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Spurs Odyssey Preview - Southampton v Spurs, 20.11.99

Last season's game - Southampton 1 Spurs 1, 19.09.98
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This preview was written by Brian Judson

Full League Record of Spurs -v- Southampton

Premier        Pl   W   D   L   For-Ag  Pts
Home            7   5   1   1    16-5   16
Away            7   1   3   3     7-9    6
Total (Prem)   14   6   4   4    23-14  22
Football Lge
Home (Div 1)   22  13   4   5    52-28  38
Away (Div 1)   22   6   8   8    25-35  24
Total(Div 1)   44  19  12  13    77-63  62
Football Lge
Home (Div 2)   14   9   3   2    41-12  21
Away (Div 2)   14   2   5   7    12-17   9
Total(Div 2)   28  11   8   9    53-29  30
Total (Prem)   14   6   4   4    23-14  22
Total(Div 1)   44  19  12  13    77-63  62
Total(Div 2)   28  11   8   9    53-29  30
Grand Total    86  36  24  26   153-106 114

Southampton's record so far this season is:

Coventry City v Southampton 0-1
Southampton v Leeds 0-3
Southampton v Newcastle United 4-2
Everton v Southampton 4-1
West Ham United v Southampton P-P
Southampton v Sheffield Wednesday 2-0
Middlesbrough v Southampton 3-2
Southampton v Arsenal 0-1
Manchester United v Southampton 3-3
Southampton v Derby County 3-3
Leicester City v Southampton 2-1
Southampton v Liverpool 1-1
Wimbledon v Southampton 1-1
Aston Villa v Southampton 0-1

As can be seen from the above table, Southampton have won two and drawn two of their six home games. Both the games they have lost at home have been against teams from the top of the table. Away from the Dell, they have won two and drawn two of their seven away games. The three defeats were at Everton, Middlesbrough and Leicester City, none of whom can claim to be difficult opponents this season.

This produces a record of:

Pos               P W D L  F-A  Pts
 14  Southampton 13-4-4-5-20-23-16

Southampton were rivals of Tottenham one hundred years ago as both teams were challengers for the Southern League Championship. Indeed, Southampton remained in membership of the Southern League long after Tottenham had resigned to join the Football League in the summer of 1908.

Our record against Southampton in Southern League matches was:

          H   A

1896-97  2-2 1-1
1897-98  2-0 1-4
1898-99  0-1 1-1
1899-00  2-0 1-3
1900-01  1-0 1-3
1901-02  2-2 0-1
1902-03  2-1 1-0
1903-04  2-1 0-1
1904-05  1-2 1-1
1905-06  1-1 0-1
1906-07  2-0 1-2
1907-08  3-0 1-1

When I first started to follow the fortunes of Tottenham in the 1950s, Southampton were playing in the old Third Division [South]. They had shuttled between the Second and Third Division since joining the Football League in 1920 when the Southern League First Division clubs had resigned en masse to join the newly created Third Division [South]. Although Southampton often looked likely to win promotion to the old First Division, they did not actually do so until they finished runners-up to Manchester City in the 1965-66 season.

They had come close to winning promotion in season 1948-49, when Spurs were also in the old Second Division. Southampton were way out in front of the pack and looking red-hot certainties to go up but they lost form and suffered injuries, particularly to their leading goalscorer, Charlie Wayman, as the season reached its climax, and Southampton fell away and allowed Fulham and West Bromwich Albion to overtake them.

I remember vividly the first time I saw Southampton at Tottenham. We had just had a dismal month in which we had tumbled from 1st place after winning 2-1 at Manchester City to a middle of the pack place after losing home games against Blackpool, Aston Villa and West Ham. Words still fail me even after the intervening years when I consider Tottenham's very dismal performances against Blackpool and Aston Villa, both of whom were relegated at the end of that season. Southampton had just been promoted from the old Second Division and had a number of experienced players in their team. But the most interesting player in their team was one Martin Chivers, who was to join Tottenham later in the season. The game swung from end to end and goals came regularly before Spurs finally won 5-3. There were so many chances the score could have been 10-8. (ed: 26th November, 1966)

There have been very few occasions when there has been a goal-less encounter between the two teams. But in season 1977-78 when both clubs were in the thick of the fight for promotion from the old Division 2, both matches that season ended goal-less. The match at the Dell, watched by almost 29,000 spectators, was one of the most vital games Spurs had played for years as so much hung on the result. I imagine there must have been a huge cheer over the blue and white half of North London when it became clear that Spurs had been promoted to the old First Division ......

Spurs ended Peter Shreeve's first spell as manager of Tottenham by beating Southampton 5-3 in the final match of the season. It was a Bank Holiday Monday in May 1986 and only 13,036 spectators watched the match. Keith Granger deputised in goal for Peter Shilton for Southampton. Waddle opened the scoring and Danny Wallace equalised. Galvin then rifled in a hat-trick in the space of the next 27 minutes before Gary Mabbutt scored an own goal and Maskell put the visitors back into the reckoning. Clive Allen rounded off the scoring.

Southampton have won very few honours over the years but no one begrudged them, except possibly Portsmouth fans, their Cup Final victory over Manchester United in 1976, when Bobby Stokes scored the only goal of the match. The nearest they have come to winning the League was in 1983-84 when they were runners-up to Liverpool.

In recent years, Southampton have been sailing uncomfortably close to relegation from the Premier League. After going for a long spell as the most stable club for managers [they had only two managers between 1955 and 1985], they have seen five managers come and go since Lawrie McNemeny left the Dell to manage Sunderland in 1985. Three of those had only a single season in charge [Alan Ball in 1994-95; Dave Merrington in 1995-96; Graeme Souness in 1996-97].

Southampton are hoping to be able to move from the Dell if current plans come off. The Dell is on too cramped a site to permit re-development and they have been casting around for a new site for sometime. I believe they have now found one and hope to start work on it in the near future. If this is the case, tomorrow's visit might be one of the last occasions that Spurs play at the Dell. Southampton have been playing there since 1898.

And how do I feel that Spurs will fare tomorrow? There will be one enforced change as Steve Carr will be absent following his injury whilst playing for the Republic of Ireland against Turkey. Spurs have the option of switching Taricco to right back and playing Edinburgh at left back or playing Luke Young there. It is a pity that Carr has been injured because he has been playing very well this season. Chris Armstrong and Steffen Iversen are expected to play up front as Les Ferdinand is unlikely to return to the squad until after Christmas.

I feel that Spurs are capable of winning at the Dell although the result will be a close one. We could win 2-1 with our winner coming very late in the match.

Cheers, Brian

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