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Coventry v Spurs, 13.12.97

"It was Twenty Years ago today!"
article published December, 2017, but first written in 1997 by Jonathan Dunk

FA PREMIER LEAGUE
SATURDAY 13TH DECEMBER, 1997
COVENTRY CITY 4(1) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 0(0)

Scorers:-
Huckerby 42, 84
Breen, 63
Hall, 87

Attendance:- 19,490

Referee:- S. Dunn

Teams:-
Coventry:- Hedman; Nilsson, Burrows, Hall, Shaw, Breen, Telfer, Whelan (sub O'Neill), Dublin, McAllister (sub Soltvedt), Huckerby

Spurs:- Walker; Carr, Wilson (sub Edinburgh, 70), Nielsen, Calderwood, Mabbutt, Anderton (sub Iversen, 51), Fox, Ferdinand, Sinton (sub Clemence, 70), Ginola

This report came from Jonathan Dunk of the Spurs list:-

As I travelled to yesterdays game at Highfield Road I could not entertain even the possibility of Spurs drawing the game, let alone losing it. Surely the defeat against Chelsea, together with Coventrys inadequacies would mean that Spurs would overpower the Sky Blues in a way which would give all Spurs fans hope for the season ahead. How wrong I was.

The first half an hour was, as seems usual, witness to Spurs playing football which should surely see them challenging for a European position, let alone battling for survival. Ginola produced his familiar array of skills, culminating in one quite dazzling run through the Coventry defence which produced a fine save from the Swedish goalkeeper. Even players who I normally have little time for such as Fox and Wilson appeared to be giving their all and I have to say I was steadily becoming more convinced of a solid Spurs win.

The highlight of the first half in my opinion was when Steve Carr battled to win the ball back midway inside the Coventry half successfully, after which he proceeded to beat two men and fire a shot in which would, in a righteous world, have seen him score his first goal for the club. This however was not to be as the shot cannoned back from the base of the post to a position of safety. Nonetheless I must say that Carr was the star of the Spurs performance yesterday, throughout he battled and the determination was often visible upon his face.

All those on the list who demand two new full-backs should after yesterday revise their opinion of Carr, clearly there are far more pressing problems at the moment. Here is one player who is prepared to fight for the club and until we are challenging for titles and the like, Carr is a more than capable player to have in the team.

However, returning to the nightmare that was the game, the early promise was quickly extinguished by a familiar sight - that of a Spurs defence failing to cope with even journeyman strikers. The first goal could be attributed primarily to Clive Wilson's failure to deal with the danger, but if the overall position was analysed then clearly both he AND Mabbutt showed their lack of pace and ability to cope with Premiership football at their advanced ages. It pains me to say it about Mabbutt, someone who as I grew up was symbolic of what it should mean to wear the Tottenham shirt, but he is very much past it. I believe that if the situation arises again where deputies are required in the back-line then players such as Nethercott should be used ahead of Mabbutt. This is not to say that I want Mabbutt out of the club, by all means give him a role on the coaching staff, but to see him steadily fading away before our eyes is to do disservice to his reputation.

After the second goal went in the Spurs fans tried to rally the team but to be perfectly honest the side ran out of ideas and never really looked like getting back into the game.

The introduction of Iversen for Anderton, a player who is demonstrating now on a weekly basis just what a pale shadow of his former self he has now become, failed to make an impact and as the final 15 minutes approached hope was steadily being extinguished. However nothing had prepared me for the embarassment that was our abject surrender to a poor Coventry side which then followed.

Folding against Chelsea was one thing, they are a side we expected to lose to and they are always capable of destroying a team with their football. Coventry though is another matter entirely and being subjected to ridicule by their fans was more than I, or many others could stand. Whilst not normally someone who would turn on their own team I have to confess that I was a full participant in the chants against the players and sitting here the following day the only thing that baffles me is how this didn't start any earlier in the game.

The actions of Calderwood and some other players after the game were a disgrace, to ridicule your own supporters is beyond belief and shows just how arrogant some at the club have now become. These were people who had travelled long distances and paid vast sums to follow the team and to fail to realise that they had a right to vent their opinion defies any logic. Only two weeks earlier many of these players had gloried in the adulation which they received after struggling to beat a miserable Everton side and they must accept that if they receive such applause after a mediocre victory then such a disgraceful defeat as was witnessed yesterday will inevitably anger the fans.

So where now for Spurs I wonder? Surely this week will see Gross enter the transfer market to find reinforcements for the struggle that lies ahead and perhaps to begin the long process of getting rid of our vast amount of deadwood. The next month will decide the destiny of our season, a must win game against Barnsley is followed with games against Villa, Arsenal and Man Utd. To imagine Spurs getting much from these games is hard but this is what they must do if we are to avoid the disaster of relegation, which would in my opinion see us spiral out of control like Man City. These next 6 months really will shape the destiny of the club for a generation and I for one am absolutely terrified!

Still there's always hope so let's get down on our hands and knees and pray for a victory on Saturday!

 

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