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Programme: George Graham

Posted on 18 December 2000  - 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).

You try to treat these North London derbies as just another game - the next one in a sequence as we bid to maintain our unbeaten home run in the Premiership.<P class=MsoNormal>But, as any Spurs or Arsenal fan knows, it all means so much more than that. This is the game to win. It's about pride, passion and putting one over on the near neighbours. But most of all it's about victory.<P class=MsoNormal>That brings with it it's own pressure. Obviously the fans on both sides build it up when they talk to the players and you can never underestimate what this one result means to so many people.<P class=MsoNormal>As a consequence, these games are not always the best in footballing terms because they are played at such a pace with no quarter sought nor given. That's a shame because of the quality of players involved but it has never been any different and it will never change.<P class=MsoNormal>It was the same for me as a player and a manager and now, seeing it from the other side, I can say that the perspective is the same from both White Hart Lane and Highbury: Let's win the game first and then do the talking afterwards!<P class=MsoNormal>Often in games, victory will go to the side that wants it most but that desire is never missing from these massive encounters. This is all about winning those individual battles all over the field and the most important man on the field this evening will be the one that keeps his head while all those around him are losing theirs!<P class=MsoNormal>This is an occasion for cool rational thought and action. Not easy in the maelstrom ahead but crucial if we are to succeed. And what a major early Christmas present success against Arsenal would be!<P class=MsoNormal>As a prelude, I was therefore delighted with the manner of our victory in our last game here over Leicester. They are always a difficult side and have the capacity, through their acknowledged teamwork and sheer graft, to nullify your best efforts and pinch the points. Peter Taylor has maintained those qualities at Filbert Street and so it was highly encouraging to illustrate and impose our own strengths against them on the day.<P class=MsoNormal>Afterwards the laurels, quite rightly, fell to hat-trick man Les Ferdinand and all credit to a player who deserves some fortune after the miseries he endured with injuries last season. I am delighted with the big man whose own inner strength is impressive and he is certainly in the best form that I have seen him in during my time here.<P class=MsoNormal>But Les will be the first to acknowledge the contribution of those around him and, with players coming back from injury and our younger lads gaining invaluable experience at the sharp end, we are growing stronger with each passing day.<P class=MsoNormal>Now we need to find some of our home form on our travels and it is impossible to put a finger on why we just can't do it in away games. We certainly had a good go against Manchester United at Old Trafford and, with better luck at crucial times, might have come away with something against the best side in the country.<P class=MsoNormal>But I was very disappointed at Bradford. At 3-1 we should have gone on to win the game but our defending as a team unit let us down when that elusive first away win was well within our grasp. All credit to City for battling back and putting us under such pressure but we have to do better at killing off opponents in those situations.<P class=MsoNormal>And so to Arsenal. I have fond memories of my time at Highbury but that's now all firmly in the past. The only thing on my mind tonight is a Spurs victory.<P class=MsoNormal>A win this evening followed by success over Boro, when we are back here again on Saturday, would be the ideal way to enter our busy holiday programme.<P class=MsoNormal>Let's do this together.<P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp&#59;<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>