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Spurs Odyssey Preview - Spurs v Crystal Palace, 24.11.97

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

Full Record of Spurs -v- Crystal Palace

Prem           Pl   W   D   L   For-Ag  Pts
Home            2   0   2   0     2-2    2
Away            2   1   1   0     4-2    4
Total (Prem)    4   1   3   0     6-4    6
Div 1          Pl   W   D   L   For-Ag  Pts
Home           10   5   3   2    16-8   13
Away           10   6   3   1    19-10  18
Total (Div 1)  20  11   6   3    35-18  31
Div 2          Pl   W   D   L   For-Ag  Pts
Home            1   0   1   0     2-2    1
Away            1   1   0   0     2-1    2
Total (Div 2)   2   1   1   0     4-3    3
Total (Prem)    4   1   3   0     6-4    6
Total (Div 1)  20  11   6   3    35-18  31
Total (Div 2)   2   1   1   0     4-3    3
Grand Total    26  13  10   3    45-25  40

Before Crystal Palace were promoted to the old Division 1, the two clubs had never met for League points, although they had been drawn to play each other in the FA Cup back in the 1920s. Crystal Palace struggled throughout their first spell of top flight football. They weren't really prepared for it and their playing staff were soon found out. In fact, Spurs did not concede a goal against Crystal Palace in the League until the season they were relegated. And even then it was a Spurs player who scored!

For the record, for those of you who have missed it before, Cyril Knowles had the dubious honour of being the first player to score for Crystal Palace in a Spurs -v- Palace fixture. He was wide on the left, some 40 yards out. Spurs were coasting to another easy victory against the South London side. Pat Jennings was busy replacing divots in his goal area (at least he was more alert of the problems divots can cause, unlike Ian Walker!) and wasn't watching the play. After all, Palace had never bothered him! And then Knowles took it in his head to scissor-kick the ball back to Pat Jennings without checking to see what Pat was doing. The ball flew into the goal to ironic cheers from the White Hart Lane faithful. It was probably the most bizarre own goal ever seen at Tottenham.

I don't think that was the reason for the 'Nice One, Cyril, Nice One, Son!' song, though!!! :-) Pat was furious with Cyril. You could tell he was furious because he just looked at Cyril without saying anything. I happened to take a look at Bill Nicholson in the aftermath of the goal and he was wriggling in his seat, fuming.

The only games we have played against Palace at the old Division 2 level occurred in 1977-78. I didn't go to the game at Selhurst Park which we won, 2-1, thanks to goals by Ian Moores and John Duncan, on 12th November 1977. A few weeks later, we played the return game at Tottenham, on 17th December 1977. We drew 2-2 and Hoddle scored both goals. It was in this game that Terry Fenwick made his Football League debut.

Although I don't usually refer to Cup ties in my previews, I must highlight our Cup ties with Crystal Palace in January 1970 for they represented the end of an era at the Lane. We had drawn 2-2 with Bradford City in the 3rd Round (a very lucky draw, too!) but had thrashed them 5-0 in the replay. The 4th Round draw gave us a home tie with Palace. At the time, Palace were near the bottom of the table and were not expected to give us any problems.

The match at Tottenham was played on a diabolical pudding of a pitch, one of many games like that during that season. We were, quite frankly, awful. We were lucky to draw 0-0, really lucky we got away with a draw. It was as if the team had never played together before.

At Selhurst, we were even worse. We lost to a Gerry Queen goal. Steve Perryman was substituted towards the end of the game for reasons Bill Nicholson explained the next day. "I was bloody annoyed with some of my players - that's why I took Perryman off. He's a young lad and they were making him do all the running. If I have my way, some of those playing in last night's game won't be wearing a Spurs shirt again!"

For a few weeks, Kinnear, Knowles, Gilzean and Perryman did not wear a Spurs shirt. They were all confined to the reserves whilst Knowles, Kinnear and Gilzean re-habilitated themselves and Perryman was rested. But for Greaves, it was the end of the road. Within a month, he had gone as the makeweight in the deal that bought Martin Peters to Tottenham. Within a year, he had more or less retired from playing but became the first major sporting star to admit he had become an alcoholic.

One of the few players who has played for both teams is Peter Taylor. His mazy running with the Crystal Palace team who marched to the Semi-Finals of the FA Cup whilst still in the old Third Division persuaded Keith Burkinshaw to invest a small fortune in 'Spud'. But I always felt that 'Spud' lacked that little ingredient that separates a good player from a god, such as Hoddle.

Another player to play for both clubs was Clive Allen, whose journey around London only seems to have omitted Brentford and Watford! Allen has one claim to fame in that he spent three months at Arsenal without kicking a ball in anger, being swapped for Kenny Sansom. Allen, of course, scored 49 goals for Tottenham during 1986-87, just 10 years ago.

The team that played against Crystal Palace in the 4th Round of the FA Cup that season was : Clemence; D Thomas, Gough, Mabbutt, M Thomas; Hodge, P Allen (sub Stevens), Galvin (sub Claesen), Hoddle, Waddle; C Allen. How long will it be before we see another exciting team like that?

Whilst on the subject of players who have played for both clubs, there has also been Terry Venables and Terry Fenwick, who are now a double-act at Portsmouth. I think it is fairly safe to say that Fenwick is probably the most unpopular player to ever wear a Spurs shirt.

Spurs -v- Palace games are seldom enthralling affairs. It's not a case of the tension of a derby game ruining the match. They're usually bitty affairs. One player Spurs must be careful to watch is Neil Shipperley. When with Chelsea, he was tipped as a prospect for the top. It is still not too late for him to make his mark.

From Spurs point of view, they *MUST* win next Monday. The weekend games could leave them with a berth in the bottom three so a win must be attained if Spurs are not to approach Christmas worrying about life at the bottom. The game is on Sky for those who cannot get to the Lane. BE THERE! GET BEHIND THE TEAM! *DON'T* BARRACK THE MANAGEMENT *AT LEAST* UNTIL AFTER THE GAME!

Cheers, Brian

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