December-February 99-00

Coventry City 0 Tottenham Hotspur 1  -  Saturday 26th February 2000
 
Goalscorer : Armstrong 82
 Attendance :23,077
 Weather : Cold & Dry
 
Teams :
Coventry City - Hedman, Shaw, Breen, Williams (Quinn 46), Burrows, Chippo, McCallister, Eustace, Hadji, Whelan (Normann 81), Keane.
Subs not used - Hyldgaard, Konjic, Strachan
Tottenham Hotspur - Walker, Carr, Perry, Campbell, Taricco (Young 62),  Anderton, Sherwood (Clemence 45), Freund, Leonhardsen, Ginola, Armstrong.
Subs not used - Scales, Korsten, Baardsen,
 
One Nil to the Tottenham. Not a good game by any stretch of the imagination, in fact at times it was downright boring. After three consecutive one nil defeats however any victory is most welcome.  Freund and Leonhardsen were back in midfield from the start. Leo played on the left freeing Ginola for a roaming strikers role. Clemence and Korsten were back on the bench.

Chris Armstrong was straight in to the action with a spectacular overhead effort which was just too high. Armstrong again had a strong drive which Hedman failed to hold. Gradually the first half settled into monotony with both sides giving the ball away cheaply on a tricky pitch. As half time approached Keane for once got clear and picked out Hadji at the far post. Just as Hadji was about to celebrate slotting in the first goal, Walker flew across his goal to make an excellent save.

Sherwood was injured early in the second half and was replaced by Clemence. It looked as if the problem was in the groin area (as opposed to the penalty area), maybe Sherwood will now have the long awaited operation. He certainly looks sluggish during games at present. Sol Campbell received an elbow from Whelan which went unpunished. Fortunately Sol recovered, unlike Taricco who was injured in a clash of heads. After lengthy treatment Taricco tried to carry on but was staggering about as if he was drunk. Sol ushered him from the field.

A goalless draw looked likely and the large contingent of travelling Spurs fans began to get restless. A small group began the chant of "We want Sugar out" and were probably surprised at the support they received. This was then followed by the usual anti Graham calls. Only the highly paid David Pleat escaped the fans wrath. Probably because we still don't understand what he does.  In any event it's one thing calling for some heads but what are the alternatives? If George makes the signings he wishes to make then a squad which is half reasonable could become very strong.

As if to placate the fans a goal then arrived . Anderton knocked over a corner. Armstrong rose unchallenged and headed powerfully downwards. Hedman failed to hold the ball on the line and it squirmed in to give Spurs the lead.

Walker then made another good save as Coventry threatened for once.  At the other end Ginola put Armstrong through one on one with the keeper. These are not good situations for Chris who has too much time to think and his effort was blocked by Hedman.

For once however Spurs hung on till the end to collect all three points.  Most of the Spurs players worked hard although Anderton could have done more. Campbell was again a tower of strength and despite his shortcomings in front of goal Armstrong worked hard. Walker kept a clean sheet and made a couple of excellent saves.

 
MEHSTG TOP MAN - IAN WALKER
 
Eric the Viking
Leeds United 1 Tottenham Hotspur 0  -  Saturday 12th February 2000
 
Goalscorer: Kewell 23 
Attendance :40,127 
Weather : Cold, Windy & Wet
 
Teams :
Leeds - Martyn, Kelly, Woodgate, Duberry, Harte, Bowyer, Bakke (Haaland 85), Jones, Wilcox, Smith, Kewell (Huckerby 68)
Subs not used - Mills, Maybury, Robinson.
Tottenham Hotspur - Walker, Carr, Perry, Campbell, Edinburgh, Taricco, Anderton, Sherwood, Clemence (Nielsen 74), Ginola (Dominguez 78), Korsten, Armstrong.
Subs not used - Scales, Young, Baardsen,
 
Another disappointing performance from Spurs who were again beaten one nil. The team lacked bite, character and resilience and it was not until the second half that they really became involved. Then it was in all sorts of petty nastiness. Nigel Martyn in the Leeds goal did not have to make one serious save throughout the game.
The only change to the team which lost against Chelsea saw Korsten make his full debut in place of Iversen. On this performance from Korsten one wonders what all the fuss was about. He is not match fit, hardly won a tackle and is marginally worse than Armstrong in front of goal! For someone who is 6ft 3 he does not win many balls in the air either.

For Leeds, Bowyer was at his worst snapping away in midfield. He committed four fouls in the first half for which the referee awarded free kicks, but under the new lenient approach kept his card in his pocket. He did however caution Clemence, Sherwood and Armstrong for their first fouls.

This was a day when Leeds needed to win and they were by far the better side in the early exchanges. In the 23rd minute Walker came out of his goal to kick a clearance with Smith ambling towards him. The kick went straight down the middle of the field and Korsten lost out to a Woodgate header in the centre circle. As the ball flew over the Spurs defence Kewell charged through passing Smith on his way back. Smith was in an offside position but was adjudged not to be interfering, so Kewell got to the ball before Walker and flicked it past him just outside the area. He then took control, side stepped Sol Campbell and slid the ball into the empty net. A good goal for Kewell but one felt Walker, Korsten and Campbell might have done better.

It was hard to see where Spurs may get a goal from. Sherwood hit a pathetic effort from 30 yards. The best chance in the first half fell to Armstrong right on half time. He raced clear on the right but blazed his shot high and wide.

