Tag Archives: Tottenham Hotspur

Memorable Matches: Middlesbrough 3-3 Tottenham Hotspur (December 2005)

Goalscorers: Robbie Keane 25, Yakubu 30, 43, Jermaine Jenas 63, Franck Queudrue 69, Mido 83

Teams:

Middlesbrough: Mark Schwarzer, Matthew Bates, Gareth Southgate, Ugo Ehiogu, Franck Queudrue, George Boateng, Doriva, James Morrison (Massimo Maccarone 89), Fabio Rochemback, Marc Viduka, Yakubu

Tottenham Hotspur: Paul Robinson, Lee-Young Pyo, Michael Dawson, Ledley King, Paul Stalteri, Michael Carrick, Edgar Davids, Jermaine Jenas (Grzegorz Rasiak 81), Andy Reid (Jermain Defoe 56, Michael Brown 90), Robbie Keane, Mido

Referee: Howard Webb, Attendance: 27,614

The 27,614 crowd that turned up at the Riverside Stadium in December 2005 were given a pre-Christmas treat. Middlesbrough and Tottenham Hotspur produced a great spectacle and ultimately, a game which neither side deserved to lose.

Boro were having a tricky season under Steve McClaren. They had lost their last two Premier League games and were finding the juggling effect of Premier League and European matches tough to handle. Martin Jol’s Tottenham didn’t have that problem and they were challenging for a top-four finish alongside the top-flight’s usual suspects.

After a scrappy first 25 minutes, it was Jol’s side who took the lead. Lee-Young Pyo launched a deep cross into the box. Mark Schwarzer was challenged by Mido and under pressure, the goalkeeper lost the ball. Robbie Keane was in the right place at the right time. His strike wasn’t the cleanest but evaded three Boro defenders to score. Schwarzer looked at referee Howard Webb, feeling he had been impeded. In truth, it wasn’t his finest piece of goalkeeping.

Middlesbrough responded well though and by half-time, were leading 2-1. From a Gareth Southgate flick-on, Yakubu volleyed past Paul Robinson at the near post. He was the big summer arrival at the Riverside and returning an excellent goals tally. The Nigerian doubled his tally but in more fluky fashion. Academy graduate James Morrison was given space to run at the defence. He did just that, skipping past Michael Dawson’s tackle before releasing a shot. His effort took a wicked deflection off Yakubu and that gave the England no.1 goalkeeper no chance. Yakubu nearly had a hat-trick early in the second half. Only great reflexes from Robinson stopped him from walking home with the match ball. Morrison’s cross was met by a thumping header that was turned over the crossbar. It was a crucial save. Moments later, Spurs equalised. Jermaine Jenas produced a perfectly curled free-kick that comprehensively beat Schwarzer to level the scores.

With 20 minutes left, Middlesbrough regained the lead. Fabio Rochemback’s corner was met by a flying Franck Queudrue header. The ball hit the underside of the bar and bounced over the line. These were the days before goal-line technology but no doubts here – the linesman correctly awarded the goal. Robinson didn’t agree and was booked by Webb for his protests. However, Tottenham deserved something from the match and they got their point seven minutes from the end. Mido climbed the highest from a corner to defeat Schwarzer and ensure the points would be shared.

Both suffered heartache at the end of the season. Middlesbrough finished a disappointing 14th but went all the way to the UEFA Cup final before losing to Sevilla. Tottenham were pipped to a top-four finish on the final day of the campaign by north London rivals Arsenal.

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Premier League Files: Steven Caulker

Premier League Career: Swansea City (2011-2012), Tottenham Hotspur (2012-2013), Cardiff City (2013-2014), Queens Park Rangers (2014-2015), Southampton (2015), Liverpool FC (2016)

Defender Steven Caulker has already played for six different Premier League clubs. He will be hoping to reach the heights of the top-flight again. Currently at Queens Park Rangers in the Championship, Caulker has opened up in 2017 about a dark and grim period in his life which saw him battle mental illness. In recent years, the product of the Tottenham Hotspur academy has lost his way in his career but his courage in speaking out deserves praise and many will hope to see him back to his best in the near future.

