Coventry City 2 Tottenham Hotspur 1 - Saturday 14th October 2000
 
Goalscorers : Coventry - Aloisi 12, Eustace 25
                        Tottenham Hotspur - Rebrov 53
 
Attendance - 21,435
 
Coventry City - Kirkland, Edworthy, Shaw, Breen, Telfer, Eustace, Hadji, Palmer, Chippo, Aloisi (Roussel 72), Bellamy (Hendry 81).
Subs not used - Mongomery, Zuniga, Quinn
Tottenham Hotspur - Walker, Carr, Thatcher, Perry, Vega, Sherwood, Leonhardsen (Dominguez 83), Freund (Iversen 83), Anderton, Rebrov, Ferdinand. 
Subs not used - Segers, Thelwell, Clemence
 
This was quite simply a disgraceful away performance. Coventry are a very poor side who had not won a home league match this season. In addition they had a number of injuries and a teenager making his league debut in goal. For Tottenham, Anderton made a welcome return and Walker was in goal for the suspended Sullivan.
The first half was appalling. Spurs played as though they were going through the motions and this attitude ran right through the team. After some half hearted Tottenham efforts Coventry took the lead from a wonder strike by John Aloisi. From about 30 yards out with no sign of a challenge he hit an unstoppable shot passed Walker. Instead of rallying and bouncing back the Spurs heads went down. A second goal followed which was again down to Ramon Vega, who is now nicknamed Coco the Clown by the Spurs faithful. Bellamy advanced on a bouncing ball in the Spurs area and nipped it past Coco while he was deciding whether to head the ball or not. Bellamy then crossed for Eustace to slide home. Coventry could not believe it, two nil up at home. As the half wore on the Spurs fans anger grew and the "Graham out " chants were followed by "Graham for England". It's good to keep a sense of humour in times like this. 

Spurs started the second half with a blast from George clearly still ringing in their ears. They began to create some chances and on 53 minutes Rebrov took a pass from Leonhardsen and slammed home. Plenty of time to go on and take the game. All it needed was some composure and ability. Spurs were missing both. Perry had an excellent flick from a corner well saved. Ferdinand missed an absolute sitter with his head. Iversen came on and bundled the ball into the net but it was disallowed and Sherwood hit the bar in the final minute. 

There was also a dismissal in the second half. As Coventry were breaking from a Spurs corner Carlton Palmer and Chris Perry clashed. Perry seemed to flick at Palmer. Carlton reacted by launching a massive kick up Perry's backside which the Assistant Referee saw clearly. In the nonsense that followed Palmer had to be ushered from the pitch after an altercation with Ferdinand. As Palmer walked down the touchline he then punted a water bottle. During all of this George and Gordon Strachan were having a set to. George would do well to follow Carlton Palmer's example and kick a few more Spurs players up the backside. 

So ten man Coventry finished victorious. It is worth commenting on the Spurs players. Walker made one decent save, but showed nothing more and we hear he wants away because he can't be bothered to fight for his place. Perry tried hard but seems to have too much to do when playing with Coco. As for Coco himself he should never be allowed to put on a Spurs shirt again after the run of mistakes and the goals he has cost us. Thatcher is committed but lacks any finesse at all. Leonhardsen is weak. His challenges are pathetic and for me he performs at the level of an average first division player. Sherwood is slow and sluggish. He gives the ball away to often and despite wearing the captains armband is swift to blame others when things go wrong. Freund had a poor game and will never score as it becomes an obsession with him. Ferdinand appears to be past it. He is struggling with the pace of the Premiership and his body language on the field is sending all the messages of someone who doesn't care. Iversen is struggling and being on the bench does not help. As for the other substitute, Dominguez, it is humiliating for Spurs to bring on a midget who does not want to play for us. That leaves only three players from our starting line up truly worthy of playing for Tottenham: Carr, Anderton & Rebrov. Add to them Campbell and you then realise how far we are from being a top side. George, you talk of taking us forward. We have not gone far yet have we?

 
MEHSTG TOP MAN :  - NONE
 
Eric the Viking

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Leeds United 4 Tottenham Hotspur 3  -  Saturday 30th September 2000
 
Goalscorers : Leeds - Viduka 52 & 55, Smith 59 & 64
                        Tottenham Hotspur - Rebrov 37 & 74, Perry 60
 
Attendance - 37,562
 
Leeds United : - Martyn, Kelly, Harte, Radebe (Hay 45), Mills, Bowyer, Dacourt (McPhail 36), Bakke, Matteo, Viduka (Bridges 80), Smith
Subs not used - Robinson, Huckerby
Tottenham Hotspur - Sullivan, Carr, Thatcher, Perry, Vega, Sherwood, Leonhardsen, Freund, Ferdinand (Anderton  30), Rebrov,  Iversen
Subs not used - Walker, Thelwell, Clemence, Dominguez
 
Leeds came into this game fresh from their six nil thrashing of Turkish side Besiktas. They were also anxious for Premier points having lost their previous two home league games. The whingeing O'Leary continued to moan about the lack of first team players but he only seemed to be missing Woodgate and Kewell. Strange how the trial for Woodgate and Bowyer does not come to court until June 2001 - during the close season.
There were no surprises in the Spurs team although Anderton was back on the bench.
The first half was dull with only two incidents worth commenting on. Radebe and Ferdinand both went for a header in the midfield area. With both concentrating on the ball there was a very nasty clash of heads and both fell to the floor and lay motionless. After some lengthy treatment Radebe eventually got to his feet but poor old Les left the field on a stretcher and was no doubt taken straight to hospital. Although Radebe continued he was clearly struggling and eventually he was also taken off following Les in an ambulance just as he had followed him around the pitch for 30 minutes.
Les was replaced by Anderton making an early, but welcome return. Darren made an immediate difference through his intelligent play and accurate passing. Spurs began to put together some good moves with Anderton bringing Rebrov and Carr into the game. From one move Carr and Iversen exchanged passes and Carr squared the ball to Rebrov who swept the ball home from the edge of the area. A sweetly worked goal which stunned Leeds. So Spurs went in at half time leading and the travelling fans were looking forward to an uneventful second half and a trip home with three points.
It was not to be. The centre of Tottenham's defence which had wobbled in the first half fell apart in the second. Between the 52nd and the 74th minute we witnessed six goals.
On 52 minutes, a Leeds corner was half cleared to Bowyer who lobbed the ball high into the Tottenham goal. Sullivan was caught too close to his near post and desperately back pedalled only to palm the ball onto his back post. The ball rebounded and before Vega could clear (no surprise there), Smith got a toe to the ball and Viduka smashed it into the roof of the net. Three minutes later a long shot by Kelly, which Sullivan had covered, was deflected in by an unmarked Viduka (where was Vega?). Another four minutes and Smith fouled Perry. The referee ignored Spurs claims, so Carr fouled Smith. The free kick from Bowyer was ignored by the Spurs defence allowing an unmarked Smith to steer his header past Sullivan. But Spurs battled back and a superb free kick from Anderton cleared the Leeds defence and found Perry at the back post who headed home. All was not lost. Back came Leeds and from a Bowyer corner Smith was again unmarked and guided a second header past Sullivan. Spurs had however still not given up the fight. Anderton delivered another excellent corner. Iversen headed goalwards and Rebrov athletically got a toe to the ball. Smith appeared to head off the line, but an eagle eyed assistant referee had spotted the ball was in and a goal was awarded. All this and still 16 minutes to go ! Spurs pushed for the equaliser and both Sherwood and Anderton came close, but it was Leeds who took all three points and George Graham is still seeking a winning return to Elland Road.
At least George is more unpopular with the Leeds fans than he is with the Spurs fans if that's possible. All afternoon the home crowd chanted abuse in George's direction.
For Spurs Rebrov was man of the match for his two goals and for the interplay with Darren. Anderton was outstanding. You can say what you like about "Sicknote", but there is no doubt he is an excellent footballer on his day. His delivery into the box is as good as anyone's and he has that seemingly rare ability to pass a ball accurately to feet. Sullivan was at fault for the first goal. Vega was at fault all afternoon. Poor old Ramon struggled with the strength of Viduka and with the pace and guile of Smith. At times Perry must have felt very alone in the centre of defence. Hurry back Sol or we will have to go and sign Ehiogu. Sherwood continued his poor run of form and he must stop giving the ball away and then blaming his team mates.
So an exciting game but nothing to show for it.
 
