Tag Archives: Tottenham Hotspur

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 £45million which could rise to £50million 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.

Memorable Matches: Sheffield United 6-0 Tottenham Hotspur (March 1993)

Goalscorers: Franz Carr 13, Andy Gray 21 OG, Ian Bryson 28, 29, Brian Deane 73, Paul Rogers 87

Teams:

Sheffield United: Alan Kelly, John Pemberton, Kevin Gage, Charlie Hartfield, David Barnes (Paul Rogers 70), Franz Carr, Ian Bryson (Alan Cork 80), Brian Gayle, Glyn Hodges, Brian Deane, Jamie Hoyland

Tottenham Hotspur: Erik Thorstvedt, Dean Austin, Gary Mabbutt, Pat Van den Hauwe, Jason Cundy, Andy Gray (Steve Sedgley 64), Paul Allen, Vinny Samways, Darren Anderton, Nayim (John Hendry 64), Teddy Sheringham

Referee: Joe Worrall, Attendance: 16,654

Tottenham Hotspur arrived at Bramwall Lane for a match against Sheffield United in the inaugural Premier League campaign in their best form of the season. Spurs had rolled off five successive victories and were starting to challenge for a top six finish, whilst the Blades were looking to move away from danger, starting the game in 17th spot.

On a cold Tuesday evening, few could predict the mauling the visitors’ were about to take from their hosts. 13 minutes had been played when Franz Carr fired Dave Bassett’s side into the lead. He turned a short corner into the roof of the net.

Seven minutes later, the lead was doubled. Brian Deane’s cross was turned into his own net by midfielder Andy Gray (no, not the former Everton player, another Andy Gray!) Norwegian goalkeeper Erik Thorstvedt was one of only two foreign players that started the match but he endured a nightmare evening. Within half an hour, the scoreline had widened from 2-0 to 4-0. Scottish midfielder Ian Bryson struck a quick-fire double. His first came as the Tottenham defence went walkabouts. The second saw him completely unmarked after another decisive cross from Deane.

There was little that Tottenham’s management team of Doug Livermore and Ray Clemence could do about their predicament and it got worse in the second half. Deane added his name to the scoresheet in the 73rd minute, capitalising on poor defending from Jason Cundy. Substitute Paul Rogers completed the rout in the closing minutes.

The result remains Tottenham’s joint-worst defeat in Premier League history and the biggest victory in the top-flight for the Yorkshire side. Spurs did still finish eighth in the table but with a goal difference of -6. Chairman Alan Sugar decided in June 1993 to dismiss both Livermore and Clemence and replace them with playing idol Ossie Ardiles. Bassett helped his team to an FA Cup semi-final and a creditable 14th-place finish although a heartbreaking relegation would follow one season later.

Great Goals: Danny Rose – TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR vs. Arsenal (April 2010)

It is your Premier League debut and it happens to be against your local rivals. To add more spice to the mixture, it is a game your side probably has to win to still stand a realistic hope of qualifying for the Champions League. You must be full of nerves?  Not if you’re Danny Rose.

Nine minutes in and Tottenham win a corner. The ball is swept in and punched clear by Manuel Almunia, only into the path of Rose. The left-back connects sweetly with the dropping ball and launches a thunderous volley from 30-yards out that beats Almunia all-ends-up. There was disbelief even from Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp. Rose was now in the history of this famous fixture.

Tottenham won 2-1 for their first league success against Arsenal since November 1999 and they would finish in the Premier League’s top four, helped heavily by this great impact from Rose.

 

The Managers: George Graham

Premier League Clubs Managed: Arsenal (1992-1995), Leeds United (1996-1998), Tottenham Hotspur (1998-2001)

George Graham enjoyed a successful managerial career, notably at Arsenal where he managed to guide the club to two league championships and multiple cup success in domestic competitions.

