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George defends ref

Posted on 3 January 2001  - 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).

George Graham took a sympathetic line with under-fire referee Steve Bennett in the aftermath of Tuesday night’s thriller at the Lane.

The official dismissed Neil Sullivan in the 49<sup>th</sup> minute for a foul on Kieron Dyer and television replays later showed that the Scottish international made contact with the ball.

"He sees what he sees and has got to make a decision on what he sees," commented George. "I’ve seen a re-run of the goalkeeping incident and the goalkeeper actually touched the ball. Probably looking at it, it looked like a sending off and the referee has got to give what he sees at the time. He’s not got a video to help him out.

"It wasn’t a dirty game, it was a good competitive match that didn’t warrant three sending-offs. The game could’ve finished up 8-5 — it could have been anything — with chances at both ends."

George was in the enviable position of replacing one international with another following Sullivan’s dismissal and, although he was able to do nothing about the penalty, Ian Walker proved that he has lost none of his sharpness with a reaction save late in the game.

"It just shows you that we’ve got a quality goalkeeper on the bench waiting to come on — and that was a fantastic save! Really, a downward header, it bounced and he was right over there."

Walker has not played a competitive game since early December due to a break in reserve team fixtures, but George was not concerned about the deputy’s lack of action. "No, we train him hard and make sure he’s in top shape."