The second half saw Spurs show a little more fight. Ginola was having a running battle with Kelly and incensed the home contingent with his antics. Bowyer launched a tackle on Clemence which saw his boot in Clemence's chest while they were both on the ground with the ball nowhere to be seen. This caused an almighty fracas with handbags flying from all 22 players but only Bowyer got his inevitable yellow card. Bowyer is a good player but he clearly has a nasty streak which he cannot control. Possibly that is why he is always in trouble off the field as well.

The next incident was between Ginola and Wilcox. The Leeds man dispossessed Ginola in a tackle on the by-line and then proceeded to trample all over him in the follow-through.

As the game dragged on the Leeds fans became more interested in the fact that Man United were losing at Newcastle. Spurs created chances at the death which they should have scored. Armstrong won a header but it was so weak Martyn only had to bend down to pick the ball up. Armstrong again jumped too early for a ball bouncing across the area and seemed to duck under it rather than head it. Kortsen had an excellent chance when fed on his left foot on the edge of the area but he put the ball in row Z instead of the net.

The game finished with another stamping incident. In the corner, in front of the Spurs, fans Perry made a sweeping tackle on Harte to put the ball in touch. Harte jumped to avoid the tackle and deliberately landed in a stamping motion on Perry's chest. Chris was incensed and launched into the Irishman. The referee took no action.

Another poor defeat away from home. Only Campbell really shone for Spurs and his influence on the other players was missing. Ginola never threatened and was replace by Dominguez. As usual Jose's only contribution was to get an opposing player a yellow card. This time Jones for a nasty foul from behind. Anderton went through the motions. Armstrong and Korsten did not look as if they would score if they played all night. George was booed by the Leeds fans but I doubt if they had ever seen a George Graham side with so little character and fight.

 
MEHSTG TOP MAN - SOL CAMPBELL

Eric The Viking

Tottenham 0 Chelsea 1 - Saturday 5th February 2000

Another uninspiring home defeat as Spurs went down to a second successive 0-1 defeat.  In a match where Chelsea looked in comfortable control, Tottenham never looked likely to score - even if they had played all night.  

An early save by Walker denied Weah and shortly after an almost action replay stopped Sutton putting the visitors ahead.  For Spurs there was little headway against the Chelsea back four, but Anderton hit the side netting and Armstrong had a flicked header go just over the bar.  Ginola was being denied space when he received the ball and suddenly four players would appear around him.  For the majority of the time, the game was played out in the middle of the pitch, with both sides grafting and wasting possession.  While Tottenham had two appeals for penalties when Lambourde grabbed Ginola and Desailly kicked Iversen in the head, Mr. Poll resolutely declined both shouts.

The second half was little better, in truth.  The one goal came from a dubious free-kick awarded to Chelsea outside Tottenham's box.  While the defence was still sorting themselves, Wise chipped through to Lamborde, who lobbed the ball over the advancing Walker.  Sol had momentarily lost his man enough to let him in.  There were few other chances for the Blues - Taricco denying Sutton and Weah stopped in full flight by Perry (and dived, but was denied again - this time by the ref).  The referee had an awful game - not helped by the new leniency that officials have been told to exhibit.  Poyet was booked for an awful tackle, Desailly got away with his hand making contact with Armstrong's face off the ball and Wise (in his usual manner) niggled and fouled under the forgiving gaze of the man in black.  The last twenty minutes saw Tottenham try to salvage something from the game, but there was no joy.  Taricco had a volley smash into a defender when it looked on its way in and Iversen had a header glance off the bar and a low shot at the near post from an Armstrong cross saved by De Goey's outstretched leg.  Armo capitalised on the Chelsea keeper's mis-kick, but his overhead went straight up in the air. The same player also had a header go over the bar from a Carr cross near the end, while Anderton had two opportunities when played in inside the box, but his feeble efforts of flicking out a foot were typical of his insipid performance.

For teams two places apart in the table, the gap in class was much wider.  The subdued atmosphere at the game was perhaps because the result was inevitable.  Will we ever beat Chelsea ??  It's been ten years now and if this type of performance continues, it could well be another ten before we do.

MEHSTG TOP MAN : - STEPHEN CLEMENCE

Pete Stachio

Tottenham Hotspur 0 Sheffield Wednesday 1 -  Saturday 22nd January 2000

So, the same old story continues.  Oh, but for a player who can stick the ball in the back of the net.  But not for me those who started to boo the team during the match or barrack players.  It wasn't that bad a performance, it was just the old failing of not taking our chances.  In the end, Wednesday had about three or four and took one.  Spurs had more, but didn't convert any.  So we lost.  Tottenham Hotspur - the loser's friend - giving Sheffield their first away win of the season.

The game started reasonably brightly and Spurs took the game to the Owls, although there seemed a lack of conviction.  Almost as though the goals would come without any trouble.  However, that is rarely the case with Spurs.  And so it proved.  Iversen denied a headed goal by Srnicek and the keeper stopped Armstrong from scoring from inside the box with a push around the post.  When the Czech did slip up, he caught one cross on his knees and a clearance fell to Clem, whose shot was diverted away from goal by Armo and Anderton could not head in the rebound.  Ginola put some good crosses in, but they were often found without anyone on the end.  The Frenchman had to produce a swerving shot from outside the box to get as close to a goal as the team could muster - his 20 yard effort bouncing back off the bar and the follow up was pushed away inelegantly by Srnicek when Iversen shot in.  The goal was against the run of play, but caught Spurs all at seas in defence.  Jonk was left in the penalty area and with Edinburgh coming across to challenge, Alexandersson was left free to shoot low past Walker.  The immediate response was not to throw things forward, but to start giving the ball away.  An old trait that was to recur during the second half.

