Friday, March 31, 2006

Tottenham - Another 'MUST' Win at Newcastle

Tottenham will be looking to continue their improved run of results, striving for a third consecutive win tomorrow afternoon. March was a good month for Spurs with only the late defeat by Chelsea spoiling their record. Those wins were vital as the competition for a European place is still intense. Recent results have seen Bolton and West Ham drop back a little but Blackburn, Arsenal and Wigan are still pressing their claims for a high finish. In the past few weeks the teams in the challenging positions have matched each other result for result, no quarter has been given and there has been no room for error.

Thankfully, in spite of the continuing challenge Spurs have been able to maintain their position and they hold their destiny in their own hands. Tomorrow, they will hope to keep ahead of the chasing pack by winning at Newcastle for the second successive season. Who can forget Atouba's stunning goal last year at St.James Park which won the early season game? Since then Spurs lost there in a Cup tie, where a different referee might have seen at least one of the 'dead cert' penalties Spurs should have been awarded. Spurs won both games at White Hart Lane, the most recent on New Year's Eve, against a very poor Newcastle team.

At White Hart Lane Robbie Keane was an inspiration against them and it is hoped that he will maintain his recent good form which has seen him score four goals in the last three wins. Shortly after their demise at Tottenham, Newcastle removed Souness from his manager's position and replaced him with Glenn Roeder. There was an immediate improvement in results but recently that has tailed off again. Newcastle have a number of injuries, including Parker, so Spurs could have their best chance of collecting another three points away from home.

For a team with Champions League aspirations this is another game where they would be really expecting to get the win and anything less would be a disappointment. However, Spurs must learn from last Monday's game against West Brom. There are no easy games that you just turn up for - every player must be committed and prepared to give their all for the cause. When that happens and the team is really competitive, it is possible for the skilful players to show their style - Jenas, Lenon, Defoe and Keane.

Newcastle hasn't been the most successful of grounds for Spurs, with only three wins in twelve Premiership visits. They won in:

1993-94: 1-0 Sheringham (Ardiles' first game as manager)
2001-02: 2-0 Poyet, opp. o.g.
2004-05: 1-0 Atouba
There have been three draws - 3-3 in May, 1995, 1-1 a year later and 1-1 in 1998-99. The defeats have included 0-4 in December, 2003 and losing 1-7 under Gerry Francis in December, 1996.
Martin Jol (Pic: Martin Jol) will be looking for something much better than those tortured times, as the usual full quote of travelling supporters make their way to the North-east. He has few injury problems, although Tainio is said to be doubtful, while Andy Reid has returned to fitness. As usual, Jol has to decide how best to use his three strikers and which permutation of midfield players to use. Lennon has grown in confidence and Jenas will be looking to impress on his first return to St. James Park. Edgar Davids has been less influential than at the start of the season and consideration may be given to replacing him in midfield with Murphy waiting for an opportunity to show his worth. There is a strong squad available and if they play to their potential, they are quite capable of getting the result that is required. A win by two goals is quite possible and would further strengthen Spurs position in fourth place.
The defence has been solid all season and must avoid any slackness or error as Alan Shearer would be only too happy to take any opportunity provided. It is a long time since any of the defenders got on the scoring list and if the free-kick and corners were delivered more accurately, King and Dawson are quite capable of scoring.
A positive display and forging their style on the game should ensure Spurs travel home from
Tyneside with a better return than from their previous two visits to the North-east earlier in the season.
'Come On You Spurs'
'The Spurs go Marching on'


31st March - Spurs in History

A Good Day for Spurs

31st March, 1962

Spurs 3 Manchester United 1 F.A.Cup Semi-final at Hillsborough

A second successive semi-final victory as Spurs endeavoured to retain the Cup. Victories over Birmingham City, after a replay, Plymouth Argyll, West Brom and Aston Villa had brought Spurs to this stage. United were in the lower half of the League but it would be a difficult game as the teams had drawn 2-2 at White Hart Lane and Spurs had lost by the only goal of the game earlier in the season at Old Trafford.

Goals from Jimmy Greaves, Terry Medwin and Cliff Jones ensured that Spurs won comfortably and returned to Wembley to meet the team they defeated in the previous year’s semi-final.

Greaves and Jones gave Spurs a two goal half-time lead. United scored with seven minutes remaining but Medwin ensured Spurs victory, scoring three minutes later.

31st March, 1961

Spurs 4 Chelsea 2 (1st Division)

Spurs won the first of the 'double-header' Easter games. Spurs were comfortable at the top of the 1st Division, closing in on their second championship in ten years and the first part of the 'Double.' Easter was a very busy period with three games in four days. This game was played on Good Friday, the next day Spurs entertained Preston North End and on Easter Monday they had the return game with Chelsea.

Spurs recovered their form over easter, winning all three games, having suffered a mini-slump in the previous three League games, losing at Cardiff City and at home to Newcastle while only drawing at Fulham.

Cliff Jones(2), Frank Saul and Les Allen scored the goals.

The following day, Jones scored a hat-trick and John White and Saul added the others in defeating Preston. The return against Chelsea was won 3-2 with goals from Norman, Smith and Medwin.

31st March, 1990

The last win on this day was against Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough. Spurs won 4-2 and the goals were scored by Paul Allen, Gary Lineker(2) and Paul Stewart.

31st March, 2002

The last game played by Spurs saw them lose 2-0 to arsenal, with David Pleat in caretaker mode while Glenn Hoddle waited for clearance from Southampton.

31st March, 1917

During the 1st World War, Spurs played at Highbury against Portsmouth in the London Combination. They won 10 (ten)-0.

