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Spurs Odyssey Preview - Spurs v Sheffield Wednesday, 22.01.2000

Last season's game - Spurs 0 Sheffield Wednesday 3, 22.08.98
This season's away game - Sheffield Wednesday 1 Spurs 2, 21.08.99
See the current injury list for all Premier League Teams
All the Spurs Stats you could hope for here! THFC6061 Sports Stats

This preview was written by Brian Judson

Full Record of Sheffield Wednesday -v- Spurs

Prem              Pl   W   D   L   For-Ag  Pts
Home               7   3   1   3     9-12  10
Away               8   3   1   4    10-11  10
Total (Prem)      15   6   2   7    19-23  20
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)      15   6   2   7    19-23  20
Total (Div 1)     68  30  13  25   111-101 82
Total (Div 2)     12   5   2   5    20-18  12
Grand Total       95  41  17  37   150-142 114

As can be seen from the above tabulated set of statistics, Sheffield Wednesday are one of Tottenham's favourite opponents who visit White Hart Lane. Over the years, Spurs have recorded many fine wins over them, including the most important victory of all, the one on April 17th 1961 which clinched the last League championship that Tottenham won.

Spurs and Sheffield Wednesday had tussled for the title all season but Spurs had gradually pulled away during the autumn and winter. But with the start of the FA Cup, Spurs' long lead (at one point we had an 11-point lead) was slowly chiselled away. But when it mattered, Spurs came up trumps.

After half-an-hour, Spurs fell behind when a free-kick was awarded to Sheffield Wednesday. Don Megson, father of Gary, took the kick. The ball rebounded off the wall back to Megson. This time, he rifled the ball home behind Bill Brown. It was Megson's first goal for Wednesday and it momentarily silenced the White Hart Lane fans. Wednesday almost went further ahead when Ellis headed the ball against a Tottenham goalpost.

But Sheffield Wednesday did not hold their lead for very long. Just three minutes before half-time, Peter Baker started the move with a 40-yard clearance. Dyson outjumped Megson and back-headed the ball to Smith. Bobby lobbed the ball over Swan and ran past him to unleash a shot that Ron Springett could not reach.

Within a minute, Spurs were sensationally ahead. Norman headed a free-kick taken by Blanchflower on to Allen, who hammered the ball home.

The second half was an anti-climax after the excitement of the first half. At the end of the match, the Spurs fans invaded the pitch, demanding, "WE WANT DANNY! WE WANT DANNY! WE WANT DANNY!" until Blanchflower led the team out to salute the supporters who refused to move until they had acclaimed their heroes.

Earlier this season, Spurs won 2-1, at Hillsborough. The victory took Tottenham to the top of the table very briefly. Les Ferdinand gave us an 18th minute lead which was cancelled out by a Benito Carbone goal. Leonhardsen scored what proved to be the winning goal in the 42nd minute.

Sheffield Wednesday have had an awful season so far. They are slowly reviving but they may have left it too late to escape from the basement of the Premier League. However, the Owls have been in this sort of position before, as all Spurs fans who know their history will be well aware, as, of course, they survived in season 1927-28 at our expense, when we were relegated with 38 points, the highest number of points attained by a relegated club under the old two points for a win regime. It was galling for us to realise that their success in avoiding relegation was largely due to the wiles of a former Spur, Jimmy Seed, who led them to successive championships in 1928-29 and 1929-30 and finished third in 1930-31.

No Spurs fan should ever take a fixture in which Spurs play a bottom of the table team for granted. Spurs have a long established habit of crashing to teams firmly nailed to the basement teams. In season 1957-58, they managed to lose to Sheffield Wednesday, Sunderland and Leicester City, when each team was occupying the basement when we played them.

Years ago, a trip to Sheffield Wednesday was regarded as a banker home win for the Owls. Between September 16th 1937, when we won 3-0, and February 22nd 1986, when we won 2-1, we did not win a single League game at Hillsborough, although we did win there in the 1962 and 1967 FA Cup Semi-Finals, against Manchester United and Nottingham Forest, respectively, and drew there in 1981 against Wolves, being denied a victory by Hibbitt cheating.

Sheffield Wednesday were, of course, the central team involved in the match fixing scandal of the 1960s. David Layne, Peter Swan and Tony Kay were all part of the scam masterminded by Jimmy Gauld, the former Everton players. By the time the facts came to light, Kay and Swan were established England internationals. All three were suspended indefinitely but only Swan played again very briefly at League level when the suspensions were eventually lifted. Kay was the most stupid of the three of them because he was regarded as a certainty for the 1966 squad that went on to win the World Cup.

So what do I think will happen tomorrow? If Spurs go out thinking they only have to line up to beat the visitors, they will be in for a very nasty shock. Wednesday beat Bradford City last weekend very impressively. Bradford had been playing fairly well as they had strung together a sequence of unbeaten games and were hoping to climb away from the bottom. But, stung by the criticism from four Sheffield MPs, Wednesday won. They then beat Wolves, albeit on penalties, after an awful match, according to the press in midweek. These two victories will have given them confidence. But it is probably fragile confidence in a season where so much has gone wrong for them. If we can score first, I think we will go on to win 3-0. But we *MUST* concentrate for the whole of the 90 minutes and not just for 87 minutes, as at Chelsea, for example. We must not relax our vigilance until the final whistle. And, please, if you are going to the Lane, do *NOT* barrack individual players but get behind the team, no matter how poorly they play. Barracking never helps a team.

Cheers, Brian

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