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Harry Hotspur's valiant campaign goes on!

Match Reports
Spurs v Blackburn, 11.05.03

FA BARCLAYCARD PREMIERSHIP
SUNDAY 11TH MAY, 2003
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 0 (0) BLACKBURN ROVERS 4 (2)

Scorers:-
Yorke, 5
Hignett, 45
Duff, 48
Cole, 60

Referee:- Andy D'Urso

Attendance:- 36,036

Teams:-
Spurs (4-4-2):- Keller; Carr, Perry, King, Taricco (sub Ziege, 60); Davies, Redknapp (sub Toda, 69), Poyet, Etherington; Sheringham (Capt), Keane

Subs not used:- Sullivan; Bunjevcevic; Acimovic

Booked:- Taricco
Sent Off:- Poyet (violent conduct - foul on Flitcroft)

Blackburn (4-4-2):- Friedel; Neill, Todd, Taylor, McEveley (sub Johansson, 62); Hignett (sub Jansen, 75), Tugay, Flitcroft (Captain) (sub Dunn, 46), Duff; Yorke, Cole

Subs not used:- Kelly; Sukur

Booked:- Neill

What a disastrous day for Teddy Sheringham's farewell game for Tottenham Hotspur! Teddy got a rapturous ovation at the beginning and at the end of the game, but what took place between those moments brought nothing but shame to a club that many are already tipping for relegation next season. Here are a few rather grim statistics to consider:-

Spurs lost their third consecutive game for the second time in the last two months, for the fourth time this season and for the fifth time under Glenn Hoddle's management.

This was Spurs third consecutive home defeat, with a goals record in total over those games of 0 for and 8 against.

In their three consecutive defeats (Man Utd, Middlesbrough and Blackburn), Spurs have scored just 1 goal and conceded 11.

This was the third four goal defeat of this season, and the sixth such defeat under Hoddle's management.

This was the third time this season that Spurs have conceded 4 or more goals, and the eighth under the management of Glenn Hoddle.

For the second season in succession, Spurs have dropped a place or more on the last day of the season, with considerable financial implications.

Spurs have conceded 62 league goals this season, just 3 less than West Bromwich Albion and Sunderland. Apart from the relegated clubs, only Charlton have a worse goal difference.

Gus Poyet's red card was the fifth of this season, equalling the record of last season.

Today's was the 13th pathetic team performance of the season. Those were (in my opinion) -

Fulham (A)(Second half), Middlesbrough (H), Burnley (A), Sunderland (A), Arsenal (A), Southampton (FA Cup A), Fulham (H), West Ham (A), Bolton (A), Man City (H), Man Utd (H), Middlesbrough (A), and finally Blackburn (H). Out of a total of just 41 competitive games in the season, that makes an awfully high percentage of poor efforts by Glenn Hoddle's team.

Unsurprisingly, many people are already tipping Spurs for relegation next season. The form of relegated West Ham, and their close rivals Bolton has been considerably better than that of Spurs over the last two months.

Nobody expected too much of course, as Blackburn had everything to play for, but the Spurs team (playing in next season's sky blue away strip) should have been playing for pride. Blackburn were allowed to play with such aplomb, that they were made to look almost as classy as the Champions who visited us two weeks ago. Indeed, it was the Man Utd old boys, Cole and Yorke, who put us to the test in the opening phases, as both were challenging in the area for a free kick from the right, but Keller was bravely down at their feet to collect the ball. Robbie Keane then hit the side netting as he advanced on goal from the inside right channel, but Spurs were behind after five minutes, when Damien Duff sent a cross from the left, Cole beat Perry with a neat back-heel, and Yorke had an easy finish to Keller's left.

Spurs had a fair amount of possession whilst the numbers on the teams remained even, without making Friedel save a shot. The approach play was too slow as usual. Perry got on the end of a Carr corner, but headed over, and after 25 minutes, Teddy rose to an Etherington corner, but headed over the corner stanchion.

The game was over as a contest on the half hour, as referee Andy D'Urso couldn't get his red card out quick enough to send Gus Poyet on his way for a two footed low tackle on Flitcroft. It looked an over-exuberant rather than a vicious foul to me, but silly nonetheless. The only good news is that Poyet will have to miss the first three games next season, allowing a younger player a chance, surely.

Taricco followed Poyet into the book soon after that, and Duff curled his free kick just over the bar. As the first half closed. Chris Perry failed to clear a cross from the right, and headed the ball straight to Hignett's feet. Hignett gratefully accepted the opportunity, but his right foot shot left of Keller was a great finish.

Martin Chivers introduced the usual half-time "beat the deck-chair" contest (even Chirpy was wearing the new away kit), and Chiv assured us that he would be back next season, and expected us to be there too. Already, many people were having second, if not third thoughts. Flitcroft did not emerge for the second half, and was replaced by David Dunn, rumoured to be leaving Blackburn in the summer.

Within three minutes of the break, Rovers were gifted a third goal by this lack-lustre Spurs side. Redknapp (who had been playing with composure till now) was guilty of passing to Duff, who raced into Spurs territory. Duff fed the ball to Yorke on the right, who passed inside. Cole and Perry battled for the ball, but it ran to Duff following up for an easy tap home.

On 57 minutes, at last Spurs made the visiting keeper make a save, as Robbie Keane was sent away, but had his shot saved by Friedel's feet. Spurs agony was complete on the hour, as Duff raced down the left to the bye-line, and fed Cole for another easy close range finish, un-challenged by a defender. Many home fans were prompted to throw their season ticket books onto the pitch, but this was a somewhat hollow gesture, as they will not be required any more. The board of the club does need to act quickly to encourage renewals, as otherwise there will surely be many empty seats at White Hart Lane next season.

The Blackburn fans had been treating us to a repertoire that included:-

"One Tim Sherwood" (a bit rich as they used to hate him)
"Hoddle for Scotland"
"Hoddle for Burnley"
"Let's all laugh at Tottenham"

Of course, it was all nothing short of total embarrassment. The match fizzled out, as it was now being played at practice match pace. Ziege was given a great welcome as he made his first appearance since his bizarre injury at Christmas (replacing Taricco), and Redknapp did force another save from Friedel, after good work by Teddy feeding Etherington, then making the final pass for Jamie's shot.

To be honest, almost every player behind Keane and Sheringham, and in front of Keller, looked out of sorts, with the probable exception of Carr, who played reasonably. Perry and King had nightmare matches. Ledley has lost form dramatically in recent months, whilst Perry was guilty of almost disastrous errors, exampled by allowing Yorke to literally take the ball off his feet, only to be rescued by a great save from Keller. With minutes to go. Teddy had a good 25 yard effort saved by Friedel, collecting low down to his left.

As the final whistle blew, the Blackburn end was ecstatic, as they knew Man Utd had beaten Everton, and therefore for the second year in succession, Rovers had the UEFA Cup to look forward to. Spurs are going backwards, equalling last year's 50 point haul, but in a poorer class Premiership. I didn't stay for the end of season "lap of honour", but I understand that when Hoddle's face was shown on the Jumbotron, it was greeted with boos. I confess to being one of those who stood up twice during the game, calling for Hoddle to go.

Yet another disappointment was the absence of any of our up and coming youngsters. I had been reliably informed that at least Mark Yeates would get a look-in. This is one close-season I have been looking forward to.

Premiership Review Index
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