White Hart Lane was not available as it was being used as part of the war effort.


Thursday, March 30, 2006

30th March - Spurs in History

30th March, 1996

Spurs last home win of season 1995-96.

Spurs 3 Coventry City 1 (Premiership)

Teddy Sheringham and Ruel Fox(2) gave Spurs this win. Under Gerry Francis, Spurs were looking for a European place and it so nearly came in the last game at Newcastle but taking only one point from the final two home games Pic. Ruel Fox
made it more difficult.

Spurs eventually finished 8th on 61 points. Level on points with Everton and Blackburn but behind on goal difference and two points below Arsenal in 5th.

30th March, 1968

Spurs 5 Burnley 0 (1st Division)

Spurs went into this game after three League games undefeated, two scoreless draws followed by a 3-0 win at Stoke City.

Goals from Mike England, Jimmy Greaves(2), Terry Venables, Cliff Jones gave Spurs this very comfortable win.

The following Saturday, Spurs entertained Southampton at White Hart Lane and won 6-1 (Mullery, Greaves(2)(1p), Chivers, Jones, opp.og.)

The good form continued on Good Friday with a 2-1 home win over Leeds United. Greaves and Chivers were the scorers.

The six match unbeaten run, including four consecutive wins, came to end the next day as Spurs lost to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.


Wednesday, March 29, 2006

29th March - Spurs in History

29th March, 1986

This is the last occasion that Spurs played on this day.

Spurs 1 Arsenal 0

Gary Stevens scored the only goal. It was the usual bruising, hectic, mile-a-minute derby, in which Hoddle inspired Spurs.

It was during Spurs' best spell of the game that Stevens scored, after thirty four minutes. Hoddle put in a cross which Galvin turned back into the middle and the Arsenal goalkeeper, Lukic, badly mis-punched it. Stevens drove the ball home through many defenders on the line.

The away game at Highbury on New Year's Day was scoreless.

Also on this Day, 29th March, Spurs are undefeated since 1930.

Past results:

1930 v Bristol City (a) (2nd Div.) Lost 0-1

1937 v Bury (h) (2nd Div.) Won 2-0 Duncan, Miller

1941 v Cardiff City (a) Football Lge War Cup (3rd R. 2nd Leg) Won 3-2 Gibbons, Broadis, Ludford

1947 v Plymouth Argyll (a) (2nd Div.) Won 4-3 Bennett(2), Foreman(2)

1948 v Millwall (h) (2nd Div.) Won 3-2 Jordan(p), Duquemin, Jones

1958 v Aston Villa (h) (1st Div.) Won 6-2 Medwin(2), Smith(4)

1969 v Burnley (a) (1st Div.) Draw 2-2 Johnson, Pearce

1975 v QPR (a) (1st Div.) Won 1-0 Duncan

1980 v Liverpool (h) (1st Div.) Won 2-0 Pratt, Hoddle(p)

1982 v Arsenal (h) (1st Div.) Draw 2-2 Archibald, Hughton ** (5 minutes from time, Chris Hughton and the Arsenal goalscorer, Sunderland, were both sent off - the first double sending off in a North London derby)**

1986 v Arsenal (h) (1st Div.) Won 1-0 Stevens


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

28th March - Spurs in History

28th March, 1998

Crystal Palace 1 Spurs 3 (Premiership)

Spurs had struggled for most of the season, first under Gerry Francis and then Christian Gross. Relegation was a distinct possibility but this win against fellow strugglers, Palace, went some way to help the situation. The goals were scored by Nicola Berti, Jurgen Klinsmann and Chris Armstrong.

However, it was only in the final games of the season that Spurs eventually were assured of their survival in the Premiership.

Also on this Day:

28th March, 1901

Spurs 3 Reading 0 FA Cup 3rd Round Replay

The only two non-League clubs left in the Cup had contested a close game in the first match. Spurs were fortunate to survive as they should have conceded a penalty in the closing minutes. The Spurs goalkeeper, Clawley, saw a speculative shot drop over his heasd and seemed destined for the net when full back, Sandy Tate, rushed back and punched the ball clear. The only people in the ground who didn't think it was a penalty were the referee and the linesman. Spurs survived but the incident was talked about for years.

So to the replay, Spurs were in dominant form and actually scored five times, although two were ruled out. Centre forward, Sandy Brown scored twice, bringing his total for the competition to eight and maintain his record of scoring in every round. The third goal was scored by David Copeland.

In the semi-final Spurs would meet West Bromwich Albion.

28th March 1936

Spurs 8 Southampton 0 (2nd Division)

Only 28,907 spectators were at White Hart Lane for the match against Southampton whereas many of the other games that season had attracted crowds of over 50,000.

Spurs very easy win came about with goals from Joe Meek (3) in his second game for the club, George Hunt (3)(1 pen), Willie Evans (2)


Monday, March 27, 2006

Keane's Vital 'Double' for Spurs

Spurs 2 West Bromwich Albion 1

Spurs season has suffered from too many dropped points due to conceding late goals. Tonight, it was pay back time. A late Robbie Keane penalty ensured Spurs took three extremely vital, if very fortunate, points from this game against a West Brom side whose play and composure belayed their lowly League position.

Martin Jol selected the same team as started against Birmingham so Keane and Defoe started with Mido on the bench.

As always, Spurs started slowly and west Brom kept players behind the ball. After twenty, from a harsh free kich, Curtis Davies gave the visitors the lead and from much of the first half they out fought Spursand restricted their forward play. It was only in the finalten minutes of the half that Spurs started to put the WBA defence under pressure and won a series of corners. The goalkeeper was called upon to make two good saves, a shot from Defoe was pushed and a low effort from Lennon was pushed round his post. In spite of their late pressure spurs went in a goal down.