MEHSTG TOP MAN - SERGEI REBROV
 
Eric the Viking.

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Tottenham Hotspur  2  Brentford  0  -  Tuesday 26th September 2000  Worthington Cup 2nd Round 2nd Leg.

Tottenham: - Sullivan, Carr, Vega, Perry, Thatcher, Freund, Sherwood, Iversen, Leonhardsen, Rebrov, Ferdinand (Dominguez 71).
Subs Not Used: Walker, Doherty, Clemence, Thelwell.

Brentford: - Gottskalksson, Quinn, Marshall, Crowe, Ingimarsson, Evans, Rowlands (Williams 65), Mahon, Folan, Partridge, Pinamonte (Dobson 73).
Subs Not Used: P. Smith, Theobald, Graham.

A rainy day had left the Spurs pitch slippy, just like the banana skin that Brentford presented in this second leg tie.  For their fans, who regarded Tottenham a "disgrace to the Premiership", this was a day out to dream about what could be, if they had a manager who could match his outspoken comments with achievements on the field.  The one of the things lacking in this game was a goal from Ramon Vega (at the right end), which would have allowed him to present Mr. Noades with a signed shirt following criticism of him in the first leg.

Having drawn away, Tottenham had to win and with most of the play heading towards Gottskalksson's goal, it was only a matter of time before a goal came.  That it came after 52 minutes was a matter of concern for the Spurs fans.  Early on, Tottenham had chances.  Iversen landed a header on the top of the net and lobbed just over after beating the keeper to the ball, while Leonhardsen was pipped by the goalie's rush to nick the ball off his head.  Les had a couple of headers off target, Perry's flick from a corner landed in front of goal with no-one in attendance and Rebrov hit a shot from outside the box straight at the keeper.  Ferdinand did have the ball in the net after a good move involving Carr, whose low cross was slid in by Sir Les, but he was adjudged to have been offside.  The first half was a bit of a damp squib for the Bees, who only got angry when two players went tumbling (in the gymnastic sense) in the area.  The lukewarm ref was reluctant to give a penalty, much as he was to give a free-kick to Spurs anywhere else on the pitch.  A new record was established, however, when the "Graham Out" faction began their chant just 14 minutes into the match.

The second half was a bit more open as Tottenham's ability began to create chances.  Not many came from flowing football, but the passing was a bit better and Leo started to get into the game and play more like he can at his best.  One when Freund went one on one with the keeper saw the ball bounce of the goalie's chest, onto Steffen's knee and towards goal.  We all held our breath as the sphere moved unerringly to the net, but out of nowhere a Brentford defender hooked it away !!  Celebrations stored away for another day.  It was all too much for Brentford, who when presented a golden chance by a Vega miskick, the startled Partridge contrived to blaze that over the bar.  From the goal-kick Spurs moved down the other end and scored.  Sherwood's header forward took a flick off ex-Gooner Marshall's head and Oyvind, running in managed to ignore the blatant tug on his shirt to put the ball in for the first goal.  A spate of corners conceded by Spurs led to a spell where the ball pinged around the Tottenham box, but there were no real scares.  It had started when Thatcher put in his first really hard tackle in a white shirt that saw Martin Rowlands end up limping after a collision with the adverts behind the goal !!  It was one of the few things Thatcher did right all night, as his distribution was awful for most of the match.

The former Wimbledon left-back did have a fierce drive miss by inches late on and his colleague on the other side of the defence nearly added another spectacular goal to his record, but it flew just over.  Gotskalksson dived bravely at the feet of Leonhardsen and Iversen to deny them, but could not hold Leo's shot from the right and as it trickled across the six yard box, the Norwegian striker gained some revenge, by knocking it into the net.  

The scoreline flattered Spurs, as although they never looked like conceding, they rarely looked like breaking through the Bee's swarm of defenders.  It was just enough to get through, but not quite enough for the fans to go home with any great hope of progressing too far.

MEHSTG TOP MAN : OYVIND LEONHARDSEN

Pete Stachio

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Tottenham Hotspur  0  Manchester City  0  -  Saturday 23rd September 2000

Tottenham : -  Sullivan, Carr, Vega, Perry, Thatcher (Young 85), Freund,  Sherwood,  Rebrov, Leonhardsen, Ferdinand (Doherty 81),  Iversen.
Subs (Not Used) : - Walker, Clemence, Davies
Man City : - Weaver, Whitley, Howey (Crooks 20), Prior, Ritchie,  Wiekens, Haaland, Tiatto (Kennedy 49), Horlock, Dickov (Weah 60), Wanchope.    
Subs (Not Used) : - Wright, Bishop

Crowd : -  36,069

What a shambles.  There have been few Tottenham games I have been to down the years which have featured such a non-committed, unprofessional bunch of players.  Passing, movement off the ball and general awareness of where their team-mates and where the opposition were had all been left somewhere ... and I doubt it was on the training ground.  That is somewhere that this group of players don't even seem to get introduced to each other.

Manchester City came with a plan to try and stifle Spurs and use the unpredictable skills of Wanchope on the break.  Fortunately for Spurs, Dickov played the majority of the match alongside him and while he might have been annoyingly effective in the First and Second Division, he looks out of his depth in the Premier League.  The Costa Rican's legs were all over the place and on a couple of occasions he felt they had been whipped away from under him, but the referee, who obviously overheated to give some erratic decisions, waved away his appeals.  Apart from that there was a header by the former West ham striker that had Sullivan sprawling to his left to push away and that was all in the first half.  At the other end Weaver, had a quiet first forty-five.  All the early running came form Spurs, but aside from a Ferdinand shot that the keeper saved well and Iversen's header, which was knocked away form the goal by Haaland, there was little to get excited about in the glorious September sunshine.  Some Spurs shots whistled wide - Iversen's volley and a couple of long range efforts from Rebrov mainly.  

The second half was a different affair with the play becoming more open - especially when Crooks went off and City played on with ten men having made all the substitutions earlier.  Even during this spell ,Tottenham failed to impose themselves on the visitors, who even managed to break away and hit Spurs with shots, which with better finishing from Wanchope and Weah, could have earned them all the points.  For Spurs, the best chance came two minutes into the second half, when Ramon Vega, who started in place of Sol Campbell, stayed upfront to head a Thatcher cross onto the bar.  In doing so, he clashed heads and knocked himself out, but was revived to the sound of applause from the Park Lane end.  He must have thought he was still in dreamland !!  Leo put a couple of chances wide and one straight at Weaver after it had been pulled back to him, Iversen completely missed his kick as the ball pin-balled around the City box before he and Rebrov forced Weaver into sharp saves.

In truth, this performance by Tottenham is entirely in character with the way they have been playing.  With no creative players in midfield and the forwards suffering a crisis of confidence, the defence is the only part of the team that looks reasonable and that will be put to the test at Leeds next time out.  City were well worth their point as they did try and have a go at Spurs, but they might struggle to survive if they do not convert their chances.  The same failing will cost Spurs any chance of progressing too.

MEHSTG TOP MAN : SERGEI REBROV

Disgusted of N17.

