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Preview Southampton v Spurs, 26.12.01

Both Saints and Spurs will be licking their wounds after their disastrous pre-Christmas results, and as if that is not enough to warm things up, there is also the little matter of Spurs' acquisition of Dean Richards since we last met Southampton, plus Glenn Hoddle's departure to come to White Hart lane. Is that enough of an agenda? Southampton's new stadium has sold out for the first time. Spurs Odyssey will be in attendance, but the match report may not be available till Thursday. Let's hope it will be one to savour. Thanks to our slip up against Ipswich we are stuck in seventh place, whilst Chelsea and Man Utd advanced their points and goal difference.

Here is Brian Judson's preview of the game

Full Record of Spurs -v- Southampton

Prem         Pl    W   D   L   For- Ag  Pts
Home         10    7   2   1   25 -  8  23
Away          9    2   3   4    8 - 11   9
Total(Prem)  19    9   5   5   33 - 19  32
Football Lge
Home(Div 1)  22   13   4   5   52 - 28  38
Away(Div 1)  22    6   8   8   25 - 35  24
Total(Div 1) 44   19  12  13   77 - 63  62
Football Lge
Home(Div 2)  14    9   3   2   41 - 12  21
Away(Div 2)  14    2   5   7   12 - 17   9
Total(Div 2) 28   11   8   9   53 - 29  30
Total(Prem)  19    9   5   5   33 - 19  32
Total(Div 1) 44   19  12  13   77 - 63  62
Total(Div 2) 28   11   8   9   53 - 29  30
Grand Total  91   39  25  27  163 -111 124

This will be our first visit to Southampton's new ground. It will be interesting to see if we can break our poor run against Southampton as we have only won 10 times in 45 encounters away from White Hart Lane since Southampton first played us in the Football League in the 1930s. It will also be a chance to remind Southampton's chairman, Rupert Lowe, just which club is the bigger club in the Premier League.

Southampton and Spurs have a rivalry that goes back to Victorian times as both clubs frequently vied for the Championship of that League until Spurs left for the Football League in the summer of 1908. Both were pioneers of football in the South, although the South refused to recognise professional football until late in the day, by which time the Northern clubs had already gained a stranglehold on the honours board. Indeed, Spurs were the only southern based club to win the FA Cup between 1901 and 1921 and it was Spurs who finished runners-up to Champions Liverpool in season 1921-22, the highest position a club from the South obtained until an anonymous club managed by a former Spurs reserve team player won honours in the 1930s.

Until Spurs thrashed Everton 10-4 in October 1958, our record victory in the Football League had been against Southampton on 28th March 1936. This was our first season back in Division 2 following our relegation the previous summer. We had been too inconsistent throughout the season and rarely looked likely to regain promotion at the first attempt. On the morning of the match, manager Jack Tresarden, who had seen Spurs go four matches without a win, decided to shake up the team. The effect was that Spurs played with a fluency that had been missing. Willie Evans gave Spurs the lead in the 6th minute following good work by Andy Duncan and Joe Meek. Joe Meek volleyed home the second goal seven minutes later after Fred Sargent's corner was not cleared. Frank Grice and Willie Evans then swapped passes in the 16th minute to provide George Hunt with the chance to put Spurs three ahead. The Southampton goalkeeper fumbled the ball to allow Hunt to add a fourth and there was still time before the break for Meek to add the fifth. In the second half, Spurs eased up. Their sixth goal did not come until the 59th minute when Hunt's shot was dropped by the Saints goalkeeper and Meek swept the ball home. In the 65th minute, Hunt scored from the penalty spot after being upended by an opposing defender. Willie Evans completed the rout in the 78th minute when he headed home Sargent's cross. Joe Nicholls, in Spurs goal, was not troubled with a single shot from the Saints!

There have been a few transfers between the two clubs. Alf Ramsey was signed from Southampton after the end of the 1948-49 season to complete the jigsaw that led to the push and run transfers. Frank Saul was the makeweight in the transfer that brought Martin Chivers to White Hart Lane in 1968. And, of course, we had the acrimonious transfer that led to Dean Richards' arrival at Tottenham!

Most games involving Spurs and Southampton have a high scoring game but, possibly, the most important game between the two clubs was one that did not see a single goal scored. That was the final match of the 1977-78 season in which Spurs secured the point that ensured promotion at the first attempt. No one who recalls that day will ever forget it and I bet most wives were fed up with their partners listening to the radio as events unfolded at the Dell! I know I bit my nails away and spent the last five minutes on my knees praying we wouldn't throw promotion away!

So what will happen on Wednesday? Much will depend on how quickly Spurs adjust to the new surroundings. I personally will settle for a 2-0 win .......


Cheers, Brian

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