"It was Twenty Years ago today!"
article published November, 2017, but first written in 1997
FA PREMIER LEAGUE
SATURDAY 8TH NOVEMBER, 1997
LIVERPOOL 4(0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 0(0)
Liverpool:- James; Jones (sub McAteer), Bjornebye, Kvarme, Matteo; Leonhardsen, Ince, Redknapp, McNanaman (sub Berger); Riedle (sub Owen), Fowler
Spurs:- Walker; Carr, Scales, Calderwood (sub Sinton, 68), Campbell, Edinburgh; Anderton (sub Dominguez, 68), Howells, Ginola; Iversen, Allen (sub Armstrong, 14)
Firstly, here are some comments I made during the game in an Internet conversation:-
Here's the team; the news of which was described as
sensational by Capital Gold's Jonathan Pearce:-
I think the word sensational was applied to the fact that
Anderton starts; as does Rory Allen! Dominguez and Armstrong are
"rested" but on the bench.
Ian Walker plays despite the death of his mother on Monday.
Team in full:-
Walker;Carr, Edinburgh; Scales, Campbell; Calderwood; ( don't
know his position yet )Howells, Anderton, Ginola; Iversen, and
Subs:- Bardsen; Sinton, Fox, Dominguez, Armstrong.
Liverpool 0 - Spurs 0
It looks like we're playing 5-3-2.
Allen went down injured early on, and is off the pitch as I
write! No editorial comment required. In fact, Armstrong is
getting ready to come on! Another astute GF move:)
Liverpool 0 - Spurs 0
Armstrong on for Allen. Soon after he set up Iversen, who
missed out. Ginola booked for foul. Cross from Ginola had James
flummoxed, but strikers unable to convert. Sounds like we've had
a lot of possession, and spirit!
Liverpool 0 - Spurs 0
We're well in this game, and the home crowd are pretty quiet.
Scales has brilliantly challenged either Fowler or Riedle just
before half-time. There was a loud appeal by the crowd for a
back-pass by Edinburgh, but he got away with it. Sounds like a
bit of Liverpool pressure just before the half time whistle.
Ginola shot into James' chest
Woe is us, after such a good first half, we've been caught on
Liverpool 2 - Spurs 0
Macnanaman ( 48mins ) Leonhardsen ( 50mins )
Walker palmed out a Redknapp shot, for Macnanaman to score
from 3 yds. Scales and Carr looking at each other quizzically,
over who should have been tracking Macnanaman. 2 minutes later
Leonardsen scores, again after Walker saved a shot
Fowler has just hit the post from a sharp angle. Pack yer bags
It's getting worse:((
Liverpool 3 - Spurs 0
Macnanaman ( 48mins ) Leonhardsen ( 50mins ) Redknapp ( 65mins)
Haven't heard much mention of Anderton, and he's now been
substituted. He and Calderwood are off. Sinton, and Dominguez are
It's sounded pretty much oneway traffic this half, and the
fans are singing "Bye-bye Gerry, Bye-Bye"
We've used all our subs,and now Iversen is getting
One more up-date to come with the final scores. Glad I didn't
pay for the jumbotron:(
FINAL SCORES - ALL CONFIRMED. I wish I could say it had been a
pleasure doing the job today. If I hear of Gerry's resignation,
maybe I'll do one more up-date. A man of honour would walk
Oh the misery...................
Liverpool 4 - Spurs 0
Macnanaman ( 48mins ) Leonhardsen ( 50mins ) Redknapp ( 65mins
) Owen ( 80mins )
Iversen described as a passenger since the last up-date. A
resounding "We'll support you evermore" was heard from
the Spurs support before this 4th goal. HE MUST GO NOW, MUSTN'T
HE? The commentators seem to be shifting the blame onto the
players, for being individuals, and not a team, but whose fault
The only consolation is that we don't go bottom three, because
Bolton, Barnsley, and Sheffield Wednesday remain below us, and
Everton. Southampton move above us.
......and some comments from Ivan Cohen.:-
For the past few years I have always looked forward to a trip
to Anfield as one of the highlights of Spurs' season. The games
have largely been pleasurable; the trip itself is quite
enjoyable; the atmosphere at Anfield is still a notable
experience; and the Scousers are among the friendlier supporters
in my experience. However, given Spurs' recent run of dire
performances I decided to give the trip a miss this year, opting
instead for the live-screening of the match on the Jumbotron at
White Hart Lane.
My feeling prior to the game was that this was a match that
Spurs would gain a creditable draw, or find themselves on the
wrong end of a severe thrashing. I said as much to my fellow
viewers at WHL, upon meeting them. Along with my wife, the lovely
Jeanine, my brother Neil and his wife Linda, and the legendary
Bruce Lewis and Elaine, we were also joined by former
List-luminary Dave du Vergier, a veritable wit among football
cognoscenti and all-time nice bloke!
Spurs had apparently not won an away match since March, and
had a current(ish) form of one win in the last nine matches.
