United - Glass 6 Dabizas 58
Tottenham - Armstrong 44
Weather : Cold &
Newcastle United -
Harper, Charvet, Dabizas, Helder, Hughes, Solano (Maric 86), Lee,
Fumaca (McClen 81), Glass, Shearer, Ketsbaia, (Ferguson 68)
Subs not used - Given,
Tottenham Hotspur -
Walker, Taricco, Perry, Campbell, Edinburgh, Leonhardsen,
Sherwood, Freund, (Clemence 85) Ginola, Iversen, Armstrong
Subs not used -
Baardsen, Young, Vega
Another pointless trip to the
North East. Another poor performance. Another 2-1 defeat.
St. James' Park Newcastle is
not the football ground it used to be. In fact it is more like a
building site at present with 3 massive cranes dominating the
skyline. Half the roof has been removed from one side of the
ground. Behind the goal the whole roof has been removed and the
area is completely exposed. Meanwhile an incredibly high new stand
is being built behind the existing stand. Visiting supporters are
located in an open corner of the ground with a restricted view
behind a temporary floodlight pylon.
There is absolutely no
atmosphere whatever. The famous noisy support is gone. Outside
there are protest groups campaigning against the board and their
proposals for corporate entertainment in the new seats.
It appears that those fans
currently holding £500 season tickets for seats behind the goal
will, when the stand is complete, either have to move to the top
of the stand which is miles from the pitch or they can fork out an
increased sum of £1300 to retain their existing seat. Newcastle
fans were distributing a newsletter called 'Divvent bite the hand
that feeds ya!' and calling for a boycott of all club shops. It
appears also that the club are returning part of their ticket
allocation to away games and then showing the match on their own
big screen. The infamous Freddy Shepherd and his board have
obviously been to the Alan Sugar school for customer service.
Spurs were unchanged from the
side that started at Southampton. Newcastle lined up with several
players not even known to the home fans.
The game got off to a
disastrous start for Spurs when, after 6 minutes, Solano crossed
from the right. From 12 yards out an unmarked Glass headed an
innocuous effort towards goal.. For some strange reason Walker was
only able to parry the shot and then did an impression of a seal
flapping furiously until eventually under pressure from Ketsbaia
the ball crossed the line. Newcastle had returned from a
long European trip to Roma and the last thing we wanted to concede
was an early goal.
Gradually Tottenham battled
back with Ginola threatening. David was also coming in for some
stick from the home crowd no doubt due to his remarks about
Shearer at the Oxford Union. It was Ginola who made the
breakthrough just before half-time. His cross from the Spurs right
eluded Iversen but was met by Chris Armstrong to level the scores.
Normally scoring just on
half-time is considered a psychological advantage. Not for Spurs
as it was Newcastle who started the second half the livelier side.
A wicked Solano corner was met at knee height by a diving Dabizas
header to give them the lead. It was a ball which should have been
cut out. Spurs battled to equalise but through some dogged and
last ditch challenges Newcastle held on, urged on by a white
haired old man on their bench. Campbell came the closest with a
header just over.
The most amazing part of the
afternoon has to be the performance of Mr. Alcock - the referee.
He gave one yellow card to Newcastle to Solano for overreacting to
a tackle. Spurs received 6 yellow cards and I do not recall one
bad tackle. Mr. Alcock's enthusiasm to book Spurs players was only
matched by his lack of enthusiasm to book the home team. After
receiving his yellow card Solano committed 3 further cautionable
offences (2 trips on Dominguez and kicking the ball away), but was
not spoken to again and was eventually substituted. It was the
most inconsistent of refereeing performances and I thought Mr.
Alcock was no pushover!
Shearer was his usual
nasty self, backing in, little nudges and digs and constantly
griping to the referee. The final action of the game saw Shearer
flatten Taricco with no action taken. It appears there was some
altercation in the tunnel afterwards which is hardly surprising in
the circumstances. Scene set for a
cracking cup tie maybe?
