at QPR seeing them in fifth place.  Through this two month period, while progressing in the Cup to the semi-finals, the team managed only one win against Swansea but for the rest of the time there was no-one, either player or management who was capable of inspiring and lifting them from this decline.  Prior to the loss at Loftus Road, they lost heavily to Chelsea at Wembley and suffered another refereeing injustice when a 'phantom' goal, was awarded to give Chelsea a two goal advantage, when the ball clearly did not cross the line.

Late Revival - too little too late
Spurs had several opportunities to take advantage when other teams slipped up but didn't capitalise on them so with four games to play, they needed four wins to have any chance of making the Champions League.  There was the additional complication that if Chelsea were to win the trophy, then fourth place would not be sufficient to make the competition next season.

At the beginning of May, as England appointed Roy Hodgson, and not Harry Redknapp, as manager, Spurs managed to record wins over soon to be relegated Blackburn Rovers and Bolton Wanderers raising the glimmer of a possibility that they could finish third.  A draw at Aston Villa, however, took it out of their hands and Spurs became reliant on results elsewhere going in their favour.  While Spurs defeated Fulham in the final match of the season, Arsenal also won, be it in fortunate circumstances, courtesy of goalkeeping errors, to claim third and an automatic Champions League place.  Then it was all down to the outcome of the Champions League Final and once again Spurs were at the wrong end of the result with Chelsea's penalty shoot out victory guaranteeing them the final place in next season's competition.

In what was a season with many memorable moments and performances from Spurs, especially in the first half of the season and against Newcastle United, in the end the loss of firm from February on, during the time of the England manager's vacancy, meant that it ended in disappointment and frustration that they had failed to achieve their primary objective - Champions League football.

It was another of those Spurs 'nearly' seasons - when it almost came good but at the finish they just fell short.  Spurs had everything in their own hands but threw it away due to an inexplicable loss of form while other extenuating circumstances beyond their control also played their part - refereeing mistakes, the England manager's situation, Harry Redknapp's court case and the failure to strengthen the team in the January transfer period.  All influenced the outcome of the season and Spurs' decline.

Spurs, however, have finished in fourth  and a few seasons ago supporters would have been delighted. It shows how expectations under Redknapp have increased that there is disappointment in the outcome of the season.

A memorable season for Spurs that had the potential to be truly great and, unfortunately, will probably be remembered for the way in which Spurs lost their Champions League place and the other dramas which befell their season rather than for the splendid football they played during the early months.

Some clubs would use such disappointments as motivation to move on and do better in the future.  The question is, 'Will Spurs?'


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

On This Day in 1984 - UEFA Cup Win

UEFA Cup Success - Tony Parks, the Super Hero
23rd May, 1984 v Anderlecht [UEFA Cup Final (2nd Leg)]  Draw 1 - 1 

1984 UEFA Cup Winners
Coming to the game all square at 1 - 1 after the away leg Spurs found themselves a goal down and it took an equaliser from stand-in captain Graham Robers to take the game to extra time and penalties.  Roberts led by example scoring the first penalty and Tony Parks saved the first Anderlecht penalty.  Mark Falco, Gary Stevens and Steve Archibald all scored as did the Anderlecht players.  At 4-3 in Spurs' favour, Danny Thomas saw his shot saved.  The next man for Anderlecht was Arnor Gudjohnsen, father of Eidur, who had replaced Frank Arnesen. Parks dived to his right to save and then set off in celebration around White Hart Lane.

In what was Keith Burkinshaw's last game as manager, Tottenham were without Captain, Steve Perryman, suspended, Glenn Hoddle, injured, while Ossie Ardiles was only able to play a bit part due to injury.

Team: Parks; Thomas, Roberts, Miller (Ardiles), Hughton; Hazard, Mabbutt (Dick), Stevens, Galvin; Falco, Archibald


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Spurs at NI Milk Cup 2010

Tottenham Academy (Under-17) Squad:

1 Reece Samuels 2 Kevin Stewart 3 Daniel Day 4 Ronnie Hawkins 5 James Yeboah 6 Ramil Sheriff 7 Laste Dombaxe 8 Freddy Champion 9 Alasan Ann 10 Lee Angol 11 Kenneth McEvoy 12 Luke McGee 13 Thomas Gardiner 14 Janoi Donacien 15 Samuel Smith 16 Victor Zapata Caicedo 17 Oliver Modeste 18 Alexander McQueen

The opening match was played at the Limavady Showgrounds on the Monday evening.

Tottenham 4 Co. Londonderry 0
Spurs played well and won comfortably against a committed Co Londonderry youth team who were dangerous on the break when they got the opportunity to run at the Spurs defence.

Both teams started brightly with Spurs looking dangerous on the right with Kenneth McEvoy showing speed and a good touch.  After initial pressure from Spurs, Co. Londonderry showed they were going to make a game of it and Thomas Gardiner tipped over a long range shot.  Both teams had a number of corners and after twenty minutes Spurs went ahead with a goal from captain, Laste Dombaxe, with a fine shot from 20 yards which the goalkeeper got a hand to.

Spurs played a constructive, patient, passing game - playing the ball out from the back in an effort to create an opening and never resorted to thumping the ball down the pitch.