Whatever the perceived problems with the current Liverpool
incarnation, they were always the better team on paper before a
ball had been kicked. The Spurs line-up looked to have a much
better balance than in previous games:
Ian Walker played in goal despite his bereavement earlier in
the week (our condolences to all the Walker family on their sad
loss). Manager Gerry Francis opted for a five-man defence, with
Sol Campbell, Colin Calderwood and John Scales in the central
roles, Steve Carr on the right and Justin Edinburgh on the left.
Midfield consisted of David Howells, Darren Anderton and David
Ginola, with the latter playing mostly left-side. The front-line
was Steffen Iversen and the returning Rory Allen. Chris
Armstrong--who has not looked to be fit enough to be playing
first-team football after a long injury lay-off-- was joined on
the bench by goalkeeper Espen Baardsen, and wingers Dominguez,
Sinton and Fox.
For the first half Spurs played some neat compact football.
Movement off-the-ball was good, and the passing which has been
notable by its absence for far too long seemed to manifest itself
with increasing confidence as the first half wore on. Spurs
managed to both attack and defend as a team. When Liverpool were
in possession they found an intractable body of Spurs players
between them and Ian Walker's goal. What few chances they had
were restricted to rather poor long-range efforts. Spurs
countered quickly throughout, and probably had a slight edge in
The first half contained only two real negatives pertaining to
Spurs: first was the loss of Rory Allen to an elbow from Robbie
Fowler (not Fowler's first attempt at over-physical intimidation
during the game!). Although Armstrong deputised for Allen, his
lack of match fitness seemed even more noticable than either
Allen or Iversen, both of whom were also returning from long-term
injury. Secondly, Iversen palpably tired by the half-hour mark,
leaving Spurs with an ineffectual front-line for the remainder.
A nil-nil half-time scoreline suggested that Spurs were doing
things well, and that maybe (just maybe) Gerry Francis was
finally beginning to turn things round. Although the crowd at
White Hart Lane was one of the smallest I have encountered for a
Jumbotron screening, there was a manifest optimism among the
faithful gathered there. The general feeling was that forty-five
more minutes of the same would give Spurs a draw at least. But it
was not to be...
Two minutes or so into the second half, Spurs found themselves
defending the edge of the box. But, following the switch of
McNanaman to the left side of the field, Liverpool hit a shot
which Walker could only parry (the surface seemed to be quite
greasy on top), yet the Spurs' defenders remained relatively
static as a red-shirted player snuck in to score from the
rebound. But, these things happen in football. Surely Spurs would
regroup quickly and take the game back to Liverpool? No! Within
minutes a similar situation saw more static defending by the
entire Spurs' team, another parried shot, and a second goal. In
short, two minutes of lapsed concentration and Spurs were two
Surely now the supreme leadership from the defensive colossus
of Sol Campbell would combine with phenomenal support from Spurs'
travelling contingent to lift the lads in white to a rousing
riposte? No! This was capitulation time. Heads dropped. Spurs
ceased to run off the ball. Liverpool could easily play
possession football without any real challenge. Pride was wholly
absent, yet not from the Spurs' supporters who continually urged
the team on. Their vocal efforts deserved more from the
characterless caricatures of Spurs' players assembled on the
hallowed turf at Anfield. It was no real surprise that Liverpool
scored two more goals before referee Lodge blew the final whistle
to put us out of our misery.
As we left the ground with our heads hung low, I consoled
myself with the fact that I was going to see "The Full
Monty" later that evening. At least that lived up to
expectation, and provided me with fulfilling entertainment. Part
of me felt that this loss could not entirely be chalked up to
Gerry Francis: after all, the first half performance was rather
good, and gave cause for optimism. It offered the possibility of
a sound foundation to build upon. But the other part of my brain
was arguing that the lack of character begins with the
foundations the manager has laid at the club in the past few
seasons. It is a team he has built in his own image. And to the
man's credit, when interviewed on the radio he (finally) accepted
full responsibility: no more excuses about injuries; no more
tales of unfulfilled transfers. Finally, some words about where
the buck stops, and who is responsible. The players when
interviewed appear to have faith in the manager, although one
would hardly expect them to say anything else to the media.
Gerry says that he will be in discussion with Alan Sugar over
the next fortnight (ie, before the next Premiership match) about
the future at White Hart Lane. With Spurs perilously close to the
drop zone, and the shareholders' Annual General Meeting slated
for Thursday November 27th (2:30pm) the next fortnight should see
most Spurs' supporters biting their nails to the quick, awaiting
the outcome of these meetings. Radio suggests that should Francis
leave, the favourites for his successor are Jurgen Klinsmann, Joe
Kinnear or George Graham. Perhaps they read this List? I suspect
that the bookies will have more on the inside track of this
particular race ;-)
Ivan "Doctor Hotspur" Cohen
Postscript:- It was a couple of days after this
game that Gerry Francis did indeed announce his resignation.
Chris Hughton took charge for the next game against Crystal
Palace, before the installation of Christian Gross
· Read Brian Judson's preview for this game.
· All the Spurs Stats you could hope for here! THFC6061 Sports Stats
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