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Spurs Odyssey Preview - Spurs v Everton, 04.04.98

"It was Twenty Years ago today!"
article published April, 2018, but first written in 1998 by the late Brian Judson

Full Record of Spurs -v- Everton

PremPl W D L For-Ag Pts
Home 5 3 2 0 7-4  11
Away 6 3 2 1 6-3 11
Total (Prem)11 6 4 1 13-7  22

Football Lge
Home (Div 1)54 25 16 13 107-67  72
Away (Div 1)54 10 17 27 60-88  38
Total (Div 1)108 35 33 40 167-155 110
Football Lge
Home (Div 2) 1 1 0 0 1-0  2
Away (Div 2) 1 0 0 1 2-4  0
Total (Div 2) 2 1 0 1 3-4  2
Total (Prem)11 6 4 1 13-7  22
Total (Div 1) 108 35 33 40 167-155 110
Total (Div 2) 2 1 0 1 3-4   2
Grand Total 121 42 37 42183-166 134

This is the *ONE* fixture that I do *NOT* want to see on the Spurs fixture list for 1998-99. Hopefully, we will see the departure of Everton to the Football League at the end of the season. Barnsley have been a breath of fresh air this season and it will give Everton the chance to rebuild their squad outside the limelight.

Everton have been a huge disappointment this season. I have been fortunate enough to witness the rise of three great Everton teams who have played football in the manner football was intended to be played. The first great Everton side was the one of the early '60s when Harry Catterick built a team around the genius of the Golden Vision, Alex Young. They had players like Alex Scott, Gordon West (in goal), and various other players. Young was not a prolific goalscorer but he had the nous to provide the openings for others around him.

The second great Everton side was probably the best Everton side of all time. No one who saw that side can rejoice in the depths to which Everton have plunged to in the last five years. Their midfield - Ball, Harvey and Kendall - was a joy to behold. All three have been managers with Kendall having a love affair with Everton for much of his career.

The last great Everton side was built around the predatory instincts of Andy Gray, the wingers Trevor Steven and Kevin Sheedy, a defence built around the goalkeeping skills of Neville Southall and the management team of Kendall and Harvey. No one who saw the titanic clash between Tottenham and Everton in 1984-85 will ever forget that match. That was the last season in which Tottenham really demonstrated they might win the championship. I'm well aware we have finished third in the League since then but I'm not convinced we have had it in us to win the League on those occasions.

Tottenham's highest ever League score in terms of goals scored was achieved against Everton on October 11th 1958 when Spurs thrashed Everton, 10-4. (The biggest margin of victory was against Crewe in the FA Cup - 13-2 - and against Bristol Rovers in the League - 9-0.) It was achieved on the day Bill Nicholson succeeded Jimmy Anderson as manager. Coming off the pitch after the game, the team all said to Nicholson, "Don't expect that from us every week, boss!"

Nor did Nicholson. It wasn't so much the number of goals we scored but the number we conceded that bothered him. For Everton, at that time, were even worse than they are now as they were playing as though their ambition in life was to be relegated before Christmas.

I must be one of the few on the List who can remember Everton playing outside the top Division. At the end of their last season in the old Division 2, Leicester City were champions, with Everton runners-up. Both had 56 points. Blackburn Rovers were 3rd (with 55), Nottingham Forest 4th (with 52) and Rotherham United were 5th (with 49).

My personal favourite game involving Everton is the one played in the autumn of 1971. We won 3-0, thanks to two goals by Chivers, but it is the goal Pratt scored that sticks out in my mind. All afternoon, he'd had a stinker and was being loudly barracked. Of course, when he scored, he became a hero. Pratt ran over to where the barracking had been coming from and stuck a double V sign up at them before running back to his kick-off position.

We *MUST* win Saturday's game! If we do, we not only complete a double over Everton, having won 2-0 at Goodison, but have the chance to overtake both Wimbledon and Newcastle if results go our way. Newcastle have other things on their mind this weekend so we ought to climb at least one place. A win will give us 37 points, virtually making ourselves safe. But we need 42 to be absolutely sure.

Everton have massive injury problems whilst ours seem to be clearing up. I'll certainly be happy if Duncan Ferguson is not playing this week as I see a fit Ferguson as the biggest threat to our chances. It's possible we will see both Iversen and Anderton on the bench. Ferdinand may not be quite ready for even a place on the bench.

And the score? I think it will be another tight match with both teams frightened to make a mistake. Hopefully we will win but it will almost certainly be another nail-biting 1-0 win. Still, I'd prefer us to grind out results like Arsenal do if that is what it takes to ensure safety. We *MUST* improve our goal difference just in case it goes to the wire.


Cheers, Brian

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