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Southampton v Spurs, 25.10.97

"It was Twenty Years ago today!"
article published October, 2017, but first written in 1997 by Ashley Milton

Saturday 25th October, 1997
Southampton (0) 3 Tottenham (1) 2

Southampton scorers:-
Vega o.g 54
Hirst 67,80

Spurs scorers:-
Dominguez 42
Ginola 65

Southampton: Jones; Dodd, Benali (Charlton, 68), Palmer, Monkou, Lundekvam, Le Tissier (Slater, 81), Oakley (Williams, 52), Hirst, Davies, Richardson.

Subs not used: Johansen, Taylor.

Booked: Palmer, Slater.

Tottenham: Walker; Edinburgh (Calderwood (Fenn, 86), 73), Carr, Vega, Campbell, Howells, Fox (Anderton, 73), Armstrong, Ginola, Dominguez, Sinton.

Subs not used: Nielsen, Baardsen.

Booked: Campbell, Dominguez, Vega.

Attendance: 15,255.

Referee: N S Barry (Scunthorpe).

The report on this match was provided by Ashley Milton.

Yesterdays match undoubtedly helped to illustrate the problems we have been aware of for a long time. By this I mean in what positions we need new personnel and that we need a new manager.

The lineup was one that we all expected i.e the polo mint/bagel formation. To be fair though to Tottenham in the first half the defence looked fairly solid, and with half time fast approaching 0-0 at the interval was looking more and more likely. The match changed though, due to the individual brilliance of Jose Dominguez. He received the ball in Southampton's penalty area, and went past their full back with ease, except this particular full back (can't remember his name) decided to bring him down for what was a clear cut penalty. In one way though I am thankful it was not given as we may have been denied of what was a true moment of magic from the wee man. Walker, as always, launched a long punt downfield which Jose controlled quite brilliantly. He turned his defender and smashed it with his left foot into the top left corner. Cue the gymnastics, and waving finger at the Assistant Referee for which he got booked.

So Spurs went in at half time one goal to the good, surely not even they could throw this away.

The second half started with Spurs dominating in possession, but the ball was easily given away all too often, and how Lundekvam was allowed to carry to ball from his own half into our penalty area is beyond belief. Maybe he was wearing the old Man U grey kit and no one could see him, or maybe Howells is just not up to this level of football, because surely it is his job to pick up these players roaming into our half. But to be fair the current formation is not one that aids him in doing his job. A shot came in,which looked pretty useless but it deflected off Vega and rolled into Walker's net (a player in whom I am losing more and more confidence).

In contrast to other games though, the players' heads did not drop, and they pushed forward looking for another goal. Walker threw the ball out (yes he threw it) and Jose picked it up on the half way line. He swivelled past his marker. He ran at two defenders before releasing it to Ginola, who proceeded to run at a defender like a model down a catwalk. Upon reaching the edge of the box, he hit the ball with his left foot in the bottom right corner. A very good goal, which is now his third in the last three games and makes him our top scorer.

From then on, the team fell apart. Maybe they thought two was enough to win. Southampton won a lot of possession in midfield and started to create a few chances, our defence crumbled and Hirst scored on his home debut. At that point doubt began to set in, surely we couldn't draw with Southampton who were bottom of the league, that would be disgraceful. I was of course right, we couldn't draw with Southampton! Tottenham made two substitutions, Calderwood coming on for Edinburgh, he looks out of his depth and Anderton came on for Fox, who was at best woeful. Campbell was moved acroos to left back, which makes perfect sense seeing as he is one of the best centre backs in England. More and more holes started to appear, and David Hirst found himself unmarked in the box, he shot powerfully into the bottom left corner and Spurs were 3-2 down.

Then came Francis at his best. He waited till there were about five minutes to go before bringing on Fenn, who should have started, for Calderwood. Colin walked of the pitch looking a dejected figure, coming on for 10 minutes and then going off is not what he had in mind when he said he wanted first team football. Fenn did not really have much of a chance as we couldn't get the ball. Unbelievable really, five minutes to go and the mighty Spurs could not get the ball off Southampton. The chants for Francis out began, and as the man sitting behind me pointed out, it really is a case of sing when you're winning. The chant is only ever heard when we are losing. This to me is fickle as is the chant we've got our Tottenham back which was heard against Sheffield Wednesday. It means Sugar can call us fickle saying that when we win we all want Francis to stay, and that he is a good manager, or words to that effect. I want him out regardless of the result, even if we win by 5 or 6.

He has to go. This is not acceptable. If the newspaper reoprts were correct about him having three more games before the Derby game were correct, then he'll be receiving his P45 this week. In that period we lost two and won one, against very weak opposition. I sent 5 to Tottenham a couple of weeks ago to pay for this cab fare to the job centre, it was sent back to me, I think I'll send it back again though in case they've changed their minds.

Lets hope so.

How the players did:

Walker: Losing confidence, he is not the player he was. To be fair though, he had a hand in both goals.

Carr: Did not have much to do, but he played fairly well.

Edinburgh: Just not up to the job. He constantly makes mistakes. I think he was brought off so he couldn't bring Le Tiss down in the box.

Vega: Played ok. Its refreshing to see a player who feels a loss as much as we do. At the end of the game he looked at the fans and looked like he felt he had really let us down. Not him directly but the team as a whole, he has big heart but his defensive abilities sometimes leave a lot to be desired.

Campbell: Not his best game but he stiil looked like a rock in the first half. The own goal is did not do much for his confidence. (Ed:- The records show it was Vega's own goal, but Ashley thought it had been Campbell)I think a good manager could get a lot more out of him, he is not progressing at the moment.

Fox: Failed to beat a player or deliver an accurate cross. Another poor signing, who is just not good enough.

Sinton: Worked hard and delivered a couple of useful crosses. He is though, not a centre midfielder. He is a good squad player to come in when Ginola is injured.

Ginola: Scored a good goal and worked hard for much of the game. He even won a few tackles. Problem is he having to drift infield to get the ball and he can't rely on Edinburgh winning the ball and giving to him accurately.

Dominguez: Looked very impressive. Although this was not his best performance in a Spurs shirt. He will always cause problems but he does not look like a 90 minute player. I think if he was on the right wing not having to come into the centre to collect the ball he would cause havoc for any left back. Him and Ginola though will not play at their best until we have two quality centre midfield players.

Howells: Won a few vital challenges but his distribution is terrible. It is astonishing as to how he has not been a favourite with any of the Spurs managers in his 10 years at the club, yet with Francis he is a regular when fit. To be honest, he is a squad player at best.

Armstrong: Hardly touched the ball. He needs a partner. He looked disillusioned towards the end and his workrate dropped. He drifted to the right wing all too often, so he was crossing with no one in the box.

Anderton: Hardly touched the ball. Every run ended with him hunched over holding his hips. I wouldn't put him in the team until he has 6 or 7 full reserve games under his belt. GF is threatening Anderton's latest comeback in an attempt to save his own job.

Fenn: Didn't get a touch. I would not be surprised is he asks for a transfer.

Calderwood: Looked pretty weak. Another one who is not up to this level. A transfer request from him would also not surprise me.

GF: Sat on his arse as always. Did not get up and tell the players what to do. Maybe he'll resign because I do not think Sugar will sack him.

To conclude, this was, as the scoreline suggests disgraceful.

All I can say is that I am looking forward to the AGM. It should be interesting!

Ashley Milton

Say we want Francis out!!

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