March 2000-May 2000

Tottenham Hotspur  3  Sunderland  1  - Sunday 14th May 2000

The last game of the season is always strange when there is little to play for and this one was no different.  However, it was difficult to believe that Spurs were the side who had gone through a disappointing season and Sunderland the side who had been relatively successful on this showing.

With Ginola reinstated in the side, it was a relief to see Tottenham with a side that also featured Leonhardsen, one of the midfielders we had missed when out injured.  He did only last until just before half time though, when he was replaced by another returner - Tim Sherwood.  But prior to that there had been a most unusual occurrence in the match; Spurs had been awarded a penalty !!  Yes, one of those fangled spot-kick things, which we hadn't been given all Premier season long.  Strange, as I didn't know they had changed the laws of the game to allow fouls outside the box to be given as penalties !!  What would we do with it ??  Well, Darren Anderton spotted the ball, ran up and just about managed to get the ball past Sorensen's hands into the bottom of the net.  Ten minutes in and away we went.  However, as always seems to happen, Spurs had scored too soon.  Within another ten minutes, a ball from Phillips found Makin running through the right wing position and inside Ledley King and the defender slid the ball under Walker with the outside of his right foot.  He took the goal like an established scorer, not someone getting his first for the club.  Ginola had gone close earlier with a curling shot that evaded the keeper, but also the far post and King and Campbell both had headers on target, while at the Spurs end, Quinn drifted a header across the face of goal.  Armstrong went down under challenge by Sorensen and while another pen. was going to be given, it did arouse some feeling amongst the Mackems back line.

The second half saw some heavy challenges, but the referee seemed happy that as it was the last game of the season to give players the benefit of the doubt.  Phillips was trying his best to displace Shearer as Kevin Keegan's focus of affection, with a display of petulance and petty fouling worthy of the Newcastle United forward.  The fact that he got little change out of Perry or Sol added to his general frustration.  The game settled into a midfield battle, but Spurs fell into their old ways of giving the ball to the opposition too much, allowing Sunderland to come on to the defence, but on the day they had few ideas. A long ball up to Quinn for a knockdown was about the extent of it.  Summerbee had a long range effort well held by Walker, who's only other action in the second half was to grab a speculative shot from Phillips from outside the box.  Freund drove a low cross across the face of the box, which found Doherty (a half-time sub for Iversen), who took one touch to control it and from three yards out hit a shot (which the goalie may have got a touch to) that came back off the post.  It looked like being one of those days.  So, when Tottenham made a break forward and got a throw-in on the left hand side, it was a surprise when they scored from it.  A Freund long throw was flicked on by Sol and running in at the centre of the goal unmarked was Sherwood.  It has been his goals from midfield we have missed too and although he looked  along way from full fitness, he did have an impact on our play.  That was after 72 minutes, then Armstrong had a low drive go wide and the whole thing was rounded off by a marvellous goal.

A cross field ball from right to left was bouncing between two Sunderland players on the touchline, but in ran Stephen Carr, who out-jumped them and dashed forward to keep the ball in play, about ten yards inside his own half.  He did that and moved forward with the defenders backing off him, but Stevie had other ideas.  He looked up as he reached the edge of the area and delicately chipped the ball over the tall keeper and into the net just by the angle of post and crossbar.  It was worthy of Hoddle at his best and the fact that it came from near the corner of the box made the execution of it even more impressive.  It rounded off a season of great satisfaction for the young Irishman and he deserved all the cheers he earned.  Every time he got the ball after that the crowd shouted "Shoot" and Spurs were playing keep ball for the last few minutes.  This riled their substitute, Alex Rae, who after receiving the ball had Ginola slide into a tackle, but he was never going to be anywhere near him.  Rae took exception and as David got up to run back to challenge him, got a deliberate elbow in the face for his troubles.  To see their players complaining when the referee pulled out the red card was a disgrace.  Let's hope that Peter Reid punishes him severely as it was the second time he has perpetrated such an assault this season.  It was a sad end to a day which saw Spurs play with some of their accustomed forward flair and end with a bitter taste in the mouth.

The other sad sight of the day came when the players bade farewell for the season.  They split up, ran to separate parts of the ground and kicked balls and threw shirts into the crowd.  All except Sol Campbell, who did a complete lap of the pitch slowly clapping the crowd and taking the cheers.  He looked like a man who was saying goodbye.

MEHSTG TOP MAN : - STEPHEN CARR

For reaction click here

Manchester United  3  Tottenham Hotspur  1  -  Saturday 6th May 2000
 
Goalscorers : Manchester United - Solskjaer 5, Beckham 34, Sheringham 36
                    Tottenham Hotspur - Armstrong 20
 
Attendance : 61,629
Weather : Bright & Sunny
 
Teams :
Manchester United - Van der Gouwe, Neville P., Stam (Berg 26), Silvestre, Irwin, Beckham, Butt (Greening 63), Scholes, Giggs, Sheringham, Solskjaer (Cruyff 79)
Subs not used - Fortune, Wallwork
Tottenham Hotspur - Walker, Carr, Perry, Campbell, Clemence, Anderton, Freund, Davies, Etherington (King 84), Armstrong (Doherty 70), Iversen (Korsten 70)
Subs not used - Segers, Scales
 
This was always going to be a day of celebration for Manchester United and so it turned out to be. For the second successive season Spurs were the visitors for the final game of the season at Old Trafford. The difference this year was that the Championship had been well and truly won long before this match. The result was therefore of little importance although Spurs are one of only three teams to beat United in the league this year. Just to get things going Alex Ferguson was presented with The Carling Manager of the Month award for April before the game.

Old Trafford has grown since we last visited with another tier completed at one end and an additional tier under construction at The Stretford end.It is an exceptional Stadium.

