Spurs Odyssey Banner

25 years of archives at Spurs Odyssey

Main Page
News and views from Paul Smith, and links to the interactive features of the Spurs Odyssey Site. [more..]
Articles, reports, views, opinions, comments and other features all related to Spurs. [more..]

Harry Hotspur's Tribute Pages to the late great Bill Nicholson

A Commemorative plate that was issued to celebrate the Spurs Double Season

Match Reports
Thanks for visiting Spurs Odyssey!

Spurs v Sheffield Wednesday, 19.10.97

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

Sunday, October 19th 1997
FA Carling Premiership

Spurs scorers:-
Dominguez, 6
Armstrong, 39
Ginola, 45

Sheffield Wednesday scorers:-
Collins, 71
Di Canio, 84

Referee : Mr J Winter (Stockton-on-Tees)

Attendance : 25,097

Tottenham Hotspur : Walker; Carr (sub Calderwood, 63), Campbell, Vega, Edinburgh; Fox, Howells, Sinton, Ginola, Dominguez (sub Fenn 20, sub Anderton 85); Armstrong.

Substitutes *NOT* used : Baardsen, Nielsen.

Sheff. Wed: Pressman; Nolan, Walker, Newsome, Stefanovic (sub Collins, 45); Rudi (sub Whittingham, 45), Briscoe (sub Donaldson, 86), Magilton, Pembridge; Di Canio, Carbone.

Substitutes *NOT* used : Grobbelaar, Nicol.

Booked : Pembridge, Stefanovic, Briscoe.

If the title had not already been used for the Michael Caine/Sylvester Stallone film ESCAPE TO VICTORY, this would have been the snappiest way to encapsculate this match. For it was, to coin another phrase, very much "a game of two halves, Brian".

This was a game Tottenham *HAD* to win to appease the Tottenham faithful who must be masochists after so many disappointments after the last three years. If they could not beat Sheffield Wednesday, there was likely to be an increase in the vocal demands for a change in management of the club.

Travelling on a Sunday is always a difficult exercise but now I have to make a much longer journey to Tottenham, careful scrutiny of the timetable is necessary. But even after much hanging about at railway stations and queueing for buses, I finally arrived at Tottenham. As I took my seat, high in the West Stand, I could not believe what my eyes were telling me. The sight of Darren Anderton warming up on the pitch with the rest of the squad has been so unfamiliar that I had to check it against the programme to make sure that it really was Anderton and not a clone to deceive the Tottenham faithful.

The mood in the stand around me was that Tottenham had to pull some rabbits out of the hat quickly. Watching the replay of the previous Wednesday evening's debacle, there were animated exchanges of opinions when a mistake was spotted.

Tottenham emerged from the dressing room, keyed-up and ready to go. They quickly grabbed the initiative and never lost it for the remainder of the first half. It helped, of course, they quickly took the lead.

Pressman was completely to blame for Tottenham's goal. He made a hash of a goal-kick which was intercepted by Andy Sinton, who was playing against one of his former clubs. Sinton quickly pushed the ball to Dominguez, who let fly from 30 yards. Pressman gathered the ball and then, amazingly, allowed it to squirm under his body and over the goal line.

Soon afterwards, Pembridge flattened Dominguez, rightfully being booked for the tackle. Dominguez had lengthy treatment but was eventually taken off. Neale Fenn came on as his replacement and quickly made some intelligent contributions to the match.

Had it not been for some superb 'keeping from Pressman and some awful finishing by Armstrong, Spurs might have been leading by a cricket score with five minutes left to play. The Tottenham faithful were feeling a bit edgy as half-time approached, knowing how brittle Tottenham can be with only a 1-0 advantage at half-time.

Indeed, Armstrong, when one on one with Pressman, could only allow the rotund goalkeeper to divert the ball for a corner to howls of disgust from the Tottenham faithful. But from the corner, Campbell headed the ball down to Armstrong, who made no mistake this time.

And Spurs then started to play the ball around, a bit carelessly at times, but Wednesday were so demoralised they had given up competing for the ball. With the amiable Jeff Winter looking at his watch, Ginola curled a shot from some twenty yards into the top left hand corner of Pressman's goal.

The contrast between the two dressing rooms must have been seismic. I can visualise Pleat tearing into his anemic bunch of footballers, accusing them of a lack of guts, whilst Francis was probably saying "Well done, lads, keep it up!".

Whatever was said in the sancticity of the dressing rooms, it came as a rude shock to see Wednesday play with more fire. Two substitutions may have helped but, like Count Dracula, Sheffield Wednesday may only have red blood in their veins after darkness has fallen. Whatever the reason, Spurs were soon hanging on for dear life. Campbell plugged every gap he spotted. Once, a very shy young man, Campbell now spat orders at every misdemeanour. But even Campbell could not plug every gap.

I could not understand why Spurs pulled off Carr and sent Calderwood on in his place unless Carr was injured. He had been, in my opinion, playing quite well. If anything, I would have taken Fox off, which is intended to be no criticism of Fox, to allow Anderton a good twenty minutes play as part of his come-back. As always when Calderwood comes on, the defence began to have more holes than a colander. It came as no surprise when Wednesday eventually pulled a goal back.

There were so many errors in the build-up to the goal that it owed more to the Keystone Kops than a football match. The ball pinged about in a packed goalmouth as if it was in a pin-ball machine. Finally, Briscoe prodded the ball to Collins, whose outstretched foot reached the ball first before either Campbell or Walker could react and the ball trickled over the line in slow motion.

Fenn could have restored Tottenham's three goal advantage but lost the chance, probably through inexperience. The ball went upfield. Pembridge centred the ball, Edinburgh failed to cut it out and Di Canio made no mistake, being completely unmarked. At that point, Fenn was called off and Anderton sent on for the last five minutes.

But Sheffield Wednesday then had a chance to equalise. Di Canio and Edinburgh tangled for the ball in the Tottenham penalty area and Justin appeared to upend Di Canio but neither the linesman nor the amiable Jeff Winter saw anything amiss and waved the appealing Sheffield Wednesday players away.

Tottenham broke away. The ball came over from the wing. Armstrong killed the ball and fired it home only to see Nolan clear the ball off the line.

After the match, David Pleat quipped, "I'll give myself two more weeks of this and then I'll walk out!" But there was no denying that Pleat was bitterly disappointed with the fact his team had lost to a team that should have been the ideal team against whom Wednesday should have won an away game.

Read the preview for this game.
All the Spurs Stats you could hope for here! THFC6061 Sports Stats

Top of page | Index to 1997-98 Match Reports

Fixtures, appearances, current league table, form guide, reserves fixtures, and Spurs Honours. [more..]
Find match reports, appearances, goalscorers and features from previous seasons. [more..]
Pick of the Week
Selected Spurs related sites are highlighted in this section. [more..]
View a comprehensive list of links to other Spurs related sites. (With a few extras) [more..]
About this site
Site Owner
Paul Smith

25 years of archives at Spurs Odyssey

We use cookies to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Full details van be found via the Spurs Odyssey Privacy Policy