MEHSTG TOP MAN : DAVID GINOLA (Just rose
above the rest)
Eric the Viking
Goalscorer : Tottenham -
Weather : Cold with Heavy Showers
Southampton : -
Jones, Tessem, Lundekvam, Richards, Colleter, Ripley, Oakley,
Hughes (Le Tissier 85), Kachloul (Boa Morte 85), Pahars, Beattie (Soltvedt 78)
Subs not used - Benali, Moss
Tottenham Hotspur : -
Walker, Taricco, Perry, Campbell, Edinburgh, Leonhardsen,
Sherwood, Freund, Ginola (Dominguez 64), Iversen, Armstrong.
Subs not used -
Baardsen, Fox, Young, Clemence
The Dell does not improve as a
football ground. In fact it has not changed at all and is without
doubt the poorest and most dangerous ground in the Premier. Add to
that some heavy showers on a cold afternoon and the scene was set.
Those are not the conditions
that Ginola revels in away from home. Just to prove it he turned
in a very below par performance regularly giving the ball away and
it was a surprise when he emerged for the second half. After he
had pulled out of a challenge for what was his ball, enough
was enough and George sent on Jose.
The first half was a tedious
affair with little to excite. Spurs best chance fell to Iversen.
Armstrong broke down the right and sent in an excellent low cross,
but Steffen failed to connect properly and the chance passed.
Lundekvam was given a yellow card for a reckless challenge from
behind on Iversen.
The second half started with
Pahars dribbling through the entire Spurs line up. Just as he was
about to pull the trigger Leonhardsen got a toe to the ball.
Pahars seeing the ball running away dived for a penalty and the
referee correctly awarded him a yellow card. Southampton again
went close when Ripley almost connected with a cross.
At the other end Armstrong was
trying hard and actually managed a lob onto the bar from a
difficult angle. Until he can sign another striker George will
persist with Chris Armstrong and he is quite correctly
praising his efforts to boost his confidence.
As the minutes slowly ticked by
a nil-nil looked the most likely result. Then Spurs won a free
kick on the right. It was floated in to the box where Campbell did
a superb job holding off the defender with his back to goal and
laying the ball back to Leonhardsen. Leo immediately drove his low
shot through a crowd of players into the corner of the net. A
nicely worked goal.
Southampton sent on Le Tissier
to try and pull back but it was to late. He also looks to be
carrying some excess baggage. There was also the bizarre situation
of a long Southampton throw eluding everyone and looking to end up
in the net until Justin Edinburgh cleared right on the goal line.
He could easily have scooped the ball in to his own net, but
equally it could have hit the post and rebounded to a grateful
Saints forward. On balance a good decision from Justin who had one
of his better games at left back, with Taricco deputising for the
injured Stephen Carr at right back. In the final minute Lundekvam
was given a second yellow, then a red card for a reckless
challenge from behind on Iversen.
Sol Campbell was at his
familiar centre back after the midweek right back berth against
Scotland. He is getting back to his old self and had a
very solid game and also created the goal.
As expected there were a few
chants from the visiting Spurs fans about Dave Jones and his
forthcoming trial. The game however never really thrilled and
Tottenham welcomed 3 points from a mediocre performance.
MEHSTG TOP MAN - SOL CAMPBELL
Eric the Viking
Hotspur 2 Arsenal 1
Sunday 7th November 1999
The Tottenham team
raised their game after the deflating defeat in Germany only four
days before, to inflict a victory over the auld enemy in a bruising
encounter at the Lane. Before the game had hardly begun, Petit
had been spoken to for a tackle from behind, then a looped ball by
the defence caught Dixon ball-watching and Steffen Iversen ran
around his blind-side to sweep the ball past Seaman. One up in
six minutes - had Spurs scored too soon ? Adams was
unbelievably allowed to continue in the game without a caution after
he trampled (quite literally) all over Leo. Then, following a
trip by Petit on Armstrong as Chris ran away from him and towards
the penalty area, the French pony-tailed one earned a yellow card
and Spurs a free-kick. From this, after prolonged negotiation
with the red wall to get back 10 yards, Tim Sherwood was teed
up to hit a sweet shot past Seaman from outside the left edge of the
box. At this stage things were slipping away from Arsenal and
the referee. Petit exhibited one marvellous show of petulance
(worthy of Beckham) and threw the ball down violently in front of
the ref, but only got a talking to. So three bookable
offences and only one yellow to show for it.
