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Programme: David Pleat

Posted on 19 January 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).

This afternoon affords us another opportunity to climb further into the positions to challenge for a European place. Our team can make this an exciting period. Our opponents today, Everton will provide stern opposition.

I was surprised to read in the national press that Bill Kenwright, the Everton vice-chairman, was going to assess the attitude of the club's fans towards the management in advance of the Cup tie at Stoke City, before thinking about making any changes. I assumed this was mischievous press comment.

I have known Walter Smith for several years. He was assistant to Jim McLean at Dundee United when I took Richard Gough to Spurs and later, of course, he became the Rangers manager when Graeme Souness left and had a wonderfully successful period. He is a gentleman and I wish him well.

It seems only yesterday that we were ringing in the New Year. The motorways were nice and quiet in the following week and we were able to come to Chigwell and enjoy the icy winter conditions. Not to say it was a quiet time.

We discussed with young forward Yannick Kamanan's agent the possibility of him going on loan to Strasbourg in the French first division. Yannick has made progress in the three seasons that he has been with us and is a dedicated player who has forced his way into our Reserve team. However, if Glenn feels that he is not going to be of senior quality in the next two or three seasons then we may decide to concede his registration.

One player returning to us was Matthew Etherington who had a very fine early spell on loan at Bradford City in difficult circumstances. Their chairman has made many changes in a short time there and now, as people know, is campaigning for a new league. Unfortunately, a lot of his decisions at the club have backfired and the dismissal of Jim Jeffries was rather sad.

With the traumatic situation at Bradford we decided to bring Matthew back to Tottenham. However, the experience and projections that Matthew had whilst at Bradford can only be good for his confidence.

Ciaran Toner left us just prior to Christmas for Peterborough United to help Barry Fry where they had several injuries and are currently looking for a buyer for the club. A group of lucky players around at the beginning of the month were Marcel McKie, Ben Bowditch, Jamie Slabber and Nicky Eyre who left on January 4 for La Manga with the England Youth squad.

This is our first home League game since our New Year's Day victory over Blackburn and it was good to see the warmth and camaraderie among the ex-managers who were invited here as guests for the day. Keith Burkinshaw and Steve Perryman were deep in conversation after the game and were joined by Peter Shreeves and myself.

Many managers leave clubs in bitter mood and it is always sad when they sometimes take an opportunity to have a pop at the club that once employed them.

What I sensed quite clearly in the Tottenham Board Room after the Blackburn game was the genuine desire of all those people who have been employed by Spurs in the past for the club to do well and achieve. It is warmth based on the principles that this club represents, playing good football and entertaining crowds.

This coming week our Youth team plays a very important game at Bolton Wanderers. I am looking forward to the match but it means the sacrifice of missing the second leg of the Worthington Cup with Chelsea. It would give us all great pleasure if we were able to get into the Final at Chelsea's expense.

There is no doubt that since the late Eighties they have held an uncanny sign on our club which we have found difficult to overcome.

During that time Chelsea, despite their off-field financial debt, have improved the image and the quality of their club massively. I saw them defeat Newcastle in the previous round of the competition when such top players as Desailly, Gronkjaer, Zola, Di Matteo and Zenden were not in the starting line-up.

Claudio Ranieri has strengthened his competitive edge by playing two basically defensive midfield orientated players Dalla Bona and Jokanovic in front of two very fine up-and-coming centre backs, Terry and Gallas. It is this strong base that helps forge the results that have forced them into a top six place.

However, football moves so quickly and within weeks the whole picture can turn around. Witness Manchester United's demise and criticism in the media to their then unbeaten run and the media turning the other cheek within that same period. That is the nature of the game. Quality will always shine through and bad spells are inevitable.

Enjoy this afternoon's game with Everton. Get behind the team and let's hope that we can have a wonderful four days.