The Tottenham team contained some surprises. Ginola was left out and was not even on the bench. Etherington started on the left side of midfield with Clemence at left back. The fact that Spurs had a stand in fullback and that Clemence would undoubtedly need help coping with the right side of United ( Beckham & Neville) may go some way to explain Ginola's omittance although it may be deeper! Davies started in the centre of midfield with Anderton switching to the right. Ledley King was back in the squad as a substitute with Gary Doherty also on the bench following his move from Luton.

Spurs kicked off in the sunshine and that was the last they saw of the ball for five minutes as United applied constant pressure. From a corner whipped in by Beckham, Stam touched on the ball and Solskjaer headed firmly past Walker from close in. Not the start a young Spurs side wanted but to their credit they gradually battled back into the game. In the 20th minute Anderton put in an excellent cross from the right which Armstrong met with a diving header at the near post to level. This immediately silenced the Old Trafford crowd who earlier had been involved in a Mexican wave. Why they want to do such things whilst there is a game of football going on is beyond me but perhaps it says a lot about the Old Trafford crowd.

The game was open and Spurs had chances. Anderton and Carr both squared the ball when they should have pulled back their cross to unmarked colleagues. Armstrong was unlucky when his shot flashed past the far post. Then in true United style they sealed the game in two minutes. First Beckham was fed the ball on the edge of the Spurs area following a move by Sheringham and Solskjaer. He found himself in acres of space courtesy of the Spurs defence and hit a typical swerving, dipping shot which flew past Walker and in off the upright. Then a long ball was cleverly nodded down by Sheringham to Solskjaer. Sheringham eventually received the ball back again with space to advance on goal and crash the ball in. Game set and match and still not halftime.

The second half saw an open game with both teams apparently content and seemingly playing for time. There were chances at both ends, Walker made a couple of smart saves. Kortsen came on as a substitute and had a excellent opportunity but panicked as usual and blazed over the top. There was also a debut for Gary Doherty with Houston, no doubt under instruction from George, clearly taking the chance to blood a few youngsters. As expected Sol gave a strong performance which hopefully was not his last in a Spurs shirt at Old Trafford.  

The Spurs fans hung up a banner proclaiming "We want our spurs back" although it did not say which Spurs!

There was some good support from the visiting fans and the chant of "shit ground , no fans" seemed to go down well. It was dissappointing to hear the barracking for Houston during the game as this can do nothing to help the situation.

At the end of the game there was the customary applauding of the fans before both sets of players left the pitch.

There then followed the presentation of the Premier Trophy and massive celebrations. To their credit plenty of Spurs fans stayed on to applaud the Champions. The lap of honour was joined by the children of the players whilst the wives looked on. Perhaps predictably the show was stolen by a very small Brooklyn Beckham.

 
MEHSTG TOP MAN : - Sol Campbell
 

Eric the Viking

 

Much like a stroll in the park for the home side as they overcame a determined Spurs side who didn't really look too threatening despite having a large proportion of the ball.  An early goal when a Man. U corner was headed towards the six yard box and Solskjaer was one of three players with only Carr and Walker between them and the goal.  The Norwegian headed it in after just five minutes and things started to look ominous.  However, Tottenham then came into the game a bit more and had possession with some nice balls being played into the box, but without anyone capitalising on them.  Having decided to do without David Ginola, GG picked Etherington and Davies to play in midfield alongside Freund and Anderton.  Both youngsters did well, working hard and still finding time to put together some good runs into the heart of the home defence.  Tottenham did get back into the game when Iversen chased a ball up the right hand side.  He laid it back to Anderton, whose first time cross was met by Chris Armstrong with a very well-timed run at the near post.  Armo had got in front of Stam and bulleted his low header past Van der Gouw.  There followed a short period when Spurs pressed forward, but apart from a stinging Clemence drive and an Armstrong shot across the face of goal, there was little to show for it.  They could have had the lead before then when Solskjaer met Giggs' cross unmarked in the centre of the goal, but managed to hit the bar and the ball went over to Spurs' relief.  But Spurs were undone by two goals in as many minutes.  The ball was fed through to the edge of Tottenham's box and fell for Beckham, who slashed a precision shot past Walker and just inside the post.  There was little room for the England midfielder to work with, but his shot had pace and accuracy.  Then shortly after, a long ball forward saw Perry beaten to it by Solskjaer and it went infield where Sheringham picked it up.  He moved forward to just inside the penalty area before sliding it past Walker.  The game was won there and then. 

Second half saw the pace of the game drop in the bright sunshine that was belting down on Old Trafford.  Substitutions came and went, with Doherty and Korsten coming on for Armo and Steffen upfront and surprisingly, Willem actually showed some application in the last 20 minutes.  He made a run from the half-way line and as there was a parting of the Reds defence, he moved forward and hit a fierce shot that the keeper had to tip over.  Davies also set up Anderton, but the ball would not come down and Carr went through for a good chance only to be ruled offside.  Manchester United had a chance when Scholes hit a low daisy cutter, which Walks pushed wide and Greening, on as a sub, was denied by the Spurs keeper and then looped the ball up and off the bar from the follow up.  The game fizzled out as the crowd prepared to witness the handing over of the Premiership trophy against Spurs for the second season in succession.  Oh, how  would it feel if we could pick it up one year !!

Pete Stachio

Click here for reaction                                                                                  

Tottenham Hotspur  1  Derby County  1  -  Saturday 29th April 2000

For a team with nothing to play for Tottenham certainly lived up to that tag today.  With the lack of go in the side and the boos floating down from the stands, it was just like old times.  Playing against ten men after Schnoor had been dismissed for his second bookable offence, it was only Derby who really deserved anything from the game.