Arsenal started to
come back into the match, when Kanu bundled the ball and Armo over
the line, resulting in a free-kick to Spurs and not a goal for the
Arse. But shortly after, a free-kick from the right found
Vieira unmarked and he headed home off a post. Walker had
little else to do in the first half as the defence broke down
everything that was thrown at them. The yellows continued to
be brandished by Elleray, who had difficulty determining what was a
corner and what a goal kick at times !!
The second half saw a
more determined effort by the visitors. In effort more than
stylish play though. Everyone in a red shirt was fair game for
a yellow card - Dixon, Vieira, Keown, Bergkamp ... even Suker, who was only on
for fifteen minutes, but could easily have seen red. The lack of
discipline was truly shocking. This was exemplified by
Ljungberg's reaction to Edinburgh's tackle. He pushed him over
and as Spurs players ran in to protect the prone full-back, the
Swede really lost his head and (although I dislike the man
intensely) Lee Dixon was the only one who prevented Mad Freddie
having a nightmare, as Elleray kept his distance and let the
squabble proceed without intervention. When he did deign to
get involved he produced the red card (which I found out afterwards
was for head butting Ginola). Ljungberg departed directing a
two fingered salute to the ref and kicking a chunk out of the tunnel
wall. In truth, Arsenal produced little to trouble Walker, but
the Spurs keeper had to be alert when producing a fine reflex double
save from Overmars as he broke into the box and then getting up from
the floor to push away a follow-up shot by Suker. Campbell,
Carr and Perry produced outstanding performances in the back line
and the midfield worked tirelessly. even Clemence played his heart
out and had his best game for the club.
At the end, Ginola
was replaced by Dominguez and he was brought on to run at the
Arsenal defence. This he did and drew a nasty foul by Keown,
which got him dismissed for a second bookable offence and only
Steffen Iversen's quick thinking in stopping Suker from reaching the
ref prevented another dismissal. Sherwood's celebration at the
final whistle in front of the Croat must have made his day just
about complete !!
Sweet though the
victory was, it is not the be all and end all of our season and
although we have a long way to go to catch up with the top three or
four clubs, this shows that with some reinforcements, the cavalry
can charge on without fear to gain at least a place in Europe for
next season. With consistency and a fuller squad, improvement
there is possible.
MEHSTG TOP MAN : -
1 FC Kaiserslautern - Reinke, Koch,
Ramzy (Reich 85), Schjonberg (Tare 83), Ratinho, Sforza, Strasser,
Djorkaeff, Buck, Marschall (Peterson 74), Hristov
Subs not used - Gospodarek, Roos,
Tottenham Hotspur - Walker, Carr,
Perry, Campbell, Edinburgh (Young 75), Leonhardsen, Sherwood,
Freund, Clemence, Iversen, Armstrong (Ginola 80),
Subs not used - Baardsen, Vega,
Fox, Dominguez, Gower.
1 FC Kaiserslautern are a big football club
in this part of Germany. Having spent all day in the city you can
understand why. There is not much else to do. This place is a bit
like Middlesbrough without the sea. Fortunately most Spurs fans
were able to find some accommodating bars and restaurants to pass
the day in. The official flights landed at 9.00 am at Zweibrucken
which is a military airbase 50 km from Kaiserslautern. A short
coach transfer saw an early arrival in town. The early arrival was
apparently required to clear the airbase before exercises
The Fritz Walter Stadium sits high on a hill
close to the town centre. It is an impressive football ground with
modern automatic turnstiles. Despite what UEFA may think it is not
all seater. All 4 corners of the ground are still terracing.
Painting numbers on the terracing and giving a cushion to each fan
does not make it all seater either. You can imagine what happened
to most of the cushions as Spurs fans hurled them into the air.
There was the expected heavy Police presence
outside the ground before and after the game. The German riot
police looked a formidable lot.
Kaiserslautern has a reputation for being an
intimidating place to visit. Whilst the referee looked a little
intimidated judging by one or two dodgy decisions, in the main the
home crowd seemed fairly quiet for most of the game. There was a
rendition of 'You'll never walk alone' before the game which
they seem to have adopted. Spurs fans were out in strength and
packed into their allocated corner section of the ground. A small
group were also located in a stand on the far side. The Tottenham
following was in excellent voice and provided great support
for the team for the whole game. Even after all that happened
during the game only some of the team led by an inconSOLable
Campbell came to acknowledge the fans.
