Looking Forward



FA Cup 4th Round

Wednesday 7th February 2001

Having just played the Addicks, this match has little mystery involved in it.  The sides will know each other well and the only changes are likely to be the replacement of cup-tied loan striker Andy Booth, probably by another midfielder and the return of Mark Fish to the Charlton side.  Spurs will have Armstrong and Carr back in the squad, but neither is likely to feature as they have had no match practice for some time.

So, will the deadlock be broken in this match.  All things point towards another draw, as Charlton were little better than Spurs on Saturday and their best chance came from a double ricochet of defenders shins that fell to Bartlett, who was denied by Sullivan. Spurs' sole clear chance came when Freund of al people popped up on the right wing and pulled a low cross back to Sergei, but he didn't get a proper connection on the ball.

The match can't be as bad as it was last weekend (can it ?) although the heavy rainfall that has plagued London over the last three days will mean that the pitch will cut up and be heavy going.  Charlton will be used to this having played on a similar mud heap at Dagenham and Redbridge.  Whether Spurs' limited resources will be able to cope remains to be seen.  The one thing about Spurs this year, except the match against Newcastle United, has been the resilience of the defence and the pairing of Campbell, Perry and Doherty seems to have become a sound one.  Not infallible, but with Sullivan behind them (even though Walker did a good job in his absence), they are working together now to produce clean sheets.

With the home side probably working on the theory that the home match could be their best chance, the midfield will push forward to support the attack of Bartlett and Svensson, who did little to trouble the Tottenham back line.  Jensen was the most impressive player on display on Saturday and his breaks forward and his fierce shot must be tamed to ensure that the defence holds tight.  At the back, their defenders coped with the high ball game Spurs played to Booth's head, but this will be a different story. With only Rebrov up front, the ball will have to be kept on the ground and in muddy conditions, the prospect of Spurs playing a passing game (with the players available) is highly unlikely.  I would hope that Etherington would be given an opportunity to start the match, as he gave the Charlton defenders a few frights as he twisted and turned down the left wing on Saturday's substitute appearance.  At least he could produce some half chances for the side, more than the rest seem capable of.

With the weather not predicted to change and the two teams having prior knowledge of each other, I am afraid it looks like a return to the Lane next week ...

PREDICTION : -  Charlton Athletic  0  Tottenham  0

For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.



Charlton Athletic  2  Tottenham  4   Wednesday 7th February 2001

Weather : -  Drizzly, mild.
Crowd : -  18,101
Referee : - Steve Dunn (Bristol)
Scorers : -  Charlton Athletic -  Powell 11, Svensson 48
                      Tottenham  -  Rufus (o.g.) 58, Anderton 62, Leonhardsen  63, Rebrov  82

The omens for this match were mixed: Yes, the year does end in "1".
No, Spurs have not won away all season against a Premiership club,  we seem to struggle in London derbies, we haven't scored for four games. Yes, ... eerr, that's it!

The journey from the West End through the Blackwall Tunnel to the Valley was a good one topped off by finding a blinding parking spot.  Maybe this was to be our night.

Things got even better when I found a dodgy kebab shop which delivered my evening meal of medium donner in no time at all.

On entering the ground, it became apparent that this was a game where the expectancy level was diametrically opposite to the away form that we have displayed this season. Everyone seemed upbeat , talking about the game - Sixth round here we come should we win tonight.  You could almost the smell the tarmac of the M4 to Wales.

Charlton (for those of you who weren't there - you know who I mean) have one of those retractable tunnels for when the teams run out. After tonight's game GG will probably ask for one at each home game from the dressing room to the dugout.

As the teams lined up, I (and a number of Spurs fans) commented on what appeared at the time to be GG's latest master plan.

Firstly, to call Lord Steven Carr and Na Na Hey Hey Chrissie Armstrong back into the squad and then leave them on the bench alongside Matt Etherington (who showed more creativity in the 20+ minutes he was on the pitch last Saturday than the entire rest of the team put together) seemed rather strange.

