"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)
Huckerby 42, 84
Referee:- S. Dunn
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
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
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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