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Brentford 0 Tottenham Hotspur 0  -  Tuesday 19th September 2000  Worthington Cup  2nd Round 1st Leg
 
Attendance - 8,580
 
Brentford - Gottskalksson, Crowe, Marshall, Quinn, Marsh, Evans, Ingimarrsson, Mahon, Rowlands, McCammon, Scott 
Subs not used - Kennedy, Javary, Partridge, Folan, Smith
Tottenham Hotspur - Sullivan, Carr, Thatcher, Campbell (Vega 37), Perry, Leonhardsen, Freund, Clemence, Etherington (Walker 62), Rebrov (Ferdinand 80), Iversen
Subs not used - Davies, Sherwood
 
A woeful Worthington Cup 2nd round 1st leg tie at Griffin Park. The match was played in torrential rain throughout on a sodden pitch and there were gaps in the crowd, possibly as a result of supporters not travelling because of the weather or the earlier petrol scare hoax.
Spurs brought in Perry for Vega (thank God!); Thatcher replaced Taricco. Clemence and Etherington came into midfield and Sherwood and Ferdinand were relegated to the bench.
Brentford gave early warning that they would be "up for it" with some robust early challenges in difficult conditions. Tottenham's first chance fell to Leonhardsen advancing onto a pass from Rebrov. Leo's shot lacked pace and was touched round the post by the Brentford keeper whose name only just fitted his jersey. After 20 minutes Leo was again involved. This time he was put clear by Iversen. In a one on one with the keeper he bottled it and squared the ball to Etherington whose tame shot was easily saved. In these situations I would expect Leo, a international player, to hammer the ball home not shirk the responsibility. On 30 minutes disaster struck. Sol went up for a header with McCammon. He fell awkwardly and was clearly in pain. A stretcher was called for, but eventually he rose to his feet and left the field clutching his wrist. At first it was suspected he had damaged his wrist but subsequently it was revealed his shoulder had been dislocated. He certainly looked in pain as he trooped to the dressing room past the saddened away support. Losing Sol is a serious blow to this Spurs team. Enter Vega - it goes from bad to worse.
In the second half the pattern of play continued. Rebrov, who was clearly not enjoying this experience, had a couple of shots deflected. After an hour, a ball from the Brentford defence found Evans leading the charge down the centre of the field towards the Spurs goal. Sullivan tore out to meet the player about  35 yards out. Evans poked the ball past Sullivan into a wider position and as Sullivan slid under him Evans came crashing to the ground. It is debatable whether Evans would have got to the ball before a Spurs defender. The referee Graham Barber awarded a free kick and then came the dreaded red card for Sullivan. Ian Walker was quick to get prepared and replaced Etherington to ironic cheers from the Spurs crowd. A chance for the spurned keeper to impress would be purchasers maybe. Even with ten men Spurs were able to dominate play but still did not look like scoring. Rebrov hit a nice shot from the left before being replaced by Ferdinand. Clemence had a couple of efforts saved. The game faded out with all to play for in the second leg.
For Spurs, Clemence played well in the centre of midfield. Etherington looked lightweight with much still to learn. Leonhardsen kept running but with little purpose and gave the impression of going through the motions. Vega was as clumsy as ever conceding a string of throw ins. An interesting post match comment from Ron Noades: "When Vega came on I felt we had a chance!" Remember, however, the last time we played Brentford in the Worthington Cup we went on to win it. Oh for a repeat this year.
 
MEHSTG TOP MAN - STEPHEN CLEMENCE
 
Eric the Viking

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Charlton Athletic 1 Tottenham Hotspur 0  -  Saturday  16th September 2000   Premier League
 
Goalscorers - Johansson 39
 
Attendance - 20,043
 
Charlton Athletic - Kiely, Brown,Powell, Rufus, Jensen,Kinsella, Stuart, Robinson, Konchesky, Hunt (Lisbie 87), Johansson (Newton 74)
Subs not used - Ilic, Kishishev, Shields.
Tottenham Hotspur - Sullivan, Carr, Taricco, Campbell, Vega, Sherwood (Perry 73), Freund, Leonhardsen (Clemence 73), Rebrov, Iversen, Ferdinand
Subs not used - Walker, Thatcher, Etherington
 
If Spurs are to be any sort of force in the Premier League then they should not lose at places like The Valley. This was a chance to pick up three valuable away points which Tottenham spurned. Chance after chance went begging whilst a defensive cock up gave Charlton their goal.
The team included Vega, although Perry was named on the bench and Taricco continued for Thatcher who was also on the bench. George also played three strikers away from home in Ferdinand, Iversen and Rebrov although the latter two clearly had midfield duties.
In the early stages it was an open game; a little too open from Spurs point of view. There were regular chances at each end. For Tottenham Rebrov brought a good save from Kiely, then Iversen forced the keeper into a good save. This was to be the story of the afternoon with Kiely making a string of excellent saves.
Sullivan was called upon in the Spurs goal when Johansson and then Rufus were allowed to get free. Vega was back to his worst. He plays with a passion only matched by his clumsiness. His speed of thought is almost non existent and his presence in the defence is a constant worry to the Spurs fans. He certainly keeps us on the edge of our seats for all the wrong reasons.
As the half wore on, Spurs started to put together some reasonable football and a fine move with some slick passing ended with Taricco dinking his shot over the Charlton keeper onto the bar. Back came Charlton to also hit the woodwork but only with the assistance of a Freund deflection.
In the 39th minute a harmless looking through ball was heading towards Sol Campbell. For some inexplicable reason when Row Z looked the best option Sol chose to sell a dummy and step over the ball. This left an astonished Johansson completely in the clear and he drilled his shot past Sullivan. The Spurs response was to push forward and a strong penalty appeal for a foul on Sherwood was denied by referee Jeff Winter.

The second half was completely dominated by Spurs. There was almost constant pressure but to no avail. The Charlton players got behind the ball in numbers and those efforts they did not deflect seemed to fly straight at their keeper. From one scramble the ball fell to Ferdinand who drove in from 12 yards and looked certain to score. Unfortunately he had driven the ball straight at Kiely. Shortly afterwards Les got free and this time headed straight at Kiely. Then Iversen headed wide as the goal yawned in front of him. Sherwood tried another pathetic attempt to win a penalty which the referee correctly waved away. It started to look as if Spurs would not score if they played all night.
Just to stir the Spurs fans up George then made two masterful substitution's sending on Clemence and Perry for Sherwood and Leohardsen. OK, Tim and Leo had not been playing particularly well but even those with the most vivid imagination would find it hard to believe Clemence and Perry were going to conjure up a goal.
There will no doubt be plenty of excuses about this second away defeat: Charlton worked hard, their goalkeeper was outstanding and we made plenty of chances. All of these are true. The fact remains however that we conceded a stupid goal and despite all the chances our strikers were not good enough to find the net.
The Spurs team do not appear to be playing with a desire and passion to win. There is also a strange and uneasy relationship with many of the fans which is not helping.
A number of the players also still seem to be short of their best. Sherwood looks a yard off the pace still. Leonhardsen is weak in the tackle and when he and Taricco play down the left both have to check back to cross the ball with their right foot. Iversen is still searching for his first goal, Ferdinand needs too much time and Rebrov seems bemused by what is going on around him when playing away from White Hart Lane.
Come on George sort them out. Think yourself lucky Ken Bates is not your Chairman.
 
MEHSTG TOP MAN :  - NEIL SULLIVAN (for a number of fine saves against the run of play)
 
Eric the Viking

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THFC 1- West Ham United 0 - Monday 11th September 2000   Premier League

On a muggy evening (tomorrow it would be Tueggy), Tottenham scored a victory over their East London rivals for the first time in two years. While West Ham played the better football (especially in the first half), it wasn't pretty for Spurs fans. Two efforts in the first half was scant end product for the home side and both came from Tim Sherwood. A free-kick straight at Hislop and a header which looked to be going over anyway. For the other side, they had possession in dangerous positions, but failed to capitalise in this first London derby of the season for Tottenham. A shot by Stuart "Sicko" Pearce (more of whom later) was well held by Sullivan, who also held shots from Kanoute and denied Sinclair with his leg, when the ball could easily have gone over it into the net. Di Canio and Sinclair were romping down the Tottenham left side with acres of space. Indeed, Di Canio set up all the most promising attacks that the Irons had. That was the difference between him and Joe Cole. Cole has all the fancy flicks and tricks, but Di Canio puts them to the best possible use. Tonight very little creation came from Little Joe's boot, except putting Luke Young out of the match with a studs up challenge.

Spurs were moving forward in the first half, but their passing was ragged and their was little movement apart form Stephen Carr making himself available as an outlet on the right wing. Young was in for Perry, who was suffering with a broken toe and Iversen slipped in Dazza's midfield slot, not too effectively until the end of the match.