Spurs started the second half looking to restore the balance but West Brom defended bravely. On the hour, Mido replaced Kelly and almost immediately he had two near misses. Eventually, with twenty minutes left, Spurs equalised. Robinson to King to Carrick to Davids to Dawson to Lee to Defoe to Lennon to Carrick to Mido to Lennon to Michael Carrick who played a lovely ball into Keane who turned his man and lifted the ball over the diving goalkeeper. The goal came from a move that had twelve consecutive passes and a shot, via 10 different players (all bar Jenas), the full length of the pitch, untouched by any opponent. It was Robbie Keane's 50th League goal for Spurs and the 99th of his career.

Following the goal the game opened up and West Brom came out looking for a second. On a number of occasions Robinson had to be alert and as the game passed into the final minutes it looked as if both teams would have to be satisified with a point.

Then with three minutes left, a back pass to the West Brom keeper gave Defoe the chance to close him down. He charged down his clearance and as heraced in on goal, the keeper who had annoyed the Spurs fans with his time wasting throughout the game, pulled him down. The ball broke to Mido who hammered it into the net but the referee had awarded the penalty.

The goalkeeper was booked and Robbie Keane stepped up to take the penalty. Would his nerve hold in these crucial moments. Yes and he hit the penalty to the goalkeeper's right and raced off to the corner to celebrate with his customary cartwheel.

[Robbie Keane - 100th League Goal of his Career/51st League goal for Spurs]

Spurs may not have deserved the win but at this point of the season, any win is important. It ensures Spurs stay in fourth place, three points ahead of Blackburn and five ahead of Arsenal.

At the beginning of March, I spectulated that a club hoping for Champions League football would expect to get a minimum of 9 points from Spurs' four games during the month. They achieved it, it wasn't spectacular, but they showed great determination and effort and are still on course for their best season in many years.

Spurs have 55 points and a goal difference of +16. Their next match is at Newcastle, followed by a home game against Manchester City. A visit to Everton is followed by a game with Manchester United at White Hart Lane. This takes them to the game at Arsenal, home to Bolton and finally the season draws to a close at West Ham.

They have won two of the 9 'Cup Finals' on the road to Europe, there's 7 more to come.


27th March - Spurs in History

1964-65 - a strange season

Spurs undefeated at White Hart Lane through the complete season but managed only one away win (at Forest on Boxing Day - 2-1).  They completed the 'double' over Forest by winning 4-0 at home, two days later.

The season ended with some high scoring games:
Leicester won 6-2
Blackburn Won 5-2
Blackpool Won 4-1
Liverpool Won 3-0 
and on
27th March, 1965
Spurs 7 Wolves 4
Cliff Jones hat-trick
An eleven goal thriller, the Spurs goals were scored by Eddie Clayton, Les Allen, Alan Gilzean(2), Cliff Jones(3).

The game threw up a number of interesting facts:–
this was Les Allen’s last goal for Spurs,
Keith Weller a young forward made his debut and
Jimmy Greaves was playing and surprisingly did not score.

Wolves had scored first but Spurs equalized and at half-time the score was 1-1.  With six minutes to go the score was 5-4 and then Jones scored two late goals for his hat-trick.  With six matches to play Spurs were fourth in the League but eleven points behind the top three teams.

Spurs finished the season in 6th.

Also on this day:
1967 v Everton (a) Won 2-0 Mullery, Gilzean
1970 v Nottingham Forest (h) Won 4-1 Gilzean(2), Chivers(2)
1976 v Sheffield United (h) Won 5-0 Young, Perryman(2), Chivers, Duncan


Sunday, March 26, 2006

Tottenham in the News

Good News at White Hart Lane
Tuesday, 28th March.

Having made such an exciting start to their careers at White Hart Lane, it is good news that both have signed extensions to their contracts with Spurs.

Michael Dawson who signed from Nottingham Forest in January, 2005, in the package that included Andy Reid, has made the central defenders position, alongside Ledley King, his own. Having overcome the initial injuries that hindered his introduction to the first team, he has bacome an important part of the team. He is enthusiastic and competitive and has the ability to play the ball accurately out of defence, seeking out the wide players. The extension to Dawson's contract keeps him at Tottenham until 2011. He has captained the England Under-21 side and is seen as a future Captain of Spurs with good prospects of making it into the England team.
Michael Dawson Aaron Lennon

Aaron Lennon was signed from Leeds United last summer. Originally, he was seen as a young player who would get an opportunity of some experience in the team during the year but with the injury to Routledge at the start of the season, Lennon was given the chance earlier than had been planned. However, he has taken his chance and put in some exciting performances. he is a vital member of the team, providing width on both wings and putting defenders under pressure as he carries the ball forward at pace. He scored his first goal for Spurs in the win at Birmingham and looks a very good prospect. He is another young player with aspirations of playing for England.

That he has signed an extension to his contract, keeping him at the club until 2010, is very encouraging as rumours have been circulating that he has been homesick and also that Manchester United are trying to sign him in the summer. Hopefully these stories are unfounded and that he will be part of the Tottenham team for many years to come.

Goalkeeper, Radek Cerny has also signed a new agreement which will extend his loan spell at the club until 2008. Agreement has been reached with Slavia Prague and the player who came on loan in January, 2005 will continue to provide cover for England's number 1, Paul Robinson. Cerny has made two full League appearances plus one as substitute, at the end of last season when Robinson received an injury in the League win over Aston Villa at White Hart Lane. He is a very competent goalkeeper and is highly regarded at the club.

