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Programme: David Pleat

Posted on 10 April 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).

Here are our director of football David Pleat's programme notes for Tuesday night's game against Bradford City.

Every Tottenham supporter will hope that the events of the last few weeks, traumatic as they have been, will act as a stimulant and a springboard for future success.

Football has changed over the years. Many years ago I was bought a Christmas present, Eamonn Dunphy’s book ‘It’s Only A Game?’ We must never lose sight of that as we try to steer a straight course with proper planning to get the balance of our club right.

The indelible impression created by the Tottenham Hotspur side of 1961 when I saw them play at Nottingham Forest in a 4-0 victory in their 13th game of the 1960-61 season has always stood with me. Players playing a wonderful game of fine football with great individual talent integrated in a perfectly balanced team. Bill Nicholson was the architect of that side who knew the Tottenham Way.

Glenn Hoddle knows the ideals that are inherent in our club and we welcome him. Whatever the views of pundits we must respect them if they are honestly stated. It is true there have not been any consistently high league positions since 1961 but the brilliance of that year’s success has transcended the intervening period and we have had intermittent success with great individual players like Blanchflower, Mackay, Greaves, Mullery, Ardiles, Jennings, Hoddle, Waddle, Gascoigne, Lineker, Chivers, Archibald, Allen…the list is endless. But they all could integrate into the Tottenham team style.

Glenn, John Gorman and Chris Hughton have all played for the club and know how much a return to a respected Tottenham is paramount.

We have made progress in the last two seasons. It may, for some, be not so apparent but I can assure you much of the mediocrity and dead weight that had been gathered at our club has been allowed to leave in making way for a batch of very promising youngsters who would have been denied that opportunity.

In the first half at Arsenal in the league game I was not displeased with the way we tried to resist a team including six who have won England caps with four current French full internationals. The experience can only be good for the likes of Alton Thelwell and Luke Young, who have come through the system, and Simon Davies, Gary Doherty and Anthony Gardner who made a sound full debut.

Only two days later, our youngest ever Reserve side played an excellent game of football, winning at Leicester City. We are on the right track, our policy of buying good young potential from lower league clubs to combine with players developed within our own ranks — like Sol Campbell, Ledley King, Luke Young, Stephen Carr, Stephen Clemence and Ian Walker — has given a solid base to our new management team.

It is my intention to go on working to push for advancement and development of our youth element at the base of our pyramid. At Chigwell we have a dedicated staff who have worked solidly and have always been supportive. It is always traumatic and often controversial when managers change. I have been in management since the mid-70s when starting my apprenticeship with Nuneaton Borough. I know the score — to enjoy and appreciate success you have to understand and accept the disappointments along the way.

The game has become more hyped, more success-orientated and more business conscious. The focus of attention has become claustrophobic at times. The game now is a world away from what I saw in the early Sixties but we must never ever believe that we are not capable of producing top class quality football here at White Hart Lane. It is what our supporters deserve and what we must aim for.

It can only be achieved by everyone going forwards together — we have come under some incredible pressure for all sorts of odd reasons but we must not make this an excuse or begin to feel any kind of siege mentality. We must get on with the job in hand, of developing and producing footballers to wear the Tottenham Hotspur shirt with pride.