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David Pleat's programme notes v Sunderland

Posted on 8 February 2003  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

Sunderland, our visitors today, have had a difficult time of late. When Howard Wilkinson joined them their true financial position was revealed. They had slowly become sucked into some unrealistic salaries for players with limited returns.

Those may be very harsh introductory lines but I know Howard's qualities of management and that he is intelligent enough to understand and face the realities of the current situation having already witnessed from his Soho Square office some of the madness that has overtaken football.

We wish him well and hope that they can recover their results but naturally today we are determined to ensure that Howard will be disappointed. With Steve Cotterill, who served a good apprenticeship at Cheltenham, alongside him, the Sunderland board have placed their faith in genuine leadership.

One of my main roles is to distinguish between reality, feasibility and fantasy. During the transfer window we finally moved on two players who, for different reasons, had lost regular selection. We also transferred Sergei Rebrov and Tim Sherwood. It was always planned for Les Ferdinand to leave in the second year of his contract and in Stephen Clemence's case, whose contract expired in the summer, we allowed him to seek fresh opportunities - a fair decision.

In making these moves we still feel we have a strong squad and have added to that by giving a warm welcome to Kazuyuki Toda from S-Pulse who has every opportunity to forge a role for himself. He is a holding midfield player and has already played in a friendly game against Watford and for the Reserves in a 2-1 win against Forest on Monday night.

Now the competition hots up for that role.

Jamie Redknapp will soon be back whilst one or two of the younger players are slowly making their mark.

In the efficient performance at Chelsea it was nice to see the ball being worked out of defence with possession and tidy passing. Hopefully, with Robbie Keane back to challenge up front, we can restore the cutting edge.

We are all pleased that Chris Hughton has got the opportunity to assist Brian Kerr, the new manager of the Republic of Ireland. It is an honour for Chris and well deserved for his thorough work here at Tottenham. We hope that with Brian Kerr's sensible management they can overturn their two poor early results and still have a chance of qualifying for the next European Championships. Jack Charlton and Mick McCarthy will be hard acts to follow but for sure Ireland will continue to produce good players.

One of those players - Mark Yeates - is currently uncapped at any level apart from schoolboy but is a bright lad in our youth set-up. We will soon be playing the winners of the Crystal Palace-Notts County game as we continue to look with optimism towards the FA Youth Cup.

Last year's youth midfielder Dean Marney has settled very well at Swindon and helped them on a successful run of results, playing at right wing-back. Swindon have already benefited this season by having John Jackson on loan. Also well done to Stephen Kelly who made a very impressive debut for Southend last Saturday. Goalkeeper Shwan Jalal continues to do well at Woking with another clean sheet last Saturday in the FA Trophy.

At Reading last Thursday night both Rob Burch and Ben Bowditch were included in the England Under-20 squad against Germany who had a player that has been recommended to us and we were there watching him closely.

We have Fulham to come and then West Ham away and, without tempting providence, Glenn and the team know that with the right application we have a great opportunity to state our case.

Enjoy the game.