With Robbie Keane also signing an extended contract earlier in th emonth, Spurs have made significant strides to ensuring their important players remain at the club. Talks are expected to start with Michael Carrick in the summer sabout a new contract and Ledley King has also had talks with the club about his position.
Sunday, 26th March.

The Defoe/Cisse, Benitez/Levy row rumbled on at the weekend. Tottenham have reported Liverpool to the Football Association and Benitez has refused to apologise or retract his comments, referring to an article in the Daily Express 0n 1st February to support his case.

However, on reading the article it supports the case that Liverpool were definitely interested in Defoe but had been turned down by Spurs. The article is headlined:

Levy Says No Deal over £12M Swap
Spurs snub United and Liverpool bids for England star

It is a strange row as such enquiries usually don't come to light but the agents of both players may hacve been active in briefing the press.

Martin Jol has re-assured Defoe that he is an important player at the club and in an interview in the Sunday Mirror, defoe stated that he had no wish to leave the club.

The News of the World reported that Tottenham have made an offer of £15m to Atletico Madrid for their young striker, Torres. They want to set up a deal for the summer but may have to increase their bid to £20Million.


26th March - Spurs in History

26th March, 1921

1st Division

Sunderland 0 Spurs 1

Spurs had won promotion to the 1st Division the previous year with a record number of points. They made good progress in the top flight and as this was a year with a '1' their sights were firmly fixed on the FA Cup, having beaten Preston in the semi-final the previous weekend.

For this game, Spurs had an injury problem. Both of their goalkeepers, Alex Hunter and Bill Jacques, were out and they were replaced by full back, Tommy Clay.

He kept a clean sheet and Jimmy Seed scored the winning goal.

26th March, 1994

The last occasion that Spurs played on this day was at Everton in the Premiership. The previous season saw Spurs win at Goodison Park for only the second time in twenty three visits, but they had obviously taken a liking to the place and won with a goal scored by Steve Sedgeley.

Manager Christian Gross

Since 1993, Goodison Park has become one of the more productive grounds where Spurs have to visit, they have only lost twice in thirteen visits. Last season Noe Paramot scored his first goal for the club to bring Spurs three points and Christian Gross liked going there as manager. His first game in charge was a 2-0 win with goals from Ramon Vega and David Ginola, while his final game in charge of Tottenham was also a win at Goodison, 1-0, the goal coming from Les Ferdinand.


Saturday, March 25, 2006

25th March - Spurs in History

25th March, 1922

F.A.Cup Semi-Final at Hillsborough

Preston North End 2 Spurs 1

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

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

Preston then went on to score a winning goal.

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

'Old' 2nd Division Days:

25th March, 1950

Spurs 4 West Ham 0

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

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

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

25th March, 1978

Mansfield Town 3 Spurs 3

Pic: Pat Jennings, transferred the previous summer

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

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

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

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


Defoe - Cisse - Liverpool

Pic: Jermain Defoe - important to Spurs future success

There have been rumours in the past two transfer windows, both last summer and in January, that Spurs were interested in signing Cisse from Liverpool. With Spurs looking for a player to replace Fredi Kanoute, it is understandable that connections were made with the Liverpool player who is similar in style to their former player who went to Sevilla in August.

Also, with Robbie Keane and Jermain Defoe competing for one striker's place alongside Mido there has been constant speculation that one or other of these players could be leaving White Hart Lane. Defoe was given the first opportunity by Martin Jol and started the season brightly but then his form tailed off and in my mind this was linked to his disappointment at not making the England team for the early season qualifying games when other forwards were unavailable.

Eventually, Defoe was left out of the Spurs' team and Robbie Keane who had waited patiently was given his chance. Keane also played well and started to score quite regularly and with Jol persisting with a tall/small striker combination, there was no room for both Defoe and Keane. The speculation continued through January as Spurs searched for a top class striker to lead the line and provide competition for Mido's place.

In spite of reported links to various international strikers, both in the press and on websites, they failed to sign anyone, but in the meantime, while Mido was with Egypt on African Nations Cup duty, Keane and Defoe played well together in the home game against Charlton. With a reported 'injury' to Mido, they were again selected to play together at Birmingham and both, in their own ways, contributed to the win. Defoe who had a quiet first half sprung into life to create the opening goal for Lennon and could have scored himself later in the game, while Keane who was hard working throughout, scored the crucial second goal with his last kick of the game as he was about to be substituted.

During this period there were rumours that Defoe would be going to Liverpool in the summer as the solution to their goalscoring problems.

Robbie Keane has recently signed a contract with Spurs which extends his stay at the club for another four years.

The agent of Cisse has been reported in newspapers that Tottenham are intersted in the player who will probably leave Liverpool in the summer with Spurs being a possible option.

This week Martin Jol reponded that Spurs had inquired about Cisse in the last transfer window, on a loan basis, but that was refused and there would be no further interest. Jol's statement on the subject seems quite understandable as Spurs were known to be trying to sign a tall striker who would compete with Mido for that leading role.

However, into the fray steps the Liverpool manager who at his press conference yesterday lambasted Spurs for trying to sign Cisse and also saying that they were desperate to sell Defoe whom they had offered in part exchange for their player.

Quite rightly, Tottenham Hotspur were unimpressed that their name was being castigated by a manager of another side in the Premiership. Chairman, Daniel Levy responded and accused Benitez of acting in an unprofessional manner and asked him to retract his comments.

