"It was Twenty Years ago today!"
article published 13.09.2017, 2017, but first written in 1997 by the webmaster. Thw world was still mourning Pricess Diana, but I was mourning my beloved father.
FA CARLING PREMIER LEAGUE
SATURDAY 13th SEPTEMBER, 1997
LEICESTER CITY 3(0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 0(0)
Referee:- Mr. A.B. Wilkie
Leicester (3-5-2):- Keller; Elliott, Walsh, Prior; Kaamark (sub Fenton, 88), Izzet, Lennon, Parker, Guppy (sub Cottee, 88); Heskey, Marshall (sub Claridge, 73)
Subs not used:- No details
Spurs (3-4-2-1):- Walker; Campbell, Scales, Mabbutt (Capt.); Carr, Clemence, Howells, Nielsen; Dominguez, Ginola; Ferdinand (sub Armstrong, 46)
Subs not used:- Baardsen; Calderwood, Arber; Fox
An end to optimism
I won't have the audacity to call this a report, because I
don't think I can be so composed about my remarks. You could call
this report "An end to optimism", because that's how I
feel after a performance which was described on 5 live as "
sorry and shambolic". Until today, I harboured this feeling
that we would qualify for Europe, but now I belong to the
"might make top half brigade". I am convinced we are
destined to achieve nothing until we get rid of Francis, and
again there was some chanting " We want Francis out"
Anyway, on to the game..........
This is how we lined up:-
Walker;Campbell, Scales, Mabbutt (Capt);Carr, Clemence, Howells, Nielsen; Dominguez, Ginola;Ferdinand
Ferdinand was substituted at half-time with Armstrong. I
assume that was because of the knock he picked up in the England
game. Also on the bench were - Bardsen; Calderwood, Arber, Fox. I
confess to leaving 5 minutes before the end. All I can say is that
no other subs had been used at that stage.
As 3 o'clock arrived, the sun shone, and the one minute
silence began. Some might say, "haven't we done enough by
now", but I was grateful to take the opportunity to meditate
on the loss of my father. During the silence there was a clap of
thunder, and when I opened my eyes, it was pouring with rain.
Little was I to know what was in store. When the team was
announced I was quite optimistic about the thought of Ginola and
Dominguez behind Ferdinand, but it just didn't work. Just
occasionally in the first half, they did have promising ventures
down the flanks, but sometimes they were on top of each other,
when surely they should have been on their respective flanks.
Similarly, Howells and Nielsen seemed to be treading on each
other's toes at times. Nielsen linked up with Ginola quite well 2
or three times in the first half; Dominguez showed some of his
pace, skills, and fancy footwork, but referee Alan Wilkie
obviously thought he was a "diver" because he gave very
little our way.
Of the three defenders, I thought Mabbutt and
Scales looked best, and that Sol was strangely a little out of
sorts. He seemed to have the job of marking Heskey, and it has to
be said that (sadly) Heskey had the better of our hero. One
theory I have about Sol's under-par performance is that today he
was playing at the right side of central defence, whereas I think
he is best as the "king-pin" in the centre, or maybe
towards the left. However Mabbutt had the central role, and
Scales was on the left.
The woodwork once again did well for us, as on 10 minutes
Sol, having ventured forward was caught out of position, and
Heskey hit a powerful shot that hit the bottom of the left
upright, bounced weakly in the air into the hands of a confused,
and relieved Walker. Shortly afterwards, Marshall headed against the
bar fom a corner. Martin O'Neill has to be given a lot of credit
for getting a powerful, tight energetic team together with
limited resources. They had 3 big defenders in Walsh, Elliot, and
Prior, who coped easily at the back, but also threatened when
going forward. ( I confess to having both Walsh and Elliott in
one of my Fantasy teams, so there is some compensation in this
Once again Walker was guilty of too often booting the ball
aimlessly up the field, with only Ferdinand to find. Surely
Jennings isn't teaching this style, is he? I was at the West Ham
game, and I think this was an even sorrier performance than that.
At least at West Ham, we showed some fight towards the end, and
might even have sneaked a draw. No chance of that today.
We went in at half-time on level terms, without having
seriously threatened Kasey Keller.
And so to the second half. It was a disaster. Armstrong showed a bit
of energy for 5 or ten minutes, but then faded out of the game.
The truth being that the ( non-existent ) midfield was not
serving him. Howells had a bit of a nightmare today. Our passing
was atrocious. We didn't hold the ball; we didn't challenge
outside our area; and we didn't deserve anything out of this
game. It was men against boys. It was those who did want to win,
against those ( some of whom ) are there for the ride.
The goals game from Walsh, who comfortably beat Armstrong, and
powerfully headed a Garry Parker free kick past a hapless Walker (
that's not a mis-spelling ). Then ( you don't want to know the
times, do you ? ) the defence failed miserably to clear a ball,
which reached another Leicester defender ( Guppy ) who, lurking on
the edge of the box fired a powerful low shot home for his first
goal for the club.
Finally, Heskey hit a very powerful shot from inside the 6
yard box, from a cross from the right, to seal a convincing win.
I know I gave Mabbutt some praise about his first half
showing, but I thought he was showing a lack of pace in the
second. I think his place is probably going to be on the bench.
I don't know what excuses Francis is going to make after this
performance. I do know I want him out. NOW! Some might call it
variety and flexibility, but he seems to try different formations
every game. There has to be some consistency, and solid base
To cap a sorry day, Arsenal won 4-1, and you-know-who (Ed - 2017 - Ian Wright)was
being lauded for beating that scoring record. Chelsea won 3-0
without using their Italians!, and Wimbledon beat Newcastle 3-1
away! Sugar has allowed a lot of money to be spent; Francis has
spent it; and we're getting left behind. To be taunted by fans
from Leicester was a most depressing experience. I wish I hadn't
gone, and I wish I'd stayed at home in
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