Here is Brian Judson's preview of the game
We have never played Torquay United in the Football League or the
Premiership at any time.
Our previous Cup results against them are as follows :
64-65 3 A D 3-3 Greaves 2 Norman
3R H W 5-1 Greaves 3 Gilzean
FOOTBALL LEAGUE CUP
71-72 3 A W 4-1 Chivers 2 Pearce
87-88 2/1 A L 0-1
2/2 H W 3-0 Claesen 2 Cole own goal
As will be seen, we have only played three Cup ties with Torquay United.
They are a side who have spent the majority of their Football League
career in the bottom half of the lowest Division of the Football League
(Division 3 [South] from 1927-1958 and with the exception of seasons
1960-61 to 1961-62 and 1966-67 to 1971-72 they spent all of their time in
Division 4. With the revamping of the Football League after the Premier
League was set up at the start of season 1992-93, Torquay were
founder-members of the reformed Division 3.
Torquay were very unlucky in season 1956-57. They finished runners-up to
Ipswich Town in Division 3 (South) on goal-average. Only one team was
promoted so Ipswich went up to Division Two for the first time. Torquay
have never been closer to making the breakthrough to the top two divisions
than they were that season. Just to put things into perspective, Ipswich
Town were Champions of the Football League at the end of season 1961-62.
Over the last few years, Torquay have been flirting with the prospect of
relegation to the Conference. Indeed they finished bottom of the Football
League in 1995-96 but were not relegated because the Football League ruled
that Stevenage Borough's ground did not meet the requirements of the
Football League's standards. They have also been fortunate to survive on
one or two other occasions. Last season they finished 21st in Division 3.
I remember very well the occasion we first played Torquay United at White
Hart Lane. We had been drawn against them in the Third Round of the FA Cup
in season 1964-65. This was a transitional season as we were rebuilding
the side after the retirement of Danny Blanchflower, the premature death
of John White and the departures of other members of the Double team,
notably Bobby Smith. We had travelled to Plainmoor for the tie and we were
extremely fortunate to survive the 90 minutes. Bill Nicholson was enraged
by our display that day and was incandescent with rage in the press,
declaring Spurs to have been as lazy as he'd ever seen them. His words had
their effect as Spurs romped to a 5-1 victory. Jimmy Greaves scored a
hat-trick that night and Robertson and Gilzean completed the rout.
In 1971-72, Spurs were drawn away to Torquay in the Football League Cup.
Bill Nicholson had not forgotten the events of the last occasion we had
visited Plainmoor and reminded the team they were not to be taken lightly.
Chivers scored twice, Peters from the spot and Jimmy Pearce popped up to
claim a goal.
The last occasion we played Torquay United was in early 1987-88. This was
during David Pleat's final days as our manager before he had to resign his
appointment in the glare of some adverse publicity from the tabloid
newspapers. We were awful at Torquay and deservedly lost 1-0. But because
the tie was spread over two legs, we were able to retrieve the deficit and
progress to the next round by winning 3-0 at Tottenham. Nico Claesen
scored twice and a Torquay defender conceded an own goal.
Tottenham have traditionally struggled against lesser clubs in cup tie
football. Such ties are banana skins because the lesser clubs tend to play
out of their skins whilst the major clubs tend to go through the motions,
thinking they are going to beat them simply by turning up to play. When a
big club plays on the ground of a lesser club, the massive interest in a
tie generates a great deal of interest and the locals tend to get behind
the team. It can take a while before a team who are unfamiliar with the
ground can settle down and they often find they have conceded a goal and
have to chase the game before they have done so.
However, now that we have won our first game of the season, hopefully we
won't allow Torquay to impose themselves on us on Thursday night. I expect
the attendance will be the usual low one as the game will be televised. I
won't be able to see this match as I don't subscribe to ITV Sport but
hopefully I'll be able to read some good match reports of the game on
COME ON YOU LILYWHITES!
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