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Spurs Odyssey Preview - Sheffield Wednesday v Spurs, 21.02.98

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

Full Record of Sheffield Wednesday -v- Spurs

Prem              Pl   W   D   L   For-Ag  Pts
Home               6   3   1   2     9-9   10
Away               5   2   0   3     8-9    6
Total (Prem)      11   5   1   5    17-18  16
Football Lge
Home (Div 1)      34  23   6   5    87-43  56
Away (Div 1)      34   7   7  20    34-58  26
Total (Div 1)     68  30  13  25   111-101 82
Football Lge
Home (Div 2)       6   4   1   1    15-8    9
Away (Div 2)       6   1   1   4     5-10   3
Total (Div 2)     12   5   2   5    20-18   12
Total (Prem)      11   5   1   5    17-18  16
Total (Div 1)     68  30  13  25   111-101  82
Total (Div 2)     12   5   2   5    20-18   12
Grand Total       91  40  16  35   148-137 110

Spurs ought to travel to Hillsborough in good heart. They have won five of the last seven games against Sheffield Wednesday, losing only at Hillsborough last April and drawing at Tottenham in December 1996. This run started on the Saturday that Jurgen Klinsmann made his debut when we won 4-3. Having won at Blackburn and drawn against Leicester, Tottenham ought to have some confidence to beat their Yorkshire hosts. There was a time, of course, when Tottenham never won at Hillsborough, except in cup ties. But these days have long since gone.

For much of their history, Sheffield Wednesday have had a record of being a yo-yo team, rarely able to stay very long in the top Division but always being too good for the division below. But in the dark days of the early '80s Wednesday came very close to dropping into the basement. At one point of the 1977-78 season (when Spurs were in the old Division 2 during their promotion campaign), Sheffield Wednesday were rock bottom of the old Third Division and looking certs to drop to the basement. But they managed to turn their season around and slowly but surely clawed their way to safety.

Spurs and Sheffield Wednesday will never forget season 1927-28. Going into the Easter games, the Yorkshire team looked dead and buried whilst Spurs looked likely to finish in their highest position since finishing as runners-up to Liverpool in 1921-22. But the Yorkshire side beat Tottenham home and away over Easter 1928 and Spurs only collected three points in their last seven matches. Sheffield Wednesday won the majority of their run-in and finished 14th with 39 points, above six other clubs, all on 39 points, and Spurs with 38 and Middlesbrough with 37 being relegated.

On a more cheerful note, Spurs and Sheffield Wednesday were rivals in chasing for promotion from the old Division 2 to the old Division 1 in 1949-50 and in the chase for the championship in 1960-61. It was the Yorkshire team who inflicted the first defeat on Tottenham, at Hillsborough, in November 1960. And it was our 2-1 home win over Sheffield Wednesday that clinched the title in April 1961.

Generally, we have happy memories of Hillsborough in the Cup in the Semi-Final there. We beat Preston in 1921 but lost against Preston twelve months later. In 1962 we beat Manchester United there and in 1966 we beat Nottingham Forest there. In 1981 we drew with Wolves there in controversial circumstances when Kenny Hibbitt 'dived' to win a penalty. We have not played a semi-final there since. Unfortunately, we cannot boast of the same luck when drawn against Sheffield Wednesday in the Cup as two of our ties went to replays there which we lost.

On Saturday, it is likely that Armstrong will again start up front and Ferdinand may quite possibly be back, thus allowing Ginola to start in a deeper role. Tottenham must pile on as much pressure as they can on Pressman, who has developed into a roly-poly goalkeeper who can be harrassed into making unforced mistakes if bothered enough. A lot, however, will depend on who the referee is.

Hopefully, with some luck, we might win 3-1 on Saturday. This will, hopefully, enable us to climb over Everton, who ought to lose to Liverpool, and Wimbledon, who are playing Aston Villa.

Cheers, Brian

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