"It was Twenty Years ago today!"
article published March, 2018, but first written in 1998 by the late Brian Judson. This report is followed by my personal comments written after the game.
Saturday, March 14th, 1998
FA Carling Premiership
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (1) 3 LIVERPOOL (1) 3
Tottenham Hotspur : Baardsen; Carr, Vega, Campbell, Wilson; Fox, Berti,
Nielsen, Ginola (sub Brady, 86); Armstrong (sub Howells, 60), Klinsmann.
Substitutes *NOT* used : Grodas, Mabbutt, Calderwood.
Booked : Berti, Ginola.
Goalscorers : Klinsmann 13, Ginola 49, Vega 80.
Liverpool : Friedel; Jones, Harkness, Matteo, Carragher (sub Thompson,
61), Bjornebye; McManaman, Ince, Redknapp, Leonhardsen (sub Babb, 67);
Substitutes *NOT* used : James, Kvarme, Murphy.
Booked : Harkness, Thompson, Jones.
Goalscorers : McManaman 21, 89, Ince 64.
Referee : Mr U D Rennie (South Yorkshire).
Attendance : 30,245.
Spurs were entitled to feel aggrieved about the result of this match.
Each and everyone of the players had given 150 per cent effort and
commitment to the cause of Tottenham Hotspur throughout the ninety
minutes. The crowd, catching the mood of the players, remained defiant
throughout the match, undoubtedly boosting the confidence of the
Tottenham players. Although it is unfair to the whole team to single out
individuals, I feel that (in no special order) Berti, Klinsmann, Ginola,
Campbell, Carr and Baardsen particularly stood out.
The back-biting and peevishness that the media had persistently reported
since the defeat at Leeds ten days before was not apparent as the team
warmed up before the game. Each player came out to a rapturous welcome by
the fans, particularly those at the Edmonton end of the ground.
Klinsmann, the subject of the media criticism, came out to the loudest
applause of all.
At the other end of the pitch, Liverpool warmed up with only one
recognised striker on view. Traditionally, Liverpool have always hunted
in pairs. In the '60s, it was Hunt and St John; in the '70s, Toshack and
Keegan; in the '80s, Dalglish and Rush. But in the '90s, there have not
been obvious successors to their predecessors. Rush and Fowler shared a
couple of seasons but kept getting in each others way until Rush left for
Leeds. Fowler ploughed a lonely furrow up front but seemed to have a
knack for scoring spectacular goals. Then, earlier this season, the very
young Michael Owen emerged from the reserves to suggest that he will be a
bigger superstar than Dalglish over a period of time.
But, despite their high position in the League, I am not convinced that
Liverpool are anything but an unconvincing shadow of their predecessors.
I cannot imagine, for example, a Liverpool side of Shankly's or Paisley's
abjectly surrendering to the likes of Barnsley, Leicester and
Southampton. One wonders what some of the Liverpool greats think of those
kind of results.
So Spurs had no need to have an inferiority complex as the game got under
way. It was soon end-to-end excitement with both goalkeepers kept on
their toes. Friedel has at long last managed to find a niche with a
Premiership side after being denied work permits with a number of other
clubs. I suspect that he may well deny 'Calamity' James a return to the
team. At the other end, Baardsen, with only a handful of games behind
him, is already showing signs of preventing Ian Walker an automatic
return to the team after injury. To my mind, Baardsen is a much better
'keeper than Walker, particularly in marshalling his defenders in dead
Tottenham went ahead in the 13th minute. Carr made a quick throw-in to
Ginola, whose centre was anticipated by Klinsmann, whose leap like a
salmon nodded the ball behind Friedel. Klinsmann led the joyous
celebrations as Liverpool looked at each other in mute accusations "I
thought *YOU* were marking Klinsmann!".
