"It was Twenty Years ago today!"
article published November, 2017, but first written in 1997 by the late Brian Judson
Monday, November 24th, 1997
FA Carling Premiership
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (0) 0 CRYSTAL PALACE (0) 1
Attendance : 25,634.
Referee : Mr P Durkin (Portland).
Tottenham Hotspur : Walker; Carr, Scales, Campbell, Edinburgh (sub Vega,
26); Sinton, Anderton (sub Nielsen, 66), Clemence, Ginola; Ferdinand,
Iversen (sub Allen, 66).
Substitutes *NOT* used : Baardsen, Dominguez.
Crystal Palace: Miller; Edworthy, Linighan, Warhurst, Hreidarson, Gordon;
Rodger, Roberts; Dyer, Shipperley, Padovano (sub Veart, 81).
Substitutes *NOT* used : Nash, Davies, Emblem, Zohar.
Booked : Edworthy, Veart.
Tottenham began the new era under the stewardship of Messrs Christian
Gross and Chris Hughton displaying the same faults that led to the
downfall of previous coaches, Gerry Francis and Roger Cross. But to be
fair, the players fought hard and, generally, provided much more off-the
ball support to each other than hitherto.
With Chris Armstrong the only player not available for selection because
of injury, it was interesting to note the omissions from the squad for
the match. There was no Howells, Mabbutt or Calderwood. Regular readers
of my reports will know that I have been suggesting for some time now
that each of these players should *NOT* figure in *ANY* Tottenham squad.
Howells has always been far too one-paced and does not always make the
intelligent decision. When he loses possession of the ball, he is
struggling. Mabbutt has been a first class servant to the club since
joining us at the start of the 1980s but he has lost whatever pace he
once had. Although he continues to read the game well, unlike many other
players in the squad, Mabbutt's future with the club should be confined
to helping the development of the younger players. He could be the
logical solution to filling one of the vacancies that will arise
following the promotion of Chris Hughton to Assistant manager. And
Calderwood should never have been signed by Tottenham in the first place,
being little more than a journeyman footballer.
There had been speculation that Jamie Clapham might figure on the bench,
given the lack of cover for Justin Edinburgh, who seems to have been
prone to injuries this season. But when the squad was announced, Clapham
did not feature, which seems to suggest that Chris Hughton does not think
he will make the grade. If Clapham was ever going to make the
breakthrough, it would surely have come last night.
The restoration of Stephen Clemence on the left wing with Darren Anderton
and Andy Sinton sharing the responsibilities on the right wing with David
Ginola making the plays in the centre was at least positive. With Iversen
and Ferdinand up front, there was a distinct lack of experience of a
midfield and strike force having played together.
Spurs were more impressive in the first half than in the second. There
were hints of flair and elan that we have not seen for a long time. In
the first half-hour, we seemed to be moving forward intelligently. I then
noticed Sol Campbell signalling a need for an urgent substitution. Then
Tottenham called off Justin Edinburgh, who seemed to have aggravated an
old injury and Ramon Vega came on as his replacement, with Campbell
Spurs had a number of chances to score in the first half but wasted the
lot. Some of them were long range shots from Anderton, Sinton and
Clemence, which were either weakly struck or wild pot shots that worried
none of the Palace defenders. Ferdinand and Iversen could not get their
act together but that was largely due to a lack of match fitness and
knowledge of playing with each other.
The best of the Spurs players in the first half was undoubtedly Ginola
but he was still infuriatingly inconsistent, particularly when losing the
ball. Sometimes, he seemed to admire his own efforts instead of providing
support to a player he had passed the ball to.
The longer the game wore on, the more the Palace players sensed that
Tottenham were there for the taking. The Palace defence were not
seriously bothered by Tottenham at all, particularly after half-time.
Palace went ahead after 57 minutes. Ginola lost possession of the ball
and stood and watched what happened instead of chasing to regain
possession. Roberts pushed the ball to Edworthy, who slipped between
Clemence and Campbell. His cross was slightly touched by Shipperly and
the ball squeezed through a gap between Walker and the near upright.
As Shipperley and his team mates celebrated, Tottenham's heads
collectively went down. I was annoyed because in my preview last week I
had specifically mentioned Shipperley's predatory skills.
Some thrust disappeared from Tottenham when Iversen and Anderton were
called off to be replaced by Rory Allen and Allan Nielsen. Neither really
imposed themselves on the situation. Although both players had their
chances to equalise, neither Allen nor Nielsen showed much intelligence.
The one incident of note in the final minutes was the departure of the
promising Padavano on a stretcher. He had played well and had fitted into
Palace's team. They should provide an interesting team when Lombardo is
fit to return. The result and Lombardo's absence from the Crystal Palace
team were my two disappointments last night.
Looking to the immediate future for Tottenham, I do not think anyone can
now seriously challenge the fact that Tottenham are likely to be facing a
relegation battle, particularly if we do not start winning games in the
immediate future. On paper we have a fairly good squad but there is the
'x' ingredient - I call it the Mackay factor - that separates a brilliant
team from a promising team. We all have our ideas which players should be
retained and which players should be discarded. It will be interesting to
see how the new administration assesses the squad.
So now we go to Goodison Park on Saturday for a six-pointer that we
*MUST* win if we are not to figure in one of the bottom three positions.
It will be interesting to see the first decisions of the new management
when the teams run out at Goodison on Saturday. To those of you making
the long trip north to Goodison, I hope you are rewarded with the sight
of Spurs winning there. The important thing, though, is to support the
team and give them encouragement even if things go wrong.
· Read the preview for this game.
· All the Spurs Stats you could hope for here! THFC6061 Sports Stats
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