With the turn around, Spurs could not produce as many efforts to trouble Srnicek and in truth, Sheffield probably had the better of the second spell.  One Carr shot from outside the box made the Owls keeper stretch to tip wide and one Ginola run ended with a shot into the side netting, while another zipped past the post.  Apart from that there was only the six-yard box scramble when the ball ricocheted off a couple of players legs, just out of Iversen's reach and the miss by Armstrong when the ball fell to him three yards out and he managed to hit the post with only the keeper to beat.  His immediate substitution, along with Justin and Clem, did little to help the side. Korsten looked to be playing in a free role, but he didn't appear to know where that was, although he did get one low shot on target.  In the end, Wednesday finished the stronger and if they could have finished better would have won by three or four.  De Bilde had one miss that was as bad as Armo's, when he wriggled free in the area and missed from inside the six-yard box.

What normally would have been a hilarious interlude when the linesman had to remove his shirt, because of the failure of his microphone link with the ref, became an annoying interruption in a frustrating 90 minutes.  Too many players having an off day (again)??  Iversen will do well to have a worse game for the club, while Korsten and Anderton failed to impress.  Unfortunately, it was just like earlier in the season, when we presented the opposition with the ball and made things hard for ourselves.  When Spurs beat Sheffield Wednesday to go top, things didn't seem so bad.  But that was a rare away success and like this was a rare home failure, Sheffield Wednesday were celebrating getting off the bottom of the league. Knowing Spurs, they will go and beat Chelsea in the next game ... but then again ...

MEHSTG TOP MAN : - STEPHEN CARR

Pete Stachio

Everton 2 Tottenham Hotspur 2 - Saturday 15th January 2000
 
Goalscorers: Everton - Campbell 22   Moore 92
                      Tottenham- Armstrong 24   Ginola 28 
 
Attendance :36,144 
Weather : Bright & Cold
 
Teams :
Everton -Gerrard, Dunne, Weir, Watson, Unsworth (Ball 81), Barmby, Collins, Hutchison, Pembridge, Jeffers (Moore 82), Campbell.
Subs not used - Ward, Simonsen, Gemmill
Tottenham Hotspur - Walker, Carr, Perry, Campbell, Edinburgh (Young 81), Anderton, Sherwood, Clemence, Ginola (Nielsen 68), Iversen, Armstrong.
Subs not used - Baardsen, Korsten Fox
 
Everton have not been beaten at Goodison in The Premier League this season but it was not until the 2nd minute of time added on that they equalised to preserve that record. Once again Spurs failed to hold the lead for the full game and surrendered in the dying minutes of the game just like they had at Chelsea.
It was the same Tottenham team that faced Chelsea although Korsten was on the bench allegedly.

A major talking point of the game subsequently featured on Match of the Day was the early appearance of a brown mongrel dog. At a point when Everton were leading one nil the dog appeared from the corner of the ground. For some time it raced around on the pitch and twice looked as if it would run into Walkers goal only to rush past the post. "Ooohhh" went the crowd on both occasions. The Spurs fans sang; "Nicky Barmby's wife, Nicky Barmby's wife, Nicky Barmby, Nicky Barmby, Nicky Barmby's wife."

Eventually the dog settled in the front row behind the goal and was led away. But that was not the end of it as the dog reappeared to race up the touchline and sit in front of the dug-outs before again being led away. "Are you Korsten in disguise?" was the cry from the Spurs fans this time.

Everton started the livelier side and twice threatened the Spurs goal before taking an early LEAD. Hutchison who during the match did not WINALOT against Sherwood capitalised on a mistake and charged down the left hand side. He had time to unLEASH an early cross which his PAL Kevin Campbell met with his head whilst Carr and Perry appeared to go WALKIES. The ball flew past Walker into the net before he could PAW it away. But Spurs did not TAIL Everton for long. A minute later Sol met a free kick deep and saw his header hit the post but fortunately Armstrong was on hand to WOOF it in. Tottenham were now like a DOG WITH A BONE and Everton feeling a bit hot under the COLLAR. Within for minutes an excellent move saw SHAGGY release a fine ball to Ginola. David was able to BOWL into the area and hit a cross come shot which looped over Gerrard's head in the Everton goal after taking a deflection just as David hit the ball. Bit of a HOWLER for the home side. As half time approached Iversen had an excellent chance to make it 3-1 but was Unable to beat Gerrard. The miss would certainly have made George Graham GROWL.

The second half saw Everton searching for an equaliser but it looked like being Spurs day. Late in the half a quickly taken free kick was met at the far post by Iversen who directed his header goalwards from a fine angle when had he squared the ball Armstrong must have scored. George Graham was BARKING at the referee for some questionable bookings and the WAG of a fourth official somehow signalled 4 minutes of injury time. The Spurs defence was PANTING when a throw travelled much further across the 6 yard box than it should have done. An American called Joe-Max Moore who had just come on was on hand to smash in the equaliser to WAILS of delight from the Goodison faithful.

Sherwood had a strong game again. Ginola was his usual self winding up the home crowd and being substituted by an ineffective Nielsen after 68 minutes. It was Anderton who caught the eye proving that although he is not totally match fit he is still a very skilful footballer able to pass accurately, and create, from the right side of midfield. Kevin Keegan who was in the stand will I am sure have noted Anderton's contribution, he was "THE DOG'S B****CKS".