The second half began with Young's removal and the rare sight of Ramon Vega gambolling onto the pitch as his replacement. His first touch was a god interception, but in general his first touch let him down. Trying to play football in his own half is not to be recommended, but his spin on the ball in their box was almost surreal. But then Freund was playing back-heels, as he has done in each game this season and then had a wayward (some would say normal for him) shot over the bar, which caught GG dropping his head on the Jumbotron. However, our Jerry Mental Man came as close as he has to scoring for Spurs when, following the goal, Sol set him up for a 20 yard screamer that glanced of the angle. We still await his first score !!

Spurs had been going forward and with Hangdog Harry's team down to dem bones, dem bones, dem bare bones, Spurs broke with pace to catch the Hammers on the hop. The one thing that let Tottenham down was their touch. Iversen, Ferdinand and Armstrong all seem to have to take things first time or if they have to think about what they are going to do, they are lost. Rebrov is exempt from this as his awareness is very high class. It's a shame no-one else is on his wavelength. He was quite withdrawn tonight, but again he linked play, as did Tim, but his passing and general decision making seemed ill at ease tonight. Towards the end, when Tottenham wee trying to play keep-ball, he received the ball and was hesitant about what to do with it - once letting it go out of play and another getting robbed, where West Ham broke away. When some East Stand fans had the temerity to moan, Sherwood angrily pointed to the scoreboard. Yeah, great. 1-0 up with two minutes left (plus added time) and we lose the ball allowing West Ham to go forward. He didn't have the greatest of games, although influential in our midfield, he WAS the man who said that football fans know nothing, after all.

The goal came out of a little spell of Spurs pressure. Vega had nodded across goal for Sherwood, but the ball fell to Leo, whose shot went wide with a relatively unguarded goal. He had another chance, which he blasted over and while he worked tirelessly, he didn't look at the top of his game tonight. He was involved in the winner though. He took a corner on the Tottenham right at the Paxton Road end. Solman rose highest and slapped a header against the bar and as it came down, it bounced off Hislop's back and into the goal. The West Ham goalie had loads of luck last season and this time, it went to Spurs. No doubt, some misery at the Premier League will deny Sol his goal and mark it down as and own goal, but he enjoyed celebrating it. Towards the end, Spurs ran at the Hammers defence and Iversen forced Hislop to a full-length save, while Les' control took him wide and allowed the keeper to smother his effort.  "Sicko" got riled and he knocked Iversen down, then showed him his fist, before hacking Rebrov down from behind.  He and Winterbum really have had it.

For all the post match comment about Redknapp's side finishing top half (Harry's that is), they need to get some points on the board quickly or they will get left behind. Spurs didn't play too much football to get these three points, but if anything, West Ham played too much. Carrick looks a good box-to-box player and he is yet to develop, but Frank Lampost Junior seems to have gone backwards. He was seldom involved and rumour has it that the Irons fans want shot of him (to us !!), as they believe Cole and Carrick are the future of their midfield.

Still, the win moved Spurs up to fifth (really joint third !!) and kept the Hammers bottom. Games like this, we would have once lost. Now, it is a different matter. What happens when the top teams come, we will have to see !!

MEHSTG TOP MAN : - STEFFEN FREUND

Pete Stachio

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THFC  3  Everton  2   -  Tuesday 5th September 2000  -  Premier League

Spurs Team : Sullivan, Carr, Freund, Campbell, Perry, Thatcher (Taricco 38), Anderton (Clemence 17), Sherwood, Ferdinand (Iversen 88), Rebrov, Leonhardsen, Subs not used: Walker, Young.

Well, sometimes Tottenham really surprise you, don't they ?  No, not going two down, but by coming back to win.  I know it was only Everton and I know they were plagued by injury, but that sort of response still takes some doing.  Of course, it doesn't help when one layer limps off after 17 minutes (well, he has secured his place in the England squad) and another is replaced after 38 (because of injury or embarrassment ?).  However, Leo moving to his favoured right side and Taricco coming on at left-back seemed to help the balance, because the side lost it's shape as well as most of it's ideas inside the first forty minutes.  The defence had already left Jeffers unmarked on the penalty spot only to be let off by his incredible miss from ten yards out with only Sullivan to beat.  He made no such mistake when confronted with the Scotland keeper again after Thatcher hit a poor back pass with his right foot - obviously not the better of his two.  Spurs had started brightly and could have had a goal in the first minute, but the ball flashed across the Toffees goal three times without being stuck in.  Even Freund got a firm shot on target forcing Gerrard to grasp it at the second attempt.  Gazza received a warm welcome before the game from the Spurs fans and every time he took a corner he was cheered, but Freund;s attentions were winding him up and he played a few nice passes, but his overall contribution waned as the match progressed and he was lucky not to be booked for some of his "tackles".  Just when it looked as though things had settled down, a half-cleared corner fell to Alexandersson, who hit a ripping half volley just over.  The escape was only temporary however, as Everton broke on the left and while Sherwood tried to show Nyarko onto his left foot, the big Ghanaian moved inside far too easily and shot low inside the post for 0-2.

At this stage, the fans were getting restless.  The referee made a strange decision - not the first of the night - and awarded Spurs a free-kick on the right as half-time approached.  Clemence swung the ball into the six yard box and Sol came from nowhere to meet it and hit it towards goal, but it came off the post.  How did he miss ?  A scramble followed, but the ball fell to Rebrov who shot into the net to pull one back.  His first goal wasn't a classic, but then he was signed to put those sort of chances away.

The second half was an altogether different affair.  Spurs were looking to get back at Everton quickly and they played some nice passing football to open the visitors up.  They had to wait until about 15 minutes in, when after a point blank save by Gerrard from a Sol header, the ball hung in the air and as Les attacked it, Gravesen got there first with his hand.  The ref gave the penalty straight away, but consulted with his linesman before deciding not to punish any player for the offence.  Funny, I thought it was a red card offence.  With Dazza off the pitch, Rebrov strode up and coolly stroked the spot kick past the keeper.  Within a couple of minutes, Spurs were in the lead. A cross in from the right was missed by Ferdinand, mainly because his shirt was being pulled and another penalty should have been given, but Clemence retrieved the ball, crossed to Sherwood, whose header across goal fell to no-one in particular, but Les was first to it, leaving Weir anguished by the fact that he should have beaten the Spurs striker to the ball.  It wasn't a hard shot, but it was enough to get into the net.  Following this, Leonhardsen has a shot heading for the top left corner of the net caught well by Gerrard and Taricco lobbed one just over.

The final whistle was greeted with relief by the Spurs fans as Everton had pushed on two forwards to chase the result, but in truth, a draw would have been a fairer result between two teams who were quite evenly matched.  I'm not complaining about all three points as they are the sort of games Tottenham have to win if they are to do well this season.

MEHSTG TOP MAN : - SERGEI REBROV

Harvey Sheldrake 


Why, oh why does the club (if not the team) that we love, give us so many palpitations? Everton at home, second game of the season should be a home banker for us, especially with nine first team squad members out through injury. Including Duncan disorderly, the only man (along with John Scales) who makes Shaggy look fit and healthy - more of him later.
       
It was good to see the fans welcome back Gazza as one of us - a true Spurs hero of those halcyon days of the late 80's when we broke the British transfer record, paid the biggest wages, played exciting football etc etc.      
               
Within the first minute we could have been one nil up if someone had got on the end of the three crosses which whizzed across the 6 yard box. The game then developed a typical Spurs pattern with us having a fair degree of possession without doing too much with it. Jeffers missed a sitter after about 10 minutes when a Mark Hughes dummy fooled the defence and left last season's penalty grabbing cheat looking offside in the penalty box. In typical Chris Armstrong style, he had too much time and put it wide much to our relief.
       
Is it just me or has Sol's distribution of the ball got worse over the past two years. It never was his strong point but he now seems to have a real problem passing to a white shirt more than 10 yards away.
       
