We worked hard to get a draw with nine men at Everton, won in fine fashion at Sunderland and completed a comfortable victory over Derby County at White Hart Lane. Hopefully we can keep the run going this evening to build on our recent revival after the shock of Manchester United’s second half performance.
The league is wide open as can be seen by last week’s results. Whilst teams who have earned the right to compete in the Champions’ League are maintaining their progress in the second phase, I’m sure there will be other contenders this season for the league championship.
Our form is sound, we are passing the ball well and credit must go to Glenn Hoddle and his coaching staff for bringing some smooth continuity passing into our play.
Fortunately, the suggested threat of a strike never materialised and Tottenham, all through the dispute, kept a low profile. From a personal point of view I was very disappointed with some of the political manoeuvres and the egos being massaged in the public domain. It is to be hoped that football hasn’t lost too many doubters in the last few days of the shambolic negotiations.
The PFA have stated their case but they should be more than aware that never has the gulf been wider and they have to decide whether they genuinely want to protect their members lower down or are only paying lip service and looking after the new elite big earners.
Evidently, the chairmen of some of the teams who are being squeezed out of the Premiership have been manoeuvring for a change. Supporters can rest assured there will be no changes in the immediate future but it has bought sharply into focus the way the game is structured.
Meanwhile, we must continue to concentrate on producing good young players for our senior team. I was heartened at the end of a busy week by watching our Academy Under-19s at Arsenal last Saturday when we gained a creditable 0-0 draw, whilst the Under-17s were beating our neighbours 2-1.
Both teams are challenging for the leadership of their groups which is proof that the Academy staff here are on the right lines and I’m sure amongst their number are further boys who have the incentive of seeing Ledley King progress so rapidly to senior status. It can be achieved with total dedication and personal ability.
During the last two weeks we have been urgently discussing some temporary rearrangements for our Sunday morning Academy teams. Each Sunday morning, we have eight games, four of which are at home and the pitches at the training ground in Chigwell have not been adequate to take the tremendous toll of midweek training and weekend games.
We have also been playing games at the Walker ground at Southgate. We now expect to be using the Middleton House grounds off the A10 at Enfield. Our Sunday games will be played there and we may also be switching our Saturday morning Academy games there whilst we do some improvements to the pitch surfaces at Chigwell.
Ossie Ardiles has just left his managerial appointment with Al Ittihad in Saudi Arabia, whilst Ricky Villa was a guest here last Wednesday, being interviewed for a documentaryÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦.Keith Burkinshaw is now scouting for Stoke and was at our Reserve game last MondayÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦.Ray Clemence was also watching son Stephen play his first competitive game after injuryÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦.Ian Stonebridge and Ian Thurgood, two of our ex-apprentices, have regained their first team spots at Plymouth and SouthendÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦.Peter Crouch is leading the line well at PortsmouthÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦.a benefit dinner for a northern hospice which looked after ’87 Cup Final referee Neil Midgley, who has sadly died, raised £1,900 on a Spurs shirt.
Finally, we congratulate Sam Allardyce and his Bolton players on such a splendid start to the season. They have massively defied the odds and deserve tremendous credit.
One of their most loyal supporters Kenneth Wolstenholme, the commentator, is a regular visitor to our club where he has done some work in our hospitality suites. Ken always has a smile on his face and I’m sure he will be one of many people who will be delighted by Bolton’s appearance here this evening as a Premiership club.
Enjoy the game and let us hope we can give the television cameras a true indication of the restoring of our confidence.
This evening’s game is our fourth live Sky TV game of the season — so far we have done ourselves justice in front of the TV cameras.