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Worthington Cup Final Preview
Spurs v Blackburn, 24.02.02

Spurs' second choice keeper for this year's final was in the shot when Allan Nielsen scored this dramatic winner three years ago! Spurs have four players available for selection who featured in our last League Cup Final. One of those four played for the opposition that day - Kasey Keller! The other three are Darren Anderton, Les Ferdinand, and Steffen Iversen. The last two played crucial parts in the last gasp winner by Allan Nielsen, although I do not expect Iversen to start on Sunday. Whilst the team news is awaited, I expect the Spurs team to be Sullivan; King, Perry, Gardner; Taricco, Anderton, Sherwood, Poyet, Ziege; Sheringham, Ferdinand, with Keller; Thatcher; Davies; Iversen & Rebrov keeping the bench warm. However, Glenn Hoddle may have a surprise up his sleeve - who knows? Team News will be posted nearer the game. Don't forget to look at the Spurs Odyssey Preview Package

Here is Brian Judson's preview of the game

Our FA Cup results have been as follows:


S'SON  RD   H/A   RESULT

06-07  2       A   1-1
       2R      A   1-1
       2nd R   VP  2-1
10-11  2       A   0-0
       2R      H   0-2
24-25  3       H   2-2
       3R      A   1-3
37-38  3       H   3-2
59-60  5       H   1-3

Our League Cup results have been as follows:


S'SON   RD   H/A   RESULT

88-89  3      H     0-0
       3R     A     2-1 [AET]
93-94  4      H     1-0

The Millennium Stadium in Cardiff may not have the aura that Wembley had before it was so disgracefully allowed to run down and become decrepit but a Cup Final is still a Cup Final. This will be our fifth League Cup Final. We were winners in 1971, 1973 and 1999. Many of us were there to see the agony of Archibald as his shot bounced off an upright in 1982 against Liverpool. Many will recall Allan Nielsen's goal three years ago and so there is no need to recall that Final.

The 1971 Final was against Aston Villa, then competing in the surreal (to them!) surroundings of the old Third Division following relegation from the top flight. Villa played really well against Spurs, who were often sluggish. It was not until late in the game that Spurs grabbed control. I still remember Neighbour, then a cheeky 19 year old kid, taking the ball to the bye-line and whipping a centre in for Chivers to lazily stretch a long leg to put us ahead. Soon afterwards, Mullery sent Chivers away, twisting and turning, before thumping the ball home. This final enabled us to compete in and win the UEFA Cup the following season.

Two years later, Spurs played Norwich City. Without a shadow of a doubt, this has to be the most boring final Spurs have ever played in. The unlucky John Pratt limped off with an injury after 9 minutes. Neither side looked like scoring in a month of Sundays until Coates completely miskicked the ball which flew past Kevin Keelan to his astonishment. Keelan had Coates' original line of shot perfectly covered. Little wonder Coates set off whooping with delight! This final enabled Spurs to compete in the UEFA Cup again but that foray ended in the riot in the Final that thoroughly disgraced and sullied Spurs' name.

Against Liverpool, Spurs had scored an early goal through Archibald after only 11 minutes. Whelan snatched an equaliser with just three minutes left to play and Whelan and Rush scored the goals that killed Spurs' hopes off in extra time. Neither Hoddle nor Galvin played particularly well that day and Ardiles seemed to be the best of the Spurs players, some of whom looked tired after a long season.

Blackburn's last major Cup Final was as long ago as May 1960. This was in the days of no substitutes and teams having to struggle with 10 men if an injury occurred. Wolves, their opponents, had been pipped to the League Championship by a single point by Burnley, otherwise they would have completed the League and Cup Double the year before we did. During the season, they had also competed in the European Cup where Barcelona had taught them a lesson in football, losing 4-0 in the First Leg and 5-2 in the return. But domestically, Wolves had thrashed Fulham 9-0, Luton and Chelsea 5-1, West Ham 5-0, Manchester City 6-4 and Burnley, the ultimate Champions 6-1. So Blackburn were not expected to win the 1960 Final. Blackburn had won only one of their last eight fixtures when they arrived at Wembley. They had beaten some tough opposition on the way to Wembley, including Spurs 3-1 at Tottenham a couple of weeks after Spurs had trounced Crewe 13-2.

Once the Final got under way, Blackburn initially looked likely winners as Wolves were nervy under the huge expectations they would win. Bryan Douglas was soon mastered by the Wolves defenders and Dougan made little headway against Slater, the former schoolmaster, who had succeeded Billy Wright as captain after Wright's retirement. Just before half-time, disaster struck for Blackburn. Stobart centred from the left wing, Leyland dived to intercept the low cross but McGrath poked the ball into his own goal under pressure from Deeley. Almost instantly, Whelan, the Blackburn left-back, collapsed in agony and broke his leg when tackling Deeley. His career was over. It took Wolves until the 68th minute to score their second goal. It was Horne who set the goal up with a run and a pass to Deeley, who made no mistake. Two minutes from the end, Deeley struck again when Woods made an unforced error when he failed to clear the ball and Deeley was able to thump the ball home.

The outcome of Sunday's match will depend on how quickly the two sides settle down. Blackburn have worries concerning relegation but Spurs have little to play for in the League as they are unlikely to qualify for Europe by finishing in the top six. On their day, as we all know, Spurs can sweep the opposition aside but sometimes they allow themselves to be distracted from the matter in hand. However, I think Spurs will be too good for Blackburn, although the game may well require extra time to settle the outcome of the match. Penalties should not be needed despite ITV's habit of picking matches that end in a goal-less draw!!!!

COME ON YOU SPURS!

Cheers, Brian

Cup Final Team News

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