He had a distinguished playing career and was part of the famous Gunners’ squad that won the league and cup double in 1971. Graham spent six seasons at Highbury, playing over 220 games. He ultimately finished his playing time with a brief spell in America in 1978, figuring for California Surf.

After learning under the tutelage of Terry Venables on the coaching staff at Crystal Palace and Queens Park Rangers, Graham first became a manager in December 1982 at Millwall. He spent four years at the Den, steering them from the bottom of the old Third Division to promotion during his reign.

Former club Arsenal came calling following Don Howe’s resignation in 1986. Having not won a trophy in seven years, the Arsenal board were keen to get the club back into silverware contention during a time where the Merseyside teams were sweeping the majority of the trophies. He added a stricter discipline to the dressing room and Arsenal instantly became winners. They won the League Cup in his first season in charge.

Building a team around young skipper Tony Adams and a tight defence, the flair of Paul Merson, Alan Smith and Michael Thomas took Arsenal towards the league title in sensational circumstances in 1989. Thomas scored the vital second goal on the final evening of the season at Anfield to win the game against Liverpool FC. The 2-0 victory was enough to snatch the title away from the Reds’ grasp. Two seasons later, he led the North Londoners to another title, losing just one league match all season with the likes of Swedish winger Anders Limpar and future England no.1 goalkeeper David Seaman added to his valuable assets.

Premier League management

In 1992, Arsenal were considered among the title favourites for the first Premier League season but started badly with back-to-back defeats to surprise packages Norwich City and Blackburn Rovers. A victory at Anfield did follow a week later but league form was inconsistent and the team finished tenth – Graham’s lowest finish in the league. However, that disappointment was soothed by a domestic cup double, beating Sheffield Wednesday in both matches.

Graham’s side became very defence-minded and was almost fully reliant on goals from Ian Wright. They averaged just 48 league goals in each of the Premier League’s first three seasons and were the lowest scorers in the division during the inaugural season. His reign at Arsenal ultimately ended very controversially. In late 1994, it emerged Graham had accepted a £425,000 payment from a Norwegian agent, Rune Hauge following the signings two years earlier of Scandinavian pair, Pal Lydersen and John Jensen. Graham was sacked by the club in February 1995 and the FA later banned him for a year for his part in the transfer dealings.

After serving his ban, he returned to football management with Leeds United, replacing Howard Wilkinson in September 1996. As ever, he worked on getting the defence right and despite scoring a meagre 28 goals, Leeds finished comfortably in mid-table in 11th spot. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was signed a year later and the Yorkshire side became a more exciting side to watch. There were thrilling 4-3 victories over Blackburn Rovers and Derby County and a 5-0 trouncing of the Rams at Pride Park. Leeds finished a creditable fifth in the 1997/1998 table.

Tottenham courted his services following the departure of Christian Gross and there was an uncomfortable afternoon when Leeds visited White Hart Lane with Graham still employed by the club but almost about to take over at Spurs. The banners “Who are you supporting today George?” pretty much summed it up.  A 3-3 draw meant the entertainment value on-the-field matched the boardroom discussions between the two clubs.

Graham eventually took over at Tottenham at the start of October 1998. For the fans, an ex-Arsenal manager was not a popular choice but he did guide Tottenham to their first silverware in seven years, defeating Leicester City 1-0 in the 1999 League Cup final. However, Tottenham couldn’t finish higher than 10th in the table and he was sacked in March 2001, shortly after the club’s ownership changed hands. An alleged breach of contract was given as the reason for his sudden departure and it was fair to say, things ended rather acrimoniously between ENIC, who had purchased the club and the manager.

Graham has been out of management ever since, instead focusing on being the chief pundit for Sky Sports’ pay-per-view Premiership Plus coverage from 2001 to 2007. He has been linked with vacancies at Leicester City, West Ham United and Sunderland but opted to stay away from the dugout.

George Graham achieved plenty in his career and his 10 managerial honours in very impressive. However, his best days ultimately took place before the formation of the FA Premier League.