FRIENDLY FIXTURE "TOTTENHAM TRIBUTE MATCH"
THURSDAY 17TH OCTOBER, 2002
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 0 (0) DC UNITED 1 (0)
Referee:- Andy D'Urso
Spurs (First Half) (4-4-2):- Keller; Marney, Perry, Doherty, Bunjevcevic; Poyet, Gascoigne, Freund, Ginola; Sheringham (Capt), Klinsmann
Second Half (4-4-2):- Hirschfeld; Carr, Henry, Calderwood (sub Kelly, 76), Marney (sub P. Allen, 76); Waddle, Gascoigne (sub Blondel, 50), Clemence, Ginola (sub Etherington, 57); Sheringham (sub Rebrov, 50), Klinsmann (sub C. Allen, 65)
D.C. United (4-4-2): Nick Rimando; Milton Reyes, Eddie Pope (Ivan McKinley-46’), Jeff Agoos, Wade Barrett; Ben Olsen (Petter Villegas-78’), Richie Williams, Marco Etcheverry (Capt.) (Eliseo Quintanilla-71’), Bobby Convey; Santino Quaranta (Ali Curtis-83’), Jaime Moreno.
Last night's Tottenham Tribute match was never supposed to be about the football, was it? A generous crowd (estimated by THFC at 27,000) came to White Hart lane for the pleasure of seeing two or three candidates for their all-time dream team wearing the lilywhite shirt again, and playing together. Their wish was granted, as Spurs played in an all white strip against a DC United team, dressed in black, and who had clearly not read the script for such occasions, when they scored a late winner, after applying themselves fully to the game throughout proceedings.
Whilst we were pleased to see Jurgen Klinsmann, David Ginola, Paul Gascoigne, Chris Waddle and Clive and Paul Allen play, we would have given more to see Klinsmann stick the ball in the net, just one more time. The most memorable event of the evening then for me, was not even the sight of these heroes on the pitch, and not the parade at half time of 20 legends of the past, but the Mexican wave that ran around the entire stadium three or four times, before Wade Barrett scored that winner to bring the wave to a halt. I have to report that even the West Stand, and Yes - the director's box! - joined in the party! No doubt many people took the opportunity to buy tickets in unfamiliar surroundings, which led to the exuberant behaviour in the West Stand.
The biggest disappointment for most would have been the absence of Glenn Hoddle through injury. This was not announced until half time, and reserve team manager Colin Calderwood did not satisfy the hunger for Hoddle's skills from the gathered throng.
On a night when so many veterans were on view, one of the high spots for me was the presence of Dean Marney from the start. He played in the unfamiliar role of right back in the first half, and then made way for Stephen Carr to play at left back in the second. Marney was up and down the wing with all the vigour in the world, and so nearly made a great goal for Sheringham. The whole match was good exercise for the Spurs defence, as both goalkeepers were fully tested throughout, and the back four in the first half, supported by Freund, managed to keep the DC strike force at bay.
Sadly, I have to report that Spurs football rarely excited. Klinsmann was full of energy and enthusiasm, but never quite clicked. Gazza was a very pale shadow of his former self, and Ginola (sporting a short hair style, and a little extra girth!) took a while to get into the game, then did have several quite magical runs, which brought back memories, and provoked the majority of those who voted in the mobile phone text man of the match to vote for him. In the second half, Chris Waddle started on the right, very quickly became knackered, and then lingered in the middle. Waddle did bring several cheers though with a couple of 40 yard passes, and a cross aimed straight at Sheringham's head!
After 5 minutes, a good break, led by Marney, led to a corner taken on the left flank. Ginola crossed to the back post, where Gary Doherty scooped the ball back across the goal and over from short range. Three minutes later, a poor backward ball (possibly from Gazza), led to Jaime Moreno testing Keller for the first time. Kasey dived to the right to stop the shot. Kasey soon had to save at the feet of Olsen, as he advanced into the area following a good attack from the left flank, which included a clever flick from Convey (I think).
Teddy was up well to another Marney cross at the near post, but headed at a sharp angle across the goal. Keller was then flying to the left to save from Etcheverry. There was an exciting minute or two of play around 38 minutes, when another Gazza bad ball led to a DC United attack, and Keller having to be brave yet again, this time to thwart Convey, who had picked up a fortuitous rebound off Perry. Then Spurs broke back, and Jurgen Klinsmann was in a shooting position just outside the area in a central spot. He delayed his shot though, but teed up Gazza, unmarked on the left, who shot across the keeper, but also wide of the post.
Ginola had been guilty of over-hitting the ball too often, but just before half time he made a lengthy run into the box, the ball ran to Teddy, who hit the keeper's left post with his sharp shot.
At half time, Martin Peters introduced the following ex-players in the order written, to hearty cheers:- Dave Dunmore, John Ryden, Len Duquemin, Tony Galvin, Terry Medwin, Eddie Clayton, Gary Brooke, Mel Hopkins, Tommy Harmer, Bobby Smith, Ralph Wetton, Johnny Brooks, Dennis Bond, Ron Henry, Cliff Jones, John Pratt, Ralph Coates, Phil Beal, Mark Falco, and finally, the greatest of them all - Bill Nicholson.
Another theme for the night could be the promise of Youth at Tottenham. There was a feature in the programme about the success of emerging players such as Ledley King and Stephen Carr, and the proposed new facility at Abridge. In the second half, Ron Henry's grandson - Ronnie - took his place on the hallowed turf, and whilst he does not have the same stature, who knows, maybe one day he will be a Spurs regular. It is of course, unfair to compare the new Henry to the old, as he is a different type of player. Blondel too, got a good airing, and Stephen Kelly replaced Calderwood when the older player had had enough!
Sergei Rebrov also made a rare appearance, but quite frankly showed even at this level, why he is not first choice, with some disappointing touches. Naturally, Gazza, Klinsmann and Ginola received great ovations when they left the field, but there was to be no charity from the visitors who persisted in attacking Hirshfeld's goal, who had to make even more saves than Keller had in the first half. Olsen hit the bar with a chipped shot and the follow up was put in the net, but the friendly linesman had his flag up after 57 minutes.
Rebrov did bring applause when he finished a surging run through the middle with a decent shot from 22 yards that went just over, but later when he ran into the box after an Allen flick, his shot was weak, and did not threaten the keeper. Ronnie Henry hit the woodwork with a powerful header from a corner, but then, after the Mexican wave, came that late winner from Barrett with a right foot shot against the unprotected Hirschfeld.
My personal estimate is that something like £250,000 may have been raised for the Tottenham Tribute Trust, whose purpose is to assist ex-players suffering from hardship. For all I know, there may have been candidates for such assistance amongst those presented to the crowd at half time. For obvious reasons, the beneficiaries will remain anonymous, but the evening was a value for money occasion, in aid of a worthy cause.
Donations may be sent to:- Chris Smith, Tottenham Tribute Trust, c/o THFC, Bill Nicholson Way, 748 High Road, Tottenham, London, N17 0AP. The Tottenham Tribute Trust is a registered charity, which involves the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust, but is a separate entity.
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