Caulker supported his hometown club Brentford in his youth. Despite being a talented athlete as a teenager, especially at 400m, Caulker chose to pursue a career in football. It was one of his youth coaches who saw traits of a central defender in the player and encouraged him to move back from his early days when Caulker was trying out a career as a central midfielder.

He impressed at youth level with Tottenham and signed his first professional contract with the north London club in July 2009. It was time for Caulker to go and play at first-team level. For the 2009-2010 season, he was sent out on-loan to League One outfit Yeovil Town, alongside a fellow future Tottenham first-team player in Ryan Mason. He impressed throughout his loan period with them, starting 44 games. After a brief cameo with Tottenham in a League Cup defeat to Arsenal in September 2010, he signed a contract extension and went out on-loan again, this time to Bristol City. Again, he did well and despite his loan spell being cut short by a knee cartilage injury in March 2011, he was voted Bristol City’s Young Player of the Year.

Another loan would follow in 2011-2012 but this time, it would be in the Premier League with newly-promoted Swansea City. He made his top-flight debut in Swansea’s opening game; a 4-0 defeat to Manchester City. Unfortunately, a collision with the goalpost at the Emirates Stadium ruled him out of action for three months. After this absence, he became a regular fixture in the Swansea side, featuring 26 times as the south Welsh club finished an excellent 11th in their maiden Premier League campaign.

In the summer of 2012, he represented the Great Britain team during the football tournament at the 2012 London Olympics. In the same year, he won his one and only international cap with England and scored too in the 4-2 defeat to Sweden in Gothenburg.

In 2012-2013, Caulker would spend the entire season with his parent club. He made his Premier League bow for Tottenham as a half-time substitute in a home win over Queens Park Rangers in September 2012. A fortnight later, he scored his first Tottenham goal in a 2-0 home win against Aston Villa and would add another away at Manchester City in November, although this would end in a narrow 2-1 defeat. He was contracted to Tottenham until 2016 but when newly-promoted Cardiff City made a bid of £8 million for the player, Spurs accepted the offer and Caulker was heading back to Wales but this time on a permanent basis.

A lot was expected considering the fee paid by the Bluebirds and he would justify the price tag, scoring five goals and playing every single minute of the campaign. Highlights included two goals in a 3-1 victory over relegation rivals Fulham and a headed winner in the first Premier League Welsh derby as Cardiff edged out Swansea 1-0. However, Caulker couldn’t prevent his side from being relegated as they finished bottom of the Premier League. Unfortunately, Caulker’s career has fizzled out pretty dramatically since. He stayed in the top-flight following Cardiff’s demise by joining Queens Park Rangers. Although he scored in a home draw with Stoke City, Caulker’s form was not as strong as it had been at Cardiff and he experienced the bitter pain of relegation in back-to-back seasons.

Nevertheless, Southampton signed the centre-back on a loan deal in July 2015 which was meant to last the whole campaign. He failed to break-up the formidable axis of Jose Fonte and Virgil van Dijk and played just eight times in all competitions for the Saints. After an insipid display in the 6-1 League Cup battering by Liverpool FC, Caulker would never play for Southampton again. In January 2016, he joined Liverpool FC on yet another loan deal and featured three times, all as a substitute. He did claim one assist and it was a big one too, as Adam Lallana scored a 95th minute winner in the incredible 5-4 victory over Norwich City.

Caulker returned to Queens Park Rangers but continued to struggle to find his best form. In the summer of 2017, he admitted in an interview with The Guardian about struggles with mental illness, plus addictions to drinking and gambling. He said: “For too long I’ve hated everything about myself and I needed to learn to love myself again. I miss the game like crazy. I don’t feel as if I’ve enjoyed playing football since Cardiff. I don’t want to type my name into Google and just see a list of humiliating stories. I want people to remember I am a footballer who was good enough to represent his country at 20 and still has 10 years left in the game.”

“Wherever the opportunity arises, I’m just thankful still to be alive.”

It is hard to believe that he is still only 25. If he can beat his demons, Steven Caulker still has a future in the game and the chance to fulfil his early talent.