Starting reasonably brightly, Tottenham almost created a carbon copy of last week's Chris Armstrong goal against Wimbledon, when Anderton lofted a chip into the Derby box, which was flighted over the defence.  Stephen Carr had continued his run and met the ball with the full force of his right boot.  Unfortunately, unlike Armo's shot last week, his effort struck the bar at the Paxton Road end and bounced safely away.  A repeat was almost effected later in the half, when Darren set up Iversen, but his early volley went high and wide.  Apart from that, there was little from Spurs, save for a low Anderton shot which went wide.  However, Derby started with a point at kick-off and were determined to hold onto that.  Playing a sweeper and five in midfield, they relied on corners and set-pieces for anything they could get.  A succession of corners were cleared as they tried to use their aerial advantage, but their best chances came from a Delap long shot and a neat Burton-Christie move that saw a back heel put the young Derby striker in, but Walker denied him with a smart low save.  Christie did pose a few problems for Spurs with his pace and he continued to be a thorn in the side of our defence for most of the game.

The controversy in the match happened with about 40 minutes gone.  Schnoor was behind Armstrong and as the ball was played through to him wide on the right by Anderton, he turned Schnoor and was away down the line.  However, Schnoor decided that he could not catch him, so dragged him back by his shirt and shorts.  As the player fell to the floor and the ref ran over, Schnoor surely knew his fate, having been booked for a deliberate handball earlier in the game.  A red card was shown and the German defender was not happy to go, but why did he think he would get away with it ?  The dismissal did not help Spurs a lot, as Derby played like ten men, making it very hard to play against, but then Tottenham were easier to play against with eleven.  There was no utilisation of the space left by the missing man and they did not make Derby work hard to get the ball back, Spurs seemed happy to give it to Derby on many occasions.

One such presentation of the ball in the second half, lead to a period of sustained pressure, when the visiting forwards were allowed to get past Spurs defenders with great ease.  Especially in the box, where a couple of last gasp blocks stopped their moves.  Resulting from one of these was a corner on the right and a long cross from Christie found Carbonari on the end of it and he unleashed a low volley, which sped into the net.  The crowd started to get agitated as Spurs looked forlorn and their mood did not improve when Ginola and Iversen were taken off to be replaced by McEwen and Etherington.  Davies, who came on for the anonymous Korsten at half-time, had a header just wide from a Carr cross and the same player provided McEwen with a header that only just cleared the bar.  The former Dulwich Hamlet striker also had a couple of other shots go wide, one of which he should have hit the target with.  As the game wore on, it looked as though the game would be Derby's and deservedly so, but they tried to kill time by taking an eternity to take every place-kick and throw-in, while Craig Burley showed his professionalism by running the ball into the corners to run down time.  This became their downfall, as with on last surge, Simon Davies beat his man cleverly and won a corner on the right.  Anderton's kick caused confusion in the box and the ball was headed goalwards by Solman, only for Clemence to stop it in front of the line.  Luckily, it bounced nicely for him to send a cheeky back heel into the net for the equaliser.

If the truth be told, it looked like the Spurs players were looking towards the summer and didn't play well at all.  When we struggle to beat Derby with ten men at home, you realise that a lot of work has to be done, even with the players we have before we can seriously look towards a challenge for any trophy.  Two more games left, so it's not long now boys.

MEHSTG TOP MAN : - SOL CAMPBELL

For reaction click here.                                                                                Pete Stachio

Tottenham Hotspur  2  Wimbledon  0  -  Saturday 22nd April 2000

When I turned up and saw the Wimbledon side performing like we did against them at the start of last season, I couldn't believe it.  This was not a Wimbledon side of the past which came to spit fire and kick legs to get what they want.  It was more like a Third Division side who had turned up for a cup game they had no hope or intention of winning.  Spurs on the other hand were made to look like champions of the world.  With Ginola in fine form, Danny Blanchflower would have loved watching Tottenham perform like this.

The game started at a steady pace and the first clear chance fell to the Dons when Gayle crossed from the right to Cort, who was unmarked, but could not get his free header on target from six yards out.  Unfortunately for the visitors, Tottenham scored a couple of minutes later.  Armstrong latched onto Iversen's flicked header and hit the ball over Sullivan with some power from just inside the left edge of the box.  His customary non-celebration signalled another score in his good run of scoring form.  Spurs laid siege to the Wimbledon goal and all Walker had to do in the first half was to hold a long range drive from Michael Hughes, who was the best Dons player on view.  Ginola decided that he was going to turn it on and sometimes his extravagant flicks didn't work, which at only 1-0 caused some concern, but an outrageous back-heel set up Anderton on the edge of the area and his drive was tipped around the post.  However, Darren was not to be denied and when Clemence's pass to Iversen allowed the Norwegian to open up the Wimbledon defence with a clinical pass, Anderton had made a perfectly timed run to get on the end of it.  He got there ahead of the defender and slid the ball past Sullivan and off the post to make it 2-0.  Iversen was stopped twice by the keeper after that - once with a volley from Ginola's low cross and then a header from the resulting corner.  Ginola came the closest, when an Armo cross went over everyone in the box, David picked it up and coolly lobbed it over Sullivan, but tantalisingly over the bar.  The ball landed on top of the net, but had it gone in it would have been an audaciously executed piece of skill.

The second half should have seen Wimbledon tear into Spurs to try and salvage something for their relegation fight, but it was really more of the same.  Spurs eased off and have been caught out before and nearly were here.  A sliced clearance went high into the air and Walker came for it, but Cort won the ball, which fell for Euell to overhead kick just over the bar.  Ian claimed he had been pushed in the face and TV pictures showed this probably was the case, but it wasn't given on the day.  Tottenham did get the ball into the net, when Gin crossed early for Armstrong to lift the ball over the diving keeper, but he had just strayed offside.  Korsten shook off his lethargy to beat two players and hit a powerful left foot shot that Sullivan grabbed and Anderton managed to hook his foot around Kimble to poke the ball past the keeper, but it just went wide by a few inches.  Armstrong had a double chance, when first put in by Dazza, he was thwarted by a save and when Etherington (on as a sub for Ginola) crossed it back in, Armo got his header over the bar.  

