Saturday 21st July 2001



Wycombe Wanderers  1   Tottenham  2   Friendly  -  Saturday 21st July 2001

Weather : -  Cloudy, dry, moderate wind
Crowd : -   8,018
Referee : -  Mr. M. Tingey
Scorers : -  Wycombe Wanderers  -  Senda 61
                    Tottenham  -  Sheringham 54, Iversen 77 

Wycombe Wanderers : Osbourn, Marsh, Vinnicombe, Cousins, McCarthy, Brown (Lee 65), Simpson, Bulman, Carroll (Emblen 58), Currie, Senda (Phelan 78).
Unused Subs : - Johnson, Simpemba, Townsend, Rogers, Castledine.

Tottenham :
Sullivan, Carr, Taricco (Ziege 66), King, Bunjevcevic, Perry, Anderton (Sherwood 74), Poyet, Ferdinand (Iversen 66), Sheringham (Rebrov 74) Clemence.
Unused Subs : - Burch, Young, Davies.

The sight of Christian Ziege lining up alongside Sergei Rebrov and Teddy Sheringham was one that would have been thought ludicrous if you had mentioned it eight or nine months ago.  Today it happened, although not all at the same time and there were hints today of how Spurs will play in the coming season.

Turning up just before kick-off, there was a buzz of excitement, with Ziege warming up with the other Spurs players on the pitch.  The group included a substitute goalkeeper, who was having to field 20 yard shots from Sheringham, Ziege and Iversen, but I was unable to identify him, as he looked like nobody we have on our books at the moment.  Possibly a trialist ??

Tottenham looked like they were in for a tough battle as a few tackles went flying in during the first few minutes of the match, but we gradually got the upper hand and Teddy Sheringham was the main thorn in the Swans side.  He had two free-kicks from about 20 yards out well tipped over by Wycombe goalkeeper Osborn, before heading the ball against the far post from a corner when only a few feet out.  Wycombe's only real chance came when a low ball into the box was delivered to a forward's feet, but Perry robbed them before they had a chance to do anything with it.  Anderton hit a high shot over and Poyet's early effort went a way wide, while the rest of the team looked content to try a few neat moves and dummies on the Chairboys.

The second half was a different proposition, with both sides more potent.  Sullivan had to deal with a couple of long range efforts, which didn't really trouble him that much, while Spurs hit the bar through Poyet's long range shot and another which made the keeper push the ball away.  Ferdinand made the breakthrough, when he moved out wide on the right and crossed in for Teddy Sheringham to knock home his first goal for Spurs in his second spell with the club.  There was some dispute about whether he had used his arm to control the ball, but the referee seemed convinced that it was his midriff it had struck and not his arm.  The controversy continued five minutes later when there was a through ball played to the Wycombe forward Darren Currie, who was adjudged onside by the linesman.  How he made such a decision was beyond most of the crowd, but the ex-Barnet man ran through and tried to finish it for himself.  However, Chris Perry managed to get a foot to the ball and take it away from him and Neil Sullivan then knocked the ball upwards in the ensuing scramble, but it fell kindly for the home team's YTS striker, Danny Senda and he propelled it into the back of the net.  

At 1-1, the Wycombe side gained some self belief and went for Spurs, but the storm was weathered without too many direct threats on goal and gradually Tottenham got back into the game.  Rebrov had started to link with Iversen again and Ziege was making good progress into the box from left wing back, although the Spurs moves had been breaking down on the edge of the area.  Sherwood got the ball midway in the Wycombe half and sprayed a ball wide to Carr.  The Irishman had been dying to get past the full back all game and did so at the second attempt, providing an inviting hanging ball for Iversen to jump and thump home his header past a static keeper.  It was a very well worked goal and one which was worthy of winning the match.

As a spectacle, it was no great shakes, but Hoddle will be pleased to come through another game with a win, some promising passing and the performance of King, Bunjy, Ziege, Sheringham, Poyet and Carr.  At this stage, it is about getting things right and the team seem to be understanding what Glenn requires from them and they are putting it into practice.  As far as it goes, it is working and how it will fare in the Premiership will have to wait until 18th August.






There are few places more inaccessible than Wycombe's Adams Park ground.  The one road in was chocka and parking way up on the hill was fine for getting down to the ground, but getting back after the game ... well, that was different.

Having managed to circumnavigate the ground after the ticket information about which turnstiles to use was found to be useless, we went in the loos and found that the nice man on the Tannoy made an announcement that the kick-off was going to be delayed for 15 minutes.  Why do we bother getting there on time, I ask myself ??  Then the strains of a gentleman singing cod opera tunes came floating over the urinals (unlike urine, which occurs at most other grounds).  When they said that it was a tenor, I thought they meant the ticket prices and not the pre-match entertainment.  Because of the delay, we were treated to 10 minutes more of his infernal bellowing.  