Great Goals: Ryan Giggs – Tottenham Hotspur vs. MANCHESTER UNITED (September 1992)

In the very first season of the Premier League, Ryan Giggs was one of the biggest stars. Still only a teenager, the Welshman’s lightning pace and box of tricks made him a nightmare to play against. He scored one of his best Premier League goals in September 1992 when Manchester United made the trip to White Hart Lane.

Still goalless with half-time in sight, Giggs took possession and beat two Tottenham defenders before rounding the goalkeeper and then with the angle tightening, produced a fine finish into the back of the net. This goal demonstrated all of Ryan’s strong attributes as a youngster.

Tottenham did score in the second half to ensure the game finished all-square at 1-1 but this match is only remembered for a wonderful individual effort by Giggs.

Shock Results: Tottenham Hotspur 1-2 Coventry City (May 1997)

Goalscorers: Dion Dublin 12, Paul Williams 38, Paul McVeigh 44

Teams:

Tottenham Hotspur: Espen Baardsen, Justin Edinburgh, John Scales, Sol Campbell, Stephen Carr, Ramon Vega, Jason Dozzell, Paul McVeigh (Neale Finn 73), Andy Sinton (Jamie Clapham 23), Ruel Fox, Teddy Sheringham

Coventry City: Steve Ogrizovic, Richard Shaw, Paul Williams, David Burrows, Paul Telfer, Kevin Richardson, Gary McAllister, Peter Ndlovu, Noel Whelan (Eoin Jess 33), Dion Dublin, Darren Huckerby

Referee: Martin Bodenham, Attendance: 33,029

Coventry City were up against it going into the final day of the 1996-1997 season. For the 10th time in 30 years, they needed to win their final game to have any hope of remaining in the top-flight. They were in this position after a 2-1 home defeat the previous weekend to Derby County. Traffic problems on the motorways meant the game kicked off 15 minutes later than the other 3pm kick-offs, which would mean for plenty of nerves for their rivals in distress at Selhurst Park and Elland Road.

Coventry led inside 12 minutes. The talismanic Dion Dublin was given a free header by some fairly awful Tottenham marking. He made no mistake in guiding Gary McAllister’s cross past the Tottenham reserve goalkeeper Espen Baardsen. There was plenty at stake and it was shown by the will and aggression Coventry possessed in their game. Sometimes, it threatened to get out of control. Six yellow cards were dished out inside the opening half an hour and there were some needless scuffles between both sets of players. This was a game that saw nothing on the line for Tottenham. They were going to finish an uninspiring 10th in Gerry Francis’ second full season in the dugout.

Then, six minutes before half-time, Coventry crucially extended their lead. McAllister was once again the architect. The Scot, experiencing his first Highfield Road season after leaving Leeds United the previous summer produced a decisive corner into the box. Defender Paul Williams volleyed home to give Sky Blues’ supporters the chance to dream of another amazing escape act.

Despite having little to play for, Tottenham weren’t going to completely keel over and hand the game to their opponents. Two minutes before half-time, Teddy Sheringham’s free-kick struck the woodwork and the rebound fell nicely for Paul McVeigh to score his first-ever goal for Tottenham.

That started the nerves for the Coventry supporters and they grew throughout the second half, especially when the final scores came in at the other games. Middlesbrough were consigned to the drop after drawing at Leeds, whilst Sunderland had lost late on to Wimbledon. It meant if Coventry could hold on for the last 14 minutes, they would remain a Premier League club. However, it took all of Steve Ogrizovic’s experience and knowhow as time and again, the veteran denied Tottenham an equaliser with a string of fine saves.

When referee Martin Bodenham blew his whistle at full-time, it confirmed Coventry City had survived again against the odds. Afterwards, manager Gordon Strachan said: “I enjoyed watching the players enjoy themselves celebrating with each other. At the end you feel nothing for yourself, you feel for the players and the fans and everyone associated with the club.”

Coventry stayed in the top-flight for another four years before succumbing to the inevitable in 2001. They are sadly now in the bottom tier of the Football League.

