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Spurs Odyssey Preview - Spurs v Watford, 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      0  0  0  0    0-0   0
Away      0  0  0  0    0-0   0
(Prem)    0  0  0  0    0-0   0
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)    0  0  0  0    0-0   0
(Div 1)  12  6  1  5   17-10 19
Total    12  6  1  5   17-10 19

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

Out of Europe and out of both domestic cup competitions, all that Tottenham have to play for is their pride with the aim of finishing high enough to qualify for next season's UEFA Cup competition. But, as will be seen above, playing against Watford at home it is by no means a foregone conclusion that Tottenham will win. No one who saw us humbled 5-1 by Watford in 1984-85 will take them for granted. We have a more recent reminder from our 3-2 home defeat in the Football League Cup in 1994-95.

Judging from George Graham's post-match comments on Wednesday night, there will be few changes to the team on Sunday afternoon. This is hardly surprising given our current lack of depth in the reserves. I had hoped to note one change but it appears that Graham intends to give Walker another chance. Personally I would have dropped Walker and recalled Baardsen.

Watford have been unable to adjust to the faster pace of Premier League football and have generally been well-beaten. Graham Taylor has largely stuck by the team that won promotion although in recent weeks he has been complaining that too many players give up hope rather too quickly for his liking when they fall behind. He could have been talking about Tottenham instead of Watford.

The likeable Taylor has trawled the lower Divisions and the reserve sides but it looks very much as if Watford's stay in the Premier league is going to be very brief. If it was not for Sheffield Wednesday's poor form at the bottom of the table, Watford might have been stranded. As it is they can still hope for survival as both of the two clubs immediately above them are having just as much bad luck as Watford as Bradford City and Derby County have lost many games by the odd goal.

Those Tottenham supporters who travel to White Hart Lane on Sunday afternoon will be looking for much more effort from those who start the match. I cannot, in all honesty, remember a game in which a Tottenham team has so abjectly surrendered as they did on Wednesday night. I have seen worse games than the one on Wednesday but, at least, Spurs have had one or two players prepared to continue to scrap long after the game had slipped beyond being redeemable. No one seemed prepared to scrap on Wednesday night.

For those of you who question Graham's feelings for the club, they should have noted how angry he was when he appeared on the touchline at one point during the second half. I have never previously seen Graham using industrial language but I did lipread him using some at some of the players during Wednesday's match. No one who has followed Graham's career as a manager will be surprised to learn that his pride has been dented. Never before has Graham been in charge of a team that has conceded six goals in a match as far as I can be sure. Graham is a winner and he will want to get back to being in a position where his teams win trophies. Whatever we feel about Arsenal, there is no doubt that Graham has what it takes to be a winner.

I think Wednesday night's match conclusively proved one thing. Sol Campbell is not the right player to captain Tottenham. I do not think a captain who plays by example is the right kind of captain for Tottenham. I admit that Blanchflower and Peters were captains out of that mould but neither Mackay, Mullery, Perryman and Roberts were all bullies, cajolers and fighters. All of them ran themselves into the ground in Tottenham's cause. Did we see any sign of that on Wednesday night?

Personally, having watched Tottenham since March 1957, I do not think the situation is quite as black as some people have painted it. There is the nucleus of a future side in the current squad. What we are lacking is a leader above anything else. Give me a rejuvenated Dave Mackay and I guarantee that Wednesday night's result will never be repeated.

And what will happen on Sunday afternoon? I think we can safely say that Graham will have bluntly told the players some home truths about their performance on Wednesday night. He will not tolerate a repetition of their feeble performance. I think Watford will be beaten but lacking a proven goalscorer up front, we cannot expect Watford to be soundly thrashed. But I do think we are capable of beating them at least 3-0 given their porous defence.

Can I please take this opportunity to wish all readers of my contributions a Very Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year?

Cheers, Brian

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