George Graham surprised everyone by leaving
Ginola on the bench and keeping Clemence on the left side of
midfield. Edinburgh came in for Taricco who apparently had a
damaged shoulder. Armstrong returned from injury to partner
Iversen up front. It looked like a team picked to hold on to a
1 FC Kaiserslautern are a very big physical
side built around the artistry of Djorkaeff. That is also how they
played the game getting the ball forward at every opportunity.
Spurs struggled in the first half to retain any sort of possession
and had to work hard to repel the onslaught. Kaiserslautern looked
particularly strong down their right hand side where they
exploited the weakness of Clemence and Edinburgh. Fortunately
Perry was back on top form and tidied up on numerous occasions.
Walker also made some outstanding saves. The best chance of the
half for Spurs fell to Iversen who saw a good header from a right
wing cross just go over the top. A difficult first half but no
goals at the break.
The second period continued the theme with
Djorkaeff having more influence. Freund worked tirelessly in the
centre of midfield and had an outstanding game. He was
certainly not popular with the home fans. As the game pushed on
with no goals Spurs fans began to think it was their night. Then
Sol headed a back pass short for Walker. A Kaiserslautern forward
was on the ball and lobbed his effort over Walker and onto the
bar. God was with us. A rare Spurs attack saw the ball fall to
Iversen on the penalty spot. With the goal at his mercy he fluffed
his shot wide. Throughout the game Spurs had looked vulnerable on
their left. Edinburgh struggled for pace and received little
support from Clemence. Young replaced Edinburgh at left back after
75 minutes but an improvement was not evident. Armstrong ran and
ran up front but looks far from sharp and unlikely to produce a
goal. Ginola replaced Chris after 80 minutes but it was too late
for David to make any impact.
The seconds ticked by at 0-0. The fourth
official held up his board signalling 3 minutes of time added on.
Then came disaster. For some reason the Spurs midfield had pushed
forward and lost possession. Djorkaeff fed an excellent ball
inside the full back to Buck coming in from the right and he fired
past Walker into the far corner of the net. With 1 minute of extra
time gone the home crowd finally erupted. Tottenham players heads
went down. Many of them were dead on their feet. 30 minutes of
extra time loomed and one wondered if we could survive. The answer
came swiftly and cruelly. Kaiserslautern again swept forward.
Again the ball was played in from the right and in the last minute
of the game poor Stephen Carr sliced into his own net to give
Kaiserslautern victory. It was probably a blessing in disguise
that there was no extra time as Spurs looked shattered.
Walker, Perry and Freund were excellent for
Spurs. Campbell still appears to be short of full fitness. It was
clear again that this Spurs squad is not strong enough to hold a
1-0 lead particularly in Europe. This tie was lost at White Hart
Lane and in the 91st and 92nd minute at The Fritz Walter
The final memory of the trip came as the
coaches journeyed back to the Airport. Police sirens sounded and
the coaches pulled over to allow the team bus to pass. The Spurs
players looked very disappointed and Sol could be clearly seen
staring into space.
This was Sol's first European tie for Spurs.
I sincerely hope it is not his last.
The players need to lift themselves. There
can be no greater motivation than the next game at home to the
MEHSTG TOP MAN - STEFFEN FREUND
Eric the Viking
- Quinn 10, 21
Tottenham - Iversen 63
Weather : Dry &
Sorensen, Makin, Bould, Butler, Gray, Summerbee, (Williams 87)
Roy, (Ball 72) McCann, Schwarz, Quinn, Phillips, (Dichio 61)
Tottenham Hotspur -
Walker, Carr, Vega, Campbell, Taricco, Leonhardsen, (Sherwood 77)
Clemence, Ginola, (Dominguez 45) Iversen, Piercy (Perry 45)
The Stadium of Light
is a very impressive football ground. When filled with 40,000+
screaming mackems it can be a very intimidating place for
visiting teams and referees, even if you can't understand a word
the crowd are saying.