Iconic Moments: Sol switches sides (July 2001)

In 2001, Sol Campbell had a big decision to make. He was the jewel in the crown at Tottenham Hotspur. However, he had managed to win just one major honour in his career which was the League Cup in 1999. Tottenham were a mediocre team at the time, often finishing around 9th-13th in the table. If regular silverware was what Campbell was looking for, he might have to move on. Worse still for Tottenham, he was out of contract in summer 2001 and could move to another club on a free transfer. Spurs did all they could to keep him. They offered him a new deal, which would have made him the club’s highest wage earner. Campbell insisted though he had to leave to play UEFA Champions League football. So, where would he go?

Many of Europe’s top continental clubs were linked with him. Barcelona offered him a lucrative deal whilst Liverpool FC were another serious player in trying to recruit the England central defender. So in July 2001, it was a huge surprise to everyone when Campbell was pictured shaking hands with Arsene Wenger. He had switched sides in north London and joined Tottenham’s deadly rivals, Arsenal on a four-year deal for free.

At a news conference, Campbell said: “I’ve made my decision and I just hope people respect it. I’ve signed a four-year contract and I believe in that time I can make some great strides in my career.”

In November 2001, Campbell made his first return to White Hart Lane after his departure. It is fair to say that he didn’t get the fondest of welcomes from Spurs supporters.

He had the last laugh though, winning two Premier League titles, three FA Cup medals and scoring in the 2006 UEFA Champions League final. Whatever you think of Sol Campbell, this transfer remains one of the most controversial and biggest surprises of the last 25 years.

Premier League Files: Andy Reid

Premier League Career: Tottenham Hotspur (2005-2006), Charlton Athletic (2006-2007), Sunderland (2008-2011), Blackpool (2011)

Turning professional in August 1999, Republic of Ireland international Andy Reid would start and finish his career in the same place – the second-tier of English football with Nottingham Forest. In-between that, he had spells with four Premier League clubs but never quite managed to scale the heights he achieved at Forest.

Reid started making a name for himself at a couple of Irish youth clubs – Lourdes Celtic and Cherry Orchard. There were a number of clubs queuing up to get his signature but ultimately, he chose Nottingham Forest over the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United. His breakthrough season came in 2003-2004. Despite missing a fair portion of the campaign due to injury, Reid finished as the club’s top scorer with 13 goals and was named in the PFA Division One Team of the Year. It was at this time he decided a new challenge was required.

On the eve of the 2004-2005 campaign, he handed in a transfer request but ultimately stayed until January 2005, moving on deadline day to Tottenham Hotspur alongside his teammate Michael Dawson. A combined fee of £8 million was paid to Forest by Spurs. However, his dream move quickly turned sour.

After his debut performance for Tottenham in a win over Portsmouth, manager Martin Jol was quoted as saying; “Andy Reid also did well on his debut, and you worry a bit how new players will cope with the Premiership.” You got the sense the manager was never certain of Reid’s qualities and neither were the Tottenham supporters.

He scored once for Tottenham in a 5-1 demolition of Aston Villa in May 2005 but he never hit the heights of his time at Forest and was derided as a flop by many journalists analysing the dealings in the January transfer market of that season. In August 2006, he moved to Charlton Athletic for £3 million. Once again, Reid experienced turmoil with three managers that season and Charlton were ultimately relegated from the top-flight.

Back in the Championship, Reid sparkled even when Charlton didn’t. Three years after his January deadline day move to Tottenham, Andy was moving again on the final day of the window – this time to Sunderland in a £5 million transfer. He was signed by fellow Irishman Roy Keane and the early signs were encouraging. Reid set-up a goal on his debut and scored a late winner against West Ham United at the end of March. However, his performances quickly went back to games where he was glorious and other matches where he barely existed on the pitch. By now, injuries were also taking their toll on a player who won 29 international caps for his country, scoring four goals.

His Sunderland career petered out in 2010 and after a three-month loan spell at Sheffield United; he signed for battling Blackpool in January 2011. It was his fourth Premier League club and once again, it ended in disappointment. Reid only made five appearances and the Tangerines’ lost their battle to stay in the top-flight. He returned to Nottingham Forest to finish his playing career. Although he was named Forest’s Player of the Year in 2014, Andy could not keep clear of the treatment table. Eventually, these setbacks caught up with him and he retired from the game in July 2016.