A good crowd enjoyed the game and there were many Spurs supporters present.

1-0 at half time Spurs started very quickly at the start of the second half and almost scored with an attack down the right but they were not to be denied as two minutes later, Ronnie Hawkins who controlled the centre of midfield picked up the ball and shot from 30 yards.   At first it looked as if the goalkeeper had pushed the ball away but it dropped into the net.

Derry continued to show endeavour and made some changes to their team with the new strikers giving the Spurs defenders something to think about but Spurs were always comfortably in control, the only danger came from over confidence in passing out of defence and the possibility of giving the ball away in a dangerous position as the Derry players closed them down quickly.

A third goal came from Lee Angol after Spurs worked the ball forward with pace and the fourth near the end came from a header from a corner, scored by substitute, James Yeboah.

Near the end Gardiner made a good save to keep a clean sheet.

A very enjoyable match, the first time I've seen a Spurs youth team.

Tuesday at Riada Stadium, Ballymoney

Tottenham Hotspur 1 KV Mechelen 0
Team: Thomas Gardiner; Ramil Sheriff, James Yeboah, Janoi Donacien, Daniel Day: Laste Dombaxe, Kevin Stewart, Ronnie Hawkins, Freddy Champion, Lee Angol; Victor Zapata Caicedo.

Kenneth McEvoy who started the first game didn't feature tonight while Alasan Ann came on as a striker in the 2nd half and brought some more pace to the team.  Samuel Smith replaced Hawkins, Oliver Modeste replaced Yeboah and Luke McGee replaced Sheriff.

A much more difficult game against much stronger opposition.  The Belgian team started much the better and had an early chance from a free kick but the header went past the far post.   Spurs were finding it difficult to play their short passing game as the opposition immediately closed them down and stepped in to take the ball away from the Spurs player and then move forward with pace.   Spurs had another let off when a mistake in central defence gave away the ball but under pressure from the defender and goalkeeper the Belgian striker shot against the post.  Thomas Gardiner in goal dealt comfortably with everything that came his way and he threw the ball out quickly to his defenders to start off another Spurs move.  Playing into a light breeze, Spurs found it difficult to make a telling final pass as the ball often fell behind the intended player.

However, it was only late in the half that Spurs started to get a little more room and Laste Dombaxe, Spurs best player, forced a good save from their goalkeeper.   From a corner Freddy Champion injured his ankle as he fell and although he played on for the final few minutes, he was replaced at half-time by Alexander McQueen.

Spurs were much better in the second half and played the ball much more quickly to create space and also played some longer cross field passes to open up their opponents.  Lambaxe hit the post with a good shot and Ronnie Hawkins forced the keeper to push over another long range shot.

Midway through the half a clumsy tackle on Dombaxe saw Spurs gain a penalty which the captain took himself and coolly sent the goalkeeper the wrong way and shot strongly to his right.

The final minutes required stout defending with no quarter given by either side and tackles flying in as the Belgians tried to rescue the game.  Gardiner marshalled his defence well - he made a good save, pushing over a strong drive and Spurs saw out the final minutes without any real scares.

Spurs captain Laste Dombaxe is obviously their best player - creating and working in midfield while looking to get forward to strike at goal.  He was booked in the first half for a challenge on the goalkeeper - the ball was free when he tried to play it but made contact with the goalkeeper's hand. He is so involved that he receives harsh treatment from the opposition but isn't afraid to tackle either. Were he to receive another yellow card, Spurs would miss him greatly.  Yeboah was comfortable in defence and Gardiner was always comfortable without having to make any very difficult saves.

Wednesday: A Q/F game at Limavady Showgrounds.

Tottenham 1 Donegal Schools 2
Spurs put out a changed team, resting Laste Dombaxe who has been the main player in the past two games and Daniel Day.  They found it difficult to make progress against a very direct team who put Spurs under pressure as soon as they received the ball and forced them into errors.  It was from a mistake that Spurs conceded the first goal after twenty minutes.  Donegal intercepted a pass out of defence and Spurs found themselves two against three as the local team moved forward and when the ball was played into the penalty Gardiner had no chance with the powerful shot.

Spurs' best chance of the first half was a powerful shot from a free-kick by Hawkins which the goalkeeper pushed over.

The re-introduction of Dombaxe and Day at half-time saw Spurs be more creative as the captain was more able to run at the defence and create space for others.  The hard tackling Donegal side were still dangerous on the break and a comedy of errors nearly led to them getting a second goal.  The goalkeeper took a free kick on the halfway line but Spurs gave the ball away and with him way out of goal a long shot was just wide as he scrambled back into position.  Then from the quickly taken goalkick the ball was given away again and with the Donegal player clean through Spurs blushes were saved when the referee decided the ball had been moving when the goal kick had been taken.

With time running out, in added on time, and Spurs looking unlikely to score, Dombaxe received the ball on the edge of the penalty and with his back to goal he controlled the ball and turned in one movement to crash a great shot to level the scores.   It looked as if the match would be going to penalties but in the dying moments Donegal were awarded a free kick which was launched high towards the Spurs goal.  It went over everyone but Day headed it back towards the goal and it was played out to a Donegal player who hit a thunderous shot to win with only seconds left.