More of a concern was the almost inevitable injury and subsequent substitution of Dazza just after a quarter of an hour. He and Jamie Redknapp must be the most unluckiest footballers of their generation. It seems each time that they are playing well and on the verge of an international comeback, an injury jinx strikes. Let's hope that Darren is not out for too long as he is the only partially creative midfielder drowning in a sea of average cloggers. Oh for the days of Hoddle, Ardiles, Waddle etc

We were not so lucky about 10 minutes later when Thatcher's underhit back pass was intercepted by Jeffers in the penalty box. Amazingly, he stayed on his feet and tucked it away under Sullivan despite the despairing lunge of Chris Perry to clear it off the line.
       
Again followed a period of play with Spurs and Everton battling it out in midfield with neither team able to create any consistent or incisive attacking play. I think the biggest problem we face is getting used to giving the ball to Sergei in the way we used to give it to Daveeed. He gives the impression that he will be a better team player (which will no doubt please GG), but is still getting used to the pace of the English game. Once he does we can only benefit, as the early impressions bode well for the future.
       
Our ineptitude in not being able to translate the possession we did have into something more meaningful made us pay again just before halftime when their Ghanaian import Nyarko hit a low firm shot from outside the penalty area
which beat Sullivan at his near post. I must admit that this capped a 15 minute period of the game when he completely outfought Tim Sherwood each time.
       
Sherwood is a frustrating player as I think that he probably has better leadership qualities than Sol but sometimes seems to spend more time remonstrating with his team mates for an underhit pass than to encourage them for the good things that they have done.
       
Thankfully, we got what we needed, which was a goal back before half time. Stephen Clemence's curling free kick was met by Sol four yards out who hit the post. Fortunately, the rebound bounced back to Rebrov who gleefully put away what we hope will be many goals for Spurs.
       
Despite that lifeline, the half time whistle was met by a chorus of boos from the home fans who quite rightly showed that the cosmetic surgery of a goal back before half time could not hide the structural faults of the first half performance.
       
The second half began with a few dodgy moments for Spurs before what we can only presume was a half time "talking to" from GG which got the boys showing more of the commitment and application that they need to show on a consistent basis.
       
To be fair to Everton, it appeared that the considerable number of squad players who were forced into playing tonight were now collectively starting to feel the strain.
       
The pressure finally paid off on the hour when a Spurs corner found the head of Sir Les. His powerful header was parried by the goalie and in the ensuing scuffle Gravesen of Everton punched the ball away. Barry Knight, the referee immediately gave a penalty but in the melee had no idea who did it even after consulting his linesman. Everton were therefore somewhat unfairly able to continue with eleven men.
       
Sergei stepped up to take the penalty which he coolly put away in the bottom right hand corner, sending Gerrard the wrong way. After waiting until the last home game against Sunderland last season for our first league penalty of the season, we have now had two in the first two home games.
       
Can I at this point say that we really do need to come up with a distinctive unique chant/song for our record 11million signing. I would therefore suggest that we revive that old classic from the seventies slightly amended to "Nice One Sergei, Nice One Son, Nice One Sergei, Let's Have Another One" - it's got be better than "There's
only one........" which is the standard fayre for any new player.
       
As per the Ipswich game, we scored two goals in a minute to turn a deficit into a lead when Sir Les got on the end of a Clemence cross to stab home our third. Justice was done as Les was clearly pulled back only moments beforehand when a cross had come in from the other wing.
       
We were now really on a roll and looked like scoring each time we went forward for the next ten minutes or so. But as is Spurs manner, instead of going on and killing teams off, we sat back and tried to defend our lead. Les looked liked he was struggling for the last 15 minutes and could have been replaced by Iversen. However I guess that GG was concerned that having used two subs already, he did not want to risk using a third on a striker when we had a lead to defend.
       
So, a second consecutive home win scoring three goals in the process. However, for a team that in preseason only conceded one goal in eight games, we are letting in league goals quicker than I would like - six in four games. Ipswich and Everton might be slightly more generous than some of the other teams that we will meet who won't let
one or two goal leads slip so easily.
      
Next up it’s the "big team" from the East End who we have only beaten three times in the last eleven meetings. We will need to considerably improve upon our performance this evening or I fear that they may pass us off the pitch, especially as they will come to White Hart Lane looking for their first win of the season - and we all know how
benevolent our defence can be!!

Danny Keene

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Newcastle United  2  THFC  0  -  Saturday 26th August 2000  -  Premier League
 
Goalscorers - Speed 9, Cordone 66
 
Attendance - 51,572
 
Newcastle United - Given, Barton, Goma, Hughes, Domi, Solano, Speed, Dyer, Cordone (Coppinger 79), Shearer, Glass (Griffin 74)
Subs not used - Harper, Gavilan, Charvet.
Tottenham Hotspur - Sullivan, Carr, Thatcher (Taricco 70), Campbell, Perry, Sherwood, Freund, Anderton, Leonhardsen (Young 70), Rebrov, Iversen (Ferdinand 42)
Subs not used - Walker, Clemence
 
St James Park is an awesome sight with it's massive new stands towering above the Newcastle skyline. When you find you are sitting in the upper tier which is where the away fans are located you realise just how high it is. The seats are certainly not for anyone who suffers from vertigo. As well as being very high they are also a long way from the pitch. I have stood outside Premier ground and been closer to the game. Add to that a grey rainy day and 50,000 screaming Geordies and this had the potential for another miserable day in the North East. The Spurs fans arrived with some optimism after recent performances and with injuries to the home side. But a miserable day it was destined to be as Spurs never looked like scoring.
Tottenham started with the same side. After six minutes Darren Anderton got free down the right and drove over a cross which arrived knee high at Steffen Iversen. Steffen got away from his marker but failed to connect properly and skewed his effort wide. Shortly afterwards Newcastle went ahead. A long ball from the back cleared the Spurs defence and found Gary Speed who had broken from midfield, unmarked, and beaten the offside trap. Speed steadied himself and lobbed over the advancing Sullivan. Nine minutes gone and already a goal down. The golden rule at Newcastle is don't let them get an early goal.
Another Anderton break down the right saw his deep cross take an early deflection off a defender. This sent the ball spiraling over Given but unfortunately the ball hit the post and rebounded out.
Shearer was up to his usual tricks throughout the game rattling Campbell and Perry. His best effort however was headed away by Campbell on the line with Sullivan beaten. Further efforts from Spurs came from Carr cutting in from the right after beating two defenders. His hard cross reached Leonhardsen at the far post but Leo's finish was disappointing and the ball was cleared. Just before half time with Spurs still pressing Iversen was badly fouled from behind and eventually limped off with what looked like a thigh injury. He was replaced by Ferdinand who was greeted with rapturous applause by the Newcastle fans no doubt still remembering his exploits in the black and white stripes. Oh for some of those goals from Les wearing a Spurs shirt.
In the second half Spurs had plenty of possession but never really looked like punishing Newcastle. In one spell of play Carr and Anderton combined well and Given could not hold Darren's cross. The ball eventually found Leonhardsen who hit a fierce shot against the post. The goalkeeper was floundering as the rebound reached Steffen Freund. He drove a shot along the ground past the keeper only to see a defender hack the ball off the line. For a moment it looked like we were going to witness a Steffen goal but we must all wait for that momentous event.
Newcastle went two nil up after Solano had again got behind the Spurs defence. His shot was parried by Sullivan but Cordone was quickest to smash the ball home. Spurs sent on Young and Taricco for Leo and Thatcher. George switched to three at the back. Ferdinand came close to scoring meeting a Young cross with a powerful downward header. The ball however bounced over the bar. This was not to be Spurs day. We did not take our chances, Newcastle did and they took the three points. For Spurs Sherwood again looked sluggish in midfield and he and Freund could not contain the strong running of Dyer.  At the back we looked wobbly on occasions as our strikers, in particular Rebrov were well marshalled by the Newcastle defence. All in all a predictable outcome confirming we still have a way to go before we come to places like St James park and plunder the points.
Oh and no cards from referee Elleray!
 