Andy Reid never quite settled away from Nottingham Forest and once a spate of injuries take their course, it is difficult to rediscover early heights. One thing you did get from him – he loved a January transfer.

Great Goals: Gareth Bale – West Ham United vs. TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (February 2013)

West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur have played out a bruising and enthralling contest at Upton Park which is locked together at 2-2. To win the game, it needed either a big mistake or a moment of utter brilliance. It received the latter from the untouchable Gareth Bale.

Bale might have gone onto win big silverware in Spain with Real Madrid but it was Tottenham who gave him the platform to become the world’s most expensive footballer until Paul Pogba transferred back to Manchester United in the summer of 2016. He begins this move with another of his slalom runs before being tackled. The ball breaks to Gylfi Sigurdsson who finds substitute Tom Carroll.

Bale is back on his feet and beckons the ball from Carroll. The youngster duly obliges. Bale is given the time to assess his options but West Ham defenders probably didn’t expect what he would do next. The Welshman hits a special curling effort that leaves Jussi Jaaskelainen completely stranded. Tottenham win the game and once again, Bale is the decisive difference.

Memorable Matches: Tottenham Hotspur 2-3 Newcastle United (January 2007)

Goalscorers: Jermain Defoe 14, Paul Huntington 16, Dimitar Berbatov 54, Obafemi Martins 72, Nicky Butt 73

Teams:

Tottenham Hotspur: Paul Robinson, Lee-Young Pyo, Calum Davenport (Hossam Ghaly 88), Michael Dawson, Pascal Chimbonda, Teemu Tainio (Didier Zokora 79), Tom Huddlestone, Steed Malbranque (Robbie Keane 75), Aaron Lennon, Dimitar Berbatov, Jermain Defoe

Newcastle United: Shay Given, Paul Huntington, Matty Pattison, Peter Ramage, Steven Taylor, Nicky Butt, James Milner, Antoine Sibierski, Kieron Dyer, Nolberto Solano, Obafemi Martins

Referee: Steve Bennett, Attendance: 35,942

This was a match in January 2007 that promised much and certainly delivered. Neither Tottenham Hotspur, nor Newcastle United were in sparkling form ahead of this encounter between two mid-table sides. Newcastle arrived with a threadbare squad but ultimately finished the afternoon as the happier side, taking all three points for their first win at White Hart Lane since January 2003.

Tottenham completely dominated their opponents in the first 15 minutes but ran into an inspired Shay Given, who put in another blockbuster performance. He made early saves to deny Jermain Defoe, Dimitar Berbatov and Steed Malbranque. Eventually, the pressure told and Spurs got a deserved lead. Malbranque made a surging run down the left-hand side and played in Defoe to convert in a position where he normally takes his chances. Television replays later showed a potential for an offside in the build-up but the goal stood and at this stage, it looked being a long afternoon for the Magpies’.

Perhaps Tottenham switched off completely because concentration levels dropped just two minutes later. James Milner curled in a free-kick. Youngster Paul Huntington had a header blocked. However, he reacted quickest to the loose ball and squirmed a shot in-between the legs of Paul Robinson for an unexpected leveller. It was Newcastle’s very first attack of the match.

As Steve Bennett blew the half-time whistle, trouble flared up between both sets of players. Pascal Chimbonda of Tottenham and Newcastle’s Nicky Butt were booked for their part in a scuffle where Chimbonda appeared to slap Butt in the face. The Frenchman was very fortunate to avoid more severe sanction. Newcastle manager Glenn Roeder was not impressed with Chimbonda’s conduct and nine minutes into the second half, his anger was bound to have grown. The right-back made an impressive run to meet Malbranque’s pass. Nolberto Solano was able to deny Teemu Tainio but Berbatov was instinctive enough to volley the ball into the floor and into the net.