A disappointing end to the tournament but Spurs made too many mistakes and were forced into errors by the constant pressure of the opposition.  It was another tough game for the young players following last night's hard match against KV Mechelen and they just couldn't get away with making mistakes this time.

Laste Dombaxe was definitely the best Spurs player in the three games and the team rely greatly on him for a creative spark from midfield and going forward on goal.

Spurs will now play matches to decide placings from 5th to 8th in the Milk Cup.

Thursday at Broughshane (5th - 8th play-off) v Porto Draw 0 - 0 [Lost 4 - 5 on penalties]

Friday at Portstewart (7th - 8th play-off) v Belvedere (Dublin) Won 5 - 0

NI Milk Cup 2011 - Results


Tottenham's Disappointment of Losing The Cup

It was twenty five years ago today, 16th May, 1987 that Spurs lost their first FA Cup Final.  After seven successful Finals, Spurs' amazing record was gone as they lost to Coventry City at Wembley.  They had already sacrificed their record of never losing in a Cup Final or at Wembley in 1982 when they lost out in the League/Milk Cup Final to Liverpool but this was the big one.

Coventry City 3 Tottenham  Hotspur 2 (aet)
Scorers: Bennett, Houchen, Mabbutt o.g                          Allen, C., Mabbutt 

Team: Clemence; Hughton (Claesen), Mabbutt, Gough, Thomas, T.; Allen, P., Ardiles (Stevens), Hoddle, Hodge, Waddle, Allen, C.

Spurs had arrived at Wembley after a very impressive season which had seen David Pleat's team finish third in the 1st Division behind Everton and Liverpool.  They had lost in the semi-final of the Littlewoods League Cup to Arsenal after a replay was required, the tie ending all square after home and away legs.  Arsenal's late winner at White Hart Lane in that third match was the only time they had led in the tie.  

Clive Allen had been the relevation of the season as he set a new goalscoring record for Spurs - 49 in all competitions, breaking the record previously held by Jimmy Greaves.  The season started with his hat-trick against Aston Villa at Villa Park as Spurs claimed a 3 - 0 success and carried on from there.  David Pleat introduced a system where he played as a lone striker supported by five in midfield and very successful it proved.

Spurs' Road to Wembley:
Spurs' progress to the FA Cup Final had been quite serene with few difficulties along the way with Allen scoring four goals in the competition.  This was to be Glenn Hoddle's last season with Spurs and so it was extra special for him to leave on a high note.

3rd R.  v Scunthorpe United (h)  Won 3 - 2  Mabbutt, Waddle, Claesen
4th R.  v Crystal Palace (h)  Won 4 - 0  Mabbutt, Allen, C. (pen), Claesen, Opp. o.g.
5th R.  v Newcastle United (h)  Won 1 - 0  Allen, C. (pen)
6th R  v Wimbledon (a)  Won 2 - 0  Waddle, Hoddle
Wimbledon often proved a difficult side for Spurs to beat as they disliked their long ball, high pressured play and often came off second best.  David Pleat’s side, however, showed their worth in a visit to Plough Lane and with application and commitment went through as the skill of Chris Waddle and Glenn Hoddle provided the goals to ensure the ‘Diamond Lights’ were still shining for the semi-final tie. 
S.F. (Villa Park)  v Watford  Won 4 - 1  Hodge (2), Allen, C., Allen, P.
This semi-final was one of the easiest Spurs have ever played. Watford went into the game at Villa Park with goalkeeping problems and had to call up an emergency keeper as their regular keepers were injured.   A 4-1 victory did not flatter Spurs as David Pleat’s side continued their good form and won through goals from Steve Hodge(2), Clive Allen and Paul Allen. Coventry City were their unexpected opponents in the Final.

FA Cup Final:   
'Gary Mabbutt's Knee'
Spurs were firm favourites to lift the trophy as they returned to Wembley for their third FA Cup Final in seven years while Coventry were at this stage of the competition for the first time.

A goal after two minutes from Clive Allen who headed in Chris Waddle's cross seemed to justify their position as favourites but it wasn't to be.  Coventry were level within seven minutes and although Gary Mabbutt had restored Spurs' lead before half-time, Coventry came back to take the game into extra time.  Their equaliser came from a diving header by Houchen, the goal that appears regularly in photographs and video shots of the 1987 Final.

After six minutes of extra time Coventry went ahead when a cross deflected off Mabbutt's knee and looped over Ray Clemence's head.  There was no way back for Spurs as they lost their first FA Cup Final.

BBC commentator, John Motson, described the game as 'the finest Cup Final I've ever had the pleasure of commenting on.'

That was little compensation for Spurs as they finished the season without a trophy as the 'nearly' men.

Read about some of Spurs successful Cup Finals:

FA Cup Finals:
1901, 1921, 1961, 1962, 1967, 1981, 1982, 1991


Monday, May 14, 2012

Tottenham Academy to Play in N I Milk Cup

Tottenham will again be sending a youth team to Northern Ireland this summer to compete for the Northern Ireland Milk Cup.  This will be the club's third successive year competing in the tournament after an absence of many years.  Last year Spurs' young Academy team finished fifth, and won the Globe Trophy by defeating South Coast Strikers on penalties, in their play-off for fifth and sixth.