A report in today's Daily Telegraph reports a Liverpool insider as follows:
'Sources at Anfield claim they were offered Defoe for a fee of £15 million and told that this was a sum Chelsea were prepared to pay. If Liverpool had a valuation on Defoe, it was half this and when they refused to take matters further, they were contacted again to ask if they would be interested in a deal for Cisse and cash.'

To make sense of all of this, the following points seem relevant to me:
  • Spurs are looking for a striker, similar in style to Cisse. However, in my opinion, they will be hoping to sign a higher class of striker than Cisse who is very like Kanoute - exceptional on 'his' day but at othwer times gives the impression of being totally disinterested. To sign Cisse would be to swop like for like, in other words they might as well have kept Kanoute.
  • Liverpool, in spite of their recent goal scoring feats, are desperate for a regular goal scorer. So desperate that they resigned Robbie Fowler, on the off chance that he might re-discover the goalscoring of many years ago. They have a greater need for Defoe but are looking to sign him on the cheap as they probably don't have the money to sign him.
  • Spurs don't need to sell Defoe - he signed an improved contract last season and they should be hoping to keep him and have him as an important part of the team as they hope to be in Europe next year. Keane and Defoe will have to compete for the second striker's role and as long as both players are given an opportunity in the team and are competing on merit, then competition is good for the players and the club.
  • Cisse's agent has a duty to his client to get the best possible deal for him and so if that includes using the name of Tottenham Hotspur to create interest and a possible bargaining tool, that will be fine by him.

My personal opinion is that I would hope that Jermain Defoe stays at White Hart Lane and that Cisse doesn't join the club. I would not like to see Spurs selling Defoe to any of their rivals, we don't want to strengthen the Liverpool squad because we all know that Defoe will score goals wherever he goes and so I want Tottenham Hotspur to keep their best players. To do that the team may have to ensure that they make it into Europe this season so that all the young players can widen their experience and have an increased opportunities to win trophies with Spurs.


Spurs' 8 'Finals' on Road to Europe

Pic. Glenn Hoddle celebrates 1981 Fa Cup Final Replay win over Manchester City

In the final weeks of this season, Spurs need to bring their ‘Cup Final traditions’ to the fore as they face vital games in their effort to secure European and possibly even Champions League football for the club next year.

Spurs’ Cup Final record, including replays and two-legged finals, reads:

P 24 Won 13 Draw 7* Lost 4 (* includes UEFA Cup win on penalties)

If that record is translated into the remaining fixtures, such form would ensure that European qualification. At it’s best, it would guarantee five wins, three draws and one defeat but we need to allow for slight variation, taking into account the quality of the opposition.

Having set aside the disappointment of the injury time goal conceded at Chelsea, Spurs faced what amounted to the first of their nine ‘Finals’ to the end of the season. It was one of those ‘should win Finals’ but Birmingham made it very difficult for Spurs for the first hour and were more competitive. However, in the end ‘class’ won through helped by a little spark of ‘genius’ from Jermain Defoe to set the whole process rolling. The first of nine end of season ‘finals’ had been won with only eight more to go.

A similar scenario awaits Spurs on Monday evening against West Brom. Spurs ‘should’ win but West Brom in their struggle against relegation will make it difficult and have shown in the past that they can take points from White Hart Lane. Spurs must not take them lightly but if they can bring their ‘Cup Final tradition’ into play, they should achieve the required three points essential to retain fourth place.

Those two fixture remove the pressure of the ‘expected to win’ games but the remaining matches are very much about which team copes with the pressure and is prepared to put in the greater effort and has the greater desire to achieve success. Of the remaining seven games Spurs will be playing teams who are currently among the top ten teams for results in 2006. All teams have shown improved form with only Chelsea, Liverpool and Blackburn missing from the list of opponents. Newcastle, Everton, Manchester City and West Ham are all winnable games but which team will have the greater motivation. Spurs have much more to play for in the Premiership than any of those clubs but will they show that desire in their play. Taking Spurs’ record against Manchester United, Arsenal and Bolton into account would have them regarded as the under-dogs so their effort and desire to succeed will have to be greater if they are to prevent these teams from getting the upper hand. Spurs will need to ensure they don’t avoid mistakes to hand the initiative to their opponents while making the most of whatever goal-scoring opportunities present themselves in these games. These games have added importance as success against these opponents will dent their ambitions and be a double boost to Spurs’ hopes.

The ‘holy grail’ of Champions League football awaits Spurs next season if they can negotiate the next eight games with the correct attitude, effort and approach – showing every team the appropriate respect but not with such caution that they are allowed to impose their style on the game. Will Spurs make this significant step? I don’t know, I hope they do but whatever happens there has been considerable progress compared with previous years. This time last year, a draw at Birmingham caused me to muse that Spurs’ season had ended and they would not achieve the ‘goal’ of European football. I wanted to be wrong but was proved correct; it had been a step too far for the young team. One year on, the team has come together and are on the threshold of something good. The team with its combined effort will be difficult to beat in these final games, as they have been all year, but for that extra step to be achieved, in every game one of the players needs to come forward and show something ‘extra’, just as Robbie Keane did when scoring the first goal against Blackburn or in the way Jermain Defoe came from his slumbers to dispossess Melchiot, evade his attempted rugby tackle, skip another desperate challenge to set up Lennon for the opening goal. That ‘extra’ can be the catalyst to transform a dull draw to a win or rescue a point from defeat. Spurs have the players capable of doing it – Robinson, King, Dawson, Jenas, Davids, Carrick, Lennon, Keane, Mido and Defoe. Whose turn will it be against West Brom or any of the other opponents? I don’t mind as long as someone is up to the challenge and can inspire those around him to bring success to Tottenham Hotspur.