 
MEHSTG TOP MAN - DARREN ANDERTON
 
Eric the Viking
Chelsea 1 Tottenham Hotspur 0 - Wednesday 12th January 2000
 
Goalscorer: Weah 87
 
Attendance :34,969 
Weather : Cold
 
Teams :
Chelsea -DeGoey, Lambourde, Thome, Terry, Leboeuf, Harley, Wise, DiMatteo, Petrescu, Poyet (Sutton 56), Flo (Weah 56).
Subs not used - Ambrosetti, Morris, Cudicini
Tottenham Hotspur - Walker, Carr, Perry, Campbell, Edinburgh, Anderton, Sherwood, Clemence, Ginola, Iversen, Armstrong.
Subs not used - Baardsen, Fox, Young, Dominguez, Nielsen.
 
Why do Chelsea always beat Tottenham? Why is Dennis Wise involved in every nasty incident between the two teams? Why can't we sign a player like George Weah on loan till the end of the season? Why can't Spurs hold out for ninety minutes?

It was 1990 when Spurs last won at Stamford Bridge and no one needs reminding that results have not been good against Chelsea since then. There was some optimism in the camp with Anderton returning and Chelsea in a run of dropping points.

Spurs stated well and the first real chance fell to Armstrong bursting on to a through ball but guiding his effort over the bar. Chelsea struggled to get any rhythm going in the half as Spurs dominated. A strong penalty appeal for a trip on Ginola by Lambourde was of course turned down by the referee. This caused George Graham, in the dug out for the first half to express his displeasure. After 40 minutes Darren Anderton hit a wicked drive which DeGoey did well to parry low to his right. Iversen followed up quickly but was again denied by the big Dutch goalkeeper. Before half time it was DeGoey again who thwarted Iversen when he was sent through.

The second half was barely ten minutes old when the Chelsea fans erupted. A double substitution in the 56th minute saw Sutton replace  an ineffective Poyet and George Weah replace Flo. The Chelsea crowd were lifted, their players were clearly lifted and for a while the Spurs defence looked very worried about the physical threat.

Contrast the situation. Chelsea bring on a player previously voted the best in the world and a striker purchased for 10M. We had Fox & Dominguez warming up! 
Anderton was then unlucky when his deflected shot was saved superbly by DeGoey. Gradually Chelsea began to impose themselves and threaten. Walker performed a juggling act with one cross which bounced off the bar. Spurs fans began to look anxiously at the clock with a 0-0 looking on. But again it was not to be. With 3 minutes remaining Wise found enough space to cross. Weah powered between two Spurs defenders to get enough on the ball for it to glide past Walker. Tottenham did not give up and in the dying seconds a Campbell header from a corner was again saved by DeGoey with his feet. Spurs and Chelsea players charged into the goal jostling each other. At the heart of it all was of course Dennis Wise and Iversen was cautioned for some reason unclear.

This was a good away performance but Spurs ran out of steam. Had they taken earlier chances then of course the story would be different. Ginola was always a threat but went down too easily. At the back Spurs were in the main excellent. Armstrong worked hard as did Clemence. Sherwood was particularly influential battling with Wise in midfield.

Lets have another go at them in three weeks time at The Lane.
 
MEHSTG TOP MAN  - TIM SHERWOOD
 
Eric the Viking
Tottenham Hotspur 1  Liverpool  0  - Monday 3rd January 2000

A win against another of the teams above us at home only went to re-emphasise the need to pick up points away in striving to enter the elite of the Premier League.  This match also served to prove that a top class goal-poacher should be a priority in the coming months, as with that sort of striker in the side, Spurs could have won this by a hatful.  Indeed, although he played with great energy and enthusiasm, Armo could have had five goals on his own - the one he did get being perhaps one of the least likely to go in.  Westerveld was in splendid form and denied Iversen on three occasions - one stretching save from Ivo's header was only possible because of his great reach.  He also stopped Ginola from opening his account for 2000 with a tip around the post to a low, skidding shot.

But it was the way Tottenham started out that did the trick.  They seemed  much more willing to take the game to Liverpool and although Camara got three of our players booked through his mix of trickery and acrobatics, Liverpool rarely extended Walker.  When he was called upon in the second half, he shot off his line to block Smicer's shot and hack the loose ball away.  The Czech also curled an effort just wide of Walker's right hand post.  The only other moment of concern came when Camara wriggled free and Walker pushed his shot aside, but straight to Gerrard.  Luckily he was put off by Taricco and put his shot wide of a semi-open goal. But the majority of the action centred around the Liverpool goal.  Ginola obviously wanted  a result desperately today.  His denouncement by Houllier, when national manager, fired him up to produce a performance that had "revenge" written all over it.  Not a day for personal glory, but one for the team to get what they should and a show of how he can play within the team structure for the benefit of the team.  His crossing was sublime, his effort obvious and his shooting accurate.  If he played like this every week, he would prove indispensable - even to GG.  Armstrong desperately needed a goal and his headers which were off target exasperated the crowd, but just when you thought he would never score ... he takes a bouncing ball and lashes it past the Reds keeper from 20 odd yards and bulges the net.  Inspired by this he was getting onto the end of crosses, but could not find the net with them.  Even when Westerveld came rushing out of his box in the second half, Armstrong rounded him, but could not slip the ball into the net ... it went agonisingly across the six yard box and was only just diverted wide of the post by Hyypia.  It was heartening to see him still chasing down the visiting defenders towards the end too.  Four minutes after, it appeared that Spurs had gone 2-0 up, when Sol headed in a  cross from Ginola's free-kick, but the ref disallowed the goal because of offside.