Secondly, Gary Doherty who GG has publicly pronounced a better centre half then centre forward ( as his recent displays have shown ) was starting up front, Ledley King who GG has publicly stated thinks is a better midfielder starting on the left hand side of the back three and Luke Young who has excelled at centre half or anywhere in the back three started as left wing back.

Well, as one of the Scum supporters down the road once said "George knows".

After only three minutes, Sully was called into action to stop Svensson but he and the hesitant Perry/Anderton defensive combination were at fault less than 10 minutes later when Spurs fan Chris Powell nipped in to head Charlton into the lead.

This was the lead for the anti-GG mob to start baying for his blood.  It got so bad that 2 fans (one pro and one anti-GG) around me starting spitting and hurling abuse to each other before the Old Bill steamed in and carted one of them away. This was to set the tone for the entire evening with the anti-GG mob being far more vocal. It is a sad indictment of our club at the moment that one man has divided the fans like no one else before him. Instead of supporting the team, people are more concerned about having a pop at GG.

We all have our uncertainties about the uneasy relationship that we have with our manager, but it is to the detriment of the team to express these during the game to the exclusion of chanting to encourage the team.  Whatever we may think of him, let's get behind the team during the game. Let's save the criticism for the pub, websites and fanzines.

To be fair, Spurs came back well after this shattering blow and created a fair number of excellent chances. However, as we know well as of late it is our inability to put the ball in the net which is letting us down.  No-one is this a bigger problem for than our diminutive Ukrainian who squandered at least two good chances in the first half. It is obvious he is lacking in confidence as well as protection from the referee.

As the first half grew older, a number of the younger players started to grow in confidence. In particular Luke Young, Ledley King and Gary Doherty - maybe that GG isn't so mad after all!

Luke Young especially epitomises to me what we want in a young Spurs player: confidence, speed, ability to pass, positioning, good in the air for his size. In fact I am sure that I am not alone in saying that based on this season's form so far, I would rather have him in the back 3 or 4 than Chris Perry who appears to have suffered a complete lack of form. His distribution is soooo bad that it makes Sol's look good at times.

The second half started poorly for Spurs with us making a series of misplaced passes.  Within five minutes you could have got a good price for your season ticket cup final voucher when once again poor defending gifted the Addicks another goal that they didn't really have to work that hard for.

Now the anti-GG boys really started getting to work. Listen guys, I am as passionate as the next man and hate to see us playing this sterile shit hoofing game every week.  But having to sit amongst you whilst we have the piss taken out of us by Charlton / (insert this weeks opposing teams name) fans, kills me just as much.

"F*** Off, You're an A***nal fan" will not get the team going and just gives the opposing fans more to throw back at us. As I said earlier, save it for before or after the game.

At 2-0 down it looked grim but I didn't think we were out of it. However, despite the fact that the subs bench was more encouraging than usual, Rocket Ronnie was nowhere to be seen.

However, what followed in the next half an hour or so was a true example of why we are the Tottenham and we are the best. It was why we will always want  to follow Spurs rather than the chosen teams of those smug fickle b******s at the other end of the Seven Sisters Rd or the mishmash of Nazis/Hooray Henry's from the supposed posh part of London.

The rapidly improving Gary Doherty started to impose himself on the Charlton defence in a way that they could not cope with.  It was with one such run that he cut inside from the right and put in a hard low cross that the over rated Rufus could only turn into his own net.  Don't believe what you read in the papers that this was lucky - if Rufus hadn't got to it, Nice but Dim would have popped it in at the far post.

Now it was time for the Spurs fans to at last chant and sing as one.  Within 5 minutes, we were awarded a free kick about 25 yards out. With our recent record with free kicks outside the box (who can forget Stephen Clemence's classic imitation of a four year old kicking a football from Saturday's game), we weren't expecting anything.