Finding our way to our seat, I asked a steward where we would find it. 
"Just sit anywhere," she said.  
"No you don't understand," I explained, "I have two friends and we were to be sitting with them".  
"Just sit anywhere," she repeated. 
"Can you tell me where this seat is ?" I wondered.
"No, I don't know. Just go down there and ask someone else."
It is this kind of helpfulness that causes mass riots.  I was tempted to go and sit in the middle of the pitch, just to conform with the instructions I had been given.  We did find our colleagues (one of whom had gone to Wycombe to select our seats, without being told of this freedom of choice) and sat together, but for those who turned up late, it was hard to locate a few empty seats to accommodate more than two people.

Unfortunately, one of our near neighbours was a loony looking for a chat and when we mentioned that the programme contained Dave McEwen and Ramon Vega in our squad, he tried to strike up a conversation.  Luckily we managed to avoid engaging in a discussion with him, which was just as well as later he was feasting on his nasal deposits prior to falling asleep during the first half.

Wycombe seemed to be needing to prove some sort of point that they were not a little club and that they could kick the Spurs players just as well as anyone else.  Poyet was chopped from behind, Sheringham was a target for some late tackles and they were trying their best to put Anderton out for the rest of the season.  However, the only injury we sustained was when Les fell heavily and even then he managed to complete the half and more.  Poyet, Teddy and even Dazza made some hard tackles and into the second half, Mr. Pointy laid one of the home players out in a challenge, while the Wycombe sub Emblen seemed to have a single aim in the match and that was to kick anything in a white shirt.  Luckily, his skill at this aspect of his game was as good as the rest of it, as he was an embarrassment to all on the pitch.  In fact, although it was their first pre-season match, Wycombe only threatened once in the first period, when Currie took the ball from his fellow striker, but could not manage to get the return to Senda !!

Ted let fly when commandeering the free-kicks around the box.  Twice he made the home keeper push the ball over the bar and apart from Taricco getting a free header, which he put over the top and Sheringham far post header against the post, the first half didn't have a lot to write about.  Spurs looked comfortable and they were trying to put together good passing movements and there was a lot of good one touch stuff, but it lead to little penetration of the Swan's defence.  For a friendly, it was probably a "getting to know you" exercise for a lot of the players in a competitive environment.

The second half once again saw the tempo increase, with the emphasis on hurting the opposition - in the spirit of the game sense, not the physical sense as adopted by Sherwood, when he replaced Anderton.  Spurs seemed to be trying to get the ball near the goal a bit more and a couple of efforts from Teddy and Anderton, but when Gus Poyet tried to hit one over the keeper's head, the crossbar denied him, as it did Teddy later on, but he was ruled offside.

He did get his just rewards though, just when it looked like he was never going to score.  A good ball out to the right by Dazza picked out Ferdie.  His run took on the defender and his low ball into the box popped up against Ted before he slotted it past the goalie.  The ref indicated that the ball had hit Sheringham's side, but the Wycombe defenders ran after the man in black like it was the crucial incident of an FA Cup Final.  He brushed away their prolonged argument, but was soon their best mate when he (and the patently wide) assistant on the far side, allowed Currie a free run when a country mile offside.  He took the ball on and tried to round Sullivan, but Perry had caught up to get a tackle in.  The ball bobbled up and Sully knocked it away with his hand, but it fell to Senda, who managed to strike it into the ground and bounce it past the defender as he got back to the line.  With good grace, Spurs accepted the decision.

Poyet again tried to get the ball over the Chairboys' keeper, but could not manage it and Spurs were trying to work the ball cleverly around the box to open up opportunities.  Rebrov was flicking the ball around and the winning goal came from another good move.  Stephen Carr was running the right hand line and was trying out a few new tricks on their left back.  Some had worked, some hadn't, but this time he went past him, cut back and then went to the line again, producing a long cross that Steffen Iversen rose to nod down past the goalie for the second Spurs goal.  After that there was little for Spurs in terms of goalscoring opportunities, but they were content to pass the ball around to practice that side of their play.  Wycombe did force three corners on the trot, but rarely troubled Sullivan in goal.

There was time for one minute to be added at the end of the match and for us to make our way out of the ground. We walked along the front of the seats past one chap who was lolling asleep on his seat; something he had done for the whole game according to the St. John's Ambulance personnel standing nearby.  I didn't think the match had been that exciting, but surely not bad enough for two people to nod off during proceedings !!



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