This might not be the Liverpool of old but they do know how to fight back
sometimes. McManaman began to run around, his long legs reminding me of
pistons on an steam express train as he charged about. Their equaliser
came seconds after Friedel had denied Klinsmann from extending Spurs'
fragile lead. Vega was caught by the onrushing Owen. Owen took the ball
to the bye-line, made a quick glance around and saw the on-rushing
McManaman. The tousled haired McManaman never lost a beat in his stride
as he collected the pass from Owen and fired the ball into an unguarded
corner of Tottenham's goal.
Well might the Mersey hordes celebrate! Their midfield was clearly
superior to Tottenham's where far too much depended on Ginola. The fans
often saw opportunities long before the Frenchman, who was occasionally
caught in possession of the ball. Ince charged around incessantly, urging
on his comrades, but without the headless chicken syndrome he is
sometimes prone to adopt, usually incurring a needless booking in the
process. There are signs that Ince is at long last growing up and
concealing the chip on his shoulder.
Spurs made a brilliant start to the second half. Berti, wide on the left,
saw Ginola totally unmarked, wide on the right. The Liverpool defence
were caught flatfooted as Ginola took two strides before drilling the
ball home to restore Tottenham's lead. But his Gallic exuberance cost him
dearly through over celebrating his goal. A booking was made for wasting
time and that means he will be unavailable for the match against Crystal
It did not take Liverpool long to draw level. McManaman freed substitute
Thompson, who dashed away. He steadied himself from his onrush to clip
the ball into the six yard box. Ince launched himself into space and
Baardsen had no chance to prevent Ince's brilliant scissor-kick.
But Spurs were not going to concede hopes of a famous victory. With ten
minutes left, Spurs won a corner on the right. Ginola's in-swinging
corner found Vega, who forcefully headed the ball home.
It looked as if Spurs had won a famous victory as the seconds slipped
away but right at the end of normal time, Vega and Baardsen mis-read each
other's intentions, allowing Owen a clear shot of a totally unguarded
goal. Owen's shot hit an upright but before any Tottenham defender could
re-act, McManaman had made long lazy strides to ensure Liverpool were
going back to Anfield with a thoroughly deserved point.
I did not begrudge Liverpool their point. They had certainly deserved it.
It was cruel luck for Tottenham on a day they produced their best
football of the season. Herr Gross remained upbeat after the match,
saying, "I saw today a team with great desire and a belief they can stay
up. I'm optimistic at all times. You saw a team that was 100 per cent
committed and playing with great togetherness. I really believe we can
stay in the Premiership."
Roy Evans was not satisfied with his team's performance. "When you go
away from home and score three goals, you expect to win a game. We were
not positive defensively. We don't make strong enough physical challenges
for the ball. Everyone is finding it difficult to win games. We are high
up in the League but I feel that if we were stronger in defence we would
be a lot closer than we are at the moment." And, of course, if they were
able to play one of their former defenders from the '80s, I'm sure a lot
more would be said about some of the slack marking that allowed Klinsmann
to score the first goal. I don't think Alan Hansen would have allowed
Klinsmann that much freedom!
We now have a week off from the strain of the relegation battle before
resuming our endeavours in the quest for survival at Selhurst Park in two
weeks time. That is a game we simply dare not drop points and where we
must, if we can, score goals to improve our goal difference, which is how
the occupants of the 17th and 18th position may be finally separated.
By now, most of you will have seen some highlights of the game, and
others do a full report, so I just thought I'd offer a few comments.
First of all, several fans were moaning about the result on Capital
Gold. One even went so far as to say that the two points lost could
cost us our place. Personally, I don't think this will be the case,,
and I would like to point out that this draw ranks as an "optimistic"
result, and that we are on target for survival. Barnsley are making
good progress, but they got one or two vital players injured
yesterday, including Ashley Ward. Survival is very much in our hands,
as we still have to play Everton, Palace, and Barnsley. In fairness,
Palace look dead in the water to me, and the time to worry will be if
we don't get a result there in two weeks time. If we carry on playing
like we did yesterday, I think we'll be alright, and at least we have
some excitement to look forward to at the end of a season, for a
Regarding the game, I thought it was the best game seen at the Lane for
quite a while. Real edge of the seat stuff. Whilst we hit the woodwork
twice, Baardsen saved our bacon at least twice, and either side could have
won, and I think a draw was a fair result.