George decided to
adopt the squad rotation approach even though he does not have a
big enough squad to rotate. In came Vega at the back for Perry,
Clemence in midfield for Sherwood, and Piercy up front for Fox.
Iversen had two early
chances both saved by Sorensen which should have been
converted. That was the total of Spurs efforts for the first
half. After 10 minutes Sunderland crossed from their left. Sol
rose and completely missed the header. Quinn chested down the ball
and volleyed into the far corner.1-0. Ten minutes after the
restart Sunderland crossed from the right. The cross eluded all
the Spurs defenders. Quinn chested down and volleyed home again.
2-0 and Phillips has not scored yet. Spurs struggled to get
anything going in this poor first half. Ginola was out of sorts.
Piercy looked like a young man thrust in at the deep end and out
of his depth. Quinn gave Campbell a torrid time. At least
Walker was quick off his line to clear a through ball to
Phillips which saw the England striker collect a bad knock on his
require desperate measures. In the second half Dominguez replaced
Ginola and Perry replaced Piercy. Vega was sent to play at centre
forward. At least he is a big lad prepared to put himself about.
His presence clearly unsettled Messrs Bould and Co. and Spurs
had a much better second period. Iversen pulled a goal back when
he finished a cross by Vega. It was a perfect cross by Vega
who had charged down the right wing after being released by
Leonhardsen. Kevin Phillips
was then carried off on a stretcher after a robust challenge
by Sol which earned him a caution.
It looked as if
Spurs would snatch a deserved equaliser as they swarmed on the
Sunderland goal. With the Wearsiders defence rocking Sol should
have scored from close range but blasted over. Carr then shot
across goal and Vega came within inches of making contact. But
this was to be Sunderland's day in front of the largest crowd at
The Stadium of Light so far. They now move up to third.
For Tottenham it
was a predictable defeat although the second half fight back
showed character. There are at the moment too many injured players
who are being forced into action. George needs to strengthen the
squad now, particularly up front to avoid more occasions like
MEHSTG TOP MAN : -
Hotspur 1 1FC Kaiserslautern 0 -
Thursday 28th October 1999
(UEFA Cup 2nd Round 1st Leg)
At last, Tottenham
got going in the Second round of the UEFA Cup, after all the date
and kick-off time changes, we were playing against our German
opponents. And before long, we were holding our heads as
Taricco hit a shot from outside the box that glanced off the outside
of the post. It was a sign of things to come. The game
was mainly a tactical battle fought out on the midfield ground
heavily populated by foot-troops. This meant that their were
few chances on offer and throughout the match the Kaiserslautern
side managed only a couple of headers on target and a few weak shots
which posed little problem for Walker. Meanwhile at the other
end of the Lane, Spurs made some decent opportunities with Steffen
Iversen being put through on the keeper, but his left foot shot was
weakly hit into his body, when a deft chip might have brought better
result. However, the Norwegian was only to be denied for a
short while, as Ginola's run into the box saw him baulked by one
defender, but he managed to stay on his feet, leaving the keeper to
prostrate himself at David's feet and send him crashing as the ball
went towards the line. The ref pointed to the spot and then
the fun started as nobody seemed that keen to adopt the
responsibility of taking the penalty. Sherwood had the ball
and then as it was put on the spot, Steffen stepped up and hit a low
shot into the inside of the side netting, just beating the dive of
the keeper. In truth Tottenham's goal came against the run of
play as it was slap in the middle of a ten-minute spell when Spurs
were barely able to get out of their own half as Kaiserslautern
played their possession football in their forward areas.
Spurs managed to
conjure up other chances in the first half, with Fox and Leonhardsen
managing to get in other's way for a far post cross and Sol's
towering header was save don the line, then dropped, then Perry's
follow-up effort blocked on the line. The scramble was one
which typified the match somewhat. Into the second period, the
Germans made a couple of changes and the game became even more
compact. You felt a second goal might have been enough to seal
the tie for Tottenham and in nearly arrived when Ginola cut on from
the left and curled a delightful shot against the far post and it
bounced out to be cleared. Little else happened as the game petered
out with both sides seemingly accepting the 1-0 score-line. Plus
points were the defence's clean sheet and the lack of yellow cards,
but with the second leg a week away and George talking about playing
two forwards (tongue in cheek), the second leg will be both tough
and interesting. Tottenham will have to be more careful in their
passing as there was an awful lot of giving the ball away tonight
and it will be important to hold the ball as much as possible.