Wonder of wonders, Dazza stroked home a beauty that squirmed under the body of the much maligned Sasa Ilic.

We had barely stopped celebrating when Leo burst through to put us 3-2 up. This really was the cue for the Spurs fans to go mental. For all the bad times that we have had to suffer (and by God, there has been enough of them over the past 10 years or so) it is all worthwhile when you have a 5 minute spell like we had.

For the next 10-15 minutes we finally got our Tottenham back - one-touch passes into feet, movement off the ball, confidence:- it was a joy to behold.  As was the taking of the p*ss out of the Charlton fans who had so merrily berated us only 10 minutes beforehand.

In truth we could (and should) have had more - Sergei missed a sitter after 70 minutes to make the game safe.  He however got the goal which could kick start his season (where have I heard that one before) with 8 minutes left - a nonchalant flick over the goalie from Man Of The Match Doherty's through ball.

It only remained for us to wave the Charlton fans goodbye and to let them know that we could see them sneaking out.

A great evening and a typical Spurs cup performance. If only we can take this forward into Saturday's game away at Man City.  However, for now we will bathe in the afterglow of tonight's entertainment - a word not commonly used to describe our team as of late.

And let us not forget: "It's Lucky For Spurs When The Year.............."


Danny Keene 


Just Like Buses


You can't help but think there is something in it.  0-2 down and I was kicking the virtual cat.  Minutes later and a hat full of goals no longer made me feel hollow.

After waiting so long for a goal, the only ones looked like coming from Charlton, when 2-0 up just after the break, it seemed as though Spurs were on their way out.  The mix up for the first goal was plain embarrassing.  Anderton let Powell run on unmarked, while Perry and Sullivan played the "After You Claude" game, letting the Spurs supporting full back in to head his first goal for the club.  It could only happen to Spurs couldn't it !!  After the interval, the second resembled the best chance Charlton had on Saturday.  Taking two rebounds of Spurs shins, the ball fell to Svensson, who shot past Sullivan into the corner of the net.

As they pushed on to find the killer third, Spurs woke up and took the game to the hosts.  Doherty made a circuitous route around Todd, using his right foot exclusively to manouevre a place to cross from the bye-line.  With Sherwood waiting behind him, Rufus stuck out a leg and diverted the ball past Ilic at the near post.  While there was an element of luck about this goal, it is only that it went in and not around the post, but it was Doherty's determined work out wide that produced the moment.  It would have been nice if a Spurs player could have been the one to break our duck, but they all count.

Little after this and a free-kick awarded for a foul on Rebrov was smashed home by Anderton.  Ilic was across the goal and got a hand to it, but could not get it around the post - merely soft-handing it into the goal.  The Spurs fans were going mad at this point and hardly had time to draw breath, when straight from the kick off, a tackle was won, Sergei got the ball, he was tackled and it fell invitingly into the path of Leo to guide it past the keeper for 3-2 !!  The match had been turned around and it only remained for Rebrov to finish them off, when slipped through by an astute pass by Doherty that left him with the chance to lift the ball over the advancing goalie for the fourth.

The first half was strange, as Leo had a couple of chances, Rebrov two more and Sol forced Ilic to a staggering (meaning he staggered to get to the ball and only just managed to push it over) save.  Another melee in the box saw the ball fall to Sherwood, but his touch let the ball run away from him and made the save easy for Ilic.  At the other end Sullivan saw a Svensson shot go over and grabbed another low effort, but didn't have too much to do.  The defence stuck at it even though they were troubled at times.  Young did well down the left wing back side, while Doherty excelled himself in the forward role he played in the absence of other more experienced colleagues.  He even managed to head away from his own goal when under pressure defending a corner.

GG put it down to the character of the team and Gary Doherty getting the club out of the FA Cup mire for the second time in as many ties.  Perhaps his name is written on the Cup ?  Playing against the Big Red Ones, it was nice after waiting six hours that three all came along at once.



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