Just a quick word to say how much the referee spoiled this game.  He fell for every fall that Camara made; he let the same player get away with kicking Perry while on the floor; he let Thompson get away with an assault on Taricco seconds after he had entered the game; he stopped play for attention to Gerrard, just as Spurs had broken away - some 20 seconds after the injury had taken place; he couldn't tell a corner from a goal-kick and really, Mr. Wilkie should be called to task over his handling of this game.  When he was booking people for trivial matters, serious fouls were going unpunished. 

The starting line up featured Clemence and Young in midfield, which was unusual, but both played admirably and Clem showed that he could have a place in the squad, while Young demonstrated his versatility.  Carr was his regular self again and enhances the team greatly with his runs up the right.  Sol and Perry were both troubled by the player who we rejected last season - Camara - but that was only because he seemed to be trying to exact some retribution for his failure to become a Spur.  I know he has done well for Liverpool already, but I do think it is  a flash in the pan.  A very pleasing performance, but the lack of the killer instinct makes games like this too nail-biting with only one goal to the good and time ticking away.

MEHSTG TOP MAN : - CHRIS ARMSTRONG

Pete Stachio

Aston Villa 1  Tottenham Hotspur 1  - Wednesday 29th December 1999

Tottenham were supposedly trying to take their good home form on the road today and although they were under pressure for long periods, they could easily have taken all three points from this visit to the Midlands.  The early efforts came from the home side,  the Spurs keeper had already pushed a header from Joachim over the bar before he denied the same player with his arse and the incident was cleaned up by Carr's clearance from Taylor's follow-up in front of the goal .  For all their pressure, Villa created few direct chances and those they did were foiled by an on song Ian Walker.  His save from Southgate in the second half probably earned Spurs a point as did his catch at the end of the match, when Vassell burst into the Spurs box.  The former Leicester City forward, Joachim, was causing Spurs most problems and his header just before Spurs scored was well pushed aside by Walks.  It was in the final minute of the first half that David Ginola played a simple square ball inside to Tim Sherwood.  The midfielder was 32 yards out and let fly with a shot that ripped past James in the home goal.  It was a cracking goal and although really against the run of play, Tim was allowed so much room that he had an open invitation to score.

The second half saw Spurs up the pace of the game and Iversen had two chances, one with his feet and one with his head, but both found James equal to the efforts. Merson was having a good match and although he engineered a good position for himself, his shooting did not match the build-up play. He did create the equaliser though, with a low ball into the six yard box that Taylor got in front of Sherwood to poke high past Walker.  It was all that Villa had deserved as they were more attacking throughout and Walker still had to be on his toes to thwart Joachim's shot towards the end.

An uninspiring performance by Spurs, but a battling one, which earned a point against a Villa side on the roll after two wins.  The need to start at a high pace is exacting, but one which has earned points already this season.  To do it away and put the home side on the back foot early on could make sense, but it could leave us open at the back.  Would GG be brave enough to try such an option ??  If only against some of the lesser lights in the League, it could be a tactic that works.  Anyway, the end of the century and we're in sixth - not great, but hey, better than the position we have found ourselves in at the end of other years recently past.

MEHSTG TOP MAN : - CHRIS PERRY

East Stan

Tottenham Hotspur 4  Watford 0  -  Sunday 26th December 1999

It was the first end of the Millennium game I had been to at the Lane and I must say it is to be heartily recommended.  Not only did you get to see four goals, but also 20 white doves released by the two mascots (Spurs' one a youngster in kit; Watford's a full grown man in a suit) to symbolise peace and goodwill to all, except crap teams who are in the Premier League.  Coming after the mauling Spurs got at Newcastle, Watford were truly lambs to the slaughter.  Within four minutes, they could have been three goals down.  Clear headers were put wide by Nielsen and Campbell, while Iversen slotted the ball past the post instead of inside it.  Sad to say, but when Watford came to the Lane for a FA cup tie as the first visitors in 1999, they seemed a better side than they do now.  Hard to say how they have gone backwards, but the batterings they are getting in this League might be doing them untold harm.  Graham Taylor said that the promotion through the divisions had come quicker than he envisaged.  

It took until the 27th minute for the deadlock to be broken.  Ginola had cut inside earlier to unleash a shot straight at Chamberlain, but this time, after exchanging passes with Ivo, took on four defenders on a run across the face of the box and buried a low right footer into the bottom of the net.  Armstrong was full of running and slipping away from his marker, he put in a cross from the right wing, which Iversen converted with his head by getting in front of his man to the ball.  Armo also put a shot over, Ginola bent one inches wide of the right hand upright and Sherwood skied one well over.  At the Spurs end, Walker watched on, only having to deal with a couple of long range efforts and seeing most of them fly past the goal.  The only down point of the first period was when Iversen and Sherwood had a bust-up in mid-pitch about a move which broke down before Spurs had scored.  Tim went in for some finger-pointing, while Steff satisfied himself by giving Sherwood the finger.  Such peace and harmony !!