Kaiserslautern were obviously missing bruised testicle victim -
Youri Djorkaeff - and you feel one good ball from him could make all
MEHSTG TOP MAN : -
3 Manchester United 1 - 23rd October 1999
Spurs : - Iversen 37, Scholes (o.g.) 40, Carr 71
Man U : - Giggs 23
Spurs : - Walker, Carr,
Campbell, Young (Vega 76), Taricco, Fox (Piercy 87), Freund,
Sherwood, Leonhardsen, Iversen, Ginola
Man U : - Bosnich, P.
Neville, Stam, Silvestre, Irwin (Greening 82), Beckham (Solskjaer
68), Scholes, Keane, Giggs, Yorke, Cole
For a while at the
start of the game, with the injuries taking their toll and the
visitors passing the ball around confidently, it looked like it was
to be a very bleak day for Spurs. As the rain continued to lash the
pitch, it was only sporadically that Tottenham broke free from the
shackles of their own half and the confines of the way they were
compressing the game into a very small area. When Giggs
waltzed into the Spurs box and delicately lifted the ball over
Walker, it seemed as though this could be another example of how far
behind the top sides we were. But two pieces of luck turned
the tide and gave Tottenham confidence to play as they can against
the current Premier League champions. Firstly, Silvestre
headed a back pass wide of Boo-snitch and only just wide of the
goal, but from the resulting corner, Sherwood's flick-on found
Iversen at the far stick. His header was blocked on the line
by the Man. U. keeper and his follow-up stopped on the line.
Steffen's persistence paid off when his third attempt, while laying
on the sodden turf, saw him prod the ball into the opposite side of
the goal. Claims for handball may have had some credence, but
things had been going the Reds way until then and they didn't like
it when things got worse. Another corner, this time from the
left was missed by Young at the near post and expertly headed into
the top corner by ... Paul Scholes !! The niggle that United
seem to reserve for us when they aren't getting all the decisions
suddenly resurfaced and some naughty stuff by Beckham off the ball
and Keane and Silvestre on it was allowed to pass without
Into the second half
and the continuing rain made the pitch hold the ball up and it was
difficult for all concerned. Sir Alex, as always, made the
excuse for his side and this time it was the pitch that didn't suit
his team. Wasn't it the same one we were playing on and had to
come to terms with ?? Wasn't it the same one that Ginola lost out
to, when he would have liked the ball to run on ?? Oh, and then
there was the ref, who spotted which falls were dives and did very
well, according to the knighted Scot, aiming his barb at Ginola, but
was it not Scholes who twice fell inside the area and play was waved
on ?? Anyway, Sol cleared from in front of the line, as Stam had
done at the other end, Walker made a couple of good low saves when
unsighted and Freund was up for it once Keane brought him down and
then stamped on his thigh. While Manchester United had a lot
of the possession (mainly thanks to being presented with it by our
boys), they failed to create clear chances and when Stephen Carr ran
onto a ball on the right and rammed an unstoppable shot into the
inside netting of the far side of the goal, Spurs were just about
With Perry missing
and Fox in for Armstrong, the whole side pulled together to stop
Man. U. playing. This resulted in the petulant one getting
frustrated and scything down Taricco for a yellow card.
Ferguson took him off straight away and then Spurs went 3-1 up soon
after. His lack of self discipline cost his side the
game. A lesson unfortunately, in my opinion, he is not mature
enough to take in. For Tottenham, it was a real joy to see
them play some of the football they managed and to work so hard to
ensure the position they had achieved did not slip. A similar
result in our next home game ... We can dream, can't we ??
