MEHSTG Vol. 2  Issue 26  -  April 2002

What a run of games we have had lately. They have been coming thick and fast and for once, we had got through to the start of February still in all the competitions and are still playing two games a week. However, it has become increasingly common over the last few seasons that we are being paired with the same clubs year after year, especially after the Wimbledon saga of a couple of years back.

The rumours that circulated around the time of the Worthington Cup semi-final draw indicated there might be more to this than met the eye. With the potential for both London clubs to get through to the Final should they be drawn in different games and the ensuing traffic congestion in Cardiff with all the fans coming from the same direction, caused some to speculate that Spurs and Chelsea would be paired together. When it did happen, everyone shook a cynical head, as though it had been a forgone conclusion that the two local rivals would be forced to endure two games against each other.

How could such a thing happen ? After all, in this same season, Spurs have now faced Bolton Wanderers, Tranmere Rovers and Chelsea in both cup competitions. Going back to 1974, Tottenham played Liverpool in the League Cup with a replay, the FA Cup and twice in the UEFA Cup over two legs in the semi-final. So, is it all just down to chance or are there more arch forces at work at the FA and Football League ?

Warm and cold balls are one such mode of ensuring that a draw can be so “arranged”. One ball is kept in an oven at a low heat, while another is placed in a fridge. Thus when the ex-footballing celebs stick their hands into the velvet bag/Perspex bowl, it is simple for them to select the two sides who are wanted to be put together. Would there be even more likelihood of this happening when the TV companies are in need of a big draw to stick in on Sunday afternoon.

Having lost to Chelsea in the Sixth round of the FA Cup, they will now meet Fulham in the semi at Villa Park. So, how is it that when we played Arsenal last season at the same stage, we travelled to Old Trafford ?? And why have Arsenal and Chelsea not been paired together in a semi-final, as surely the authorities would not want both travelling to Cardiff on Cup Final day ? Am I feeling paranoid, or is that the reason behind the Worthington semi draw coming out as it did ?? Maybe is it just fate. But for Tottenham this season, it ended up as a fatal flaw.

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