Northern Ireland Milk Cup 2012
The Northern Ireland Milk Cup is a premier international youth tournament which is centred on the town of Coleraine but is played at grounds around the area.  To avoid a clash with the opening of the Olympic Games in London, the tournament commences on Saturday, 21st July rather than its traditional Monday start.  The official parade around Coleraine will be on the Sunday evening.  The Finals night will be on Thursday, 26th July.  Matches will be played at venues in towns around the North Antrim coast - Coleraine, Portrush where the Irish Open Golf Championship will be played in June, Portstewart, Ballymoney, Limavady and Ballymena.

Harry Redknapp has confirmed that Spurs will again be sending a team to compete in the Premier Section for players born on or before 1st January, 1995.  The squad of eighteen players will face opposition from Premier League clubs, Bolton Wanderers and Newcastle United, and international teams like Benfica, South Coast Strikers from California whom they played twice last year, Otaga from New Zealand another opponent from last season's competition and Revo Express from Norway.  The six local County teams also participate each year.  Redknapp regards the Milk Cup as an important tournament for the development of young players.

Spurs have won the competition twice - in 1990 when Nicky Barmby was the star of the youth team and then in 1996 when Ledley King was a member of the team.  Spurs didn't enter a team for many years but returned two years ago where they won their section but lost in the quarter finals.  In the play-offs they finished seventh.  That team contained players like Daniel Day, Kevin Stewart, Ronnie Hawkins, Laste Dombaxe, James Yeboah and Alexander McQueen.

Last year's team included Billy Granger, Dominic Ball, Ruben Lameiras, Kenneth McEvoy, Oliver Modeste, Roman Michael-Percil, Grant Ward and Victor Zapata-Caicedo.  The competition is a great experience for young players with Spurs using players who are often much younger than their opponents.  Many of the players who have competed in the last two Milk Cup competitions have progressed to the Academy team for the League games, FA Youth Cup and the NextGen Series team which had such an impressive season.

The draw for this year's competition will be made on Friday, 25th May at 11am.

NI Milk Cup 2011 Spurs Results

Further details are available at: Northern Ireland Milk Cup 2012


Tottenham - 'One Point was all that was Needed'

Spurs finished season 2011-12 in fourth place, again equalling their highest finish in the Premier League era.  Once again, at the death they failed  to get the better of their closest neighbours and greatest rivals, Arsenal.  Having had a strong advantage in late February, Spurs had their destiny in their own hands but by the end it was all about one point.

It Was in Spurs' Own Hands
Some will be dismissive and say that Spurs' current situation is all down to themselves, that in the early months of the year, with a strong hold on third there is no way that they should now be waiting anxiously on the outcome of next weekend's Champions League Final to know if they will be competing in next season's Champions League or Europa League.  That is true but every team has a poor spell at some time in the season but unfortunately Spurs was a rather extended run which coincided with the departure of Fabio Capello as England manager and the lengthy silence from the Football Association with the associated speculation that Harry Redknapp was a cert to take over ahead of Euro 2012.  Only after the appointment of Roy Hodgson did the Spurs team rediscover some of their form and confidence to produce the style of football that had so pleased the football public earlier in the season.  Unfortunately, this rekindling of their form came too late to reclaim third place which they had held from late November through to the end of March.

Missed Opportunities
Even in the final weeks of the season Spurs managed to spurn opportunities to redeem themselves and take advantage of others misfortune.  Twice in the last month of the season, Arsenal provided them with the chance to make up lost ground but Spurs were unable to make the most of these gifts - an unexpected home defeat for Arsenal against Wigan Athletic but Spurs lost to QPR the next weekend while a home draw with Norwich meant that a Tottenham win at Aston Villa would restore Spurs to third with a single point advantage going in to the final day's matches but Spurs could only manage to take a point from the relegation fearing team.  

Adebayor's Disallowed Goals
If only one of those goals which were incorrectly disallowed for off-side against Emmanuel Adebayor had been given as they should have, Spurs would have had the point they required to be ahead of Arsenal at the end of the season.  Against Stoke City, Chelsea and Wolverhampton Wanderers, three games in a five week period that saw Adebayor denied a perfectly good goal as Spurs were on the wrong end of mistakes by the officials.  "These things even themselves out over the course of a season" say some, but there's no evidence that it happened for Tottenham this year.

Caution v Ambition
Over a season, depending on circumstances, a team needs to take caution in its approach while at times it has to show an ambitious streak to take a gamble in the hope of gaining some reward.  Looking at this aspect of Spurs play in two games when they got it wrong on both occasions.  At the end of January Spurs went into added time against eventual Champions, Manchester City, level at two goals each.  Spurs were in the ascendancy at this point and Benoit Assou-Ekotto had the option of cautiously allowing the ball to go out for a Spurs throw or playing it forward in an attempt to get a winning goal.  He took the adventurous option but City collected the ball and started the move which led to a penalty award and a winning goal.  Spurs lost out on a point and the extra two points helped City to their first title in forty four years.