TOP MEN : TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
Goalscorers: Tottenham - Armstrong 37
Weather : Warm & Dry
Derby County - Hoult, Dorigo, Schnoor, Laursen,
Eranio, Johnson, Morris (Murray 82), Delap, Borbokis (Sturridge
82), Burton, (Baiano 72) Beck
Tottenham Hotspur - Walker, Carr, Perry, Campbell,
Taricco, Leonhardsen, King, Nielsen (Vega 77), Ginola
(Sherwood 88), Iversen, Armstrong (Piercy 77)
Substitutes not used : Baardsen, Edinburgh
Derby are struggling this season and this was reflected in the
empty seats around the excellent Pride Park Stadium. The Spurs end
was full and in good voice. Jim Smith is a good manager and
despite their poor results of late Derby would still be hard to
beat. They included new signing (Oh how we would like one of
those) Lee Morris for his debut.
There were a few surprises in the Spurs team. Ledley King came in
to the centre of midfield to partner Alan Nielsen. This pair
replaced Tim Sherwood who was on the bench and Steffen Freund who
was not. Steffen Iversen was fit enough to join Chris Armstrong up
front. The best news was that Sol Campbell was back to resume his
partnership with Chris Perry. A clean sheet was the outcome, the
first in the league this season, need I say more?
Derby made a lively start and had chances to go ahead but lacked
confidence in front of goal. Walker also looked steady as they
were causing some problems down the flanks which saw both Taricco
and Carr receive yellow cards. Gradually Ginola began to pose more
of a threat and in the 37th minute he went on a run unique to
David. Charging down the left side he teased and beat three Derby
defenders and sent over an excellent cross which was swinging away
from the keeper. A Derby defender got his head to the ball
but only touched it on to a grateful Chris Armstrong at the far
post who dived to head home.
Given the problems Chris has been having with some of the
Spurs boo boys it was good to see him score albeit his
celebrations were a little muted.
The second half followed a similar pattern to the first. Derby
made a few chances but never really looked like scoring. Spurs
came close to increasing their lead when Ginola went on another
amazing run which saw him take out three Derby players with
speedy acceleration before crossing. Leonhardsen arrived at the
far post to head down but wide. Iversen was then through on the
keeper who charged out of his area only for Steffen to lob him.
Armstrong was a whisker away from providing the finishing touch.
Somehow the fourth official found 5 minutes of extra time during
which there were a couple of scares but Spurs hung on to collect
three points. They finished the game with four centre backs on the
After a couple of early mistakes Ledley King did well for a centre back
making his full debut in midfield. Perry and Campbell looked
solid. Carr again did well and Armstrong worked hard.
Ginola's contribution was outstanding and he was even involved
in tackling back on occasions.
George Graham also got involved towards the end on the game in one
of his touchline remonstrations with referee Durkin which included
much pointing and arm waving after Durkin had ignored a foul on
A good three points and a repeat of last seasons result
although I did not see Sol scuffling in the tunnel this year.
MEHSTG TOP MAN : - DAVID GINOLA
Eric the Viking
Tottenham Hotspur 3 Crewe
Alexandra 1 (Worthington Cup 3rd Round) - Wednesday 13th October 1999
The general feeling of apathy spilled
off the pitch and into the empty seats around the ground during the
first half. It wasn't for lack of effort on the players part,
as Spurs strove to establish a lead, but the absent fans caused a
strange atmosphere to start off Tottenham's defence of the
trophy. For all their attempts, Spurs could not score in the
first half. Leonhardsen's flying header was saved expertly by
Kearton and Armstrong headed Piercy's inviting centre against a
post. Blocks and deflections also saw Sol and Steve Carr
denied, while David was pinging in crosses and shots like a man
trying to claw his way to the top of the Carling Opta charts.
Walker had little to do as Crewe passed and moved quite well, but
lacked the finish. The game was played in a very good spirit,
with no nasty tackles and some sensible refereeing, that saw Freund
go unpunished for two heavy tackles which would certainly have
earned him a yellow card in the Premier League.