[The full article can be read on in the Logan Holmes (wlhatwhl) column]


Friday, March 24, 2006

24th March - Spurs in History

24th March has been a quiet day in Spurs' history.
The last occasion that they played on this date was in 2002.
Fulham 0 Spurs 2
The team had gone into sudden free-fall after the Worthington Cup defeat in Cardiff and although they won their next match at home to Sunderland, the next four games saw them lose, including three successive 0 - 4 reverses to United and Chelsea twice (F A Cup and League).
So a season under Glenn Hoddle which had promised so much in the early months and with impressive progress in both Cup competitions in January and February, was now in major decline.
The game at Craven Cottage was Spurs first League visit there for 24 years and they completed an impressive League 'double' over Fulham. The goals were scored by the two 'old' men of the team, Teddy Sheringham and Gus Poyet.
The two clubs met three times that season, with Spurs successful in all the games, including a League Cup win in November.


Thursday, March 23, 2006

23rd March - Spurs in History

23rd March, 1985
Spurs 5 Southampton 1

Following the previous weekend’s victory at Anfield Spurs had gone out of the UEFA Cup despite a scoreless draw against Real Madrid in Spain but they returned to winning ways at White Hart Lane with a convincing victory over Southampton. The goals came from Ossie Ardiles, Mark Falco, Glenn Hoddle, Garth Crooks and Garry Brooke.
Pic: Ossie Ardiles

At this point of the season, Spurs looked set for a challenge for the League title but their home form deserted them and of the next six home League games they won only one, losing the others.

They eventually finished third on 77 points, thirteen points behind Champions, Everton, and missing second place to Liverpool on goal difference. Throughout the season they lost 11 League games, seven of them at home while the four away defeats were during September and October.


Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Sky Television have again selected two of Spurs games for televising live as the end of season approaches.

With the race for the Premiership all but over, unless Chelsea have an unexpected but spectacular fall from grace. the televised matches continue to concentrate on the race for the European places, expecially the final Champions League place.

With Spurs holding fourth spot since December, the pursuing clubs are eager to take any advantage of any slip or difficulty Tottenham may encounter. For Arsenal, a season with Champions league football would be unbearable espoecially with their new ground due to open next season and some of their 'stsr' players considering their future at the club. Bolton, Blackburn and Wigan are also strong contenders in these closing weeks while Everton have made steady progress in the last few weeks. With West Ham concentrating on the FA Cup, their last two defeats have left them a little way behind the other clubs.

In the final eight games of this season Spurs have to face each o the mentiioned clubs, except Blackburn who they overcame in aclose game at White Hart Lane earlier this month.

In their final selection of games for this season, SKY have selected both the game with Arsenal at Highbury and the following week's game at White Hart Lane to be broadcast live. The game against their North London will be played on Saturday, 22nd April with an earlier kick off, 12.15am. This will be Spurs last visit to Highbury.

The Bolton game the following weekend has been re-arranged for Sunday, 30th April at 4.00pm. Very inconvenient for someone who had booked flights for the Saturday and does not attend Sunday matches. For the second successive season, the television has spoiled my opportunity to see Spurs in the final games of the season. Last year having made arrangements for the game with Blackburn, they were altered to the Aston Villa game which was then re-scheduled as well.

Out of pocket, once again. When will I learn? And most annoying of all I had waited and only booked the flights last night as all rumours had suggested that the Bolton game would have an early kick-off on the original Saturday.


22nd March - Spurs in History

22 March,1961

An Unexpected Defeat.

Spurs 1 Newcastle United 2

Even the ‘Double’ winning team could have their off days. Newcastle, facing relegation, were clinging on in the first half with their goalkeeper having a starring role. At half-time Spurs were only one ahead through a goal from Les Allen. To make matters worse Danny Blanchflower had missed a penalty.

In the second half Newcastle began to come into the game and scored after an hour. With little over ten minutes left they took the lead, holding on for an unexpected victory.


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

21st March - Spurs in History

Spurs have appeared in 18 Finals - winning 14 Trophies:

FA Cup (8 times)
European Cup Winners' Cup (1)
UEFA Cup (2)
League Cup (3)
Pic: Allan Nielsen at Wembley

Until 1974 they won every Final in which they appeared.
Until 1982 they were undefeated in Wembley Finals.
In 1901 they won the FA Cup Final as a non-League club, playing in the Southern League.
In 1981 they won the Centenary FA Cup Final after a Replay.

Spurs' Record in Finals (including Replays)

P 24 Won 13 Draw 7* Lost 4 (* includes Win on Penalties)

Spurs' last visit to Wembley in 1999 might not have had the excitement of some of the
previous visits but the final moments of the game made up for that.

21st March, 1999

Spurs 1 Leicester City 0 Worthington Cup Final at Wembley

A dull and dreary Final in which Spurs did themselves no credit was drawing to a scoreless conclusion. Spurs were down to ten men, with Justin Edinburgh having been sent off, when Steffan Iversen set off on a run down the right wing - he had little support but he sent in a cross
which the Leicester goalkeeper, Kasey Keller, pushed out and Allan Nielsen dived
forward to head home. The previous 89 minutes of inadequacy were forgotten about
as Spurs celebrated their third League Cup triumph.

Team: Walker, Carr, Edinburgh, Freund, Vega, Campbell, Nielsen,
Ginola (Sinton), Anderton, Iversen, Ferdinand.

21st March 1962

Benfica 3 Spurs 1 (European Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg)

Spurs European ambitions were under severe pressure by the reigning European Champions. However, Spurs returned to London aggrieved that they had been harshly treated by the officials in charge of the game.

