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Harry Hotspur's valiant campaign goes on!

Match Reports
Preview Middlesbrough v Spurs, 03.05.03

Here is Brian Judson's preview of the game:-

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Full Record of Spurs -v- Middlesbrough

Prem          Pl  W  D  L   For- Ag  Pts
Home           8  2  3  3    8 - 13   9
Away           7  2  3  2    7 -  7   9
Total(Prem)   15  4  6  5   15 - 20  18
Football Lge
Home(Div 1)   25 15  4  6   62 - 40  36
Away(Div 1)   25  3  6 16   25 - 52  13
Total(Div 1)  50 18 10 22   87 - 92  49
Football Lge
Home(Div 2)    1  0  0  1    2 -  5   0
Away(Div 2)    1  0  0  1    0 -  3   0
Total(Div 2)   2  0  0  2    2 -  8   0
Total(Prem)   15  4  6  5   15 - 20  18
Total(Div 1)  50 18 10 22   87 - 92  49
Total(Div 2)   2  0  0  2    2 -  8   0
Grand Total   67 22 16 29  104 -120  67

This is the return fixture of our worst home defeat of the whole season. At the time, Middlesbrough and Tottenham were still flying high in the Premiership table. This was the first sign that Tottenham were not going to qualify for Europe next season. Up until then, we had believed the Emperor was wearing new clothes : Hoddle had a regular mantra in which he said we would qualify to play for Europe this season. We were outclassed by Steve McClaren's re-vitalised Middlesbrough, who fully deserved their first away win of the season, leaping above us to third place in the table, as a result.

Since then, of course, both clubs have dramatically fallen off the pace. Indeed, Hoddle now has a poorer average ration of matches won to matches played than his predecessors, the man in the overcoat, the man with the tube ticket and the man who stared at his trainers. We have forgotten how to breathe the rarified air of the summit of the Premiership.

Tottenham's troubles can be indicated briefly.We do not have a goalscorer if Robbie Keane is missing from the team. We have a very elderly team that has expensive imports running on empty. We have some of the worst defenders the club has ever had with the exception of Kasey Keller. Carr has clearly not been his old self this past season. Has he been going through the motions? We shall see. But I for one would want Carr to go if he does NOT want to play for Tottenham!

Middlesbrough's problems are an inability to win away from home unless you have a club (like Tottenham!) prepared to donate the points! They have the best two defenders not being capped by England in the shape of Ehiogu and Southgate but otherwise have an indifferent defence, in particular Schwarzer. He can make brilliant saves but concede hilarious goals. With Bostik retiring, a lot depends on the midfield in the shape of Geremi to carve out goals. Since moving from Bolton, Ricketts seems to have dried up but they do seem to have someone capable of scoring goals in Christie, whom they signed from Derby County.

Once, at the end of season 1927-28, Spurs and Middlesbrough were companions in distress, suffering relegation. Before Easter, Spurs were high in the table with 35 points from 35 matches. Spurs won only one match (2-0 at home to the other lot up in Islington) but only acquired one other point. Spurs finished the season early and went off to tour Holland, returning home to find that Derby County had finished 4th with 44 points, Sheffield Wednesday, who had been rock bottom in March 1928, had finished 14th, six clubs were all sharing 39 points and Spurs were being relegated with 38 points. Under the old system of 2 points for a win, this was the highest number of points ever amassed by a relegated team.

Tottenham go to Middlesbrough seemingly incapable of winning away. But, as last year, Middlesbrough are ending THEIR season, losing their last four matches. THAT is primarily why Spurs are still in the top half of the table. For the hardy souls who will make the long trip to the Riverside tomorrow, I think they will witness a rare event : a Spurs victory, probably because Robbie Keane prefers to scamper around rather than any shock or awe that Tottenham cause!



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