 
MEHSTG TOP MAN :  - DARREN ANDERTON
 
Eric the Viking
Middlesbrough  1   THFC 1 -  Tuesday  22nd August 2000  -  Premier League

Attendance - 31,254


Middlesbrough - Schwarzer, Fleming, O'Neill, Vickers, Pallister, Summerbell, Okon, Karembeu, Ricard (Campbell 85), Deane, Job, (Whelan 88)   Subs not used - Stamp, Crossley, Gavin.

Tottenham Hotspur : - Sullivan, Carr, Thatcher, Campbell, Perry, Sherwood,  Freund,  Anderton, Leonhardsen,  Rebrov (Ferdinand 76), Iversen. 
Subs not used - Walker, Vega, Taricco, Clemence

 
Goalscorers - Tottenham Hotspur ; Leonhardsen 39
                         Middlesbrough : Summerbell 59
 
A well deserved draw from Spurs first away game of the season at The Riverside. The line up was the same as the opening Saturday. Middlesbrough had three home debutants in their side: Okon, Karembeu and Job. The Riverside is not like it used to be and some of the enthusiasm in this area seems to be waning judging by the empty seats. Not a particularly good atmosphere either apart from when the teams come out when the tannoy system blasts away. Middlesbrough is a depressing place and one wonders how long the likes of Karembeu and his other half will stay.
The Boro started the game at a hectic pace and pinned Spurs back for the first 20 minutes or so. They created a number of openings but the Spurs rearguard held firm and gradually the tide turned.
Thatcher galloped down the left and hit a sweet cross which Iversen headed just over. Then Carr bombed forward down the other wing cut in and saw his delicate lob clear the goalkeeper only to be headed off the line by a Boro defender. As Spurs domination grew the goal came. Rebrov from wide on the right hit a superb cross which Leonhardsen met on the run to glide past Schwarzer into the top corner of the net. An excellent goal created by the skills of Sergei.
Boro came out for the second half desperate for an equaliser. It came on the hour. Fleming broke down the right and hit a deep far post cross which found an unmarked Summerbell as the spare man. He headed firmly past Sullivan to level the scores.
Boro then seemed to run out of steam and it was Spurs who seemed the most likely to score a winner. Iversen had a couple of efforts which flew over the bar and a number of other chances went close. Iversen and Rebrov ran tirelessly for the team and Sergei was clearly feeling the effects when replaced by Ferdinand after 75 minutes. Les had an eventful time, scoring only to be adjudged offside and then taking two heavy challenges requiring attention but which he seemed to shake off (Yes - Les Ferdinand).
A solid performance which with a little good fortune could easily have resulted in a win. Still a point from the Riverside is welcome and saw Spurs move to share top spot in the Premier with Boro. For Spurs, Sullivan looked safe and was not intimidated by Messrs Deane and Ricard unlike Ian Walker last season. Thatcher, Campbell, Perry and Carr all played well. Freund worked hard in the middle but Sherwood looks a little off the pace and clearly needs a few games to get sharp. Leo scored a fine goal but it was Anderton who caught the eye with his excellent passing making Spurs tick.
It is also good to report that there was none of the nonsense, like that on display at Highbury the previous night which saw poor old Vieira get his second red card in two games. He's on a hat trick! Well played Graham Poll!
 
MEHSTG TOP MAN : - DARREN ANDERTON
 
Eric the Viking

 

With a win under their belts Tottenham should have gone into this match brimming with confidence; even more so when Boro announced their side missing Boksic, Ince and Cooper.  However, the home side had a roaring start to the match, which Spurs did well to weather.  Inside the first minute, Sullivan had to get down to a Job flick from close range and Ricard also had an early chance to hit the target, but choose to blaze over the bar.  Perry also had to intervene before Deane got a shot off.  He is not big, but Job is a handful.  He turns and twists and has a fair bit of pace, enough certainly to make Thatcher stick to his defensive duties and struggle to do that too.  He managed a couple of off-target shots before Tottenham got a grip on the game and went forward.

Rebrov fluffed a chance when Sherwood set him up, then Stephen Carr almost opened up the red defence with a lob over the keeper, but new signing Okon got back to clear from in front of the goal.  It only delayed Tottenham's goal for a little while and Rebrov provided a long cross from the right wing to the heart of the Boro penalty area, where it was met by Leonhardsen running in to head past the keeper. A rare headed goal for Leo, but one which shows that when Rebrov drops deep, the midfielders are the ones who have to get into the box to finish things off.

Bryan Robson must have had a few choice words with his charges at the break, because they started the second half like tigers.  They came sweeping forward, but didn't really threaten seriously, apart from Deane's near miss, until their goal, which was almost a carbon copy of Tottenham's.  Again a cross from the right and Summerbell headed home past Sullivan from about 12 yards out.  He was virtually unchallenged and that is a worry for Tottenham.

As the game wore on, the teams looked worn out.  Spurs perhaps hit back better with Iversen hitting long shots not too far wide, but the introduction of Andy Campbell for the home side nearly made all the difference as his fresh legs caused Spurs a few nervy moments as he ran at the defence.  Job hit a shot which Neil saved and at the other end Les thought he had got the winner, only to fond it ruled out for offside.

As a performance, you wouldn't rate it too great, but there are indications that the away games could bring home more points.  However, the brave new world of GG's Tottenham will need just that - to be brave, because don't forget ... "To Dare is To Do".

Stan Chun

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THFC  3   Ipswich Town 1   -  Saturday  19th August 2000  -  Premier League

Spurs team : - Sullivan, Carr, Perry, Campbell, Thatcher (Taricco 89), Freund, Sherwood, Anderton, Leonhardsen, Iversen (Ferdinand 76), Rebrov.     Unused subs : Vega, Walker, Clemence

A nice sunny day welcomed the faithful back to the temple of high drama and excitement also known as White Hart Lane.  The first day of the season is one full of optimism and hope, but would it be unfounded and/or false ??

The choice of Leonhardsen on the left side of midfield was a surprising one.  Firstly, because we all thought he was injured and secondly, because he seemed to have been ousted by Stephen Clemence.  Still, it was good to see him playing again and alongside Sherwood and Anderton with Freund detailed to defensive midfield jankers.  Up front Steffen Iversen was paired with Rebrov as expected and the back four virtually picked themselves.  The selection of Sullivan was hardly unexpected either.

So, things started off with Ipswich having to deal with a couple of Spurs raids and then the Spurs back line doing the same as the Blues made forays into the Spurs box.  Iversen headed a corner from Anderton over, when Sol was well placed right behind him, then all of a sudden, a free-kick was awarded to Ipswich a few yards outside the box for a block by Sherwood.  It looked harsh and that became even more evident when Venus' drive caught a wicked deflection off the wall and flew past Sullivan.  There was nothing he could do and 9 minutes into his debut he was looking at the ball in the back of the net.

Anderton nearly got on the end of a long ball in from the right after Rebrov had been knocked over by Titan Titus Bramble, but the ball was just behind him.  Then a nice exchange of passes between Rebrov and Freund (yes you read right) saw Sergei show amazing awareness as he hit the ball with the outside of his right boot (while he was virtually facing along the 18 yard line) and sent the ball looping over the back peddling Wright onto the top of the bar.  It was clear that we were witnessing something special here.  Especially when Carr was put through on the right and ran into the box, where the on-rushing Richard Wright sent him crashing for a penalty.  On 29 minutes, Darren Anderton stepped up and hit the spot-kick just right of centre with some power.  Spurs were back in the game and a minute later they were ahead.

A neat one-two with Rebrov sent Carr in again and Wright mindful that Stephen could cut the ball back to waiting forwards, dived to prevent that too early, leaving Carr the simple job of prodding the ball between him and the post for the second goal.  It was a well weighted ball that provided Carr with the chance and almost the same sort of move that saw our number 3 set up Rebrov at Peterborough.  This was not the end of things though.  Ipswich pushed on and Sullivan was alert to save a couple of shots from free-kicks and Town also had a couple of headers off target from corners.  Indeed, Marcus Stewart cam close to making it 2-2 when his low shot was misjudged by Sully (who seemed to go down in stages) and it bounced away off the post.