Rarely had I seen such an apathetic Wimbledon side.  But then, we have our own problems, so I'll let their legion of fans worry about their plight.  A good performance - in the circumstances - and a few more like that when we needed them (Bradford twice, Watford away and Middlesbrough at home for example) and we could have been a contender ... for a European place.  As it is ninth is probably the highest we will finish, so we will hope that the remaining games of this season show us more of the youngsters and some hope for the future.

MEHSTG TOP MAN : - DARREN ANDERTON

For reaction click here.

'Leicester City  0  Tottenham Hotspur  1  - Wednesday 19th April 2000

Leicester City : -  Flowers, Sinclair, Taggart, Gilchrist, Guppy (Zagorakis 23), Impey, Izzet, Savage, Oakes, Elliott, Cottee (Marshall 82)

Spurs : -  Walker, Taricco (Young 37), Freund, Campbell, Perry, Anderton, Iversen (Etherington 75), Ginola, Armstrong (Korsten 75), Clemence


The match kicked off, not a lot happened except both our forwards were substituted, while Ginola stayed on and then at the end he scored.  Leicester promptly woke up and had two shots.  The final whistle went.  Three points. The end.

MEHSTG TOP MAN : - DAVID GINOLA

For reaction click here.

Tottenham Hotspur  2  Aston Villa  4  -  Saturday 15th April 2000

Spurs : - Walker, Carr, Taricco, Freund, Campbell, Perry, Anderton, Clemence, Ginola, Iversen, Armstrong
Subs not used : - Baardsen, Etherington, Korsten, Young, Scales
Aston Villa : - James, Watson (Delaney 46 [Bewers 90]), Wright, Barry, Ehiogu, Boateng, Samuel, Carbone, Dublin, Merson, Thompson
Subs not used : - Enckelman, Taylor, Ghrayib

 

Would it sound strange to say that Tottenham played better today than they did when beating Southampton 7-2?  Would it sound strange to say that Rob Harris awarded a dubious penalty on the word of a linesman, ran to the spot, ran back to his linesman, pulled Stephen Clemence by the shirt, then failed to book anyone for allegedly stopping a handball that stopped a goal?  Would it sound strange to say that the referee and the officials had an awful second half in which they failed to be consistent (even with their first half performance) and inattentive when serious injuries were sustained?  Would it be strange to say that Aston Villa were completely outplayed for two thirds of this match? Well, strange as it may seem all the above are true in my opinion.

Spurs started brightly and although Armstrong missed a tough chance and Carr's cross went undeflected across the face of goal, there was an air of seriousness about Tottenham's play today.  The first goal came about when an early cross from Ginola found Iversen at the near post to beat Ehiogu to the ball and head past James.  Within moments, the ideal chance to make it 2-0 came along when Carr's through ball found Armstrong advancing on James, but his attempted lob fell gently, straight into the Villa keeper's midriff.  Villa tried to respond with a long range drive from Merson going wide and Thompson's long shot was deflected off Merson's back, forcing Walker to grab the ball as he back peddled and held well to thwart the onrushing Dublin.  Armstrong almost did make it two with an opportunist overhead kick, which landed on top of the bar.  Spurs were playing much better than in recent games, but that was soon to change.

Fresh into the second half, Spurs pressed forward.  Carr clipped a ball behind the Villa defence to a suspiciously looking offside Armstrong.  As James rushed out, Armo lifted the ball over him and just made it to the ball before it went out of play.  He slipped it into the net, just as Ehiogu came in to try and clear, but it was 2-0 now.  It all looked fairly comfortable, as Villa had rarely threatened, but on the hour, madness prevailed.  Taricco was booked for bad mouthing a linesman and from the resulting corner, a blatant push on a Spurs defender was ignored, but the ball was lashed toward goal and a handball was claimed.  Harris played on, but with the linesman holding his flag across his chest, he went over to consult and gave a penalty.  He ran into the area pursued by Spurs players and something must have been said to make him reconsider, as he turned to go back to consult with the assistant referee again.  Then he ran back to the spot, Ehiogu pushed Taricco over, the ref manhandled Clem and pulled his shirt, but the alleged handball perpetrator (who I thought was Iversen) was not yellow carded for the misdemeanour. The whole of the incident left a nasty taste and although Dublin scored, it was the next few minutes that left Spurs reeling.

Following a quickly taken Ginola free-kick, the visitors broke away and a cross from the right was met with a twisting volley by the ex-Coventry striker, who had paired up with Stephen Carr and Villa were level.  Within a minute, Carbone latched onto a half-clearance and lashed an unstoppable shot over Walker to give them the lead, which was extended in similar fashion.  Wright hitting a screamer off the underside of the bar after Campbell's header (while he had Dublin backing in on him) fell into his path.  The game was not over, as Ginola hit a low shot that skidded off the turf and slipped through James' grasp, but the keeper grabbed the ball before it crossed the line (or so the officials said).  Only James' right hand denied a super chip by Clemence late on.

In truth, Villa were not two goals better than Spurs on the day, but had a golden spell when everything went for them.  On another day, it could have gone our way, but today it didn't.  More "Sugar Out" cries, but looking at it coldly, the team did little wrong apart from not convert the opportunities they made early on. Yet another loss by two goals and all for a few missed chances - again.

