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Preview Spurs v Fulham, 29.11.01

Here is Brian Judson's preview of the game

The following is our record against Fulham in the FA and Football League Cups. The details are:


FA Cup   Round   Venue   Result
1908-09    2       H      1-0
1983-84    3       A      0-0
          3R       H      2-0
1997-98    3       H      3-1

FL Cup
1981-82    4       H      1-0
1999-2000  4       A      1-3

As readers will see we have only lost to Fulham in a Cup tie once. I will leave it to Declan to provide further and better particulars of that defeat.

Most of us will be able to recall the FA Cup match we played at Craven Cottage in January 1984 as Ray Clemence was injured and was replaced by Graham Roberts in goal. Roberts defied everything that Fulham threw at him and played a major part in securing a replay. Then, in midweek, Roberts scored a goal to break the hearts of the Fulham side and Archibald ensured Tottenham went through to play Norwich.

The only other FA Cup match we have played against Fulham in recent seasons saw us beat them 3-1 in January 1998. Clemence and Calderwood scored a goal apiece and Taylor scored an own goal.

Over the years, Tottenham have had a fairly good relationship with Fulham. One dispute that we had with them led to Fulham reporting us to the London FA in the affair that became known as Payne's boots, as it contributed to the decision that made Tottenham become a professional side in an era when the South frowned on professional football.

Fulham have spent most of their professional career in the lower regions of the Football League. Their first experience of top flight football was brief as they only enjoyed life there from August 1949 to April 1952. Their second stint was from August 1959 until May 1968, which was the last time they experienced top flight football.

Ironically, it was Fulham who paved the way for the modern football's exorbitant salaries as they were quick to pay Johnny Haynes 100 a week to play for Fulham at a time when both Spurs and Arsenal were known to be interested in signing him. But Fulham could not attract large crowds to Craven Cottage and eventually their best players, such as Alan Mullery, left for bigger clubs. Fulham spent years fighting to avoid the drop but managed to beat it until they finally went down at the end of season 1967-68. In this brief period, they discovered the exuberant Rodney Marsh. He scored the winning goal against Liverpool in one match but collided with the goalpost in doing so and, as a result, has been deaf in one ear ever since.

Until Mohammed Al Fayed purchased Fulham, the club was going nowhere rapidly. In fact, it looked certain that Fulham would lose their Football League status. But they persuaded Kevin Keegan to come out of retirement and be their manager. It was Keegan who began the ball rolling that led to Fulham's return to top flight football.

From what I have seen of Fulham, I think they now have the ability to break through the crust that separates those with serious title ambitions from those who make the numbers up. Al Fayed has bankrolled the three managers he has appointed and Fulham have prospered. It will be some time yet but I am confident that it won't be very long before Chelsea are no longer the dominant force in South West London.

Spurs, though, from what I have seen of them so far, are still far from the finished article themselves. They are emerging from the long dark nights of route one football and have started to play what we know is traditional Tottenham football. The age of the squad, though, means that we will continue to be in a transitional status until we have a younger pair of strikers. This is not to say that Ferdinand and Sheringham are not doing the business but they are not getting any younger.

But I remain confident that Spurs will beat Fulham tomorrow night but we shall have to remain patient. I think both goals will be late in coming. We should not be impatient but continue to keep behind the lads until they score, as I am confident they will do so. It is a pity that Gus Poyet will be missing, though.

COME ON YOU SPURS!

Cheers, Brian

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