In the penultimate match of the season Spurs were down to ten men against an Aston Villa team lacking any ambition as they tried to hold on to a point to rescue them from the outside chance of relegation.  Spurs had just equalised but Harry Redknapp, on hearing that Newcastle United had lost their match, appeared to take the cautious approach and decide on safety first rather than make any positive substitutions in order to try for the win.  In the final minute he brought on Scott Parker for Rafael Van der Vaart, a defensive move, rather than try to seek out the win, as he settled for the point.  At the end of the season, the point gained made no difference but a win would have given Tottenham third place in the final reckonings.  A defeat at Villa would also have seen Spurs finish fourth, with Newcastle unable to take any points from their final match. 

A Winning Mentality
When Spurs were good they were very good and often won with ease, although without the instinct to go on and score the additional goals that were frequently there for the taking.  On the other hand, when Spurs were going through their bad spell they never looked capable of rescuing the situation and there was an inevitability about the result.  Spurs only gained 6 points during the season from a losing position while Arsenal were the masters of the comeback, winning an incredible 24 points from losing positions, including their remarkable turnaround against Spurs at The Emirates and another three points against West Bromwich Albion in the vital final game of the season.  They managed late winners in three matches against Sunderland, Liverpool and Newcastle in February and March at the beginning of their revival in fortune.

It has been a memorable season for Tottenham and as Harry Redknapp says most people would have accepted this position at the beginning of the season and especially after the first two defeats to the Manchester clubs.  Looking at the season as a whole, however, it would seem to have been one of missed opportunities.  Having worked their way into such a strong position in mid-January that after defeating Everton they were level with United and three points behind City, they were being considered as title contenders.  That, however, was as good as it got.  In a season when United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool, the traditional 'big four', were well below their usual standards, there was a golden opportunity for Spurs to have achieved much more, to have set down a marker that they could compete with the very best and so avoid the unsatisfactory situation of having to await the outcome of the Champions League Final to know their fate for next season.  Unfortunately, this ending to the season causes an inevitable delay on forward planning for next season and allows time for uncertainty about progress, retaining players and possible new signings to develop. 

'If only' scenarios could be played over endlessly but it's time to 'get over it' and 'move on' - next season's only twelve weeks away.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Tottenham 2 Fulham 0

Spurs successfully achieved a comfortable win over London rivals, Fulham but in the bigger race for the Champions League, lost out to near neighbours, Arsenal, who took the three points they required at West Brom to maintain the status quo in the Premier League table.  Spurs must now wait for next Saturday's Champions League Final result before knowing if they have secured a place in the play-offs in August.

Tottenham Hotspur 2  Fulham 0
Scorers: Adebayor, Defoe
 Team: Friedel; Walker (Nelsen), Gallas, Kaboul (Smith), Bale; Lennon, Livermore, Sandro, Modric; Van der Vaart (Defoe); Adebayor  Subs: (unused) Cudicini, Giovani, Kane, Saha

On the day, Spurs did all that they could - they won their final home game of the season and waited for the other results.  Newcastle United lost at Everton, ending their challenge for the Champions League and for a period before and after half-time Spurs were in prime position but the Arsenal equaliser at the Hawthorns early in the second half, their third goal from goalkeeping mistakes, ended Spurs' dream of finishing third and being the top team in London.

Gareth Bale moved to left back to replace the suspended Danny Rose who was sent off at Aston Villa last weekend.  Jake Livermore joined Sandro in central midfield with Luka Modric moving further left.  Two young players, Adam Smith and Harry Kane, were among the substitutes.  Smith came on for the last fifteen minutes in place of the injured Younes Kaboul and Kane has returned from a successful loan period with Millwall where he won the Young Player of the Year award.  The Fulham team under Martin Jol contained two former Spurs players - full back, Stephen Kelly and midfielder, Danny Murphy.

Spurs had the perfect start with a goal after 1 minute 37 seconds.  Emmanuel Adebayor received the ball from Rafael Van der Vaart and placed it into the Fulham net.  
[Advantage Spurs for the Champions League]

After six minutes a run by Aaron Lennon at pace had Fulham back pedalling but he ran into trouble and lost the ball.  About the same time Arsenal took the lead against West Bromwich Albion.  
[Advantage Arsenal]
 Spurs continued to dominate with Kaboul playing wider on the left of central defence to provide greater freedom for Gareth Bale from left back.  On ten minutes a shot by Modric was deflected into space on the left of the penalty area and it became a race between Bale and Schwarzer for the ball. 
Bale got in a shot but the goalkeeper had closed him down and blocked the shot for a corner.  From the dangerous Van der Vaart corner a Kaboul header was cleared by the goalkeeper for another corner.

West Brom drew level against Arsenal.
[Advantage Tottenham]
Livermore shot over after thirteen minutes after a series of one two passes between himself and Lennon.   Then after another corner the ball was played back into Adebayor but he was unable to make proper contact with the ball.  News reached White Hart Lane that West Brom had taken the lead.
[Advantage Tottenham]
Spurs were very much in control with Fulham offering little threat and when Bale put in a dangerous cross Schwarzer had to come and claim it after twenty minutes.  Fulham had a short period of possession but when Bale dispossessed Kelly, he had to be quick to get back and retrieve a dangerous situation for the visitors.