Half-time saw a resurgence in Ipswich's possession, but there was little made of it.  In the half, Johnson had a couple of shots go wide and Sullivan had to get down quick to a low shot in from the right, but apart from that, the defence marshalled them away or managed to block any other attempts.  At the other end, Darren Anderton smacked a free-kick against the Town post and Sherwood drove wide, Leonhardsen hit a shot inches wide of the left hand post, Rebrov hit a left foot shot wide when put through by Thatcher and completely miscued another left foot effort.  The third Spurs goal came after Les had come on for Iversen.  Some good work on the right and Dazza crossed perfectly for Sir Les to power in an unmarked header from a few yards out.  He was obviously happy to have got on the scoresheet, but it was a good team goal and the sort we hope to see more of.

Despite going one down, Spurs kept playing passing football and worked to break down Ipswich.  Not every team will yield like the East Anglians, but there is hope there and from the few touches he showed today, Rebrov could make a lot of difference to the side.

MEHSTG TOP MAN : - SERGEI REBROV

Pete Stachio

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Vitesse Arnhem  0  THFC  2   -  Saturday 12th August 2000  -  Friendly

Spurs team : -  Sullivan, Carr, Campbell, Perry, Thatcher (Taricco 77), Anderton (Young 77), Freund, Sherwood (Davies 77), Clemence, Ferdinand (Iversen 46), Rebrov.  Unused Sub : Walker

Channel Five saved a trip across the Channel itself with their coverage of our "hastily arranged" (oh, yeah) friendly against crack Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem.  It was to be a game that would see Tottenham line up as they probably would against Ipswich Town in a week's time, with Sullivan in goal, but with Les up front with Sergei.  He will probably be replaced from the start by Iversen.

This game took much the same shape as the match at Peterborough, with the first half being decidedly lacking in exciting incident, before the second half saw Spurs kick into gear.

The sparse crowd had a strange atmosphere about them and it seemed as though Spurs had been wrongly invited, because a giant banner behind the goal said "Vitesse greet Ipswich".  Or perhaps they were just trying to put Spurs of by confusing them with the opponents of next week's game.  Anyway, the first significant action saw Neil Sullivan manage to palm a shot from van Hintum around the post, but only just and with very weak wrists.  The atmosphere allowed you to hear chants of "Ginola" and also you could clearly hear Sullivan shouting at his defence.  A rarity that one !!  Perry had to be quick to clear from Fortes when he broke away from Thatcher, who had a tough time with the speedy winger.  Sherwood also got stuck in on Martel, who injured his hand.  I fully expected Tim to shake on it, but obviously, discretion got the better of him !!

There were few direct chances with Sherwood, Les, Freund and Anderton all having weak or inaccurate shots.  Spurs best chances came from a blocked Sherwood header, a shot from Ferdinand in the area which was set up by Anderton and was saved, while a climbing downward header from Ferdie was saved by the keeper.  At the other end, Sully was kept busy.  He had to react well to a point blank header from Amoah and managed to get the ball up onto the bar, while he also narrowed the angle to prevent Fortes scoring.  He would have been helpless had Diarra's fierce shot been on target instead of inches wide.

So, at half-time, the expected substitution was made with Iversen coming on for Sir Les.  He immediately sparked Spurs and he broke through, before knocking the ball into the centre for nobody in particular.  Two minutes later, he put that right, when on 51 minutes he made a far post run to Anderton's low cross.  Tim missed his shot and Stef ran onto the ball and side-footed home.  He had another chance about five minutes later, but couldn't control it, although he did have a hand in the second goal.  Clem did well to win the ball out on the right.  He played it infield and it was headed on by Rebrov to Iversen, who headed it back.  Rebrov second header evaded a weak attempt at a clearance by Pothuizen (a player Spurs were suppose dot be looking at) and Dazza slipped a low shot past the keeper and into the goal.  Meanwhile, all was not quiet in the Spurs goal as Sullivan did his cause no harm with three low saves, the last a very good one just before the end.  Also before the final whistle blew, Clemence slung in a whippy free-kick and Rebrov headed the ball inches wide and hit the stanchion.

All in all, a professional performance by Spurs who held the ball to control the first half and chased down more to hassle Vitesse in the second.  The defence once again looked sound, while in midfield, the players worked and passed well between them.  Freund even showed off with a couple of back-heels !!  There was a fair amount of movement to give others options, while up front, both Les and Steffen looked lively, with Iversen the better partner for Sergei on the evidence of the games in this country so far.  Eight games and no defeats, if only I could say the same in about six weeks time when the Premier League has been going a while !!

MEHSTG TOP MAN : - NEIL SULLIVAN

Sam Lowry

Peterborough United  1    THFC  2     -   Tuesday 8th August 2000 -  Friendly

I knew we were going to be in for a fun evening when the announcer at London Road said that the Spurs Team contained the players Stefan Frond and Sergio Rebrov. A player turning over a new leaf and a new Brazilian import I thought !!  The match attracted young and old from the "Spurs" shoulder away kit to the current new change strip. All through the ages were on display.

The game got underway with Spurs lining up in a pretty expected form. Walker was preferred in goal and Ferdinand partnered Rebrov upfront. The first half was a little uninspiring with the tactics from Tottenham appearing to come from the Graham Taylor textbook. “Hit Les” seemed the order of the day. There was some good passing but the end result was to try and play the ball into Les. Credit to him, he did control the ball well and lay it off, but there were few clear chances created. One did fall to Rebrov and his persistence took him onto the ball and he just prodded the ball into the keeper’s arms. Another came when he hassled a defender and chipped onto the roof of the goal, but the ref had given a foul. Mr. Halsey seemed intent on teaching Spurs the new laws. Twice he awarded ten yards penalties against Spurs for kicking the ball away and trying to block a quick free-kick, but what happens if players show dissent when a spot-kick is given ? Does he move the penalty ten yards nearer ? I'm sure some poor man in black will be called upon to make a ruling soon.

Anyway, little else happened in the first half, with Walker just fielding back-passes and clearing from their forwards. His second half was a bit more active, especially after Spurs had finished the scoring, when he was called upon to push a Farrell shot from the left side of the box around the post and rush from goal to send the ball travelling over the Thomas Cook stand. Some feet Ian !

The scoring had come after the break and a number of substitutions, but only one for Spurs. Iversen came on to partner Rebrov and they suddenly looked dangerous. The first goal arrived on 48 minutes, when Iversen slipped a delightful ball through the Posh defence for Carr to take it to the line. He held off his marker before pulling the ball back along the floor for Sergei to rifle home into the roof of the net. The Spurs crowd went wild and Rebrov was pretty happy too. The attacking continued with Anderton hitting a shot off the bar and later Armstrong glancing a header over, when perhaps he should have hit the target.

In between those two chances, Tim Sherwood increased the lead. 58 minutes were on the clock, when Darren Anderton lofted the ball into the box for Tim to chase. He brought the ball under control and picked a spot over the keeper and in the top corner to curl the ball into. It was expertly placed. This piece of skill contrasted with his early effort, which saw him pick up where he had left off at Fulham - really getting stuck in. However, he was not the worst offender. Tottenham's hard man on the night was … Anderton !! And it was a surprise when in the second half he was warned by the ref, that Tottenham chose to substitute Sherwood and Thatcher !! Davies came on and showed some good touches, but also some loose ones, although he ran hard to give players on the ball an option of passing to him.

The remainder of the game saw Tottenham take the sting out of the game and let Peterborough back into it, especially in the last minute when their goal was scored by an old head, or more correctly an Oldfield (David). His far post header was just inside the post leaving Walker grasping at thin air. It was a good cross supplied by the Posh sub who wore a blank shirt ("The man with no number" - man of mystery). It left the home side happy and they will be pleased that a reasonable crowd turned out to add a few more quid to the Posh coffers to the Davies-Etherington deal, of which this match was a part. All in all a decent performance by the team who rarely looked in trouble as you would hope. And not a chorus of "Ginola" all night. How quickly the famous are forgotten.

MEHSTG TOP MAN  : - STEPHEN CLEMENCE (and not CLEMENTS as the programme said !)

