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Preview Derby v Spurs, 02.02.02

Here is Brian Judson's preview of the game:-

Full Record of Spurs -v- Derby County

Premier Pl W D L For-Ag Pts Home 6 3 3 0 10- 5 12 Away 5 2 0 3 6- 8 6 ======================================= Total (Prem)11 5 3 3 16 -13 18 ======================================= Football Lge Home (Div 1)24 13 4 7 41-25 31 Away (Div 1)24 3 8 13 29-60 16 ======================================= Total(Div 1)48 16 12 20 70-85 47 ======================================= Football Lge Home (Div 2) 1 0 1 0 0- 0 1 Away (Div 2) 1 0 1 0 1- 1 1 ======================================= Total(Div 2) 2 0 2 0 1- 1 2 ======================================= Total (Prem)11 5 3 3 16 -13 18 Total (Div1)48 16 12 20 70-85 47 Total (Div2) 2 0 2 0 1- 1 2 ======================================= Grand Total 61 21 17 23 87-99 67 =======================================

Derby County are looking as though they are doomed to relegation from the Premiership this season. They are looking as bad as they did on the last occasion they suffered relegation from top flight football. Spurs fans will remember the hat-trick Gazza scored in the autumn of 1990 with affection as he was playing at the peak of his career. But the most vital of all matches involving Derby County was as long ago as the spring of 1909. Spurs were battling for promotion to the First Division at the end of their first season in the Football League. West Bromwich Albion had a point lead over Bolton and Spurs going into their final game. Derby beat West Bromwich in the Throstles' final game. Spurs then played Derby on the Wednesday night and drew 1-1 but Bolton beat Derby on the Saturday to take the Championship whilst Spurs pipped West Bromwich Albion for 3rd place. It was a close call as Spurs' goal average was 2.09 whilst West Bromwich had 2.07. Bobby Steel was the scorer of the vital Spurs goal.

Over the years since the League was founded in 1888, Derby had been a very average side. They did not win the Cup until 1946 when they beat Charlton Athletic in a Final that saw the ball burst during play. Derby had been runners-up on three occasions and have never reached the Final since. In the League, they have usually struggled near the foot of the top flight but for a few glorious years in the early 1970s they bestrode the League, winning the title twice, once under Brian Clough and once under Dave Mackay.

Derby have never been blessed by skilled players. They have often made expensive purchases but few imports have reproduced the form they have shown at other clubs, often looking expensive misfits born with two left feet. This season Derby have been even more of a joke than usual as they have had three managers so far this season. They began the season with Jim Smith (the Bald Eagle) at the helm, then sacked him and replaced him with Colin Todd, a former defender in the Clough era, and then sacked Todd within a matter of weeks and appointed another former player, John Gregory, as Todd's replacement. Gregory faces an uphill battle if Derby are to avoid the drop. They need to show championship form to win the battle.

A sign of a good manager is always one who can bring together disparate characters and mould them to fit a particular pattern. Most of the players that Brian Clough recruited for Derby County had been acquired on cheap or free transfers from other clubs. John O'Hare was discarded by Sunderland and Kevin Hector was purchased from Bradford (Park Avenue). This unlikely pair terrorised First Division defences for four years in the early 1970s. For three seasons, the ageing warhorse Mackay patrolled a short line as a sweeper and played very effectively behind the gangling Roy McFarland, who went on to play for England. John McGovern was one of the players who followed Clough from club to club. He was never a star but always first on the team sheet when available. Alan Hinton was a superb left winger whose centres for O'Hare and Hector were deadly. Hinton seldom missed from the penalty spot either. It was a brave goalkeeper who tried to save a penalty as he risked injury when Hinton took a penalty.

Derby have never been the same since the day Clough walked out on them after an amazing bust-up with Sam Longson, the chairman. Mackay kept the momentum going for a while but the camaraderie built up under Clough had gone. They have spent a small fortune trying to recapture those palmy days ever since.

Considering it is Derby who we are playing tomorrow, the safest prediction one can make is that Tottenham will probably lose given their awful record against clubs at the foot of the table. If we are to finish high in the table we should remember that we need the points and forget about Cardiff for another month. I think we can win the match tomorrow but we need to work hard!

COME ON YOU SPURS!

Cheers, Brian.

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