Adebayor was next to threaten the visitors with a powerful run from central midfield but he was blocked and Van der Vaart's free-kick struck the wall.  Adebayor won a corner which just cleared Bale's head.  Arsenal drew level at The Hawthorns.
[Advantage Tottenham]
For a period before half-time Fulham showed more threat and Walker was tested in his defensive duties on the right.  A good run by Lennon, enabled him to get behind the defence and he pulled the ball back to Adebayor who put it across to Van der Vaart but his shot went just past the post.  With ten minutes to go to half-time Spurs had 62% of possession but they were given a wake up call when Riise collected the ball in his own half and ran towards goal with a powerful shot which Friedel saved well.  A minute later a shot by Dembele was partially saved by Friedel but William Gallas got back to clear for a throw in.  From the long throw Friedel made a good punched clearance.  Apart from this short period of pressure, Fulham offered little threat and Spurs finished the half the stronger with shots from Walker and Bale going over. 

The second half started with a run by Lennon which ended with a foul by Murphy.  Modric's free-kick was headed out for a corner.  Ryan Nelsen replaced Walker who had been injured at the end of the first half.  Gallas reluctantly moved to right back to accommodate Nelsen but his movement released Lennon on the right and Sandro headed his cross over after fifty two minutes.  A minute later Adebayor appeared to have got through on goal to force a save but he was flagged offside.

Another minute on and Arsenal regained the lead against West Bromwich Albion.
[Advantage Arsenal]
For a time the game seemed to go rather flat as if everyone at White Hart Lane was aware of what had happened at The Hawthorns.  Just before the hour Dembele shot against a post and then Spurs introduced Jermain Defoe in place of Van der Vaart.  Two minutes was all Defoe needed to score - he set Lennon off on the right and when the winger's shot deflected to him, he scored the second. 

 Spurs were in control and they started to play with a freedom and confidence that has been missing for much of the past three months.  A run by Bale ended with Defoe shooting over.  With fifteen minutes left Adam Smith made his debut and apart from a couple of late saves by Friedel the match ended with Spurs taking the three points to maintain Fulham's poor record at White Hart Lane.

No change in the Midlands meant that Spurs finished fourth and must await the outcome on the Champions League Final and hope that Bayern Munich are successful.

At the end of what was a comfortable, routine win for Spurs, the overwhelming feeling was of disappointment at the end of an extraordinary season, that Spurs return to form had come just a little to late to secure the third place finish and automatic qualification for the Group stages, that had seemed guaranteed back in January and February.  One point and one goal was all that had been required.

Spurs now face an uncertain period:
  •  Will they make the Champions League?
  • Will they get through the play-offs in August, if they are in the competition?
  • What bearing will this situation have on retaining players and making new signings?
Tottenham's planning for the new season will now be full of 'ifs and buts' but it has been a fantastic season for the club, the best that many supporters have ever experienced with Tottenham, at one point, being considered as title challengers  - a new experience for all of us.

A great season, playing the best football in the League and many memories to keep us going through the summer.  While we may feel down at the moment, we'll all be back in August - you know you will. 


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Spurs' Home Record against Fulham

Spurs need to end their season with a victory over Fulham to stand any chance of Champions League football next season.  Even then, it may depend on events elsewhere, including next weekend's Champions League Final in Munich.

Spurs' final home Premier League match of the season has them entertaining Fulham with Martin Jol in charge.  Earlier in the season Spurs defeated Fulham 3 - 1 in a hard earned victory at Craven Cottage.  They can expect another difficult afternoon as they battle for the points which should ensure a Champions League place next season, as long as Chelsea don't defeat Bayern Munich next Saturday.

Last Season's Result:
Jan. 2011  PL  Won 1 - 0  Bale
This New Year's Day encounter was settled when Gareth Bale headed Rafael Van der Vaart's free-kick into the goal, three minutes before half-time.  It was a hard-earned victory and ensured that Spurs had taken maximum points from the three matches over the holiday period. 

Spurs' Home League Record against Fulham (inc. PL):
P  39  W  21  D  16  L  2  For  67  Ag  30

Premier League Record at White Hart Lane against Fulham:
P  10  W  6  D  3  L  1  For  16  Ag  5

Fulham's first League success at White Hart Lane was in April, 1948 in a 2nd Division match which they won 2 - 0.  It was the second of three home defeats in five days for Spurs.  Their second success came in August, 2003 in their third season in the Premier League after an absence of over thirty years from the top flight of English football, when they triumphed 3 - 0 in what was the penultimate home match of Glenn Hoddle's time as manager.  Defeat to Southampton in the next home game sealed his fate.

Fulham have proved a difficult team to beat since their arrival in the Premier League and Spurs can expect another difficult afternoon against their London rivals with Martin Jol having an extra incentive for success.

Previous Premier League Meetings at White Hart Lane:
Jan. 2010  Won 2 - 0  Crouch, Bentley       
A goal in each half secured the points for Spurs and brought to an end a run of three games without a win.

Dec. 2008  Draw 0 - 0
A rather dour affair with Spurs unable to break down Fulham's well organised defence which wasn't appropriate fare for this Boxing Day game.

