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Spurs Odyssey Preview - Spurs v Everton, 28.12.98

This preview was written by Brian Judson

Full Record of Spurs -v- Everton

PremPl W D L For-Ag Pts
Home 6 3 3 0 8-5  12
Away 7 4 2 1 7-3 14
Total (Prem)13 7 5 1 15-8  26
Football Lge
Home (Div 1)54 25 16 13 107-67  72
Away (Div 1)54 10 17 27 60-88  38
Total (Div 1)108 35 33 40 167-155 110
Football Lge
Home (Div 2) 1 1 0 0 1-0  2
Away (Div 2) 1 0 0 1 2-4  0
Total (Div 2) 2 1 0 1 3-4  2
Total (Prem)13 7 5 1 15-8  26
Total (Div 1) 108 35 33 40 167-155 110
Total (Div 2) 2 1 0 1 3-4   2
Grand Total 123 43 38 42185-167 138

Those of us who appreciate football at its very best, played in the spirit of the game, have often enjoyed some excellent football in this fixture. I am saddened by their passing from the ranks of purist football and hope that it will not be too long before they supply another good team. Without wanting to take away anything from Liverpool's achievements over the years, I think the three Championship winning teams Everton produced in seasons 1962-63, 1969-70 and 1984-85 were much more in tune with flair and panache. Their 1969-70 team came very close in style to match Tottenham at their best in 1960-61. The midfield trio of Ball, Harvey and Kendall were supreme in midfield. It was probably one of the most attractive midfield units I have seen in all my time as a football supporter.

For former manager Bill Nicholson, Saturday, October 11th 1958 was a very significant date in his life. Jimmy Anderson, a faithful Tottenham servant for over 50 years in various capacities, resigned as manager of Tottenham that morning. The Board decided to appoint Bill Nicholson, the coach, as manager. Bill did not ask for a contract and they shook hands on a partnership that was ultimately to last sixteen years. Bill was often asked why he worked without a contract. He always replied that managers were still sacked after having signed a contract and that he would know when the time to go had arrived.

At the time, Everton were bottom of the table, playing as if their greatest desire was to achieve relegation by Christmas. They had had some truly horrible results, including losing at home 6-1 to Arsenal, but Spurs were also playing badly, among their defeats being a 5-0 thrashing at Blackburn.

Spurs took the lead after three minutes, through Stokes. Harris equalised after eleven minutes. Bobby Smith scored four minutes later to make it 2-1. Robb put Spurs 3-1 up fourteen minutes later. A minute later, Smith made it 4-1 and a minute after that Stokes made it 5-1. On the stroke of half-time, Medwin made it 6-1.

Seven minutes after half-time, Harris reduced the arrears to 6-2. Soon after that, Smith made the scored 7-2. Ryden was then injured and in those pre-substitute days hobbled about on the left wing. Then, with ten minutes to go, there was a further flurry of scoring. Harmer made it 8-2 with ten minutes left. Harris made it 8-3 from the kick-off. Five minutes to go, Smith made it 9-3. Collins, later to play for Leeds, made it 9-4 with four minutes to go and Ryden wrapped it up with two minutes left. The game was probably Tommy Harmer's finest hour as he orchestrated the match.

Probably the most tense of all the matches I've seen at Tottenham was the match that probably settled the outcome of the 1984-85 championship. Spurs lost 2-1 on a night of high tension and electricity with Roberts scoring the only Spurs goal. I can still see Andy Gray scoring one of their goals and going mad with the Everton fans. Those who were there will probably remember the tension : I remember going home shattered afterwards and being unable to sleep for most of the night.

The most comical fixture was the 1969-70 one. The original game should have been played in November 1969 but was wiped out by the weather. The game was re-arranged in mid-December and actually started. The game was still 0-0 after 30 minutes when the game was abandoned because of floodlight failure. They tried for an hour to get the lights working again. Subsequently it was discovered there had been a fire in a sub-station of the grid. Finally, the game was played the Wednesday before we were due to travel to Goodison Park the following March. This time we managed to get it played and lost 0-1. By then, of course, Everton were on their way to the championship again.

Spurs have been playing much better since George Graham took over and have managed to climb well above the relegation struggle. We even harbour ambitions to qualify for Europe. Everton sacked Howard Kendall during the summer and appointed Walter Smith as his successor. Despite spending several million pounds on new players, Everton are still playing as badly as ever and are hovering just above the whirlpool of the relegation struggle. It demonstrates that just throwing money at a problem does not always retrieve the situation.

As I am writing these lines before knowing the outcome of Spurs' result at Coventry and Everton's home game against Derby, it is difficult to predict the result. On the basis that neither side pick up bad injuries and maintain their recent form, I would venture to suggest that Spurs will beat Everton 3-1.

Cheers, Brian

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