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Spurs Odyssey FA Cup 6th Round Preview - Spurs v Millwall, 12.03.17

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Full Record of Cup games between Spurs and Millwall


Season   Rd  H/A  Result   Scorer(s)
1910-11   1   H    2-1     Minter, Carmichael o.g.
1966-67   3   A    0-0     -
1966-67   3R  H    1-0     Gilzean


Season   Rd  H/A  Result   Scorer(s)
1972-73   4   H    2-0     Peters, Perryman

Let this game be about the football

Like it or not, the very mention of Millwall Football Club carries an air of dread about it, which probably pleases their hard-core fans. Indeed, for some perverse reason, there were Spurs fans clamouring for this FA Cup quarter-final draw. Such fans even wanted to meet at The New Den, and I fear that desire was not for football reasons.

The last meeting between these two teams that I recall was in a pre-season friendly in 2001 at The "New" Den, when Glenn Hoddle was the Spurs manager and Sergei Rebrov and Les Ferdinand scored the Spurs goals in a 2-1 win. The game was a testimonial for Millwall's Keith "Rhino" Stevens, who played the first few minutes before retiring from the field of play. (Stevens' last competitive game had been in April, 1999) Millwall's team included former Spur Stuart Nethercott, and future Burnley manager Sean Dyche. Spurs Odyssey's reporter for the day Jon Adelman remembered the game for unsavoury non-football reasons, the detail of which was kept out of the report. Former Spurs manager George Graham got a mention in Jon's report, and Graham was also a former Millwall manager. Stuart Nethercott had been a one-time defensive partner with a certain centre-half who had notoriously left Tottenham in the summer of 2001.

Millwall's fans are remembered for violently invading Luton's Kenilworth Road pitch in an FA Cup quarter-final game in March 1985, and various incidents since. My recollection is that they have sometimes been required to collect match tickets for games at Leeds at an appointed motorway service area on their way to the game for security reasons. Indeed there were security concerns for our game after Millwall's fans invaded the pitch and threatened Leicester's players and fans after beating them at The New Den in the last round. Initially, the plans had been to reduce the away allocation for Sunday's game, but I believe Millwall are getting the agreed maximum allocation due to our current reduced capacity.

I regard it as a blessing that I have been moved from the South Upper for this game, due to the larger allocation being given to the away support. I shall watch the game from the comfort of the West Stand, resting easy in the knowledge that for the first time an FA Cup quarter-final will be decided on the day, as there will be no replay. If necessary, we will have extra time and penalties, which means no possible visit to the Millwall ground and neighbourhood. Another new rule for the remainder of the tournament will be the ability to introduce a fourth substitute should extra time be required. All I can say is let this game be about the football.

You might be interested in this report by the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust regarding a pre-match meetimg with the police which took place this week.

Millwall Football Club was founded in 1885 as "Millwall Rovers", and in their early years undertook several changes in both their club name and their venue. In the late 19th Century "Millwall Athletic" and "Millwall" were close and competitive rivals of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. Indeed in the famous year when we became the first (and only) non-league club to win the coveted FA Cup, Millwall finished one place above us in the Southern League table, albeit only due to a better goal difference of one goal. We had lost the away game 3-0, but won 2-1 at home with goals by Sandy Brown and player-manager John Cameron. Sandy Brown was, of course, the player who scored in every round of Spurs glorious Cup run that season.

Spurs were appointed to the Football League in 1908. Millwall had to wait until 1920, when they became founder members of Division Three. The first FA Cup meeting between the two sides came in the first round in January 1911 at White Hart Lane. Spurs won 2-1 with goals by Billy Minter and an own goal by Millwall's goalkeeper Carmichael. We didn't meet Millwall again until 1928, when we were in Division Two.

Since that first Cup meeting 116 years ago, we have only ever played Millwall in two other Cup ties. One was the FA Cup in 1967. The other was in the League Cup in the 1972-73 season. You will note that we went on to win the competition in both those seasons! We didn't win in the FA Cup in 1911 when the year ended in one, but we did in 1967 when the year ended in seven! As Norman Giller has suggested, perhaps we could repeat the achievement and against the same team this year!

When Spurs were drawn to play at The Den in the Third Round of the FA Cup in 1967, "The Lions" were famously towards the end of a record run of 59 home games without defeat (43 wins and 16 draws). By the time we played them on January 28th that record had finally gone, after they had lost 2-1 at home to Plymouth. Millwall were a second division side, and The Den was renowned as a difficult place to visit, not just for football reasons. After all there were reports that the Plymouth coach had been stoned. We came away with a 0-0 draw, and a few days later Alan Gilzean scored the only goal of the game to send us through to the next round. The Spurs team for both games was Jennings; Kinnear, Knowles; Mullery, England, Mackay; Robertson, Greaves, Gilzean, Venables and Jones. Frank Saul played and scored for Spurs in the 2-1 Cup Final win over Chelsea that year. After spells at Southampton and QPR, Saul became a Millwall player and came off the bench to play against us in the League Cup game in November 1972.