Dec. 2007  Won 5 - 1  Keane (2), Huddlestone (2), Defoe
This was the first of three consecutive Boxing Day matches against Fulham and while it was a goal fest for Spurs the others in 2008 and at Craven Cottage in 2009 ended goalless.  Robbie Keane and Tom Huddleston gave Spurs a two goal lead by the interval.  Dempsey pulled one back for the visitors on the hour but Keane responded immediately to restore Tottenham's advantage.  Huddlestone and Defoe completed the afternoon's entertainment.

Sept. 2006  Draw 0 - 0
Spurs were unable to unsettle Fulham's defensive strategy which they'd set out from the beginning in order to get a point.

Sept. 2005  Won 1 - 0  Defoe
Jermain Defoe gave Spurs an early lead which suggested it was going to be comfortable afternoon but it was far from that as Spurs were called to defend for long periods as Fulham sought an equaliser.  This result enabled Spurs to reclaim fourth place in the early season league table.

Feb. 2005  Won 2 - 0  Kanoute, Keane
Spurs struggled to make the breakthrough but after introducing Fredi Kanoute for Defoe with less that twenty minutes remaining the substitute scored the opening goal.  Keane then replaced Mido and he added the second in the final minute.

Aug. 2003  Lost 0 - 3
In a dire performance from Spurs, Fulham were comfortable winners with a first half goal and two in four minutes midway through the second half.

Feb. 2003  Draw 1 - 1  Sheringham (pen)
Ledley King scored an own goal after fifteen minutes but a Teddy Sheringham penalty before the interval brought Spurs level.

Dec. 2001  Won 4 - 0  Ferdinand, Anderton, Davies, Rebrov
Spurs fans had an abundance of goals at White Hart Lane as in the previous match in mid-week they had seen their team win 6 - 1 against Bolton in the Worthington Cup.  Les Ferdinand and Darren Anderton scored before half-time and Simon Davies and Sergei Rebrov added two further goals in six minutes midway through the second half.  Ferdinand's goal after twenty minutes gave him the distinction of scoring the 10,000th Premier League goal.

Previous Meetings:
The previous occasion that Spurs played Fulham in a League match at White Hart Lane was in their season in the 2nd Division in 1977 - 78.  The match was played in September and resulted in a single goal victory for Spurs.  The goal was scored by Chris Jones.

The last match in the 1st Division was on 26th December, 1967.  The Boxing Day fixture ended in a draw with another C. Jones scoring both goals.  It was Cliff Jones who scored as the match ended 2 - 2.  Four days later, the return match at Craven Cottage ended 2 - 1 in Spurs' favour with Jimmy Robertson and that man, Cliff Jones, scoring the goals.  The following October Jones joined Fulham after ten very successful years with Tottenham.

The First Meeting in the Football League at Tottenham
The two clubs had met in their Southern League days but they first met in the Football League in a 2nd Division match at White Hart Lane in April, 1909.  Spurs were fighting to win promotion and this win kept them on track, the goal being scored by Vivian Woodward who scored 22 League and Cup goals in their debut season in the Football League.

Biggest Wins:
Dec. 1919  Div. 2  Won 4 - 0  Walden, Minter (2), Bliss  [Spurs won 2nd Division]
Nov. 1960  Div. 1  Won 5 - 1  Jones (2), White, Allen (2)  [Spurs won 1st Division & FA Cup]
Dec. 2001  PL  Won 4 - 0  Ferdinand, Anderton, Davies, Rebrov
Dec. 2007  PL  Won 5 - 1  Keane (2), Huddlestone (2), Defoe

For the first time in five matches Spurs are not faced with a team battling against relegation and while White Hart Lane has never been Fulham's favourite ground, they have proved difficult to beat and will not give Spurs an inch in this final match of the season.  A London derby against committed opposition will be a real test of Spurs' desire and nerve to stake a claim for a Champions League place next season.  Tottenham will need to match Fulham's endeavour and ensure they take any goal scoring chances that are created - only a win will do, unless there are very unexpected results at the Hawthorns and Goodison Park.   


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tottenham - Final Home Match of the Season

For many seasons for younger Tottenham supporters, the final home match and the last game of the season have had little importance for Spurs.  Safely ensconced in mid-table, it was just another match to be played to bring the season to a close with nothing at stake.  For the past few seasons, however, with Spurs' improving status there has been something to play for and this weekend's home game with Fulham has the greatest importance of any final match played at White Hart Lane for some considerable time. 

The result of Sunday's match against Fulham, not to overstate its importance, could determine Spurs' future direction for years to come.  A third place finish with automatic Champions League qualification will allow immediate planning for the coming season to commence - current players will be less inclined to fall into the snare of other clubs while Tottenham would be a more attractive proposition for prospective players.  The plans for the development of the new ground would have a greater chance of progressing and attracting the financial backers and sponsors which are required for Daniel Levy to finally give it the green light.  Any other finish, even fourth, would bring with it certain restraints which would cause delay - Chelsea winning the Champions League and thus missing out on the competition, dropping into the Europa League for another season would be less appealing to current and future players and create a less profitable financial situation.  The knock-on effect for attracting sponsorship would be similar so Sunday's result is crucial for the club.

