Ledley: "Our fans can make a difference"
Tue 08 May 2018, 09:00|Tottenham Hotspur
Ledley King knows what the players are going through this week - and knows the huge part our fans can play as we aim to secure Champions League football for the third-successive season.
The bottom line is this - wins against Newcastle (Wednesday, 8pm) and Leicester (Sunday, 3pm) in our final two matches at Wembley this week will secure third place in the Premier League.
Chelsea’s win against Liverpool on Sunday means we can still overtake the Reds, a point ahead of us in third with one game to play. Chelsea have moved to within two points in fifth. Liverpool’s final game is against Brighton at home on Sunday. Chelsea face Huddersfield at home on Wednesday and travel to Newcastle on Sunday.
Turn the clock back to 2009-10 and we were still trying to qualify for the Champions League for the first time*.
As United, Chelsea and Arsenal broke clear, five successive wins put us firmly in the shake up for fourth place with City, Liverpool and Villa.
Below: Ledley delivers the final team talk before our win at City in May, 2009
We then lost at Sunderland to slip back down to fifth and suffered a tough FA Cup semi-final defeat against Portsmouth only to recover with memorable back-to-back wins against Arsenal and Chelsea in the space of three days at the Lane.
Defeat at United meant we were fourth on goal difference to a charging Villa, a point ahead of City and two ahead of Liverpool going into the final week.
A nervy 1-0 victory at home against Bolton held our position but Liverpool’s loss at Chelsea and City’s win against Villa set up a showdown at City that we famously won 1-0 via Peter Crouch’s header to take us four points clear and secure that fourth place.
Ledley led the team to that fourth place, playing five of the last six matches. “I can remember the fans in those final few matches and the atmosphere in the games against Arsenal and Chelsea,” he recalled this week.
“The crowd play such an important part in anything the team achieves. They are always our extra man at home and we’ll need them for the final push this week.
“I don’t think there is a Spurs fan out there who wouldn’t have taken a place in the top four this season, beating Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid in the Champions League, plus Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United at Wembley - essentially playing away from home.
“It’s been a demanding season in terms of the amount of games we’ve played and getting far in competitions and now we want to finish it off.”
Looking at the comparisons to 2009-10 and this season, Ledley added: “It’s slightly different for this group because they are now used to finishing in the top four. For us, it was the first time trying to achieve it.
“I just remember enjoying the challenge of being up there and trying to achieve something for the first time. We went into the games in good form and felt confident.
Below: The team and fans celebrate together at City in May, 2009
“I think the team can draw on those positives and I know the manager will make sure they are doing everything in training to put in two big performances.
“We finished last season in tremendous fashion and we’ll try to do that again.
“The fans can make a difference and we’ve seen that already with the teams we’ve beaten at home. They’ve helped us beat some top, top teams and now we need them to help us finish the season the right way.”
*We played in the European Cup in 1961-62. The competition changed format to the Champions League in 1992.