Tottenham continued to control the match but failed to convert their opportunities and in the space of 94 seconds, saw the potential of three points turn into the probability of getting nothing. Obafemi Martins was having a quiet afternoon but in the 72nd minute, he burst into life. Playing a one-two with a colleague, the Nigerian forced Michael Dawson into backing off on him. Martins then delivered an unstoppable left-foot drive that sped into the top corner, giving Robinson absolutely no chance.

Moments later, Martins turned provider for what turned out to be the winner. He played a delightful ball for Butt who made a run from midfield and angled a shot across Robinson’s bows and into the net. It was a nice moment for the ex-Manchester United youngster who had been suffering from flu all week and missed a high proportion of training. Newcastle held the hosts off for an improbable and unlikely victory.

Premier League Files: Kyle Walker

Premier League Career: Tottenham Hotspur (2010-2017), Aston Villa (2011), Manchester City (2017-PRESENT)

He turned 27 recently and Kyle Walker has impressed many with the journey he has been on. Now established as first-choice right-back for his country, the Sheffield-born defender had been a regular fixture in a hungry and energetic Tottenham Hotspur side that has won the plaudits from many neutral supporters in the past couple of seasons. Now, Walker is embarking on a new challenge for 2017-2018 in the colours of Manchester City.

Walker started his professional career with his local side Sheffield United. Quickly sent to Sixfields to get some Football League experience under his belt at Northampton Town, Walker returned into the fold at Bramwall Lane in January 2009 and was a surprise inclusion in the closing matches of the season as the club struggled with an injury crisis. Walker seized his chance and became the club’s youngest player to ever play at Wembley Stadium when Burnley defeated the Blades’ in the 2009 Championship play-off final.

Tottenham wasted no time in snapping up their man, seeing Walker as part of their future. Harry Redknapp was manager at the time and combined with Kyle Naughton, £9million was paid to the Yorkshire side for Walker to become a Spurs player. He was immediately loaned back to Sheffield United to continue his development before being recalled in February 2010. Less than two months later, he made his Premier League debut in a 2-0 victory over Portsmouth at White Hart Lane.

2010-2011 was another season out on-loan. It began at Queens Park Rangers, before crucial Premier League experience with Aston Villa. It was at Villa Park where he scored his first senior league goal; a 30-yard low drive in the Villans’ 2-2 draw with Fulham on a goalscoring afternoon in February 2011.

The time had come now for Kyle to make the grade at Tottenham. He returned to his parent club that summer and was a regular feature in the teams of Redknapp, Andre Villas-Boas, Tim Sherwood and Mauricio Pochettino. After a highly impressive full debut season in north London, Walker was voted into the PFA Team of the Year and saw off competition from the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to win the coveted PFA Young Player of the Year award. He also scored one of the free-kicks of the campaign; a 25-yard curling effort in the 2-0 success against Blackburn Rovers.

Although his attacking prowess is highly regarded, Walker has at times been found guilty of overplaying at the back or easily getting physically beaten in battles against wingers. One of his worst performances came in a home defeat to Manchester United in 2012 when he was at fault for two of the Red Devils’ goals – both scored by Ashley Young.

By now, Kyle had full international recognition from England. Only a toe injury stopped him taking part at the 2012 European Championships but he did make the squad for the 2016 edition in France. In 2016-2017, his performances were once again recognised by his peers who voted Walker in the PFA Team of the Year for a second time. This encouraged Manchester City to break the British transfer record for a defender in July 2017, signing Walker for £45 million which could rise to £50 million on instalments.

No-one can doubt that Kyle Walker has been an impressive force at the back for Tottenham Hotspur. His progress at Manchester City will be an interesting development in the 2017-2018 season.

Great Goals: Thierry Henry – ARSENAL vs. Tottenham Hotspur (November 2002)

Voted as Goal of the Season by viewers of ITV’s ‘The Premiership’ during the 2002-2003 season, this was Thierry Henry at his absolute best as Tottenham couldn’t live with him in the North London Derby.

Just over 15 minutes had been played when Henry controlled the ball inside his own half and turned past Matthew Etherington. The Frenchman started running away from Etherington and burst past the centre circle. He had options in Dennis Bergkamp and Sylvain Wiltord but Henry only had one thing on his mind and that was to score.