MEHSTG TOP MAN : - STEPHEN CARR

Pete Stachio

 

Tottenham 2  Aston Villa 4                                 By David Hart

 
    So off we set for another stab at `football`. We all bundle into the car and speed off down to the Rising Sun. As we jog along, we hear yet again that we need a forward. A forward huh?. It's not just a forward that we need, it's two centre of midfields as well and if Campbell goes we'll be needing another centre back. All last season, through the summer and half way through this season we've been waiting and waiting for `the right player' so David Pleat tells us. So, who is this player?. Oh yes, it's Wimbledon's star striker, the man who's going to bang us in 25 goals a season, John Hartson. Oh come on. Surely we can do better than that. So we get to the pub all knowing what we expect of this tough match between us and Villa. We step inside the pub to find that our quiet hide away has been found by other fellow supporters. Great. After a few drinks we head for the ground. We take our time as the kick off isn't until six minutes past three. We stand as the referee blows his whistle for a minutes respect to those who died at Hillsborough. He blows it again and the crowd erupts with chants of pleasure and hope towards the game. He blows it to start the game and Villa are already on the attack. For the first fifteen minutes of the game Villa have a lot of possession and look to be on top. Spurs slowly get back into it after a Steffen Iversen goal. A few bits of magic from Ginola but still not the same man as last season. Where passes should be made he carries the ball too far and loses it. We were basically playing three in the centre of midfield, so when Ginola didn't get back Clemence would drop into his place. Chris Armstrong placed a one on one chance with David James straight into his hands. Dear oh dear. A fine save from Ian Walker kept the score at 1-0.  With minutes left in the half Paul Merson shouted out in rage {he probably needed a drink!} and smacked the ball against the track side adverts, which the Spurs fans enjoyed. As the half time whistle blew and the players jogged in the feeling in the crowd was a good one. During half time I heard an interesting fact about Chris Perry, who has made the most winning tackles in the Premiership this season. 

And so the players come out on to the pitch to a great roar from the crowd. As they kick off it looks promising and just 90 seconds into this half Chris Armstrong puts away a great goal. A superb ball from Steve Carr who turned out to be man of the match in my opinion. Not long after there was an alleged hand ball. Not that the referee, who was standing on the penalty spot, saw it. No, he gave a goal kick, but the linesman who was 30 yards away from it did. The ref. also didn't see the push in the back on a Spurs player. It still took the referee and the linesman eight minutes to decide if it was a penalty or not. They decided it was. Dion Dublin stepped up to take it. 2-1. That tore the game apart. Our heads went down and so did our game. Sol man went up for a corner and when we lost it and they attacked, he had a little trot back leaving his man, Dion Dublin unmarked. They got in a cross, Sol still trotting back and Dublin with what was a great over head kick putting it straight into the corner. 

2-2. Oh damn. We're in trouble now. Within 11 minutes we were 4-2 down, a good goal, from Carbone, even though Campbell should have stopped the header back from Dublin which set up Carbone for the goal and a scorcher from Wright which was unstoppable. Even though we absolutely collapsed, I still had this old guy next to me going on about how great Ginola is and if he was with a good team he'd win all their games for them. Ginola is a great talent but he is not Spurs. He isn't a team player. He plays for Ginola, but when he turns it on he is a great asset to the side. Going home I still heard that we need a striker. "Yeah" I said, "a striker, that's what we need", and I leaned back and read my programme.

For reaction click here.

Liverpool 2 Tottenham Hotspur 0 -  Sunday 9th April 2000
 
Goalscorers : Berger 34, Owen 61.
 
Attendance : 44,536 
Weather : Bright & Sunny
 
Teams :
Liverpool - Westerveld, Carragher, Henchoz, Hyypia, Berger, Hamann, Murphy (Heggem 81), Thompson (Smicer 72), Owen (Camara 87), Heskey
Subs not used - Song, Nielsen
Tottenham Hotspur - Walker, Carr, Perry, Campbell, Taricco, Anderton, Freund, Clemence (Etherington 76), Ginola (Davies 76), Armstrong, Iversen
Subs not used - Baardsen, Young, Korsten
 
Liverpool have not lost since January 3rd at White Hart Lane. A repeat Spurs victory on current form was not expected and did not happen. Quite simply Liverpool cruised through this game and brushed Spurs aside with a convincing victory.

Westerveld in the Liverpool goal hardly had a save to make.

You know things are not going well when the visiting Tottenham contingent sing - "We're not very good, We're not very good, We're not very, We're not very, We're not very good."  Unfortunately as the game wore on, with the emphasis on wore, the good nature turned to anger and cries of "Graham out."

I really cannot understand such nonsense when the side really needs support. Whilst George stated afterwards that the fans were entitled to their view I cannot see who could do a better job in the current circumstances. Sol Campbell pointed out in a recent article that there is too much red tape at Spurs at present and it is by no means certain that George has a free hand in all playing department matters. I suspect Pleat has a role and must shoulder some of the responsibility for what we are seeing at present.

At Anfield some Spurs fans were actually calling for Hoddle! Great player but a manager who has won nothing. The last team he brought to White Hart Lane were thrashed 7-2 and looked pitiful. Do we really want a manager like that?

As far as the game was concerned it was a stroll in the spring sunshine.

Not surprisingly Spurs left out the lazy Korsten and brought in Clemence at the scene of his father's triumphs.

Liverpool made most of the early running. In fact they made most of the late running as well and the running in between early and late. After 34 minutes the Spurs defence were all dragged across to their left in an attempt to shut down Thompson. The little midfielder found Berger in acres of space 25 yards out square on goal. Berger had a clear sight of Walker's net and took his time to hit a unstoppable volley into the goal.

Liverpool have the best defensive record in the Premier and it did not look like our attack was going to cause too many problems. The game was made safe after 61 minutes when Heskey appeared to foul Campbell. With Sol grounded Walker made a fine save but Owen was on hand to put away the rebound. There then followed total dominance by Liverpool for the rest of the game. George sent on new boys Etherington and Davies for their debuts. Davies had one good run which resulted in a chance for Armstrong but he missed.

Referee Mr. Lodge's willingness to award decisions to the Home team all afternoon was matched only by the enthusiasm of his Assistant Referees to do likewise. Stephen Lodge was his usual waddling self allowing the crowd to call the decisions and lacking the courage needed to referee at Anfield. He also appears to wear a very dodgy syrup (as usual).

The only Spurs player to gain any credit was Walker for some fine saves but under the law of averages with so many shots coming at him he must save some. Spurs seem to have ended the season some weeks ago.