It has not always been so, as the last home game of the season approached.  Frequently, it has been the opposition who have had more to play for and for some White Hart Lane was a good place to visit.  In 1996-97, Coventry City were the visitors and their 2 - 1 victory ensured their Premier League survival by  a single point, condemning Sunderland and Middlesbrough with already relegated Nottingham Forest.  A young Northern Ireland player, Paul McVeigh, scored Spurs' goal in what was his third and final appearance for the club.  He remained with Tottenham until March, 2000 when he was given a free transfer and signed for Norwich City.  He made twenty appearances for Northern Ireland, making his debut while with Spurs and then made over 200 appearances for Norwich.

May, 2011
Tottenham 2 Birmingham City 1  Pavlyuchenko (2)  [Final place finish: 5th]
Last season's final game of the season was important for Birmingham who were looking to avoid relegation while Spurs could ensure Europa League qualification.  In the end results elsewhere determined the outcome of both situations.  Liverpool's defeat meant Spurs were in Europe while a Wolves' recovery guaranteed their safety and had relegated Birmingham even before Roman Pavlyuchenko scored the second of his two goals in the final minute.

May, 2010
Tottenham 1 Bolton Wanderers 0  Huddlestone   [Final place finish: 4th]
With two away games to follow, it was essential that Spurs won to maintain their pursuit of fourth place.  Tom Huddlestone's thunderbolt of a drive in the first half ensured that Tottenham remained in pole position ahead of their vital head-to-head clash with Manchester City to secure Champions league qualification.  Peter Crouch's goal in Manchester four days later brought that dream to reality.

May, 2009
Tottenham 2 Manchester City 1  Defoe, Keane (p)  [Final place finish: 8th]
Having battled for survival after a nightmare start to the season, Harry Redknapp in his first season at White Hart Lane had lifted the club to safety with an outside chance of making the Europa League.  This win over City maintained that prospect but a final day defeat at Anfield brought it to an end.  Jermain Defoe gave Spurs an early lead but City drew level midway through the second half.  Robbie Keane secured victory with a penalty four minutes from time.

May, 2008
Tottenham 0 Liverpool 2  [Final place finish: 11th]
Having won the Carling Cup at the end of February, Juande Ramos' team sleep walked through the rest of the season to finish eleventh.  Liverpool brought the final rites to the season with two second half goals in what was a disappointing performance from Spurs.

May, 2007
Tottenham 2 Manchester City 1  Keane, Berbatov  [Final place finish: 5th]   
Spurs ensured their qualification for the UEFA Cup with a fifth place finish for the second successive season under Martin Jol.  They scored two first half goals from Keane and Dimitar Berbatov but allowed City to pull one back before the interval but then held on throughout the second period to claim the points.

April, 2006
Tottenham 1 Bolton Wanderers 0  Lennon  [Final place finish: 5th]
Aaron Lennon's goal after an hour maintained Spurs' hold on fourth place as they faced stiff competition from Arsenal for the final place for Champions League qualification.  Spurs had been fourth since November but it would go down to the final games the next weekend when Spurs travelled across London to face West Ham United.  As we all know, 'Lasagne-gate' became headlines as a sickly Tottenham played out the game with an ailing team who were clearly unwell.  Spurs lost, Arsenal won and Tottenham fans had to wait another until 2010 for their first experience of the Champions League.

May, 2005
Tottenham 0 Blackburn Rovers 0  [Final place finish: 9th]
Spurs had an outside chance of European qualification but it had really been lost the previous weekend with a single goal defeat at Middlesbrough.  A stubborn Rovers team came to deny Tottenham and they succeeded.

It was Atrocious
May, 2003
Tottenham 0 Blackburn Rovers 4  [Final place finish: 10th]
This wasn't how it wa ssupposed to be when Glenn Hoddle took over as manager.  Spurs had lost 1 - 5 the previous week at Middlesbrough and brought the season to a close in front of clearly dissatisfied and disgruntled supporters at White Hart Lane.  It was Teddy Sheringham's final game for the club but there was nothing to commend about the performance which saw Gus Poyet sent off and Blackburn score twice in each half.  There were calls for Hoddle to go and it wasn't long into the new season before he departed.

It was a Celebration!
May, 1977
Tottenham 2 Leicester City 0  Pratt, Holmes  [Final place finish: 22nd - Relegation]
Spurs' relegation had been determined the previous weekend in a five goal defeat at Manchester City.  The team threw off their fears and gave the fans something to cheer in the final match with goals from John Pratt and Jimmy Holmes.  The team included Pat Jennings for whom it would be his last League appearance for the club, Steve Perryman, Glenn Hoddle and Peter Taylor.  The fans showed their loyalty to the club as they prepared for a step into the unknown - a year in the 2nd Division.

It was Tense!!
April, 1978
Tottenham 1 Hull City 0  Perryman  [Final place finish: 3rd - Promotion]
One year on and Tottenham experienced a very tense evening at White Hart Lane.  Spurs promotion had seemed secure earlier in the season but two successive defeats left them in danger of missing out.  A late goal scored by captain, Steve Perryman, secured the points and they lived to fight another day - a final day visit to Southampton who were also in the battle for promotion.  A tense scoreless draw gave both clubs promotion, Tottenham at the expense of Brighton on goal difference.

Sunday's match against Fulham is sure to be tense but hopefully, Spurs will come through and if results elsewhere go in their favour, the supporters will have plenty to celebrate - another crack at the Champions League.