Grayling Barraclough

Queens Park Rangers 0 THFC 2  -  Saturday 4th August 2000  -  Friendly

Spurs : Spurs: Sullivan, Carr, Taricco (Thatcher 45), Campbell, Vega (Perry 45), Leonhardsen (Davies 45), Sherwood (Young 77), Clemence, Anderton, Ferdinand (Rebrov 45), Iversen (Armstrong 77).

All in all a better performance than that at Fulham in midweek. The side showed some nice passing at times and actually held onto the ball. That is something that has been a bit of a downfall in recent seasons. But we must remember this was against a poor Rangers side, but a win is a win isn’t it ? The last couple of pre-season games here have been dire 0-0 draws and the sizable Tottenham turnout came to see Rebrov, but had to wait until half-time to see him arrive on the pitch. By then Les Ferdinand had shown his old club (and his present one) what they had been missing, by thumping a shot past Harper in the Rangers goal. The ball had been worked well down the right wing, before Tim Sherwood laid the ball back for Les to strike. There was rarely any concern for Spurs and they controlled the game with Neil Sullivan a non-paying spectator for the majority of the match.

For some it was the first look at Peter Crouch, who Spurs sold to QPR a few weeks ago for 60,000. Having seen him in the reserves, it was no surprise that Sol had him in his pocket, but some First Division defenders might find his height a bit difficult to deal with in the coming months.

Taricco started and was substituted by Thatcher at the break, but Ben got a bit of a runaround by Jermaine Darlington, who Spurs had been linked with towards the end of last season. The rest of the side all played well and did just enough. Iversen was unlucky with a header that skimmed off him to go wide and when he was replaced by Armstrong, the former Palace man looked sharp and had a few half-chances which came his way, including a one on one with the keeper, but he shot straight at him. Rebrov rifled a fierce shot just off target, Carr chipped over when one of his blasters might have been the better option and Sherwood should have added to the one he did get to put Spurs 2-0 up. Stephen Clemence, linked with Sherwood and who worked well in midfield, took a corner which was half cleared, but fell to Tim, who didn’t hit his shot properly, but luckily it took a big deflection before going past the keeper.

One of the big surprises of the day was finding Ramon Vega (the forgotten man of the Spurs defence) turning out alongside Sol Campbell for this match. Having said that he did alright, playing solidly against Crouch (who he would have seen a lot of in the stiffs) and occasionally taking the ball out of defence. Whatever next we ask !!  Anderton troubled the keeper a couple of times and generally played well, in the absence of Ginola. Perhaps the one bright spark of an otherwise plodding day out, was the entrance of Simon Davies. I know others have sung his praises in MEHSTG, but I have to add to them. It was a cameo performance, but one which shows how good a player he is at his young age. George should have no worries about putting him into the first team and if nothing else comes of these half-paced, half-arsed training matches, then the fact that Simon Davies will be a very good player for Tottenham Hotspur should be enough.

MEHSTG TOP MAN : - DARREN ANDERTON

Sam Lowry

Fulham 0   Tottenham Hotspur 0    Wednesday 2nd August 2000  -  Friendly

Attendance - 12,928

 
Fulham - Taylor, Finnan, Brevett, Colemen, Melville, Davis (Lewis 45) Collins, Clark, Goldbaek, Boa Morte, Betsy. 
Tottenham Hotspur - Sullivan, Carr, Thatcher (Taricco 75), Campbell, Perry, Sherwood (Etherington 55), Clemence, Anderton, Leonhardsen (Armstrong 75), Rebrov, Ferdinand (Iversen 45)
 
George Graham was absent for this Simon Morgan testimonial. No doubt he is still having nightmares about his last visit to Craven Cottage when Spurs were humbled out of the Worthington Cup 3-1. For this game Sullivan replaced Walker in goal (I wonder how many times that will happen this season?) Clemence who looks as though he has beefed up a bit replaced Freund. Ferdinand started up front with Rebrov. Simon Morgan who is currently injured was allowed to kick off the game which meant Fulham started with 12 men! He immediately left the field with Graham Poll the referee joining in the fun by pretending to show a red card. The game then kicked off proper and the fun stopped. Fulham certainly had the best of the first half and the second. Spurs only real chance in the first 45 minutes came from a short range drive from Sol which Taylor just tipped over. The second half continued to be a drab battle with one or two tasty challenges. Sherwood clattered Collins. He then fouled Goldbaek. This was all too much for Mr. Poll who politely asked Sherwood to leave the field and signalled to the Spurs bench that they should replace him. Certainly more acceptable in these games than red & yellow cards. Etherington came on and took his place wide left with Leonhardsen moving inside. 

Fulham still had the better of the play and Sullivan made a couple of good saves he was also grateful to some poor finishing and the woodwork in keeping a clean sheet. He looks confident when taking crosses and seems to control his area well. Spurs best effort this half was a clever Iversen lob which almost found the back of the net. A tough friendly where Spurs did not shine. The three new boys all showed they will be good additions to the Spurs team. It is now five games without conceding a goal and as one wag in the crowd said " there won't be many side come here and get a draw this season!" As the large contingent of Spurs fans in the good sized crowd became bored there was the predictable chants of "Ginola Ginola". No doubt we can expect to hear plenty of that this season from those who did not accept Sugar's offer for a season ticket reimbursement.

 
MEHSTG TOP MAN - NEIL SULLIVAN 
 
Eric the Viking
Birmingham City 0 Tottenham Hotspur 1 Saturday 29th July 2000   (Friendly) 
Goalscorer - Iversen 31
 
Birmingham City - Bennett, Eaden, Burrows (Robinson), Holdsworth, Marcelo (Gill), Lazaridis, O'Connor, M. Johnson, Williams, Luntala (A. Johnson), Furlong (Adebola)
 
Tottenham Hotspur - Walker, Carr. Thatcher, Campbell, Perry, Freund, Sherwood (Clemence 65), Anderton, Leonhardsen (Ferdinand 65), Iversen (Young 65), Rebrov
 
Spurs came to their first friendly of the new season in England at St Andrews fresh from a Scandinavian tour which had seen them score 14 goals in three games with nil conceded. A good start by anyone's standards and Birmingham City would be a tougher ordeal, but Tottenham ran out worthy winners by 1-0 .
St Andrews has been rebuilt on three sides and is becoming an impressive stadium.  The crowd was however sparse despite an entrance fee of 10 on the gate.
The first real attempt on goal came from a Darren Anderton free kick which was driven just over the bar. Shortly afterwards Leonhardsen felt he had a good shout for a penalty, but referee Paul Rejer waved away the claims.
After 31 minutes Spurs took the lead. Some excellent work by Rebrov saw him find Iversen on the edge of the area. Steffen immediately took control ghosted past a Blues defender and hit a superb shot with the outside of his right foot past Bennett in the Birmingham goal. Spurs continued to dominate the first half. A new free kick routine resulted in Sherwood squaring the ball to Carr who blasted over. Campbell also went close with a header from Anderton's corner.
After the break Birmingham showed more purpose but did not create a real opening. Rebrov had Spurs best effort when he hit a screamer with his left foot which Bennett just clawed away.
Spurs made three substitutions on 65 minutes introducing Young and Clemence in midfield and Ferdinand up front. It was good to see Les back.
New signings Thatcher and Rebrov both played the full 90 minutes although Sullivan stayed on the bench. Sergei Rebrov looks a class act. He is quick and nimble, has an awareness of what's going on around him, a strong shot and wins a surprising number of headers considering his height. Thatcher looked strong and determined and has a natural left foot which he puts to good use. Sol is still recovering from his Euro 2000 experience but overall the defence has a solid look about it. Iversen was bright and alert with his blonde hair bleached by the sun (?) (Ed : - Obviously not the English sun this summer).
Ginola also spent the afternoon on the bench despite the calls for him from the travelling fans. The Birmingham fans were also wondering whether he will be joining their deadly rivals, Villa. Maybe deadly Doug was lurking in the Stand waiting to pounce. I can't believe Ginola would move from London to Birmingham.
So another friendly win and no goals conceded from 360 minutes of play.  Already I am full of optimism.
 
MEHSTG TOP MAN - STEFFEN IVERSEN
 
Eric the Viking

 

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