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Spurs Odyssey Preview - Spurs v Leicester, 03.10.99

Last season's game - Spurs 0 Leicester 2, 03.04.99
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This preview was written by Brian Judson

Full Record of Spurs -v- Leicester City

Premier        Pl   W   D   L   For-Ag  Pts
Home            4   1   1   2    3 - 5    4
Away            4   0   1   3    3 - 9    1
Total (Prem)    8   1   2   5    6 -14    5
Football Lge
Home (Div 1)   29  13   6  10    64-46   34
Away (Div 1)   29  16   4   9    53-54   40
Total (Div 1)  58  29  10  19   117-100  74
Football League
Home (Div 2)    7   3   3   1    12- 7    9
Away (Div 2)    7   4   1   2    14-13    9
Total (Div 2)  14   7   4   3    26-20   18
Total (Prem)    8   1   2   5    6 -14    5
Total (Div 1)  58  29  10  19   117-100  74
Total (Div 2)  14   7   4   3    26- 20  18
Grand Total    80  37  16  27   149-134  97

This fixture will always remind us of two Cup Finals in our long and illustrious history : that of 1961 when we completed the Football League and FA Cup double by beating Leicester City 2-0 in the Cup Final. But joyous as that victory was for those of us who witnessed it, most supporters will be thinking of the moment that Allan Nielsen spared us from thirty minutes of excruciating boredom by heading home a 90th minute goal only minutes after Robbie Savage had been substituted by Leicester. If ever there is a black sheep in football, it must surely be Savage. Discarded by Manchester United without ever making a first team appearance, Savage played for Crewe before joining Leicester. His role at Wembley had been a purely destructive one, shadowing Ginola everywhere to prevent him from wreaking havoc.

Savage was also one of the principal characters in the incident that had resulted in Justin Edinburgh's dismissal in the second half for retaliating against Savage after being fouled. Spurs produced a brilliant team effort for the final 28 minutes of the match. Indeed, "Dustbin"'s dismissal was probably one of the turning points of the match.

Over the years, however, Leicester City have frequently been a thorn in Tottenham's side. Since I started watching Spurs back in the 1950s, we have lost at home to Leicester nine times :

13.02.60 Lost 1-2 R Smith
04.02.61 Lost 2-3 Blanchflower (pen) Allen
25.11.61 Lost 1-2 White
16.12.67 Lost 0-1
22.02.75 Lost 0-3
21.02.81 Lost 1-2 Archibald
26.10.85 Lost 1-3 Falco
22.09.96 Lost 1-2 Wilson (pen)
03.04.99 Lost 0-2

I cannot think offhand of another club, other than Chelsea, who have been as successful as Leicester against us over the years. We have enjoyed periods of supremacy over most of the other clubs but have always seemed to find Leicester a problem.

Leicester, like Sheffield Wednesday, have spent most of their career, shuttling between the top two divisions. They have never survived top flight football for very long before being relegated to the lower division. Indeed twelve seasons of top flight football was achieved between 1957-58 to 1968-69 and that is the longest continuous sequence they have ever enjoyed. We were companions in distress at the end of season 1934-35 when we finished bottom and they were one place above us. We also share one other piece of football history. Spurs were the visitors to Filbert Street on 18th February 1928 in the FA Cup 5th Round when we beat them 3-0, thanks to two goals by 'Taffy' O'Callaghan (who was later to play for Leicester) and Jimmy Dimmock.

Since Martin O'Neill was appointed manager in December 1995, Leicester have progressed steadily to a point where they are clearly at a crossroads. They need to attract bigger crowds if they are to retain their current players and challenge for the League title. Filbert Street is built on a site where it is impossible to rebuild the stadium so the obvious decision ought to be one of moving to another site. But over the last 18 months or so, the board of the plc owning the football club appear to be split down the middle on the issue. Somehow, Martin O'Neill has managed to insulate his players from the rows in the boardroom but earlier this season he himself showed signs of unrest and there were rumours he was considering a move away from the club. He has made it clear that he is unhappy about the current impasse at board level and has indicated that he has taken Leicester as the club currently stands as far as he can do so. It will be very interesting to see how the stand-off between the rival factions on the board and O'Neill is resolved to everyone's satisfaction. Certainly it is not in Leicester's interest to allow the present situation to fester because that will ultimately spell doom to Leicester and probable relegation.

Spurs will undoubtedly be a very tired team on Sunday after their long round trip to Moldova. George Graham does not have the resources that would permit him to rotate players on the team to allow those who clearly need a short break to do so. I will not be surprised if on Sunday we lose, probably 2-1. A draw will be a magnificent achievement given the long midweek trip. A win would be heaven but I'd be more than satisfied with a draw.

A final word to all of those going to White Hart Lane on Sunday. PLEASE do NOT barrack the team if they play badly. They will be well aware they are playing badly. They will NEED YOU to give them a lift so no matter how badly they play, cheer them on, encourage them and get behind them, even if one of those playing is a player you'd rather see omitted from the team.


Cheers, Brian

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