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Spurs Odyssey Preview - Watford v Spurs, 25.03.2000

This season's home game - Spurs 4 Watford 0, 26.12.99
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This preview was written by Brian Judson

The following is a tabulation of all our results against Watford. As can be seen, we have not played Watford in the old First Division since they were relegated from that Division at the conclusion of season 1987-88.

Previous Results

         Div Home Away
1982-83   1  0-1  1-0
1983-84   1  2-3  3-2
1984-85   1  1-5  2-1
1985-86   1  4-0  0-1
1986-87   1  2-1  0-1
1987-88   1  2-1  1-1

Prem     Pl  W  D  L  For-Ag Pts
Home      1  1  0  0    4-0   3
Away      0  0  0  0    0-0   0
(Prem)    1  1  0  0    4-0   3
Football League
Div 1
Home      6  3  0  3   11-11  9
Away      6  3  1  2    7-6  10
(Div 1)  12  6  1  5   18-17 19
(Prem)    1  1  0  0    4-0   3
(Div 1)  12  6  1  5   17-10 19
Total    13  7  1  5   21-10 22

There have been other meetings with Watford. The following results are our Cup games with them :

FA Cup

Season    Rd H/A  Result Scorers

1894-95*  1Q  H    3-2   Goodall 2, Hunter
1921-22   2   H    1-0   Bliss
1938-39   3   H    7-1   Miller 2, GW Hall 2,
                         Duncan Sargent
                         Ward [pen]
1986-87   SF VP    4-1   Hodge 2, C Allen, P Allen 
*Watford were known as West Herts at the time and were our first-ever opponents in the FA Cup.

FL Cup

Season    Rd H/A  Result Scorers

1975-76   2   A    1-0   Chris Jones
1994-95  2/1L A    6-3   Klinsmann 3, Anderton,
                         Dumitrescu, Sheringham
1994-95  2/2L H    2-3   Barmby, Klinsmann

After our recent home defeat by Sheffield Wednesday, there should not be any cause for complacency. Moreover, Watford beat Sheffield Wednesday, 1-0, at Vicarage Road last weekend, which ought to be enough in itself to provide a warning against being complacent.

Our record against Watford has been better at Vicarage Road than at Tottenham. Perhaps we tend to concentrate more when we visit Watford than when we play host to them? Certainly those of us who saw Watford thrash Tottenham 5-1 at White Hart Lane will not forget that match.

Watford's fate this season was probably sealed from the moment that Sir Elton John decided not to release any of his personal fortune to be used to strengthen Watford's team. They found it hard to adjust to the faster pace of the Premier and soon slipped to the bottom of the table. At first, Newcastle United and, later, Sheffield Wednesday, were below them but Watford eventually sank to the bottom rung of the table. They were heavily backed to be unsuccessful in an attempt to avoid relegation before a ball was even kicked.

For the most part, Watford have fought hard in most of their matches and have usually plugged away even when it has been obvious they could not save the match. Graham Taylor and his backroom staff have recognised the limitations of the players they have to work with and have not usually criticised the players in defeat except when their heads on very rare occasions have dropped. Morale has remained high among the club's supporters despite seeing Watford lose the vast majority of their matches.

Watford have spent the vast majority of their career in the Football League in the lower regions of the League. Up unto the start of the 1969-70 season, they had never played above the Third Division. Since the formation of the Fourth Division at the start of the 1959-60 season, they spent two seasons there before spending nine seasons in the Third Division, gaining promotion in a season that saw them reach the Semi-Finals of the FA Cup, beating Liverpool 1-0 at Vicarage Road in the 6th Round. I was one of a packed house who saw Chelsea thrash Watford 5-1 in the Semi-Final of the FA Cup. Mike Walker played in goal for Watford that day. His son, Ian, was still to be born, of course. Those of us who saw that game will remember the dreadful state of the pitch that afternoon.

Watford's best period in their history occurred between 1982 and 1988 when they were members of the old First Division. They were runners-up to Liverpool in 1982-83 and were beaten Cup Finalists when losing to Everton in 1984.

We all have our memories of games against Watford but I bet that the goal most people remember us scoring against Watford is the one that Hoddle scored at Vicarage Road in September 1983 when Hughton and Archibald also scored in a 3-2 win. Hoddle picked up the ball wide on the right, dummied to go one way, went the other and the chipped the ball over their goalkeeper's head into the far corner of the net. That goal was constantly played over and over again for a long time afterwards.

When we played Watford at Tottenham earlier this season, we won 4-0, thanks to goals by Ginola, Iversen and two goals by Tim Sherwood. It was in that game that Steve Carr returned to the team following injury.

Having lost to an anonymous team last weekend, we need to start winning again. But we need to maintain our concentration throughout the match and cannot afford to assume that Watford will be as generous to us as they have been to other teams all season. Providing we concentrate on what we are doing and marking the opposition in free-kicks and corner situations, we should win tomorrow. Whether that is a 1-0, or a better, victory depends on whether the team is in the mood to exert their authority. I think we will win at least 2-0 and much maligned Chris Armstrong will score at least one of the goals.

I wish I could be there tomorrow as Watford is the closest professional club to where I currently live but it isn't to be. Those of you who are going must support our team and get behind them from the outset. It may be we will miss out on qualifying for the UEFA Cup this season but we should not give up until it is mathematically beyond us!


Cheers, Brian

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