"It was Twenty Years ago today!"
article published April, 2018, but first written in 1998
FA PREMIER LEAGUE
SATURDAY 25TH APRIL, 1998
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2(1) NEWCASTLE UNITED 0(0)
Referee:- Jeff Winter
Spurs (4-4-2):- Walker; Carr, Vega, Campbell, Calderwood; Fox,
Anderton (sub Saib, 69), Berti, Ginola; Klinsmann, Ferdinand.
Subs not used:- Baardsen; Scales; Clemence; Armstrong
Booked:- Ferdinand (Dissent), Vega (foul)
Newcastle (5-3-2):- Given; Watson, Dabizas, Albert (sub Gillespie 49, sub Ketsbaia 53), Pearce, Pistone;
Barton, Batty, Speed; Andersson, Shearer.
Subs not used:- Hislop; Howey; Barnes.
Booked:- Pistone (foul), Watson
Some Spurs fans were probably surprised, and disappointed at
the inclusion in the starting line-up of Vega, and Klinsmann, and
also at the fact that Calderwood was to play at left back. The
fact that Anderton was to start the game was greeted with
elation. Anderton was to feature in the least prominent way of
those mentioned, and was substituted mid-way through the second
half by Saib. Perhaps Dazza, Shaggy, or sicknote, as some
affectionately call him, was nervous or a little shaky at being
thrown into this crucial game. I would say that about 50% of his
passes hit the target, but he also made some woeful efforts. To
be honest, Saib fared little better when he took his place.
This was, of course, a marvellous win for Spurs, and earned
through a positive, determined and battling performance.
Newcastle played 5 at the back, and sought to score on the break,
or through long balls for Shearer or Andersson to run onto, but
to their credit, Spurs were able to push them back for a lot of
Calderwood, having played at wing-back for his country in
mid-week, acquitted himself well in yet another unnatural
position, and even found time to play some fancy football on the
left wing with Ginola, whilst also defending competently. There
was one moment in the second half, when he was trying to shield
the ball from Andersson as the ball trickled towards the
goal-line near the corner flag, and just when it looked like he
might lose out, he contrived to "accidentally" stumble,
preventing the attacker from reaching the ball, and allowing the
ball to run out. He was not penalised for what some referees may
have interpreted as an obstruction, and Colin was able to wind up
the Newcastle fans having performed this feat in front of them.
He gave as good as he got in the verbal exchange which followed.
Once again, Calderwood has impressed me with his fighting spirit,
and his loyalty to the cause in the face of adversity, and in the
knowledge that he is not first choice for the centre-back slot.
As for Vega, I don't know if he will be able to play again
this season, but he had his usual sort of game, collecting
another yellow card for a fairly blatant infringement. His best
moment did come in defence, for a change as he was able to
prevent a Shearer header in the second half reaching the goal,
when Walker was unlikely to stop the ball.
Spurs started strongly, and it was end to end stuff for the
first fifteen minutes. I've no doubt the game will look
exceedingly good on the edited highlights on MOTD tonight. In the
early stages, Ginola had a cracking shot from the edge of the
area tipped over the bar by Given. Ferdinand was winning a lot of
ball, and getting a few headers in, but he couldn't quite get the
power on his efforts in the first half. Even Stevie Carr nearly
got in the act in the first half, with a super run through the
middle, from defence. Klinsmann was available for a pass, but
Carr tried a shot, which went wide of the keeper's right post. He
deservedly got a standing ovation for his effort, though.
Carr has had a terrific season in my view, and has surely established
himself in this position. He is terrier like everywhere he goes,
and will feature high on my votes for April's POTM. He won even
more plaudits in the second half when he won a couple of
encounters with Pistone, deep in the Spurs half, near the right
corner flag. Both times, Carr was able to tackle, and clatter
Pistone, who was not only left on the ground, but also managed to
lose the throw-ins!!
Pistone was ( rightly ) the target of the
Spurs fans' boos. In the first half, he complained vehemently
about a linesman's decision, and took an age to walk to the
referee for a rollocking ( no booking, this time ). At the start
of the second half, the referee delayed the kick-off,and allowed
Pistone ages to tie his laces. Finally, when the ref wanted to
book him for a foul, Pistone again was petulant, not wanting to
respond to Winter's insistance to go to him, and was lucky not to
get more than a booking.
