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Spurs in South Korea

Posted on 12 July 2005  - 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).

Continuing our diary giving you the lowdown as the players arrived in South Korea to begin preparations ahead of our participation in the Peace Cup...

Today was the day where it felt like the tour was really about to click into gear with the arrival of the main group featuring Martin Jol and the players.

We set off at 2.30pm for the airport to make final preparations for the arrival with Player Liaison Officer Allan Dixon coordinating security with the assigned local staff to ensure a clear and safe passage for the players to leave the terminal and board the bus.

Much of the advance work carried out on this trip has been about ironing out the logistics of the tour and the detail has been something of an eye-opener. The checklist file of Marketing Manager Fran Jones has been of 'War and Peace' proportions. Menus, transport, training facilities, matchday venues and itineraries down to relatively minor considerations like the supply of bottled water and sports drinks all have to be checked for a lengthy tour like this to run as smoothly as possible.

There was a buzz of expectation in the arrival hall at Inchon International Airport as two of the teams competing in the Peace Cup were due to land this afternoon - ourselves and PSV Eindhoven, who are the Cup holders.

There is a big South Korean connection with the Dutch outfit, who have in their ranks Yeong-Pyo Lee and are also managed by former national team coach Guus Hiddink - who guided South Korea to the semi-finals of World Cup 2002. As one of the organisers commented, Hiddink is afforded pop star status in these parts.

PSV emerged first to great excitement and a barrage of camera flashes before, about 30 minutes later, the Spurs contingent stepped out to an equally lively reception. Martin Jol and Ledley King were presented with bouquets of flowers before the Head Coach, Ledley, Paul Robinson, Robbie Keane and Jermain Defoe were diverted towards a press conference where Martin made a short speech and the players took questions from the floor.

Robbie, of course, is making his second visit to South Korea having played here for the Republic of Ireland during the World Cup and the local press were particularly interested in his views, while it was suggested to Jermain that he was favourite to finish top goalscorer in the Peace Cup and that his chief rival for the honour would be Robbie.

Both claimed that they wouldn't mind which of them claimed the award as long as the team did well, but Jermain could not help adding to the perception of Robbie now being a 'veteran striker' by pointing out that he is two years older than him. Robbie admitted before leaving that he is beginning to pick up on this perception even though he turned just 25 on Friday. He does seem to have been around on the football scene for such a long time though, but he did make a goalscoring debut for Wolves at the age of 17.

The Spurs convoy got going shortly after the press conference and enjoyed a speedy ride through the busy roads of Seoul thanks to a police escort and arrived at the hotel just after 6.30pm.

The players were in a mixed state depending on how much sleep they managed to get on the flight. For example, Michael Dawson was bright as a button (but he always is), while Callum Davenport looked positively drained. The alarm calls in the morning will be better received by some than others...

The business of pre-season training resumes in the morning and we'll bring you more on that in tomorrow's diary entry.

From Richard Hubbard in Seoul