This Tottenham team are currently lacking Passion, Commitment and Ambition. That is unusual for a team managed by George Graham. I hope he has the ability to address it very quickly.

 
MEHSTG TOP MAN - IAN WALKER 
 
Eric the Viking
Tottenham Hotspur 2  Middlesbrough 3  -  Monday 2nd April 2000

Having got wet before the match, the fact that the rain did not blow into the lower reaches of the East Stand was the only solace I got from the game.  It was another in the long line of depressingly disappointing games which Tottenham have churned out lately.  When the side can neither hold on to or build on a lead nor come from behind, then what is there to look forward to ?  These home games are the easy ones compared to our away programme, so the chances of anything above 10th will be a most unexpected bonus now.

The team saw Sol return, but not to his best form.  He looked out of sorts, Perry looked weighed down by a soaking wet shirt and Carr even managed to contrive an equaliser for our visitors.  When will our charitable donations cease - one goal and a pen against the Gooners; three goals tonight.  Have we taken a leaf out of Southampton's book ? Freund had one of his less involved night's, while Tano did well, until he had to defend or got in a position to cross with his left foot - something that this Premiership footballer seems completely unwilling to do.  The surprise of a quick cross was lost as he checked back onto his right almost every time.  The other midfield players were little better.  Dazza was showing flashes, but too often turned over possession to Boro without making them work for it, while David seemed intent on parading his repertoire of tricks until he realised that at 1-3, this was serious.  Even after his highly creditable solo goal, he went on one run across the pitch, lost the ball in front of the West Stand and was left standing there while Middlesbrough broke towards our goal.  Korsten ... I will say as much about him as his performance on the pitch merited.                  .  I could not understand why GG didn't throw Etherington into the match at 1-3.  It would have been a chance for him to express himself without worrying about the result.  The match had been lost long before.

Iversen and Armstrong actually showed a glimmer of understanding for the first goal for  a change.  well constructed and well put away by Armo who was full of running although he got little support.  Steffen played a curious game but needs to get more involved to have a bearing on what the outcome of the match will be.  Then at the other end there is Walker.  He got tremendous stick after the third went in - an unmarked Ricard header from a Ziege free-kick, one he perhaps should have come for in hindsight (but where was the defence ? Iversen marking Ricard ? Why not Sol or Perry ?) and the second, which he flapped at with a forward right in front of him (just our luck it fell to Ricard right in front of goal though).  Funnily, all the groaning and moaning turned to cheers after Ginola got the goal that produced a hope at the end.  It was all too little too late, from the players and the crowd.  Boro are on a good run, but a better performance could have seen Spurs win this match.  They offered little apart from their three goals. I can only remember one Ince shot well saved by Walker and a couple of wayward shots.  Whereas there was a Ginola curler held at full length by Schwarzer, Carr's free-kick near the end that went wide, another effort by the right back blocked in front of the goal, Armo's far post hedaer which the keeper pushed around the post, Vickers almost prodding past his own keeper and the two fiercely struck shots by Anderton (from distance) and Ginola from a very acute angle which both rocked the woodwork.

In truth, Boro deserved their win.  For all the possession and chances, this was a dull game for the majority of the time.  Too many mistakes all over the pitch by Tottenham and not enough urgency in all areas to make life hard for the North-East side.  Being live on Sky, I wasn't hopeful that we would win, but then even I didn't expect this.

MEHSTG TOP MAN : - CHRIS ARMSTRONG (at least he did nothing wrong)

Pete Stachio

Watford 1 Tottenham Hotspur 1  -  Saturday 25th March 2000

Watford : -  Chamberlain, Kennedy (Perpetuini 66), Page (Williams 74), Palmer, Robinson, Cox, Johnson, Hyde, Wooter, Helguson (Smith 66), Smart.
Unused subs. : - Day, Bonnot

Tottenham : - Walker, Taricco, Perry, Scales, Carr, Ginola, Freund, Anderton, Leonhardsen (Clemence 26), Armstrong, Iversen (Ferdinand 76)
Unused subs. : -  Baardsen, Young, Korsten

Attendance : - 20,050
Weather : - Bright, sunny

It is nice to know that some things never change.  After a number of years away from Vicarage Road in a League match, the toilets are still inadequate, the view still not brilliant, Watford still play their peculiar brand of physical, "straightforward" football and the fans still make the biggest noise about players stealing a yard at throw-ins.  The fact that the home side are destined for a rapid return to whence they came is a blessing for us all.  The only benefit of playing them here is that it isn't far to go.  Oh, and you never have trouble getting a ticket, even when the central block of seats was empty until about two minutes before kick-off.  

The game really needs little coverage.  It was a scrappy affair between two sides who were not very good.  It could be said that Watford dragged Tottenham down to their level, but that would be a little unkind.  Spurs were as guilty as the Hornets of not being able to string more than a couple of passes together.  However, the best chance of the first half came Tottenham's way, when Anderton found himself in the box with the ball at his feet and his powerful drive was blocked by Chamberlain.  Walker was called upon to clear from oncoming forwards on a few occasions, but he was only troubled in the first period when Helguson headed over from a right wing cross.  Referee Uriah Rennie chose to dismiss appeals for any foul on a Tottenham player as he did his bit for downtrodden repressed bottom of the table sides in what was in danger of becoming a charity match.  He allowed fouls against Ginola to go unpunished and could not even get corners/goal kicks right.  Spurs entered into the spirit of the referee's interpretation and gave Watford the ball on numerous occasions.  Not that Watford did much with it.  They probably had the majority of the possession and did not have the ability to make it hurt Tottenham. Just before the break, an Anderton free-kick was well saved low down as it skidded off the wet turf.  The most entertaining part of the first half was when a Watford shot went into the crowd and a Spurs fan refused to return it.  Another ball was summoned and play continued.  Then at half-time, the Police entered the Spurs end and ejected the perpetrator !!