I'll offer some comments about individual performances:-
Baardsen:- As stated, some life-giving saves. Another really good
performance, and in my view, enough to keep Walker on the sidelines, when he
Carr:- One of our best players yesterday. Always battling, won a lot of
ball, and showed skill in attack too.
Wilson: Hold on to your hats; Clive had quite a good game, in my view. Yes,
he is slow, and most attacks seemed to come down the left, but he made some
good tackles, AND made some penetrating long balls.
Campbell:- Whilst not playing at his best, he is still far better
Vega:- What an enigma. Okay, he wears his ( Tottenham ) heart on his sleeve,
and he scored our third goal, but he couldn't cope with Owen. Maybe Sol
should have been on Owen. As for Owen, he is a super little player, who in
my view will be going to France. There was some comment from Clive Allen on
the radio to the effect that Vega was not moving up with the rest of the
defence, preventing offside decisions in our favour.
Berti:- This guy seems to get better as the game progresses. A good battling
performance, and a good pass to Daveed for that super goal.
Nielsen:- Had a nightmare, in my view. Yes, he hit the woodword twice, but
he was always slow to the ball, both when passed to, and in challenging
opponents. This was possibly his worse game for us.
Fox:- Was getting some stick around me, but he played deeper, due to
Daveed's free role behind the front two, and I thought he did alright,
particularly coming out of defence. A break-away from Fox led to the
pressure which gave us our first goal.
Ginola:- Say no more. Definitely the best player on the park. To get the bad
news out of the way, he made a gaff giving a super pass to McNanaman, but we
managed to survive the ensuing pressure. Daveed also got booked, which I
think means he will miss the Palace game. Maybe Saib will be fit for that
one, and play a Ginola-like role. Received the throw in from Carr, turned
and beat two 'Pool players, sent the cross for Jurgen to head home after 12
minutes. Ginola's goal early in the second half was the best I've seen at the
Lane since JK's goal against Sheffield Wednesday ( or maybe Daveed's
against them this season ! ) He received Berti's pass outside the box in a
central location, took it a little to the left and from fully 25 yards hit a
low sweet drive which curled into the corner to beat Friedel at full
stretch. A marvellous moment, that had the whole home contingent on their
feet chanting "Ginola Ginola" in unison. Was he subbed 2 minutes from the
end to allow him to milk the applause? I think so. Was it a mistake to sub
him, that led to Liverpool's final equaliser? I don't think so. Erlend,
Daveed will be getting my March POTM vote too!
Klinsmann:- Before the game I predicted JK would score the first goal after
12 minutes. I was right! Pity I didn't have a bet. Ah - but I also thought
we'd win 2-1, so I was only half right. Jk should have added to his tally in
the first half, when he was again put through by Ginola. I think the old JK
would have scored that one, but that first goal seemed to heal all the
alleged rifts in the club. I think Ginola was laying the ball off a bit
earlier on several occasions, so JK's influence seems to have had an effect.
On the other hand Gross did not play Daveed wide on the left, as allegedly
Jurgen wants, so there's been some give and take.
Armstrong:- Not fully fit, but his pace was effective. He didn't seem to be
getting much headway yesterday. Was subbed by Howells mid second half.
Howells:- I don't think he got into the game enough.
Brady:- Late sub for Ginola, had a good run on goal when we were 3-3, could
have shot, waited for Fox, Fox fluffed his shot, the ball fell to JK who as
a reaction diverted the ball, but it went over.
From a defensive point of view, at times the "polo" midfield was in action,
giving Liverpool too much control in that area. The other thing is that Owen
is so fast, that he is likely to beat defenders ( even Sol ) to long balls
sent in his direction.
And finally, the old crocks team ( Anderton, Iverson, Clemence, Austin, and
co could be spotted at table 24 in the "Crossbar" hospitality suite. Didn't
spot Ferdinand )
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