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Spurs Odyssey Preview - Nottingham Forest v Spurs, 17.04.99

This preview was written by Brian Judson.

Full Record of Spurs -v- Nottingham Forest

Premier        Pl   W   D   L   For-Ag   Pts
Home            5   2   0   3     5-7     6
Away            4   0   1   3     5-8     1
Total (Prem)    9   2   1   6    10-15    7
Football Lge
Home (Div 1)   34  20   4  10    76-46    48
Away (Div 1)   34  17  10   7    48-37    50
Total (Div 1)  68  37  14  17   124-83    98
Football Lge
Home (Div 2)   13   8   3   2    25-15    19
Away (Div 2)   13   1   6   6    15-25     8
Total (Div 2)  26   9   9   8    40-40    27
Total (Prem)    9   2   1   6    10-15    7
Total (Div 1)  68  37  14  17   124-83    98
Total (Div 2)  26   9   9   8    40-40    27
Grand Total   103  48  24  31   174-138  132

This is the perfect fixture for Spurs and Spurs fans to erase the memory of last weekend's disappointment. Although the City Ground has not been a happy hunting ground for us in the Premiership, it has been a 'lucky' ground for us in the past. Should Spurs win on Saturday, we will condemn Nottingham Forest to relegation to the Football League. That would be the perfect irony since Irving Scholar was a member of the consortium that took over Nottingham Forest, although he does not seem to be on their Board of Directors.

It is only since the mid-50s that Nottingham Forest have enjoyed pre-eminence. Between the wars they spent most of their time in the old Division Two. In the late 1940s, they even slipped to the old Third Division (South) but by the mid-1950s, they had climbed back to the First Division for the first time since being relegated at the end of season 1924-25.

Before the heyday of Brian Clough's teams at the end of the 1970s, their best period had been their brief flowering in the mid-1960s when Johnny Carey, the former Manchester United defender, had been their manager. But it was under the stewardship of Clough and Taylor that a mixed bag of misfits and skilled players suddenly gelled and conquered Europe in two successive seasons. They were a very workmanlike team with little flair but by golly! they had guts and tenacity which stood them in good stead as they managed to play 42 League matches without defeat from November 1977 to December 1978 in the old First Division, a record that will take a very long time to remove from the record books, if at all.

Spurs' 4-0 win at Nottingham Forest in 1960-61 came the weekend after they had been held at home to Manchester City, 1-1, the first point that Spurs had dropped that season. The pundits wondered whether that dropped point presaged a collapse after their sparkling start to the season. Bill Nicholson missed the game through illness but must have been heartened by the reports he received about the game. White chipped the ball over Thompson, the Forest 'keeper, to put Spurs ahead in the 7th minute. Mackay added the second 12 minutes later when his shot-cum-centre glanced off centre-half McKinlay to fly into his own goal. In the 24th minute, Bobby Smith headed the ball to Jones, who rolled the ball home. 3-0! The fourth goal came almost as an afterthought in the second half. Mackay took his time before chipping the ball to Jones, who headed home. Goalkeeper Bill Brown had virtually nothing to do all afternoon, making only one save.

Spurs' win at Nottingham Forest on Boxing Day 1964 was their only away victory that season. It was also the only occasion for 18 months after joining Spurs that Gilzean scored a goal outside London. Cliff Jones scored the other goal.

The 1-1 draw that Spurs secured at Nottingham Forest on 4 February 1967 was part of the long undefeated run from January to September 1967 that saw Spurs go 28 League matches without defeat, our longest ever undefeated sequence. Inevitably, a certain Jimmy Greaves scored our goal. He loved scoring against Nottingham Forest : I think he scored something like 23 goals against them.

It has been suggested on the List that Spurs once condemned Nottingham Forest to relegation by beating them 6-1. But the only 6-1 victory that I can remember took place at Tottenham in October 1971. We certainly haven't beaten Nottingham Forest 6-1 away!

Our away draw at Nottingham Forest on the opening day of the 1978-79 season marked the Tottenham debut of Ardiles and Villa and our return to the old Division 1 after promotion from the old Second Division at the end of season 1977-78. Villa scored our goal in the 1-1 draw.

In more recent years, Nottingham Forest have become a yo-yo side, too good for Division One but not good enough for the Premier League. Last season they raced away with the First Division championship but this season has seen them permanently nailed to the floor of the Premier League. If we win on Saturday, they will be relegated at the end of the season. Their cause was certainly not helped by van Hooijdonk going on strike for three months at the start of the season, thereby undermining any chance of survival they might have had. He was undoubtedly correct in his blunt assessment of their chances for survival but given his predatory goalscoring skills he might have enabled them to survive by the skin of their teeth. After all he scored 29 goals (including 6 penalties) out of the 82 goals they scored in the League last season!

No team managed by Ron Atkinson is going to surrender without a fight but given their poor morale, the recent departure of Steve Stone, the one player capable of battling against the odds, and Spurs' desire to better their League position after last weekend's disappointing result, I think Spurs are capable of winning 3-0 at least. I shall feel very disappointed if we do not win at the City Ground this weekend!

Cheers, Brian

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