The second half started in controversial style.  As Chamberlain cleared, Iversen closed him down and when the ball was headed back towards goal, Steffen was in an offside position, but moving towards his own goal.  Armstrong ran past him and as the keeper tried to clear, blocked the ball and then had the simple task of putting it into an empty net.  The linesman kept his flag down and the ref pointed to the centre circle.  Some of the home players remonstrated, but the goal stood and this triggered a period of pressure on the Watford goal.  Clemence's free-kick was just wide off the wall, Armstrong headed wide and Iversen was put in, but hit a feeble left foot shot wide.  The linesman then did everything to right his imagined wrong and constantly flagged for offside when it didn't appear the Spurs forwards were and Rennie let a Watford defender get away with bringing Clemence down when clear on the wing, without even a free-kick awarded.  For all the poor play that Watford produced, their goal was well worked.  Wooter got away down the right wing and crossed low for Smart to turn the ball over the diving Walker for the equaliser.  Did I not like that !!

This sparked a mini-revival and some highball percentage stuff pumped into the Spurs box, but Perry and Scales stood firm.  The game ended with Spurs going forward, with Armo's sharp shot bringing a good save and Ginola shooting just over and then the same two players got some decent crosses in.  The Watford defenders getting a flurry of yellow cards as they strong-armed the last ten minutes to ensure they got something out of the game.  It wasn't much of a spectacle and to be truthful, it was a fairly true reflection of the two sides current state.  Watford, not good enough to be in the Premier League and Tottenham nothing more than a mid-table side who cannot boss a game against one of the favourites for relegation. The rain that fell dampened any enthusiasm the crowd might have started with and the season looks like it is ending like a damp squib.  

MEHSTG TOP MAN : - CHRIS ARMSTRONG

Barrington Levy

Arsenal 2  Tottenham Hotspur 1  - Sunday 19th March 2000
 
Goalscorer:  Arsenal - Armstrong o.g. 20, Henry 45 (pen)
                  Tottenham - Armstrong 31 
 
Attendance : 38,131 
Weather : Bright & Sunny
 
Teams :
Arsenal - Manninger, Dixon, Adams, Luzhny, Silvinho, Parlour, Grimandi, Viera, Overmars (Ljungberg 55), Kanu, Henry (Winterburn 75)
Subs not used - Lukic, Suker, Bergkamp
Tottenham Hotspur - Walker, Carr, Perry, Campbell (Young 73), Taricco, Anderton, Freund, Leonhardsen, Ginola (Korsten 86), Armstrong, Iversen (Ferdinand 60)
Subs not used - Baardsen, Clemence
 
This was a day when Spurs arrived at Highbury full of optimism with a chance to pick up three points on Arsenal and move closer to the coveted European places in the Premiership. It was not to be. Perhaps expectedly Arsenal were out to avenge the defeat at White Hart Lane earlier in the season and they set about their task with a commitment and will to win which Spurs could not match. They also accumulated plenty of yellow cards and finished with ten men after Grimandi was rightly dismissed close to the end of the game.
Spurs lined up with the same side that started against Southampton. Perry had recovered from concussion. The Sunday papers had been full of ridiculous speculation stirred up by Wenger that Sol Campbell is the only English player who could replace Adams. Wenger is an idiot and it seems will make any inane comment before a big match just to get in the press.

The match began at a hectic pace as expected. Neither side had a clear cut chance in the early stages but Arsenal threatened from a free kick on their right which Silvinho whipped in to the near post. Walker made an excellent save from Kanu diving low to his right. Then on 20 minutes Silvinho again whipped in a wicked cross to the near post this time from a corner. Initially it looked as if Henry had headed into the Spurs net beating Walker to the ball. The replays showed that actually the ball had come off Armstrong for an own goal. Arsenal were looking threatening on the break but Spurs worked hard to grab an equaliser. Ginola strangely playing on the right in the first half made space for a superb cross. Armstrong met the cross on the run and glanced an excellent header past Manninger into the far side of the goal. 1-1 with Armo the only goal scorer! Anderton hit a long range effort wide and just when it looked like being all square at half time referee Mr. Durkin awarded the home team a penalty. When did Spurs last have a penalty? Certainly not in the FA Cup semi-final last year when Mr. Durkin was the referee. From a quick break Parlour turned just inside the area and Taricco was adjudged to have brought him down. Henry scored from the spot sending the unfortunate Walker the wrong way and rolling the ball past him. Grimandi was booked in the first half for a stupid and reckless challenge on Campbell. Kanu was also booked for hauling Campbell down.

In the second half the Gooners seemed content to defend their lead. This became very clear when Wenger withdrew Henry and sent on Winterburn. Campbell limped off to be replaced by Young. Anderton took the skipper's armband. Arsenal rarely threatened and Walker was more than a match for any of their efforts. Ferdinand was sent on for Iversen. Les caused some problems in the air as Spurs pushed for the draw. Even in the tightest of matches there is always going to be one chance. The golden opportunity to level the match fell to Ginola. This followed some excellent work by Carr down the right. He got to the byline and crossed. The ball eventually reached Ginola bearing in on goal from the left. He leaned back and smashed his shot high over the bar when he should have scored. He was subsequently replaced by Kortsen.

Then in the dying minutes Grimandi received a second yellow card followed by a red. Stephen Carr was charging down the right he touched the ball on before being bundled into touch by the grim Grimandi. Everyone saw the foul coming and the referee had no option but to dismiss the Gooner. It was a foolish, dangerous and completely unnecessary challenge from a player already on a yellow. No doubt Wenger will come out with his usual comment that he did not see the incident.

Unfortunately it was too late in the game to have an impact and the 10 men held out. This was not Spurs day but at least it's honours even for the season. On a final note the atmosphere inside the Library for this North London derby was strangely subdued with the Gooners particularly quiet even when winning.