Drifting away from Stephen Carr and Ledley King, Henry found the space to shoot and beat Kasey Keller to complete one of the greatest solo goals we’ve seen in this classic rivalry. He promptly completed his long-distance run with a long-distance celebration back to his own half to celebrate with the Gunners’ supporters.

Arsenal won 3-0 in a period when they were the class of north London.

Memorable Matches: Manchester City 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur (May 2010)

Goalscorer: Peter Crouch 82

Teams:

Manchester City: Marton Fulop, Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany, Kolo Toure, Wayne Bridge, Nigel de Jong, Gareth Barry (Patrick Vieira 57), Adam Johnson (Shaun Wright-Phillips 71), Craig Bellamy (Roque Santa Cruz 84), Carlos Tevez, Emmanuel Adebayor

Tottenham Hotspur: Heurelho Gomes, Michael Dawson, Ledley King, Younes Kaboul, Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Tom Huddlestone, Luka Modric (Wilson Palacios 88), Gareth Bale, Aaron Lennon (David Bentley 71), Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe (Roman Pavlyuchenko 81)

Referee: Steve Bennett, Attendance: 47,370

This was effectively a shootout for a UEFA Champions League qualification spot. Tottenham Hotspur travelled to Eastlands for their penultimate game of the season knowing that a victory would clinch their place in Europe’s premier club competition for the first time since the Champions League had been reformed in 1992. A win for their rivals Manchester City would put them into the driving seat for fourth place going into the final day. The prize was estimated to be worth £30 million.

Roberto Mancini had to rely on ex-Spurs shot-stopper Marton Fulop as his goalkeeper. Injury to Shay Given and with Joe Hart unable to be recalled from his loan period at Birmingham City, it meant the cash-rich club had been forced to ask the Premier League to use the emergency loan system to bring a goalkeeper in. Fulop had been made available after being deemed surplus to requirements by Sunderland.

He would have a busy evening. Tottenham started the brighter and were by far, the most threatening side. Their first opportunity came in the 18th minute. Peter Crouch smashed a header off the crossbar having met Gareth Bale’s free-kick. Moments later, the visitors’ thought they had taken the lead when Ledley King connected with Bale’s corner and headed home. However, referee Steve Bennett had spotted King was stopping Gareth Barry from jumping fairly, so correctly disallowed the goal.

By contrast, City looked flat. Heurelho Gomes made an early save from Carlos Tevez and also reacted well to his left-hand side when Bale almost inadvertently turned Craig Bellamy’s cross over the line. Into the second half and the pattern didn’t change. Bale was causing huge problems for City’s full-backs in Pablo Zabaleta and Wayne Bridge. He played Jermain Defoe in on 58 minutes but Fulop came to the rescue with a fine save. By this point, Barry had been forced off the pitch by an ankle injury and former Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira was brought on as his replacement.

Fulop was in great form. He denied Crouch from close-range, saving his header with his legs. As the game entered the last 10 minutes, it looked like the match was destined to finish goalless when Tottenham finally got the crucial breakthrough. Younes Kaboul made a run into the penalty area, skipping past Craig Bellamy. He fired a shot in from a tight angle. This time, Fulop parried the shot but only into the path of Crouch who was in the right position to head home and send the travelling supporters into exultation.

Spurs had done it. Harry Redknapp had guided them into the UEFA Champions League for the first time. Defeat for Manchester City meant their expensive squad would have to spend the 2010-2011 season playing in the UEFA Europa League. Redknapp’s only final worry was to get soaked with a bucket of water whilst finishing a post-match television interview. It will always remain one of the finest nights Tottenham Hotspur ever experienced in the Premier League.

Premier League Rewind: 17th-20th January 1998

Results: Barnsley 1-0 Crystal Palace, Blackburn Rovers 5-0 Aston Villa, Coventry City 2-2 Arsenal, Leeds United 1-2 Sheffield Wednesday, Leicester City 0-0 Liverpool FC, Newcastle United 2-1 Bolton Wanderers, Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 West Ham United, Wimbledon 0-0 Derby County, Everton 3-1 Chelsea, Southampton 1-0 Manchester United, Liverpool FC 1-0 Newcastle United

On the weekend of 17th-20th January 1998, no-one seemed likely to catch Manchester United. A fifth Premier League title in six seasons looked more likely for the Red Devils’ with every passing week. However, every top team has a bogey ground over the years and theirs was most definitely the Dell.

