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Spurs Odyssey Preview - Chelsea v Spurs, 19.12.98

This preview was written by Brian Judson




Full Record of Tottenham Hotspur -v- Chelsea



PremPl W D L For-Ag Pts
Home 60 3 3 5-12 3
Away 60 3 36-11  3
==========================================
Total (Prem) 120 6 611-23 6
==========================================
Football Lge
Home (Div 1) 42 20 9 13 79-57 51
Away (Div 1) 42 19 6 1763-50 46
==========================================
Total (Div 1) 84 39 15 30142-107 97
==========================================
Football Lge
Home (Div 2) 2 1 1 0 7-4  3
Away (Div 2) 2 0 1 11-4  1
==========================================
Total (Div 2) 4 1 2 1 8-8  4
==========================================
Total (Prem) 120 6 611-23 6
Total (Div 1) 84 39 15 30142-10797
Total (Div 2) 4 1 2 1 8-8  4
===========================================
Grand Total100 40 23 37161-138 110
===========================================

For the first time for a very long time, I am not viewing this match with trepidation. In the past we have been let down with a resounding thump with some truly awful displays by Tottenham, particularly by our defence. No one who saw the 1-6 thrashing last December will particularly want to be reminded of the fact we have not beaten Chelsea for almost 10 years. But since the arrival of George Graham as Tottenham's manager, I have been convinced this is the season we will stop the march of the Blues.

We are, of course, still a long way short of the kind of team we want to be but, fired by George Graham's ambition and organisation, Tottenham are no longer the pushovers we once were. Even the most hapless of our defenders has a spring in his heel these days. Moreover, we now have two classy defenders in our back four since the emergence of Luke Young, who may have saved us from spending a fortune in the transfer market.

Whenever we play Chelsea at the Bridge, my mind goes back to 14 November 1970 to the match I remain convinced is the best game I have ever seen both sides play in this fixture. Those who were there will recall the game easily. For those who weren't ....

I remember my cousin and I, then in our early 20s, arrived at the Bridge about 2pm or thereabouts. About 2.45pm, the sky became black and a torrential downpour began. (It lasted until the small hours of the Sunday morning.) It really teemed down in torrents. The nearest I have ever seen this before or since has been seeing film of Niagara Falls : it looked that heavy.

The game began and both sides produced very attractive football despite the mayhap. Apparently (we found out afterwards) the referee Pat Partridge quietly spoke to both team captains, Ron Harris and Alan Mullery, during the game to ask whether they wanted him to abandon the game but both insisted they wanted to play on.

Back and forth went the play with both keepers, Bonetti and Jennings, kept very busy. Our supporters at the Britannia End barracked Bonetti with "Bonetti lost the World Cup, Bonetti lost the World Cup, Bonetti lost the World Cup, And say so all of us!" in a reference to West Germany beating England 3-2 after extra time the previous summer after Mullery and Peters had put England 2-0 ahead with 15 minutes left.

At 4.40pm with no score and the rain still teeming, my cousin suggested we leave early to avoid queueing at Fulham Broadway. And then Spurs won a corner. From the corner, Mullery volleyed us ahead from the edge of the penalty area. Chelsea re-started the game and Spurs roared into the attack. Chivers took a long throw-in, Gilzean dummied and Pearce tapped the ball home to make it 2-0. From the re-start, Spurs again roared on the attack and a long shot from Chivers severely rattled the cross-bar.

Queueing in the rain for the tube, absolutely soaked to the skin, it amused me to see our boys from the Britannia End escorted to the tube by the local police, still singing, "CHELSEA 0 TOT'NAM 2! HALLELUJAH! CHELSEA 0 TOT'NAM 2! HALLELUJAH! NOW YOU'VE GOTTA BELIEVE US! NOW YOU'VE GOTTA BELIEVE US! NOW YOU'VE GOTTA BELIEVE US! WE'RE GOING TO WIN THE LEAGUE!"

The following week, of course, we crashed at home!

Another match I always enjoy recalling, though not a League match, was the 5th Round tie at Chelsea on 6 March 1982. I remember Chelsea went ahead in the first half and we looked on our way out of the Cup as we couldn't string passes together. And then out of nothing Spurs scored three goals in five minutes with Hazard, Archibald and Hoddle scoring three corkers. Mayes scored a late goal to leave us biting our finger nails but we need not have worried. That cup-tie was, in my opinion, the true cup final and not the boring shambles against QPR when we first came across that hopeless idiot who later despoiled our shirt. (ed:- Brian refers to Terry Fenwick here!)

My first visit to Stamford Bridge was in September 1963 when Chelsea had just returned to the First Division after a season downstairs. They had a very exciting team with the average age about 18 and a young manager called Tommy Docherty. If I correctly recall, there were two future Spurs managers in that Chelsea team : Messrs Venables and Graham. (Ed:- venables played, but Graham did not arrive at Chelsea until the following year) Spurs won 3-0 with goals from Peter Baker, Bobby Smith and an own goal from Ken Shellito. This was the only goal of the three Peter Baker scored that I actually witnessed. It was a long range effort, if I recall rightly.

Another game from the '60s was the FA Cup defeat in February 1965. No fewer that 63,305 people crammed into the ground at the Bridge. Spurs lost 1-0 but it isn't the game I recall most but the fear I had after the game. We were standing on the huge terracing that used to run from the Fulham Road entrances to the Britannia End which was open. There were something like 30 flights of steps to clamber to reach the top of the stairs. Up the top there was a very narrow staircase to descend from to ground level AND NO HANDRAIL! One mistake and it was a very long fall to concrete. There was a great deal of pushing and shoving but at least I got down in one piece. We then had to make our way to the street exit and there was a lot of pushing and shoving again. Suddenly there was a huge push and people were falling on railings which buckled under the pressure. We were damn bloody lucky it did not become a Hillsborough! I never went back to Chelsea until I was able to purchase seats after that.

Chelsea have been playing well this year and will not be easy to beat but I think we are capable of snatching a narrow win, possibly 1-0, because of Chelsea's midweek game against Manchester United. They will be tired from that!

Cheers, Brian

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