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Lowdown on Southampton

Posted on 23 December 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).

It is a game that needs little in the way of added hype! A Boxing Day cracker, Glenn and Deano returning to their former stomping ground (in a manner of speaking, due to Saints change of location) and a dash of sizzling festive tension thrown in for good measure.

Proof, if needed, of the fact that this fixture has added spice came when our reserve side travelled to St Mary's earlier this season - over 8,000 fans booed near enough their every move.

Yup, there will be no 'welcome back' banners out for Glenn when he steps onto the touchline of what would have been his new arena had he remained at Southampton.

Glenn was a success at the Dell, which made his departure harder to stomach for Saints devotees - the call of his club just proved too strong. But foundations were laid for his successors to build on.

The fixture has certainly tickled the appetite of the locals and Saints are set to register a record crowd for the midday kick-off.

The Southampton website reported that the sale of tickets did not even reach the 'General Sale' stage and the visit of Spurs will top the club record attendance of 31,198 set by the visit of Charlton in November.

Chairman Rupert Lowe said of the return of Glenn and Deano: "Both served us very well during their time with Southampton but chose to pursue their careers elsewhere. We should accept this with good grace."

Since Glenn's successor Stuart Gray was relieved of his duties in October Saints have rallied, but failed perhaps to record the points that their performances have deserved.

Gordon Strachan appeared to have turned a big corner with two impressive wins over Leicester and Sunderland, with six goals scored and none conceded.

Then it was just Strachan's luck to come up against a resurgent Manchester United at full throttle. All but one of the positive goal difference built up over the two games was wiped out by his former club romping to a 6-1 triumph.

But even at Old Trafford, despite the scoreline, Saints were not disgraced, and Marian Pahars and James Beattie gave the United rearguard all sorts of problems. The timing of the United strikes proved Saints' undoing - the most crucial being Ruud van Nistelrooy's opener after 30 seconds.

Both sides will be eager to return to winning ways. While Southampton were shipping goals in Salford, we suffered a late and surprising home defeat to Ipswich.

Glenn will, however, be encouraged by previous reactions to setbacks.

Strachan is seeking to strengthen his hand with the recruit of former Fulham loan signing Fabrice Fernandez from French side Rennes. The midfielder enjoyed a free-scoring spell at Craven Cottage, but fell out of favour towards the end of Fulham's promotion campaign and departed for Rangers before heading back to France.

The passionate Strachan was also active in the market soon after his arrival, bringing in Paul Telfer and Paul Williams from his former club Coventry and, more recently, has added the firepower of Brett Ormerod to the ranks.

The former Blackpool hitman became a Saint for a £1.75m fee and should ease the goalscoring burden on Parhars and Beattie.

The corresponding fixture at the Lane in September saw us claw out a patient 2-0 victory. Fans will be hoping that our now fabled powers of recovery can come into play again - responding to a defeat with a similar victory.