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Spurs Odyssey Preview - Spurs v Blackburn, 20.09.97

"It was Twenty Years ago today!"
article published 19th September, 2017, but first written in 1997 by the late Brian Judson

All the Spurs Stats you could hope for here! THFC6061 Sports Stats

Full Record of Spurs -v- Blackburn Rovers

Premier       Pl   W   D   L  For-Ag  Pts

Home           6   2   1   3    8-9    7
Away           5   2   0   3    5-5    6
Total (Prem)  11   4   1   6   13-14   13
Football Lge
Home (Div 1)  24  16   4   4   63-30   36
Away (Div 1)  24   5   5  14   23-50   15
Total (Div 1) 48  21   9  18   86-80   51
Football Lge
Home (Div 2)   6   5   0   1   22-8    10
Away (Div 2)   6   2   2   2    9-7     6
Total (Div 2) 12   7   2   3   31-15   16
Total (Prem)  11   4   1   6   13-14   13
Total (Div 1) 48  21   9  18   86-80   51
Total (Div 2) 12   7   2   3   31-15   16
Grand Total)  71  32  12  27  130-109  80

The final match of the 1965-66 season should actually have been the first match of the season but there was an outbreak of polio in Blackburn, which enforced the postponement of Blackburn's first few matches. It was not possible to re-arrange the game before the last match of the season. By then, of course, Blackburn had been relegated long before the end of the season and the fixture had no bearing on the final issues. So Terry Venables, who was signed from Chelsea after the transfer deadline was able to make his debut. It was also Mike England's final game for Blackburn Rovers. He had made it clear that he did not want to play Second Division football. Spurs won, 1-0.

Throughout that summer, it was generally expected that Manchester United would be favourites to sign Mike England because of the ageing Bill Foulkes. They had no ready made replacement if Foulkes broke down. But for reasons best known to Manchester United, they refused to be drawn into an auction and would not go above, if I correctly recall, 85,000 ukp. Spurs paid 95,000 ukp for England and never regretted the cost. The nearest I have ever seen anyone comparable to Mike England has been Sol Campbell.

With the departure of Blackburn Rovers from the First Division, we scarcely saw them again until Kenny Dalglish led them back to the heights and, ultimately, the Premier League championship. But when I first started watching Spurs in the 1950s, Blackburn were a very good side, possessing players such as Bryan Douglas, a very tricky right winger, Roy Vernon, a scheming inside-left, Fred Pickering, who signed for Everton and had many a battle with Mike England and Ronnie Clayton, a wing-half who captained England after the retirement of Billy Wright, until Johnny Haynes became captain. Very few of those names will mean anything to the younger element on the (Spurs) List. Haynes was often linked with Tottenham but never left Fulham because if his loyalty to the club that broke the FA rules to pay him 100 ukp a week in defiance of the 20 ukp a week maximum wage.

Spurs and Blackburn games have generally been close affairs except when one or other of the teams have been poor. Blackburn's first home game after clinching promotion from Division 2 saw Spurs thrashed 5-0 at Ewood Park in August 1958. This set the scene for a dreadful season, lit only by the appointment of Bill Nicholson as manager on 11th October 1958 and the re-appointment of Danny Blanchflower as captain in March 1959.

I think tomorrow's match will be a lot closer than many people think. I expect Spurs will probably lose but it will be close, probably 2-1 or 3-1.

Cheers, Brian

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