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Spurs Odyssey Preview - Spurs v Charlton, 03.02.2001

This season's away game - Charlton 1 Spurs 0, 16.09.2000
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This preview was written by Brian Judson

Full Record of Spurs -v- Charlton Athletic

Premier         Pl   W   D   L   For-Ag  Pts
Home             1   0   1   0     2-2    1
Away             2   1   0   1     4-2    3
Total (Prem)     3   1   1   1     6-4    4
Lge Div 1 
Home            11   6   1   4    22-15  15
Away            11   6   4   1    20-11  18
Total (Div 1)   22  12   5   5    42-26  33
Lge Div 2
Home             6   5   1   0    20-5   11
Away             6   1   0   5     5-9    2
Total (Div 2)   12   6   1   5    25-14  13
Total (Prem)     3   1   1   1     6-4    4
Total (Div 1)   22  12   5   5    42-26  33
Total (Div 2)   12   6   1   5    25-14  13
Grand Total     37  19   7  11    73-44  50

Saturday's League match at White Hart Lane will be overshadowed by next Wednesday's FA Cup 4th Round tie at the Valley. With both sides effectively out of the race for the title, the FA Cup is now the only route towards tangible honours this season. Both sides may therefore keep their powder dry with that in mind.

Tottenham have now managed three successive 0-0 draws. I may be wrong here but I think the last sequence where we failed to score in successive League matches was during season 1985-86 when we went from December 28th 1985 (when we lost 2-0 to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge until February 8th 1986 (when we lost 1-0 at home to Coventry City). There have been occasions where we've had two or three successive goal-less games but I think, although I am liable to be corrected, that was the last really long sequence. That was a total of six matches. Yet the FA Cup matches that season included the 5-0 thrashing of Notts County in a 4th Round replay!

Many of our younger members will not be aware that Charlton were once one of the respected teams in the country. They were unlucky not to win the League in season 1936-37 when they finished runners-up to Manchester City. They were managed from 1933 to 1956 by Jimmy Seed, one of Tottenham's greatest players. I remember their last season in the First Division before their relegation at the end of the 1956-57 season. It had been a disastrous season for them. Their relegation had long been on the cards after an awful start. It was our home match on Easter Monday 1957 that confirmed their relegation. We thrashed them 6-2 and the fourth goal of the six ensured the goals against column would exceed 100 for Charlton. Since 1957, Charlton and Tottenham have rarely played each other.

We next played them in season 1960-61 in the 3rd Round of the Cup which we won 3-2. That game will be reviewed in the next preview. In the League we did not play them again until season 1977-78 when we were spending one season in the old Division 2. Spud Taylor scored our only goal of a 4-1 defeat at the Valley in October 1977 but we won the return 2-1 thanks to a Hoddle penalty and a goal by John Pratt. We did not play Charlton again until they returned to the old First Division in season 1986-87 and then spent three seasons trying to avoid the drop. Since then they have spent the time yo-yoing between the top two flights.

Charlton's record League defeat was 11-1 at Villa Park back in November 1959, as Villa were on the road to the Second Division Championship after being relegated at the end of the previous season. Charlton have two historical notes of interest. They were FA Cup runners-up in 1946 but won the following year's Cup Final. In both games, the ball burst! Another odd fact about Charlton is that they played a Second Division game against Huddersfield Town in December 1957. The Addicks were losing 5-1 at half-time but ran out winners 7-6 after Johnny Summers hit five goals. Tragically, Summers later lost his life when he was struck down by, I think, polio a few years later.

The problems that forced Charlton to vacate the Valley in the 1980s were nothing new. Charlton have always found money a problem and nearly went out of business during the 1930s before they climbed from the foot of Division 3 (South) to the summit of Division 1. Like many other clubs, World War 2 was their undoing, as afterwards Charlton were never as successful. One of the problems for Charlton is that the Valley is a very difficult ground to get to.

Unlike many clubs, Charlton are not a club noted for sacking its managers. Alan Curbishley has now been in charge of Charlton affairs, first with co-manager Steve Gritt, then on his own, since the summer of 1991. His immediate predecessor was Lennie Lawrence, who had nine years at the helm. Most of that time, Charlton were struggling and Lawrence more than once admitted he was living on his nerves from week to week.

Earlier this season, Charlton promised to be the best of the promoted clubs but in recent weeks, partly because of a spate of injuries, they have slipped from the more headier reaches of the table and have slipped into a mid-table niche. With that in mind and with next week's cup tie bound to dominate the thoughts of the players, I don't expect we will see a very enthralling game. I wouldn't be surprised if we end up with another 0-0 draw. The important thing is that supporters do not become impatient with Spurs but get behind the players.


Cheers, Brian

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