Having been beaten in April 1996 by the ‘grey shirt’ debacle and then humiliated 6-3 just six months later, Sir Alex Ferguson must have feared the Monday Night visit to the south coast. He was right too. Kevin Davies headed the hosts’ infront inside three minutes before an extraordinary display from Paul Jones, who made save after save to inflict back-to-back away defeats on the champions. It was the third successive season Manchester United would leave Southampton’s ground empty-handed.

Chelsea had been among the main pursuers but their away form was a real cause of concern. This was highlighted in a Super Sunday trip to Goodison Park to take on a struggling Everton side. Although Tore Andre Flo gave Chelsea the lead, that advantage was cancelled out just two minutes later by skipper Gary Speed. Duncan Ferguson and a Michael Duberry own goal completed a positive afternoon for Howard Kendall’s side. It would turn out to be Speed’s final match in Everton colours. He was sold to Newcastle United weeks later.

The Magpies’ were welcoming back their own star asset. Alan Shearer had sustained a serious knee injury in a pre-season tournament at Goodison Park in late July. He came back as a second-half substitute in the home fixture with Bolton Wanderers. Typically, Shearer had a role to play in the winning goal which was scored by Temuri Ketsbaia. The Georgian then lost control of his emotions, ripping his shirt off, before repeating kicking an advertising hoarding. It was a strange reaction but the 2-1 win was a vital result for Newcastle.

After a searing start of their own, Blackburn Rovers’ momentum had been checked in recent weeks and they managed just one win in January 1998. However, it was a great performance to trounce Aston Villa 5-0 at Ewood Park. It meant they defeated Villa by an aggregate score of 9-0 over the two matches they played against each other.

There was a bad-tempered match between Coventry City and Arsenal at Highfield Road. The Sky Blues’ were in excellent form and Gordon Strachan was about to win a Manager of the Month award for his achievements. They had beaten Manchester United a month earlier and held Arsenal up in a 2-2 draw. Both Patrick Vieira and Paul Williams saw red. Dion Dublin’s penalty ensured a share of the spoils against a tired Arsenal side that had gone to penalties earlier that week to overcome plucky Port Vale in the FA Cup.

North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur were also involved in a tempestuous game that weekend. Jurgen Klinsmann’s first goal since returning to the club was overshadowed by a red card for West Ham’s Samassi Abou. Abou proceeded to manhandle referee David Elleray and he had to be helped from the field by manager Harry Redknapp. Tottenham’s Colin Calderwood decided to get involved in the confrontation which saw the pair nearly come to blows. For the record, Tottenham won 1-0.

There was one match extra on this weekend and a third clash in little over a month between Liverpool FC and Newcastle United. Michael Owen scored the only goal in Liverpool’s 1-0 victory to complete a hat-trick of wins for the Reds’ over Dalglish’s Toon Army. This game had initially been scheduled for 31 August 1997 but was postponed as a mark of respect following the death of Princess Diana in a car accident in Paris.

What else happened in January 1998?

  • US president Bill Clinton’s integrity is called into question as reports emerge of his alleged affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Later in the month in a live statement to the American nation, Clinton makes the famous vow: “I want to say one thing to the American people; I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.”
  • A life imprisonment is handed down to Ramzi Yousef for his role in the first bombing of the World Trade Centre in 1993.
  • Manchester United footballer David Beckham and Spice Girl Victoria Adams (Posh Spice) announce their engagement.
  • France’s new national sports stadium, the Stade de France in Paris is officially opened ahead of that summer’s World Cup.
  • Titanic, Dame Judi Dench and Peter Fonda are among the winners at the 55th Golden Globes.
  • The Denver Broncos beat the Green Bay Packers 31-24 to win Super Bowl XXXII.
  • Hayley Patterson, British soap’s first transgender character, is first seen in Coronation Street.