Act Two started with the same theme as the first half.  Almost unrelenting pressure in the direction of poor Chamberlain.  But Spurs decided that they were trying to score Goal of the Month every time they went into the Watford half.  Sherwood and Armstrong were guilty of attempting to walk the ball in, while Armo also had a shot and a header go close.  The Icelander, Gudmunson struck a shot wide of Walks and the goal, but apart from that, even the three subs brought on at half-time failed to make much of a dent in the Spurs rearguard.  The third goal came when Ginola engineered a space and sent in such a good cross that almost all Sherwood had to do was to let it hit his head for his seventh of the season.  Ginola's cross was from a similar place and in a similar style to that against Newcastle United in the FA Cup at the Lane.  Shortly after, GG took Ginola off again.  Boos rang around the ground as Dominguez replaced him.  The upcoming game at Aston Villa was no doubt in Graham's mind, but with Gower and the long suffering Korsten on the bench, why not give them a run out for the last fifteen minutes ?  We all know what Jose is capable of and when will we find out what others can do ?  Anyway, he played a vital part in the third goal, by standing next to Clemence as he took the corner kick that lead to Sherwood's second goal of the game against his former club - again unmarked in the six yard box.  All that was left was for Taricco to chip one that the keeper put over and then it was the end.  The end of the match, the end of a decade, the end of a century and the end of the Millennium at White Hart Lane.  Will it signal a new era ?  Don't hold your breath.

MEHSTG TOP MAN : - DAVID GINOLA

Pete Stachio

Newcastle United 6  Tottenham Hotspur 1 -  
                                                          Wednesday 22nd December 1999 
                                                          (FA Cup 3rd Round replay)

Starting the game with three centre-halves to counter the aerial attack of the home side seemed a good idea, but in a first half dominated by Newcastle, Tottenham were overwhelmed.  With only five minutes gone a high ball to the far post saw Perry against Ferguson and a header down onto the edge of the six-yard box was stuck away by Speed.  A quarter of an hour after and Dabizas rose above Vega, who didn't get off the floor to make it two.  Spurs looked dead and buried as they had shown nothing up until this point.  Young's substitution by Fox made things seem even worse, but then Ginola unleashed Tottenham's first shot on target after 31 minutes and it deflected up and over the keeper to put Spurs back in it.  The Magpies wavered and Spurs did put some balls into the box, but no clear chances came their way.  A foul on Ginola was let go by the ref, who then refused him treatment, but the game swung towards the Spurs goal and a low ball across the box was fumbled by Walker straight to Ferguson, who crashed it in off the bar.  Just when Spurs seemed to be getting at United, an error let them have the advantage straight back.  Walker had just before made a sharp save at his near post from a Shearer header, but this was a routine ball that he should have gathered without any trouble.  In truth, the height in attack was causing Spurs all sorts of problems and Newcastle carved Tottenham's defence apart in the opening 20 minutes, but as the season slipped away, the goal came just before the break  . 

The second half was even worse.  When Spurs beat Newcastle 3-1 at the start of the season, you would never have imagined that they would end up losing in such a disgraceful style as they did tonight.  Further goals from Dyer, and two from Shearer (one from a penalty) sealed a win that echoed the defeat by 7 goals to 1 in Francis' time.  Having said that this game was not important, but progress was, the question will be asked of GG, where is the progress ??  The only good thing to come out of it is that Sugar might finally see how much needs investing in the side to make them half decent.  The league position is flattering as we have got away with it too often and although recent form has been poor, they have stayed static in the table.  But tonight you could point out many defects : -

Poor passing and inability to retain possession of the ball
Lack of awareness of who to mark at the back
Playing with one forward as an outlet doesn't work, as Iversen is unable to hold the ball up
Inability to do the simple thing like clear the ball when under pressure or track back an opponent or close players down as they advance on goal
Lightweight players who do not add anything to our play (Clemence, Dominguez, Taricco, Fox, Vega)
Lack of depth in the squad when we have a few players out injured
Players playing on with injuries (Sherwood)
A keeper who does not dominate his box
Too many players unaware of what to do when they do not have the ball (i.e. move into space and give the player in possession an option to pass to)

Basic things that really ought to come naturally, but obviously don't.  The lack of effort and lack of ideas, especially (as usual) when Ginola was substituted, leaves Spurs fans with little hope for the rest of the season, little hope of getting a European place and little hope of attracting top players.  Now that the team has been on a run of no wins in six games and the cracks covered up by the Worthington Cup win have exposed, what will those in charge do to put it right ??  While Tottenham's season ended tonight going out of the FA Cup, the tie was lost at WHL when we were 1-0 up and Newcastle were there for the taking.  The lack of the killer instinct has cost the club dear.

MEHSTG TOP MAN : - DAVID GINOLA (for wanting the ball)

Pete Stachio

Middlesbrough 2 Tottenham Hotspur 1 
                                                    Saturday 18th December 1999
 
Goalscorers : Middlesbrough - Ziege 34 Deane 67
                         Tottenham - Vega 7
 
Attendance :33,129 
Weather : Bitterly Cold
 
Teams :
Middlesbrough - Schwarzer, Stockdale, Vickers, Festa, O'Neill, Maddison, Mustoe, Juninho, Ziege (Summerbell 90), Ricard (Armstrong 85), Deane.  
Subs not used - Beresford, Gavin, Marinelli
Tottenham Hotspur - Walker, Young, Perry, Vega, Campbell, Taricco,  Nielsen, Freund (Sherwood 32), Ginola (Edinburgh 46), Iversen, Armstrong (Fox 82).
Subs not used - Baardsen, Dominguez
 
Three times we have been to the North East in the Premiership this season. Three times we have lost 2-1. Three times we have been outbattled by a home side showing more commitment and character. In all three matches we have conceded goals to crosses. Any predictions for the FA Cup replay at Newcastle? Will we break the run?
For this game George brought in Vega to give more height, and played with Young and Taricco ostensibly as wing backs.

