"It was Twenty Years ago today!"
article published November, 2017, but first written in 1997 by the late Brian Judson
Saturday, November 1st, 1997
FA Carling Premiership
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (0) 0 LEEDS UNITED (1) 1
Tottenham Hotspur : Walker; Scales, Campbell, Mabbutt (sub Carr, 45),
Edinburgh; Howells (sub Anderton, 69), Fox, Ginola, Sinton, Dominguez
(sub Iversen, 45); Armstrong.
Substitutes *NOT* used : Baardsen, Calderwood.
Booked : Ginola.
Leeds United : Martyn; Maybury, Wetherall, Radebe, Robertson; Haaland,
Kelly, Hopkin, Ribeiro; Wallace, Kewell.
Substitutes *NOT* used : Beeney, Haisselbank, Bowyer, Harte, Molenaar.
Booked : Hopkin, Maybury.
Referee : Mr K Burge (Tonypandy).
Attendance : 26,441.
They may not be the finished article as yet. They may have some glaring
weaknesses. But sometime in the next two or three years one of these
sides on view at White Hart Lane on Saturday will win the Premiership.
Because they clearly demonstrated how hungry they were to win the match.
Because they showed a willingness to supply hard running off-the-ball in
support of a player with the ball. Because they know that hard work is
the key to winning a match. And that side, I am sorry to say, will be
Let me make it abundantly clear from the outset of this report. Tottenham
were crap, rubbish, hopeless. They lacked shape. They had no will to win.
Only two players can hope to escape censure regarding their performance
and those two players are the best we currently have on view at Tottenham
at the moment. And to make it clear who I am referring to, I am talking
about our colussus in defence, Sol Campbell, and the much criticised Ian
When the team was announced before the game, I audibly groaned when I saw
Mabbutt was named in the team and Calderwood and Carr were on the bench.
We have very few specialists for the right back (or right wing back
position) and John Scales is not one of them. Carr has his faults but
those are largely due to failures on the part of other misfits in the
team. Mabbutt, as I have argued before, should not be an automatic choice
any longer but used as a squad player and play mostly in the reserves to
help the development of our younger players. He no longer has the pace to
play in Premiership matches. And Calderwood : my views on his
shortcomings have all too forcefully been expressed in the past.
I know there is a view that 'Dustbin' should not play in the team but who
else is there? I know there is support for Jamie Clapham but I have not
seen him myself and cannot express a point of view on that. Suffice to
say that, whatever his cultural background and upbringing, however sad
that may have been, on the field, 'Dustbin' has *always* given a 100 per
cent, if not always a lillywhite one, performance. He is combative and
determined but does not always make the right pass at the right time. But
until there is someone who can hack it for us in that position, I think
we will have to settle for Edinburgh.
From the outset of the afternoon's proceedings, it was always clear there
was only going to be one winner. Tottenham were generally clueless in the
first half. Part of the reason for that was that Tottenham allowed Leeds,
particularly Hopkin, to dictate the proceedings in midfield. Howells, for
me, demonstrated precisely why he is the wrong player for the key
midfield position. He, as always, is far too one-paced and slow to assess
situations. Mabbutt may be a better reader of the game but he has lost
his greatest asset, his pace, to the inexorable march of time.
In the 19th minute, Robertson pushed through a precise pass that left
Scales completely flat-footed and Wallace one-on-one with Walker. Wallace
made no mistake as Walker came out in an attempt to retrieve the
situation. The Leeds celebrations were joyous and uninhibited.
For me, the one mystery of the first half was how Leeds failed to take
advantage of that goal. They could and should have gone in for half-time
at least 5-0 ahead. Some of the reasons for their failure to do so could
be to Walker's credit in playing so well in adversity but Leeds were very
wasteful at times.
During half-time, I remembered Hopkins' final game for Crystal Palace at
Wembley last season and the clinical strike that gave Palace promotion at
Sheffield United's expense. Hopkins reminds me a great deal of Graham
Roberts. He is not a pretty player but that is not his job to be pretty.
Hopkins exemplifies everything we have not got in abundance at Tottenham.
The second half, from a Tottenham point of view was slightly better. Carr
and Iversen replaced Mabbutt and Dominguez. Jose, it has to be said,
contributed nothing to Tottenham's poor first half. He allowed himself to
be intimidated by the Leeds defenders and looked increasingly forlorn
Martyn was slightly more busy in the second half but was rarely troubled.
Campbell forced him to make a world class save when heading the ball for
what looked likely to be a certain goal. But Martyn was rarely seriously
Unusually for Leeds, there were few bookings. Perhaps George Graham has
impressed on them the need to avoid collecting bookings, something he did
not address at Arsenal. Whatever it was, only Hopkin and Maybury were
booked. Ginola's booking was his own fault for making a spectacular dive
that would have earned 6.0 for presentation in a diving event at the
Where do we go from here? It is easy to blame the manager but it is not
all his fault. He cannot influence the events on the park. And I must
remind you that Tottenham teams down the years have had the same attitude
from time to time. Even the Double side displayed a reluctance to work
for other players occasionally. It is this lack of off the ball support,
leaving players isolated and surrounded by defenders, that annoys me
intensely. They should watch videos of all the great teams and some
average ones, like Southampton at Everton yesterday, and note how some
juducious off the ball support can throw opposing defenders into two
And Anderton? He might just as well have remained on the bench for all
the effort he put in. At times he looked lost as Leeds bypassed him.
In the three weeks before the next home game, Tottenham *HAVE* to do
something about that invisible midfield. We need a ball winner in
midfield. We do *NOT* want two poseurs in midfield : if all they can do
is to strike attitudes and belly flop from time to time, let us find
someone who is prepared to *WORK* like the great Dave Mackay, who always
refused to recognise a game had been lost until ten seconds after the
final whistle had echoed.
In the arguement of style, flair and panache, I think we should forget
about entertaining people for the moment and start to think about
grinding out some results. It will not be pretty but it will help
Tottenham to avoid being sucked down into the relegation whirlpool. The
time to think about entertaining football will be when we have the
players capable of playing in style allied to playing combative football
when it is needed.
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