There is a Spurs website called ‘Spurs Odyssey’. Due to not being a Spurs fan and having no inclination to being a Spurs fan in the foreseeable future, I don’t usually read it. In fact, unless we get them in the cup, I only go on Spurs websites twice a year.
The article on today’s game is full of praise both for our supporters during the minutes silence for Bill Nicholson six years ago, and admiration for Sir Nat.
However, somewhere in the middle, in which the Premier League head to head record is given (we currently lead 9-8) the writer says:
‘All due respect to you Bolton, but this is not a satisfactory record for Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.’
Now, I’m not going to denigrate Spurs and the history that you cannot take away from them. Double winners, Cup Winners, European Winners. Since we returned to the Premier League in 2001, they have finished above us seven times. This, however, does not tell the full story.
Of the seven times, we pushed them very close on three occasions, qualifying for the same European competition that they did in 2007. And, of course, there was that time during Sam Allardyce’s that we finished in the top eight more often than any other club outside the old ‘Big Four’.
I tend to find that when someone starts the sentence ‘All due respect’, that respect is the last thing they have on their minds. Spurs fans, rightly revelling in their appearance in the Champions League, have been shouting that they should be beating teams like Bolton for a long time now, but regularly shot themselves in the foot, and still do, as their result at Fulham on Sunday will attest.
Football does not owe clubs a living. We beat Spurs because on the day we were better and they have been guilty on more than one occasion of under estimating teams that they think of as lesser. And, with all due respect, it seems that they still are.
‘If we can replicate the level of performance that we showed at home against Spurs, then we know that we are capable of causing our opponents plenty of problems. We also know that Tottenham are fantastic side. For me, since Harry Redknapp took over as manager, they have shown the biggest improvements of any football club.’
St Owen gets back into his normal frame of mind by mutually appreciating Honest Harry. Then reminds him that we’ve done them once, why not again?
‘Bolton are a dangerous side and we know it will be difficult. They beat us quite convincingly up at the Reebok earlier in the season, so we know how tough it will be. Owen Coyle is a fantastic young manager and he knows how to get the best out of his players. He’s done a great job at Bolton. It’s up to us to stay focused and put in a performance.’
Honest Harry returns the favour.
Tottenham Hotspur Team News:
Same as Wednesday, with Gretar Steinsson not yet available. The long termers remain just that.
Player to watch: Daniel Sturridge
After his scoring debut coming off the bench, surely, surely, the manager will see fit to replace him with the continually ponderous Johan Elmander, if only to give the former misfiring Swede some time out of the spotlight and a breather.
Bolton Wanderers Team News:
Gareth Bale has a bad back, which is a shame as we ran him earlier in the season. Also missing Huddlestone (ankle), Kaboul (ankle) Modric (missing appendix) and King (as per). Michael Dawson returns after a one match ban for his sending off at Fulham.
Player to watch: Rafael van der Vaart
Exploded onto the English game as soon as hit feet hit the floor after he signed from Real Madrid. A goal every other game ratio is top notch from a player who is ostensibly a midfielder.
We may also get a glimpse at his missus.
Match Facts & Stats
In the league, Spurs hold a slender 37-34 lead, but in London that stretches to 26-9, meaning we never get anything there. And with tomorrow’s ref (see below) the chances of that stretching are large.
In the Premier League, as above, we hold a 9-8 lead, but at The Lane it’s 7-2 to them.
Joe Smith is Bolton’s leading scorer in the fixture with ten league goals. In the Premier League it’s SuperKevinDavies with eight.
Mark Clusterberg is tomorrow’s ref. He has already taken charge of our defeat at Burnley in the League Cup, and sent off Mark Davies in the 2-1 win against Blackburn at T’Reebok.
As usual, approach with caution. Hasn’t yet booked Kevin Davies this season, so he’s due one.
Hmmmm….not won at White Hart Lane since 2004, have scored two goals in that time compared to Spurs’ thirteen. Time to buck the trend. 2-0 Bolton.
Everton come to T’Reebok next Saturday, as microphones are fitted in the tunnel so Moyes has something to back his statements up with in future.