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N/L Perry primed for Cup return

Posted on 8 March 2002  - 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).

The FA Cup provided Chris Perry with one of the best days of his life.

The day in question was in 1988 when his local team Wimbledon shocked the legions of Liverpool fans to take the trophy to Plough Lane.

Chris was a schoolboy player for the Dons at the time and was also a ballboy for the club. He was in the crowd at Wembley on that sunny May afternoon.

"I was only a schoolboy then, a ballboy and everything there," he recalled. "But I did go to Wembley as a fan.

"It was brilliant, fantastic. It probably ranks as one of the best days of my life!"

The chances of a repeat as a player have fallen slightly short for Chris since then.

"I've been to three semi-finals, but I've lost them all. I seem to get quite far but never seem to make the final."

As he looked ahead to Sunday's FA Cup quarter-final clash with Chelsea at the Lane, it is difficult not to touch on the subject of a certain 5-1 scoreline from January - a result he describes as the best yet.

"Without a doubt. I think it's going to be difficult to recreate that again, maybe it was a one-off. There was a lot of emotion from both the fans and players, just wanting to end the run of defeats.

"It was nice to do that, but I think it will be a different Chelsea team that comes out on Sunday."

Chris admits that the emotion of that night was as much about banishing the demons associated with Spurs against Chelsea.

"I think it was. I think everyone just wanted to put it to rest finally and prove that they weren't better than us and that we were a better side than them and could compete with them. We more than proved that but, as I said, I think Sunday is going to be a completely different game.

"Obviously it's a massive game now. With losing the Worthington Cup final it's going to be that much harder to achieve our aim of qualifying for Europe. It's going to be tough in the league and the easiest route seems to be through the FA Cup.

"Chelsea has become a really big game.

"It was still a great day in Cardiff, just very disappointing to lose. You want to get back there as soon as you can and put it right really.

"We are desperate to put right what went wrong in the Worthington Cup final. We're all desperate to get back to Cardiff, so in that respect we don't need any motivation.

"I think they're going to be the same. If you look at their season, they are going to want to win something. They're not doing brilliantly in the league, probably not as well as they thought they were going to. It's a massive game for them too."

Of course, to overcome Chelsea again much rests on Chris and co stiffling the threat of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

"In the semi-final we had a bit of a plan on how to play against him with three at the back. It seemed to work quite well, but I don't know what we're going to do on Sunday. Maybe we'll try it again.

"Before the semi-final we said if you can stop those two you more or less stop Chelsea."

Chris adds that as well as the Dutchman, there is also the threat of Eidur Gudjohnsen to counter - a player he rates highly.

"He's not a replica, he's a different players and a great foil for him I think. He's got good vision, comes off and allows Hasselbaink the space to push on a bit. He's very good individually as well."

By Richard Hubbard