The second half was a different
matter. Crewe started well with Grant having a long shot fly
over the bar after Shaun Smith had hit a 25 yard free-kick just over
the goal. It was against the run of play then that Spurs
opened the scoring. A lobbed ball from Sherwood into the box was well
controlled by Armstrong and he laid it off for Leo to steer past the
keeper. Carr was unlucky with a run into the box, when Kearton
thwarted him, but the keeper was left with a face as red as his
teammates shirts when Ginola let fly from 25 yards out. I thought
the ball had hit the advertising hoardings behind the goal and I
think Kearton thought the same. However, he was embarrassed when the
ball struck the foot of the post and went into the net. Crewe
were not finished and decided to show Spurs what they could do and a
run by Colin Cramb (who had been having a
laugh with Ginola all night down the wing) into the box was ended when Freund (attempting to get out of
his way) brought him down. Shaun Smith stepped up to bury the
fifth penalty we have conceded this season. This meant it was
nail-biting time again, but the tie was settled by Tim Sherwood, who
capped a quiet night for him by stealing onto a flick-on from
Iversen and lobbing the ball over the keeper
from the left hand side of the penalty area. Other
highlights of the second half were a Freund back-heel, Piercy almost
grabbing a debut goal but hitting the post, Ginola trying to beat
three men in the space of about two yards three or four times.
In the end it was comfortable, but
the almost first XI struggled to make headway in the first period.
It was good to have Sol back as he made some important challenges to
keep the goals against down and the biggest cheers of the night were
for his entrance onto the field. Piercy also caught the eye;
still raw for sure, but compared to some of our other striking
options, he looks one for the future. Fulham at the Cottage
next, which will be harder and require more application.
MEHSTG TOP MAN : - JOHN PIERCY
2 Leicester City 3 - Sunday 3rd October 1999
What a load of
rubbish. The referee, I mean. How many times do they have
to spoil a perfectly good afternoon out, with their whistle blowing
and nonsensical decisions ?? In my opinion, Mr. Barber was gave of the
worst displays of officialdom on a football pitch - ever. His
award of an early penalty against Luke Young would be understandable
in light of the position he viewed the incident from, but the
fact that Steffen Freund pointed out the marks on the pitch indicated
it was outside the box and that he would not consult his assistant ,
only led us to fear what would follow. It looked as though
Heskey made the most of it and frankly, Izzet did as he slammed the
ball home. Straight from the kick-off a defender tried to chest the
ball back to Flowers, who found himself diving to stop Leonhardsen
from scoring, but the ball bounced to Iversen, who steadied himself
and then whacked it home to put Spurs level within a minute.
Shortly after a Ginola cross was met firmly by an Armstrong diving
header, which was parried by the keeper for Iversen to stretch and
prod home from short range. This had followed an inspired first
half (as so often this season) by Tottenham. Sherwood had a
curler saved early on; Leo had a drive deflected just wide of the goal
by a defender ; Freund put in a
rocket of a shot, which forced Flowers to tip over; Ginola put in a
tempting low centre, which Armo failed to reach; Perry won a header
from a corner, but directed it just wide. It was mostly one way,
with Walker having a relatively quiet time of it.
After the break, the
ref continued to give Leicester the majority of the decisions.
It would not have been so bad if he had been giving the same decision
each way, but it seemed that similar challenges were all given in the
Foxes favour. The game should have been wrapped up by Spurs in
the first few minutes of the second half though. Freund had
another shot deflected away, then Iversen burst through and only a
fingertip save diverted the ball around the post. This was the
turning point of the match. A long cross from the left was almost
straight away headed in at the far post by Izzet.
The galling fact about this goal was Spurs were on the attack, when
Mr. Barber decided to obstruct Sherwood from getting the ball, which
then went to Leicester and subsequently into our goal. Ginola
went off and with him all hope of another goal. The
winner was scored from a free-kick given for another innocuous tackle
by a Spurs player and the ball rebounded kindly for Taggart to fire
low past Walker at his post.
The annoying thing
about this game is that we were beaten by an inferior team and these
(Bradford, Wimbledon, Leicester) are games Tottenham should win.
There is no divine right, but the side should have won the game before
they came back into it. The midfield did not look capable of
holding out and when Ginola went off the creativity dried up, so where
to now. The echoes of "Sugar get your cheque book out"
rang around the quiet Tottenham areas of the ground, but how much is
there to spend anyway and where do you start. Another defender,
a playmaker in midfield and a forward or two. That will be £20
million plus, thank you. I fear the cheque book may not run to
MEHSTG TOP MAN : -
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