The first twenty minutes were eventful. Benfica went ahead but Jimmy Greaves, playing his firsat European game, had an equalising goal disallowed for offside, before Benfica scored their second. Greaves was adamant that he had beaten the full-back before scoring.

In the second half, Bobby Smith headed in a Blanchflower cross and Spurs had further opportunities to equalise. However, it was Benfica who got the next goal to give them a comfortable lead for the second leg at White Hart Lane.

However, the lead should have been halved, as Spurs had a secondgoal disallowed for offside in the final minute. Greaves crossed for Smith to score but the referee having initially given the
goal, disallowed it on a signal from the linesman. Greaves had been ahead of Smith when he crossed the ball and there were two defenders on the goal line as Smith scored. How was that offside?

A night of great disappointment for Spurs but Bill Nicholson was furious with his defence for the goals they had conceded.

Could Spurs mount another amazing comeback in the second leg as they had done in the previous rounds of the European Cup?


Monday, March 20, 2006

'F' Team for Tottenham-Spur

'F' Team
(players, past and present whose surnames begin with the letter 'F')

Brad Friedel - latest signing for 'F' team
GK: Brad Friedel - the former American international signed in the summer of 2011 from Aston Villa to strengthen the defence of the 'F' team and to bring some stability after the erratic performances of Heurelho Gomes during the second half of season 2010 - 11.

RB: William Felton - 1931 - 34 (73 app./1 goal)

LB: Matt Forster - 1920s (236 appearances)

CD: Chris Fairclough - 1987 - 98 (60 app./5 goals)

CD: Terry Fenwick - 1988 - 93 (90 app./8 goals)

M: Ruel Fox - 1995 - 99 (95 app./13 goals)

M: Steffan Freund - German International, became a 'cult' hero for his inability to score a goal.
M: Kenneth Flint - 1947 - 48 (5 app./1 goal)

F: Mark Falco - 1977 - 87 (162 app./68 goals)

F: Les Ferdinand - England International

F: George Foreman - 1944 - 47 (36 app./14 goals)

Sub: Thomas Forman - Winger - 1910 - 12 (8 app./1 goal)

Only 14 players with a surname beginning with 'F' have played League football for Spurs. Of those, there is only one goalkeeper with League experience, so Martin Fulop, who was a reserve for a number of years stood in until I made Harry Redknapp aware of the problem with the 'F' team and he duly obliged by signing Friedel.


20th March - Spurs in History

20th March, 1974

Spurs 3 FC Cologne 0

UEFA Cup 4th R (2nd Leg)

Having won the first game in Germany (2 -1), Spurs were confident of making the next round. Goals from Chivers, Peters and Coates gave them a 5-1 agg. victory.

1985 Real Madrid 0 Spurs 0

UEFA 4th R (2nd Leg)

A goal down from the first leg, Spurs went on the attack from the start. The home team sat back and defended what they had. Spurs' task became more difficult after Perryman was sent off for a late tackle but Spurs continued to attack. They seemed to have levelled the tie when Mark Falco scored with a header but the referee disallowed it.

Spurs, the Cup holders went out of the competition and Steve Perryman played his last game in a European competition.


Sunday, March 19, 2006

19th March - Spurs in History

19th March, 1966

Conceding the advantage in games and grabbing defeat fom the jaws of victory is nothing new to Spurs. The season's epidemic of conceding critical late goals, affecting the outcome of the games against West Ham, Fulham, Sunderland, Chelsea and in the Cups at Grimsby and Leicester is a new twist to supporting Spurs. The problem of a couple of seasons ago, was the fear of being three up at half-time, against the clubs of Manchester.

However, it's all happened before:

Spurs 5 Aston Villa 5

1966 was a transitional season with little of note. It had started well enough but following defeat in the Cup at Preston in early March the team was to win only two of their final thirteen League games. New young players were introduced to try to stem the flow of goals, while, this game apart, goals were had to find.

Initially in this game, things looked bright enough, Spurs were three ahead after fifteen minutes, 4-1 ahead at half-time and 5-1 up after five minutes of the second half. The scorers were Gilzean, Greaves, Saul, L.Brown and Robertson.

Then came the Villa fight back. They scored three goals in four minutes, equalised with 11 minutes to go and should have won when with three minutes remaining they were clean through, took the ball around Pat Jennings but hesitated and allowed Alan Mullery to recover to clear the danger.

On a brighter note:

On this day - 19th March, 1921, Spurs played Preston North End in the semi-final of the FA Cup at Hillsborough. A close contest was expected but Spurs who had been promoted the previous season had the better of the game and could have won more comfortably than the score suggests. Spurs had beaten Bristol Rovers, Bradford City, Southend and Aston Villa to reach this stage of the competition.

It was two goals from Bert Bliss which put Spurs two ahead and took them into the Final but they could have had two penalties and had a goal disallowed when the referee brought play back for a foul on Jimmy Seed, the Spurs inside forward. Preston's goal was no more than a late comsolation.

The Final against Wolverhampton Wanderers was to be played at Stamford Bridge in late April.


Tottenham - Newspaper Rumours

Sunday Express: suggesting that Liverpool will offer £10 million for Jermain Defoe in the summer to ease their goalscoring problems.

