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Preview Spurs v Sunderland, 02.03.02

Sunderland's last 6 league games:-


Everton	     1	0	Sunderland
Sunderland   1	1	Fulham
Sunderland   0	1	Middlesbrough
Man Utd	     4	1	Sunderland
Derby 	     0	1	Sunderland
Sunderland   0	1	Newcastle Utd

            P   W  D  L  F A   GD Pts
8  Spurs    26 10  5 11 37 35  2  35
14 S'land   27  8  6 13 21 31 -10 31

Sunderland have won just one out of their last 6 games, and that was at lowly Derby, although it was the week after we sadly lost to John Gregory's side. Spurs management is in mourning as Glenn Hoddle has sadly lost his father, who died at the age of 68, and John Gorman's father-in-law has also passed away. As if the events at the Millennium Stadium were not enough to cope with. Both teams will be desperate for the points, but Spurs will be especially in need as they have to contemplate a trip to Old Trafford next Wednesday, where they have not taken so much as a single point since March 1995. Ever the optimist, I'll go for a 3-1 to Spurs. Look out for team news later this week.

Here is Brian Judson's preview of the game

Full Record of Spurs -v- Sunderland


Premier       Pl   W   D   L    For-Ag  Pts
Home           3   3   0   0     7 - 2   9
Away           4   3   0   1    10 - 5   9
==========================================
Total(Prem)    7   6   0   1    17 - 7  18
==========================================
Football Lge
Home (Div 1)  37  14  12  11    57 -45  42
Away (Div 1)  37   8  11  18    31 -60  29
==========================================
Total(Div 1)  74  22  23  31    88-105  71
==========================================
Football Lge
Home (Div 2)   1   0   0   1     2 - 3   0
Away (Div 2)   1   1   0   0     2 - 1   2
==========================================
Total(Div 2)   2   1   0   1     4 - 4   2
==========================================
Total(Prem)    7   6   0   1    17 - 7  18
Total(Div 1)  74  22  23  31    88 -105 71
Total(Div 2)   2   1   0   1     4 - 4   2
==========================================
Grand Total   83  29  23  33   109-116  91
==========================================

Following last Sunday's dismal defeat at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, it is vital that we win this match! The bottom half of the table is so crowded that a couple of defeats could drop us down into the heart of the relegation battle. There is NO room for complacency because keen students of Tottenham's history will point to the events of the last six weeks of the 1927-28 season as a precedent. There have been other dramatic escapes from relegation in recent years. I need hardly remind everyone that there is always a surprise package in the three going down.

The continued speculation regarding Kevin Phillips signing for Tottenham in the summer coupled with the alleged threats of Sergei Rebrov to look elsewhere for first team employment shows no sign of abating despite the continued denials from both camps.

One thing I certainly do not want to see is a re-run of our game against Sunderland on 30th September 1969 when an own goal by Mike England ensured our defeat. It was a pretty dire performance that day enlivened only by the debut of one Stephen Perryman. He was only 17 when he made his debut but his attitude and determination put some of our more experienced players that day to shame.

Sunderland were no longer the richest club in the country. For a few years in the 1940s and 1950s, Sunderland were known as The Bank of England because they seemed to be breaking transfer records a good deal because of their desire to regain past glories. This lead in time to an investigation of their financial books and some illegal payments to players. This led to the suspension, some of which were for life, of various members of their Board of Directors.

Thinking of those distant days reminds me that one of their greatest players was Len Shackleton, who was nicknamed The Clown Prince of Soccer by the media. Shackleton did not suffer fools gladly. In his autobiography, he had a chapter headed "WHAT THE AVERAGE DIRECTOR KNOWS ABOUT FOOTBALL". The following two pages were completely blank! I read somewhere recently that he observed that it was still true today, although I don't know when he made the further comment.

It was with Sunderland that Brian Clough sustained the knee injury that ended his career and he began to develop an interest in coaching and management. It was a tragedy for Clough that the greater part of his career was played with Middlesbrough who were in the old Second Division.

Most of Sunderland's glory days were around the start of the 20th Century. But there will be many who will recall with great joy their 1973 FA Cup victory over Leeds United. Who can forget Ian Porterfield's strike in the first half? Or Jimmy Montgomery's double save from Lorimer and Cherry in the second half? Or of Bob Stokoe, the Sunderland manager, running the length of the Wembley pitch to embrace Montgomery when the final whistle echoed?

Over the years since that Cup Final win, Sunderland have experienced some very bitter days. Not long afterwards they were our companions in relegation distress at the end of season 1976-77 and they eventually suffered the further indignity of having to ply their trade in the old Third Division for a single season, winning the championship at their first attempt. And this from a club who once boasted they had never been relegated from the top flight since being elected to the Football League in 1890. Unhappily for them that record ended in season 1957-58.

I have not mentioned Tottenham thus far! We all know their shortcomings of failing to beat clubs they ought to be able to beat. Certainly, the statistics above show that Sunderland have never beaten us in the Premiership at White Hart Lane but victory on Saturday CANNOT be taken for granted. Sunderland are much too close to the edge of the scrap to avoid the drop after their run of poor results. Only six points separate the clubs immediately above Leicester City up to 12th position. They are desperate for points as much as we are.

Tottenham need to win to stay in the top half of the table. Much depends on the particular Tottenham side that decides to turn up on Saturday. Will it be the time that dazzles us with its exciting play? Or will it be the shambolic lot that look as though they have never met each other before? WILL THE REAL TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR STAND UP TO BE COUNTED?

Being pessimistic by nature, I won't be surprised if Spurs lose again this week. I hope I'm very much proved wrong but Glenn Hoddle needs to think hard about the timing of his substitutions. It's a waste of time putting Rebrov or somebody else on when there is only 10 minutes left to play. It takes at least 10 minutes for a player to strike a rhythm after sitting on the bench ..... unless, of course, the player happens to be a genius!

COME ON YOU SPURS! LET'S STUFF SUNDERLAND!

Cheers, Brian

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