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Preview Spurs v Blackburn, 01.01.02

Blackburn's last six games:-

Blackburn  0 1	Middlesbrough
Blackburn  1 2	Leeds Utd
Newcastle  2 1	Blackburn
Charlton   0 2	Blackburn
Blackburn  0 3	Sunderland
Blackburn  0 1	Derby 

Pos          P  W  D  L  F  A  GD PTS 
7  Spurs    20  8  4  8 31 27  4  28
14 Blackb'n 20  5  7  8 25 25  0  22

It's easy to see why Graham Souness was desperate to sign Andy Cole, who will make his debut at White Hart lane on New Year's Day. Apart from a surprise result at Charlton, Blackburn's last win was on 3rd November at Southampton, and they haven't managed a home win since their 7-1 drubbing of West Ham in October. Once again we know we can take little notice of form in a match when both teams want the points so much. Last time he was here, Cole scored the early second-half goal for Man Utd that led to the five goal avalanche we will never forget. Let's hope he has to wait for his next game before scoring his first goal for his new side!

Here is Brian Judson's preview of the game

Full Record of Spurs -v- Blackburn Rovers

Prem        Pl   W   D   L   For-Ag  Pts
Home         7   3   1   3   10- 10  10
Away         8   3   1   4   10-  8  10
Total(Prem) 15   6   2   7   20- 18  20
Football Lge
Home(Div 1) 24  16   4   4   63- 30  36
Away(Div 1) 24   5   5  14   23- 50  15
Total(Div 1)48  21   9  18   86- 80  51
Football Lge
Home(Div 2)  6   5   0   1   22-  8  10
Away(Div 2)  6   2   2   2    9-  7   6
Total(Div 2)12   7   2   3   31- 15  16
Total(Prem) 15   6   2   7   20- 18  20
Total(Div 1)48  21   9  18   86- 80  51
Total(Div 2)12   7   2   3   31- 15  16
Grand Total 75  34  13  28  137-113  87

Happy New Year to all of my readers! May 2002 see the first of a series of Spurs triumphs!

For our first home game of the new year, we welcome Blackburn Rovers to White Hart Lane. Like Aston Villa, our last opponents of the old year, Blackburn's greatest days are embedded deep in the Victorian and Edwardian era. In modern times, Blackburn have experienced playing in the old Third Division, a mighty comedown for a team that has won the FA Cup in three consecutive years and a club that helped to form the Football League in 1888. Indeed, they share with Aston Villa the honour (or dishonour) of being the last of the original clubs to experience relegation from the top flight at the end of season 1935-36. In recent years, they have spent heavily. courtesy of the late Jack Walker, who supplied the largesse that enabled them to buy the team that won the Premiership in 1994-95. Indeed, Blackburn share with Arsenal the distinction of being the only clubs to have prised the Championship away from Old Trafford since it was formed in 1992.

The first time I saw Blackburn was at Easter 1962 when Spurs played them twice over the Easter period. I remember seeing us play them on a sunny Good Friday when we beat them 4-1, thanks to goals by Terry Medwin, Bobby Smith, Jimmy Greaves and Cliff Jones. I think Mike England was playing for Blackburn that day.

Spurs then played Blackburn again in the following September, early in the 1962-63 season, when we beat them 4-1. Terry Medwin, John White and Les Allen scored for Spurs and Ken Taylor, a one-club defender, scored an own goal for us to complete the rout.

We did not play them again at Tottenham until January 1964. Danny Blanchflower had retired and Dave Mackay had just broken his left leg for the first time. Earlier in the season, the signs of the impending break-up of the team were there for all to see when we crashed 7-2 at Ewood Park. But we won the return game, 4-1, thanks to a Jimmy Greaves hat-trick and a Terry Dyson goal.

It was not until Easter 1965 that we played Blackburn again. We thrashed them 5-2 at Tottenham on Good Friday when Alan Gilzean scored a hat-trick and Jimmy Greaves scored twice.

Relegation was already looking likely for Blackburn to be on the cards when we played them in January 1966. We should have travelled to Ewood Park for the opening game of the season but an outbreak of polio in the town caused their opening fixtures to be postponed so they were always playing 'catch-up' with the rest of the First Division. That January day saw the return of Jimmy Greaves to the side in an unfamiliar number 11 shirt after some three months absence with hepatitis B. Gilzean scored twice, Jim scored a penalty and Saul completed the 4-0 rout. The return game was not played until the end of the season by which time Blackburn's fate had long since been sealed and Terry Venables was able to make his debut for Tottenham.

These days, of course, Blackburn do not roll over for us as they used to. They may not be as dangerous as they once were when, under Kenny Dalglish and Ray Harford, Blackburn won the Championship with Alan Shearer as their leading marksman. But they were not able to sustain their challenge and swiftly departed from the scene as quickly as they came. But they do manage to win games at Tottenham much more frequently than they used to do so and our record over Christmas is, to put it bluntly, abysmal. No points from two matches is nowhere near good enough if we want to qualify for Europe. We must not make the mistake of putting all our eggs into one basket!

Blackburn, of course, are managed by former Spur Graeme Souness. He came to Tottenham with a pedigree as long as Dave Mackay's but suffered from homesickness and an impatience to break into the first team. He left for Middlesbrough where he left his mark on the Teessiders fortunes and then moved on to Liverpool and Rangers. But he has not quite been as successful as a manager and had had some spectacular failures as a manager.

Whither Spurs? It would be nice to see Spurs get off to a winning start to the new year but given our recent run of fortune it is difficult to be optimistic. We will do well to extract a draw from this encounter, I fancy.


Cheers, Brian

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