Comment: Spurs can not accept such an offer - (i) he is worth a lot more
(ii) they should ensure they employ him in the best possible way at Tottenham
(iii) they do not sell a star player to strengthen one of their main rivals for success
News of the World: Wayne Bridge may sign for Spurs in the summer.
Comment: Quite possible as Spurs are still looking to solve their problems on the left and they were very keen to sign him in the previous Transfer window.
News of the World: Birmingham are reported to be interested in signing Stephen Kelly and Anthony Gardner in the summer if they avoid relegation.
Comment: This is quite possible but Birmingham's current position is looking very ominous and they need to show a lot of improvement to move out of those relwegation places. However, Gardner could well be on the move as he has moved down the order where central defenders are concerned at White Hart Lane but with Kelly having just been restored to the team ahead of Stalteri, he has an opportunity to show he deserves to start regularly in the team. The next eight games could determine Kelly's future at Tottenham.


Saturday, March 18, 2006

Lennon and Keane 'Double' for Tottenham

Birmingham City 0 Spurs 2

Two second half goals from Aaron Lennon and Robbie Keane restored Spurs to 4th place in the Premiership, ahead of Arsenal whose win earlier in the day had temporarily put them ahead of their North London neighbours.

Jol brought in Stephen Kelly for Paul Stalteri who has been at fault for recent goals, and Aaron Lennon started in place of Tainio. The strike partnership was Defoe and Keane with Mido on the bench. This was a change of tactic from the manager whose preference has always been to play a tall striker with a smaller partner.

Birmingham, who had been heavily criticised after last week's home draw with West Brom, started determinedly as would be expected from a team fighting relegation and kept Spurs under considerable pressure. They were quicker to the ball and gave Spurs no time or space to play in. Emile Heskey gave Ledley King a difficult evening but while Spurs conceded numerous corners, Robinson was rarely troubled. After a poor first half, Spurs could have gone ahead on the stroke of half-time following a run from Lennon created a chance for Robbie Keane. Dawson was colossal at the centre of the defence but Defoe had little involvement before half-time.

The second half continued in much the same vein with Spurs having little room or time to play the ball but the turning point came when Heskey had to go off injured. King was now able to be come more dominant at the centre of the defence. Spurs should have had a penalty when a Dawson shot following a corner was handled by Butt. However, a spark of brilliance from Defoe created the first goal for Lennon. Defoe dispossessed Melchiot on the wing and although pulled back he kept going, evaded another desperate tackle and played the ball across for Lennon who controlled it and cut inside to score his first goal for Spurs.

The goal gave Spurs confidence and they became much more positive, while coping with Birmingham's attempts to equalise. With Jol preparing to replace Robbie Keane with Danny Murphy, Jenas made another break into the Birmingham penalty area and crossed for Keane to score with his final touch of the game. Robbie has scored 49 League goals for Spurs and has a total of 98 League goals in his career.

Birmingham were a spent force and Defoe who had played so much better in the second half should have made it three but Spurs were satisfied with the three points and a clean sheet.

Having scored the second goal to secure victory, the fans avoided the worry of the possibility of a late goal snatching the points from them.

The first 'Cup Final' has been won but there are another eight to come as Spurs strive to keep hold of a place in Europe for next season. Fifty two points secured, equalling last year's total, with eight games to play. Spurs best season for years continues to roll on.


Mido to Play for Spurs at Birmingham

Newspaper reports suggest that Egyptian striker, Mido, will be part of the Spurs squad which faces Birmingham City this evening at St. Andrews. It was rumoured that he had gone missing after a training ground row earlier in the week. However, the differences may have been resolved and could be available for selection.

This will strengthen Jol's hand for this game because without Mido, he had only Keane and defoe available as strikers. The Polish International, Rasiak, has gone on loan to Southampton and reserve striker, Barnard, has an injury doubt and is untried at this level. It will be a difficult game and will require a combative performance from the Spurs team and Mido has been an important part of their strategy during the season. At his best, he has combined well with both Keane and Defoe and has provided 'assists' allowing them to score a number of their goals as well as scoring 11 himself.

Spurs Record at St. Andrews:
April, 2005 Draw 1 - 1 Defoe
August 2004 Lost 0 - 1
November, 2002 Draw 1-1 Sheringham
March, 1986 Won 2 - 1 Stevens, Waddle
October, 1983 Won 1 - 0 Archibald

With Birmingham struggling against relegation, it is interesting and encouraging to note that Spurs last two wins were in years when City were eventually relegated. Hopefully, a good omen for today.

Both Robbie Keane and Jermain Defoe have good scoring records against Birmingham. They scored the goals in this season's 2 - 0 home win on Boxing Day and Defoe scored in both games last season. Keane also scored in the home wins against them in two of the previous three seasons. There will surely be opportunities for them to improve on these records this evening.

Come On You Spurs!


18th March - Spurs in History

18th March, 1961
FA Cup Semi-Final Day
Spurs 3 Burnley 0 (Villa Park) Smith (2), Jones

Champions, Burnley against the Champions 'elect' and Spurs came out on top. The games between these sides were always close and contested to the full - as is evident by the 4-4 draw at White Hart Lane earlier in the season when Spurs had been four up after 35 minutes.

Villa Park was not Spurs favourite ground for FA Cup semi-finals, having lost the last three played there in 1948, 1853 and 1956 although in League games against Villa they were undefeated since the war.

Burnley started best but after half an hour Spurs had a slice of good fortune that had been missing on the previous semi-final occasions. A Burnley defender misjudged the ball which fell to Bobby Smith who scored. A fortunate and undeserved lead but Spurs should have had a penalty before half-time when the Burnley full back punched out a Terry Dyson header.

Burnley seemed to have equalised two minutes after the break but the goal was disallowed and then Burnley should have had a penalty when Ron Henry clearly handled the ball on the line. Again the referee waved play on and Spurs immediately scored their second.

Smith's second goal took the sting out of Burnley's game and Cliff Jones made sure with the third.

Spurs were on their way to Wembley for the FIRST time.