With their planned involvement in the UEFA Cup, today’s game is the second consecutive week that we play on a Sunday. I was pleased last week to see over 33,000 in the stadium, particularly when you consider this afternoon’s game, with Torquay sandwiched in between.
The significance of England’s achievements in Germany provided a massive fillip for the game in this country. It is quite significant that Sven Goran Eriksson has adopted the sensible and simple philosophy of selecting the best players and using them in positions in which they are comfortable.
When Sven Goran Eriksson first arrived there was some xenophobic comment and advice from the pundits claiming that 4-4-2 was an out-of-date system. It is not systems that win football matches — it is quality players. At the moment England has six, arguably seven, world class players in the squad. Japan and South Korea beckon but there are still opportunities for late entries into the group, as in 1966.
In my view there was a further significant result the evening before the senior game when our Under-21 side beat their German counterparts 2-1. In that performance Ledley King once again showed his quality and seemingly natural maturity. I hate the word ‘pressure’ but if Ledley continues in his current form all season then maybe he could find a surprise opening into the senior England group.
The Evening Standard appeared to have a chapter and verse account of what they perceive as an impasse between our players and the Board regarding our bonus scheme. This issue has been exaggerated. The facts are that prior to the current season the players were given the opportunity to change their current bonus scheme with improved incentives.
This scenario is not uncommon at every club in the land from time to time. Our players felt that the current scheme was more suitable to them than our proposals. Discussions took place and there were certainly no vendettas when the players opted to continue on their current excellent bonuses.
Some clubs express their desire to equate bonuses with net income received or pay a positional bonus in the league table which may lead to future competitions, i.e. the Champions League or UEFA Cup. Our bonus scheme is one of the most favourable in the country and the players were more than happy to accept the scheme two seasons ago. Negotiations were conducted cordially and the relationship between the players and the Board is an excellent one.
In my career I have acted as a PFA representative when I was a professional player. I have also worked closely with Gordon Taylor, the union leader, over the last 20 years or so. Tottenham Hotspur has never ever been down the list of poor payers or rewarding well for achievement.
The players have a democratic committee that is able to discuss any issue. We have always prided ourselves on doing this correctly and will continue to do so.
Enjoy the game.
Everybody connected with football was saddened to hear of Brian Moore’s death. I knew at first hand the passion, decency, humility and professionalism that Brian showed during his journalistic and television service to the game he loved. He always gave a fair commentary, never trying to gain stripes or be argumentative for the sake of it. He quite simply reported fairly.
In working alongside him, I never saw him irritated with anyone. Never ever loud; he was calmness personified as he went about his duties.
His first love in soccer was Gillingham but he had a genuine fondness for Tottenham Hotspur, relaying stories of the pleasure he received from the side in the early Sixties.
All at Tottenham extend their sincerest sympathies to his wife Betty and family. We all have lost a genuine football comrade and I a sincere friendship.
The whole world has been shocked by this week’s tragic events in the USA. All sports lovers, football followers and supporters of Tottenham Hotspur are deeply saddened and send all our sympathies and heartfelt best wishes to all those that have suffered a family bereavement or injury.
Chelsea today will provide stiff opposition if the previous years results against us are anything to go by. Since the days of their forward line including the likes of Nevin, Dixon and Speedie, they seem to have held an Indian sign over us. It would be nice to break the jinx this afternoon against a side that has again invested heavily but may realise that it takes time for new players to settle down.