Now, 50 years after that last FA Cup meeting, Millwall are in another rich vein of form. With former player Neil Harris at the helm, they are unbeaten in 17 games. They were at the wrong end of the League one table in October, but now they are in the play-off places, chasing a return to the Championship. Their victims in each of the last three rounds of the cup have been Premier League teams - Bournemouth, Watford and Leicester. The team and their fans will come to White Hart Lane in an understandably confident frame of mind.

Two of Millwall's players will be looking forward to the game more than most. They are both former Spurs Academy boys - goalkeeper Jordan Archer and defender Calum Butcher. Neither made first team appearances, but they will relish this chance to play in front of a packed White Hart Lane. Both are Millwall regulars. Archer is first choice keeper and has played 31 league games plus one league cup game and every round of the FA Cup. Butcher has made 7 league starts and 16 appearances as substitute. He may not start this game. Another Spurs connection at Millwall is 28 year old Joe Martin. Son of West Ham's Alvin, Joe spent some time with our Academy some 10 years ago. Joe has not played since December when he was withdrawn at half-time, I presume through injury.

28 year old striker Lee Gregory was born in Sheffield and once played for Stavely Miners' Welfare, just a few miles from my Chesterfield home. Gregory is in his third season with Millwall having joined from FC Halifax. He is their top league scorer with 14 goals including three (2 penalties) in the last two games. The other main goalscoring threat will be veteran striker Steve Morison (it is the correct spelling!), who has scored 68 league goals in two spells (197 league appearances) with Millwall.

Harry Kane might be "One of our Own", but according to a recent newspaper (The Sun) report he was "Made in Millwall". Harry went to Millwall on loan in January 2012 and became their "Young player of the year", scoring 9 goals in 27 games helping to keep "The Lions" in The Championship that year. Harry had scored his first senior Spurs goal in a 4-0 Europa League win against Shamrock Rovers in December 2011, and he had already been out on loan with Leyton Orient, and would have short spells at Norwich and Leicester before establishing himself as a top Premier League striker with Spurs. Another report in The Guardian has more detail and insight regarding Kane's impact at Millwall.

Another top Premier League striker was Teddy Sheringham, who started his career with Millwall back in 1984, and played against us the last time Spurs played Millwall in a competitive game in April 1990. Spurs won 1-0 that day, and Gary Lineker scored! That man Keith Stevens (mentioned at the start of this preview) was also in the Millwall team. Others to have played for both teams down the years include Derek Possee, Keith Weller, Matt Dillon, Ray Evans, Chris McGrath, Gerry Armstrong, Mark Falco, Clive Allen, Neil Ruddock, Pat Van den Hauwe, David Tuttle, Paul Allen, Andy Gray, Kasey Keller, Ben Thatcher, Chris Day, Jonathan Obika, Andros Townsend, and Ryan Mason.

It is not so long ago that Millwall reached their only FA Cup Final in 2004 when they lost 3-0 to Manchester United, who were their only Premier Leaague opponents in their run to the Millennium Stadium Final. Former Wimbledon and Chelsea man Dennis Wise was Millwall's player-manager, and as losing finalists they did gain entry to the UEFA Cup. (No longer a benefit of losing the FA Cup Final when the winner has already gained entry to Europe). "The Lions" also reached the semi-final in 2013, losing to eventual winners of the trophy - Wigan.

There is no new team news regarding Spurs with the usual line given about Erik Lamela, and Danny Rose hopefully returning sometime in April. Ben Davies has been playing well in the left back slot, and this week he was rewarded with a new contract which takes him to 2021 now. Spurs have never been beaten at home by Millwall, and I don't expect that to change this week. I hope to see Spurs start with a first choice team, bearing in mind we have a full week before our next game. I'll be conservative and go for a 2-0 Spurs win. A win would take us to the semi-finals for a 20th time. Let's hope it is us in the draw, which takes place on Monday night, after the Chelsea v Man Utd game.

Match referee Martin Atkinson was in Germany on Wednesday night, looking after the Borussia Dortmund v Benfica game. He has been in charge of two Spurs games so far this season, at Goodison Park on the opening day when we drew and at White Hart Lane for our home win against Chelsea. It is relevant to mention here that Mr. Atkinson is not fondly remembered by Spurs fans for "inventing" a goal in favour of Chelsea in our last FA Cup semi-final appearance in April 2012.

Reviewing Spurs' last Champions League Season - 2010-11. 6 years ago on March 9th, Mr Ibramovic came to town with the AC Milan team. Spurs kept them at bay to hold onto their 1-0 away leg lead, thus qualifying for the quarter-finals of the Champions League at the first attempt.

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