The decision to play Vega paid early dividends. He went close on Spurs' first attack. Then, in the 7th minute he rose in the centre of the goal to head a good goal from an excellent Ginola cross.

Middlesbrough were there for the taking. Their heads were down and the crowd were silent. When you are having a bad run like Middlesbrough the ideal team to play at home must surely be Tottenham. Spurs lack the killer instinct. They do not know how to kill sides off. They allow teams back into the game. That is exactly what happened here. Middlesbrough started to create one or two chances without troubling Walker. After 32 minutes Freund limped off to be replaced by Sherwood and then Juninho was allowed to play an excellent one-two with Ziege. The Spurs defence completely lost the German who smashed home the equaliser. This of course lifted the Riverside and Boro stormed forward. From another cross along the ground Ziege found himself 2 yards out, level with the post and unmarked. Taking the ball on his right foot he contrived to scoop it past the post. An incredible let off. Ginola was booked in the first half for a tackle, but incredibly the referee asked Ginola to turn around so he could check his name on the back of his shirt. It was a sign of the poor refereeing to come.

Ginola was replaced at half-time by Edinburgh, with Taricco moving into midfield.

Spurs continued to splutter along without really creating. Then came the turning point of the game. From a high hanging cross Ricard smashed in to Walker and flattened him. The referee refused to give a free kick despite protestations from the Spurs team. The Middlesbrough fans showed what they thought with a chant of 'You're just a town full of rent boys'. Presumably commenting on the ruggedness of the Spurs goalkeeper. Almost straight away a further deep cross was heaved into the Spurs box. Under a challenge from Ricard again, Walker missed the ball, Ricard headed back across goal and Deane hit home.

Juninho showed he still has much of his skill and one mazy run took him through the whole Spurs defence only for him to be thwarted by Walker. As a last ditch effort Vega was sent up front but to no avail.

The referee Steve Dunn had a strange game and managed to dish out 5 yellow cards to the Spurs team. In the final minute when common sense could have prevailed he gave Nielsen a second yellow for a fairly innocuous tackle and the Dane was dismissed. Spurs first red of the season!

Spurs are in a poor run in the league and are not playing well. They lack any sort of sharpness in and around the box. It's hard to see it changing without some new blood which will clearly also lift the other players.

MEHSTG TOP MAN - NONE

 
Eric the Viking
Tottenham Hotspur  1  Newcastle United 1  
                           Sunday 12th December 1999   (FA Cup 3rd Round)

A strange feeling swept over me when I walked into the ground and was told that Dominguez and Fox were both starting the match.  How were we going to win this then?  The team had to be changed because of suspensions and Leo's injury, but even with our limited squad surely this was too much to bear.

The game started with Spurs going forward and Harper tipping a great drive over the bar.  Then Allan Nielsen headed a Fox cross downwards and Harper again saved at the post, while moments later, Iversen got past Charvet and could not get round the keeper.  Nielsen was again denied when a great run along the right wing (about half the length of the pitch) by Young, saw his cross missed at the near post by Iversen and then grabbed before it could reach the Dane.  Walker was untroubled in the first half as Tottenham had supremacy in terms of possession, but could not make the breakthrough.

They had to wait until the second half for that to happen.  Only after Ferguson had contrived to head down and over the bar from five yards out, did Spurs get their goal.  A throw resulted from Young's interception and break, which he took quickly to Ginola.  He made half a yard for himself and crossed to the edge of the six yard box, where Iversen came flying in to head home in front of Dabizas.  At this stage, Tottenham should have been looking to press home their advantage, but they seemed to withdraw and let Newcastle into the match.  A tactical change by Robson saw them move to a back three and push another man into midfield with an option to go forward.  It was here that Spurs should have brought on Armo for Jose, who by now was losing his effectiveness.  Some last gasp defending denied Dyer and Glass, before a corner was swung over and Speed rose to head the equaliser.  It was coming as the Barcodes applied more pressure and as the game wore on, they looked the more likely to win it.  Gallagher and Shearer both had chances towards the final whistle.

The England captain got the stick he deserved for persistent whingeing and diving, but for most of the match Sol had him in his pocket.  This was a match that Spurs should really have sewn up, but a draw leaves us still in the competition, although a replay at St. James Park will be a very tough one.

In the end, the changes didn't work out too bad.  Fox worked hard and Jose; well, he was just Jose.  As for the rest, Nielsen got up and back and Luke Young did well at the back. Perry was sound and Sol was excellent.  David flitted around, usually pursued by a couple of Magpies and Steffen should have wrapped it up in the first half.  For the replay, Taricco and Sherwood will both be available and hopefully, Leo will have recovered from his injury.  Let's hope that it is an occasion the team decides to play.

MEHSTG TOP MAN : - STEFFEN FREUND (despite his shooting)

Tottenham Hotspur  0  West Ham United  0  Monday 6th December 1999

With 18 attempts on goal, this would sound like Tottenham had a good performance, but statistics are like match reports ... you can read into them what you want.
In truth, this was a pretty untypical London derby.  Yes, Lomas was dismissed just before the break for a second yellow card, shortly after having a kick at Dominguez off the ball. Yes, Redknapp insinuated that Dominguez dived to get Lomas sent off (oh, how two faced of him) and said that if the linesman could make out what Lomas had said in a thick Irish brogue to Dominguez from 50 yards away he was a better man than him (Yeah, ... and). Yes, The Irons players all queued up to have a go at little Joe and Ruddock did his moronic best to wind up the Spurs contingent.  Yes, Perry came perilously close to joining Lomas after a second tackle from behind could have earned him a second yellow.  Yes, the referee sussed West ham's diving tactics early on and wasn't taken in.  Yes, there were moments of high drama - mainly involving the Hammers' keeper, but in the end, what will the match be remembered for ??  A sending off and the fact that the referee ended it a minute and two minutes of added time before the end.