 
MEHSTG TOP MAN : - IAN WALKER
 
Eric the Viking 
Tottenham Hotspur  7 Southampton 2 - Saturday 11th March 2000

Now, I don't want to decry the performance that has seen Spurs score seven goals at home in one of the most surprising turnarounds of recent times, but in all truth we were lucky.  Having gone one down to a dreadful goal to concede, when Tessem was allowed the freedom of Tottenham to rifle past Walker it seemed like we had all been here before.  Sol's challenge forced Richards to head Tottenham's equaliser inot his own net from Anderton's corner and it was a swift response, but then there was some sleeping going on in the penalty area to allow Tahar to dive in to head a debut goal from a free-kick.  It was slack marking and at 1-2, it looked as though the Saints were on course for a shock result (well, comparatively anyway).  Then Hughes had to leave the field at the referee's request (one of the few good decisions he made all day) and while he was gone, the ball fell invitingly for Chris Armstrong who wellied it a foot off the floor into the net from 10 yards out.  Armo had already missed what many considered to be a sitter, when played in around the penalty spot by Iversen, but he was closed down quicker by the keeper and defender than I had first imagined, thus forcing him to shoot wide.  That was when the boos started and his goal was "celebrated" by standing unemotionally in front of the Paxton.  You can't blame him as one minute the whole end are cursing him and the next fêting him as the best thing since sliced bread.

The next goal came a few moments later as Leonhardsen burst into the box and as the Southampton defenders claimed handball, the ball fell and was scrambled in by Anderton. The first half fun was not quite over as the back-pass played to Paul Jones was mis-kicked, but went straight to Benali. His flick infield only found Iversen, who, from 25 yards out placed the ball directly back where it had come and into the net for number four.  I could not help feeling that if Southampton had been at full strength, then Spurs might not have got back into the game.

The second half was a more straightforward affair. Spurs dictated play and Southampton didn't look likely to get back into the match, although if luck had been on their side, they could have got a goal or three.  Parhars slipped a pull-back from the dead ball line by Tessem the wrong side of the post for him; Walker was forced to a sharp save and could only parry it into the six yard box, where Tarrico cleared and the same player saved the defence when another ball into the goal mouth was played in.  Carr had to clear a header from a corner away from the line too, so on another day, if things had gone against Tottenham, it could easily have been another result entirely.  As it was, Armstrong nipped in at the near post to adeptly convert Carr's low cross over a diving Jones and then Iversen added the sixth when Taricco produced a low cross into the near post for Steffen to beat Jones to it.  The match scoring came to an end when Ginola's shot looped up off a Saint's back and fell to Iversen on the penalty spot.  He had the time to bring the ball down and nutmeg Jones for his hat-trick.

Early chances to go ahead were through Ginola who's first minute dribble and drive was pushed around by Jones and the keeper also reacted well to hold a "shot" from Anderton, which had ricocheted off him as he tackled in the Southampton box.  In the second period Iversen went close with a low shot, Anderton drove over the bar when set up by a nice Armo back-heel and Even Freund had a shot on target (at the second attempt). So, at last, we have got our Tottenham back !!  At the expense of ex-Spur Glenn Hoddle's team and it must be said that we should not get carried away with this result as it was only Southampton and we were lucky that today the gods were with us (although God was against us !).  Once he had scored a goal, Armstrong's confidence grew and for those who booed him, his goals were an answer to those critics.  The whole side played better once ahead, but there is still a long way to go before things are all shipshape.  It was the first time I had witnessed Spurs score seven at home in a league game.  I hope it won't be the last !!

MEHSTG TOP MAN : - CHRIS ARMSTRONG

Pete Stachio

Tottenham Hotspur  1   Bradford City  1  - Saturday 4th March 2000

This game was almost a replica of that at Valley Parade earlier in the season, with Spurs having lots of chances and failing to convert most of them.  The first half was the worst with a plethora of opportunities being passed up and kept out by on loan keeper, Aidan Davison.  Perry, Carr, Armstrong, Ginola, Anderton, Leonhardsen and Campbell all had openings of differing difficulty, but were unable to get the ball over the line.  The breakthrough came in the 14th minute when Ginola was scythed down by Halle and Anderton floated a free-kick to the far post where Iversen rose highest to head back across the keeper and into the net.  Spurs had the best of the first half, but Saunders got away from our defence, beating the offside trap and rounded Walker, but couldn't get the ball in - just fading it across the face of the goal.  However, Spurs failed to learn from this lesson and three minutes before the break, Jamie Lawrence ran through the Spurs defence, which melted away in front of him and scored with a weak low shot from the edge of the box.  It was a shocker of a goal to concede, with Tottenham having more men back than Bradford had forward, but they were not getting stuck into the man on the ball.

The second half was different because McCall dropped back in front of the back four and Spurs' attacks foundered on the defensive strategy employed by Jewell.  The best chance of the half came when Whalley found himself in front of goal, about six yards out, but his shot was partially blocked by Sol and went straight at Walker, who safely gathered.  Spurs did still press, but there was a lack of conviction and lack of ideas in breaking down the Bradford rearguard.  Steffen Iversen had a late drive go narrowly wide and Luke Young was further away with an attempt in injury time at the end of the match.  Ginola had a shot easily saved by Davison and he faded from the game after getting the rough end of some decisions by the ref.

Another disappointing performance and one which will cost Spurs dearly as the ever diminishing hope of a UEFA Cup place slips even further out of reach.  Tottenham's crossing was appalling today and although they created a high number of goalscoring chances, the final ball was too often poorly executed.  Their keeper had a stormer of a match and the failure to kill off teams (Bradford could have been buried after 20 minutes realistically) means that a decent striker needs to come in.  Even the returning Les couldn't inspire a goal towards the end.  So, unlikely to get a decent striker, it appears that the Ginger Heavyweight - Hartson - is likely to be the next entrant at White Hart Lane.  Despondency hangs heavy over my head tonight.  It's going to be a long run in to the end of the season.

MEHSTG TOP MAN : - STEPHEN CARR

Pete Stachio

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