Incidentally, those who don't attend our games might not have
noticed our regular kick-off tactic, which is to get two or three
players down the right wing fast, and hopefully gain possesion
from the long ball which comes from the kick-off, or at least
territory. This has often been successful. Usually, Armstrong
makes the ground. Today, Ferdinand was in charge of the pursuit.
Two or three times today, we adopted "rugby union style
tactics" of working the ball down the line, gradually
gaining ground, and throw-ins.
Spurs'first goal was a highly emotional occasion. I confess it
brought tears to my eyes. Fox collected the ball and advanced
down the right flank. He checked and passed the ball in-field to
Ginola. Ginola went one way, then another as he worked his way
into the right side of the penalty area, beating several players.
Then came a beautiful chipped cross, which Klinsmann powerfully
claimed as his own, and he was able to head the ball down, and
into the goal. Jurgen turned away ( the goal was scored at the
Park Lane end ) to the East stand, and we had the privilege of
possibly the last Klinsmann dive at the lane. The crowd was
ecstatic. The old chant "There's only one Jurgen
Klinsmann" resounded around the stadium.
I'll admit to being one of those that thought JK should have
made way for Armstrong today, but apart from the goal, he was
brilliant. He wins so many of the long aerial balls, AND
accurately passes them. Today he had a good partnership with the
other scorer, Les Ferdinand, and they left the field hugging each
other at the end of the game. Whatever happens now, as far as I'm
concerned JK has done enough to justify us having him back. He
was a talisman at first, and inspirational in our recovery. He
has now scored 4 priceless goals, one of which was the
all-important winner against West Ham, and the one today, was
just as important.
Towards the end of the first half, Les got booked for his
protests about not getting a penalty, when he seemed to be pushed
to the ground to prevent him reaching the ball. Spurs held
possession however, and played some pretty football around the
area, which culminated in Ginola hitting just about the most
blistering shot I think I've ever seen. If it had been on target,
I think it would have taken the net out of the ground!! As it was
it went just wide of the post.
The second half started in a somewhat tense atmosphere. Too
often this season we have failed to get that oh, so vital
breathing space of a second goal. Whilst we had a fair amount of
pressure, resulting in plenty of corners, we didn't seem to hit
the target enough. Les was really unlucky when he had a powerful
header stopped by a reaction save from Given, who didn't know a
thing about it. However he got his reward, and we got our
breather, when he beautifully, and powerfully met a Daveed corner
to head down, and into the goal. Oh, you beauty. That makes it
1.5 mill per goal now! To his credit, Ferdinand was really up for
this game, and looked strong, and fit. I don't think he was fit
when we bought him. Maybe we'll get our money's worth next
season. As somebody else pointed out, his reaction when Calderwood
scored last week really showed how much he is fighting for the
Spurs cause. One could also quote his response to Ashby's
performance in the away cup game at Barnsley, as evidence of his
Having gone two up, Spurs were then forced onto the back foot
for much of the remaining game, but apart from one or two nervous
moments withheld the pressure. Ketsbaia was impressive for
Newcastle, when he came on for Gillespie who lasted only two
minutes as a substitute for Albert.
As usual, Shearer showed himself to be a bad mouthed
individual when things weren't going for him. There was one time
in the second half when he was unhappy with what he thought was a
Ginola dive. As an England fan, I hope Shearer scores loads in
the summer, but he seems to have expressed a lot of frustration
at Newcastle. I suspect he may be playing his football on the
continent after the summer.
I thought Ginola had a great game today. Obviously he was only
too keen to perform in front of his old manager. Daveed seemed
always to have the beating of Watson, and always had two or three
opponents around him. But he won the contest, and of course made
both the goals.
Even Fox had one of his better games, delivering the ball much earlier than usual.
That's enough from me. I'm sorry it's been so long. Sadly,
Bolton won, and we're not quite out of the woods. We are now
above Everton, and level on points with Newcastle. If we beat
Wimbledon next week, in what will effectively be another home
game, we will go above them, AND clinch our Premiership status
for next season. Everton play Arsenal at Highbury next week, and
Coventry at home on the last day. The focus has moved away from
us, and onto them as being the fourth contender for the drop.
OH, WHAT A PERFECT DAY; I'M GLAD I SPENT IT WITH YOU -
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