Chances were mainly in Spurs' favour as the visitors only managed six efforts, but did force Walker to a sprawling save from Lampard and most crucially, a point blank stop when a corner fell to Foe about two yards out.  At the other end, Hislop made reflex stops from Perry's header and a diving Armstrong header, which he pushed up onto the bar and then Iversen's follow-up glanced the woodwork too.  Other shots fizzed around the goal and it was the blocking of the claret and blues in the first half that stopped many direct efforts, only Perry's header from a corner going slightly the wrong side of the post.  A fate which befell Steffen Iversen, when he chested down Ginola's cross and volleyed a yard wide.  Ginola enjoyed the freedom in the second half, but often chose the wrong option and lost the ball or the opportunity to punish West Ham.  The midfield looked tired and what was once a source of our goals, now they labour with tired legs.  Against ten men, Spurs failed to score in approximately 45 minutes.  In the end, it was all a bit desperate as Spurs pushed forward, but the lack of a goal poacher who can win the game out of a half-chance, showed that Spurs will continue to fail to collect the points they should.  The chances which were being stuck away in home games early in the season are now wasted.  Unless a striker is added to the squad, so will the opportunities open to this side.

MEHSTG TOP MAN : - Luke Young
Pete Stachio

Fulham 3 Tottenham Hotspur 1-  Wednesday 1st December 1999 
                                                              (Worthington Cup - 4th Round)
 
Goalscorer: Fulham - Hayles 10, Collins 44, Horsfield 77
                     Tottenham - Iversen 43
 
Attendance :18,134 
Weather : Cold & Dry
 
Teams :
Fulham : - Taylor, Symons, Melville, Coleman, Uhlenbeek, Clark, Collins (Trollope 81), Hayward, Brevett, Hayles, Horsfield 
Subs not used - Hahnemann, Morgan, Finnan, Peschisolido
Tottenham Hotspur - Walker, Taricco, Perry (Vega 46), Campbell, Edinburgh (Young 46), Leonhardsen, Sherwood, Freund, Ginola, Iversen, Armstrong (Dominguez 67),
Subs not used - Baardsen, Nielsen
 
Spurs the Worthington Cup holders were dumped out of the competition by a battling Fulham. We all remember how enjoyable the victory at Wembley was, but the Spurs players have obviously forgotten very quickly. This game had been built up as one where Fulham were looking to prove their credentials. Paul Bracewell a tough midfielder in his day would clearly fire them up. Spurs arrived completely unprepared and never really got to grips with the game. Fulham quite simply had more commitment and desire to win. The Fulham players all won their individual contests around the pitch and none more so than Geoff Horsfield who gave Sol Campbell a torrid time. Sol, Chris Perry and in the second half Ramon Vega did not seem able to cope with the robust and rampaging style of Horsfield and his partner Barry Hayles. Oh how we cried out for a similar approach from our forwards where Armstrong and Iversen were ineffective against an experienced back three with Chris Coleman dominating.

George Graham was probably thinking that the Worthington Cup was a real possibility for Spurs again this year. He was clearly angry at half-time substituting Perry and Edinburgh and bloody furious at the end of the game after we had given up the cup without a fight to a side who were in the Second Division last year.

Spurs fans were assembled to one end of the ground and had the novelty of standing on the terraces. Craven Cottage is still terracing at both ends and has not changed much for 30 years or so. If they are promoted to the Premier then some serious improvements will be needed and quickly. Plans are in hand to develop the Craven Cottage ground and the two teams took to the pitch to a greeting of thousand of fluorescent cards being waved by the home fans in support of the ground changes.

Spurs started with an early header from Iversen producing an excellent save from Taylor. In almost their first attack Fulham scored. Horsfield raced down their right, cut inside Campbell and crossed. An unmarked Wayne Collins met the cross and saw his effort blocked but not held by Walker. Hayles, also unmarked smashed home the rebound. The early goal lifted Fulham who tore the Spurs rearguard to shreds every time they attacked.

Spurs laboured to create anything but were eventually gifted an equaliser. Taylor fluffed a clearance straight to Iversen who bore down on goal and slotted home. Tottenham were on level terms for all of one minute. Fulham swept to the other end via Horsfield and after a couple of passes Collins drove the ball hard and low into the corner of the net from the edge of the penalty area with the Spurs defence again in disarray.

The second half produced more of the same. Ginola was certainly trying hard but too many of his efforts on goal were high and wide. In the 77th minute another mix up in the rearranged Tottenham back four left Horsfield with a free run at goal. He advanced on Walker and placed the ball past him and into the net with the outside of his boot. An excellent finish it has to be said.

The third Fulham goal sparked a mass exodus by Spurs fans who could clearly see from the attitude of the players that we were going out. This was probably the worst Spurs performance since Graham arrived. It reminded fans of those bad old days again and emphasised again the need for new blood. Horsfield would certainly trouble plenty of Premier defences particularly when you consider the problems he caused Sol.

MEHSTG TOP MAN - NONE
 Eric the Viking 

 

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