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Spurs Odyssey Preview - Spurs v Coventry, 17.03.2001

· Last season's game - Spurs 3 Coventry 2, 19.09.99
· This season's away game - Coventry 2 Spurs 1, 14.10.2000
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This preview was written by Brian Judson
Historical note:- the preview was written before the dismissal of George Graham whch became public knowledge on the afternoon of Friday 16th March, 2001

Full Record of Tottenham Hotspur -v- Coventry City

Prem            Pl   W   D   L   For-Ag  Pts
Home             8   2   2   4    10-13   8
Away             9   4   1   4    12-12  13
Total (Prem)    17   6   3   8    22-25  21
Football Lge
Home (Div 1)    24  14   6   4    50-30  39
Away (Div 1)    24   8  10   6    33-30  29
Total (Div 1)   48  22  16  10    83-60  68
Football Lge
Home (Div 2)     8   6   2   0    18-5   14
Away (Div 2)     8   2   1   5     9-13   5
Total (Div 2)   16   8   3   5    27-18  19
Total (Prem)    17   6   3   8    22-25  21
Total (Div 1)   48  22  16  10    83-60  68
Total (Div 2)   16   8   3   5    27-18  19
Grand Total     81  36  22  23   132-103 108

This is a fixture that we MUST win if we are to climb into the top half of the table. We all know how Coventry can be party-poopers on their day. It wasn't so long ago that they were last day visitors to Tottenham and won the match to secure their safety for another season.

Coventry have, in fact, struggled to avoid relegation from the top flight for as long as they have been members of it. They survived by the skin of their teeth in many of their early seasons in the old First Division. They have had fifteen managers since Jimmy Hill walked out on the club on the eve of their first ever match in the old First Division prior to the start of the 1967-68 season. Of those fifteen managers, Gordon Milne, from 1972 until 1981, survived the longest. Most of them have had only short spells in charge which prompts the question of how Coventry's Board expect their club to have any form of stability to make some tangible progress.

But when I think of Coventry, I see Martin Peter's first goal for us after his transfer from West Ham United in March 1970 in exchange for Jimmy Greaves. I can still see that blind side run that was to become his trademark for the next few years as he ran to head the ball into the Coventry goal from a corner. This was the man Sir Alf Ramsey described as being ten years ahead of his time during the World Cup Finals in 1966. Peters was a thoughtful player but too nice a man to make the transition to being a manager, although he did have a short spell in charge of Sheffield United, when they were plunging down the Football League ladder.

No Spurs fan will want to remember Coventry's greatest day in their history. I have never been able to bring myself to watch THAT particular Cup Final again. If only the referee had been able to blow for full time after Clive Allen had scored in the 3rd minute of the match!!!!!

But that apart Coventry have very little in the way of tangible honours. They spent a long time in the old Division Two and both sections of the old Third Division before dropping into the newly founded Fourth Division in 1958. From there, following the appointment of Jimmy Hill, Coventry City climbed to the old First Division. Spurs had rarely exchanged shots with Coventry prior to season 1967-68, when they made their debut in the top flight.

One of our happier memories of Coventry City came during our Cup run to Wembley in 1981. Do you remember a Coventry defender (was it Kilcline?) making a hash of a back-pass to Les Sealey to allow Ossie Ardiles to nip in and score? As I recall, we found them hard to break down but after that, Coventry fell apart.

And tomorrow's result? On paper, we should win easily, given the fact that we have only lost one home match in the League all season. But with a Semi-Final against the Village People residing at the other end of the Seven Sister's Road coming up, it won't be surprising if some players allow themselves to be distracted. However, I think we will win 2-0.


Cheers, Brian

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