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Catching up with...Colin Calderwood

19 September 2017|Tottenham Hotspur

Think of Barnsley-Spurs, and it's likely you'll think of that David Ginola goal.

It was the French star at his best, in his best season, waltzing through the Barnsley defence Ricky Villa-style on his way to winning an FA Cup quarter-final replay at Oakwell in March, 1999.

Ginola won the PFA Player of the Year award that year as we lifted the League Cup and reached the semi-final of the FA Cup. He was, 'Le Magnifique'.

But there was another Spurs goal at Oakwell in the late 1990s that might not have been such a thing of beauty, but it's hard to argue wasn't more important.

That goal was scored by Colin Calderwood in April, 1998, to secure a point in a 1-1 draw at the business end of the 1997-98 Premier League campaign.

Looking at the final table - we finished 14th - it doesn't look like it was that important. But it was. Another look at that table and you'll see we finished four points above the relegation zone. That dreaded 'R' word was closer than it had been for many years when we travelled to Oakwell that day.

Fans attending last week's fantastic Champions League victory agaist Borussia Dortmund at Wembley might not even be aware, but that April day we travelled to Yorkshire in 17th place, just one place and two points above Barnsley with only four matches remaining. Defeat and we were in the bottom three - with three games left.

We went 1-0 down that day as well, a 'must-not-lose' game. We also had Ramon Vega sent off in the second half. Thankfully, in-between, Colin popped up with a goal from a corner to make it 1-1 and secure a point. He went crazy after scoring, as well.

We ended five unbeaten, including a Jurgen Klinsmann-inspired 6-2 win at Wimbledon - he scored four goals - to end a tricky season on a high.

Colin Calderwood

colin_calderwood250x300- Began career at Mansfield before eight years at Swindon
- Helped Swindon reach the Premier League under Glenn Hoddle, 1993
- Signed for Spurs by Ossie Ardiles, summer of 1993
- Went on to play 199 times for us in all competitions
- Ended playing career with spells at Villa, Forest and Notts County
- Won 36 Scotland caps - played at Euro 96 and 1998 World Cup
- Reserve team coach at Spurs 2001-03
- First managerial post at Northampton, 2003 and has managed Forest and Hibernian
- Now assistant manager under Steve Bruce at Villa

That Barnsley game, April '98

Colin: “I remember it being a bigger game than anyone can probably recollect now, simply because of the situation in the Premier League. Barnsley could leapfrog us if they beat us and that would leave us in the bottom three and we had big games coming up (Newcastle and Wimbledon were just above the relegation zone). Barnsley had also beaten us in the FA Cup earlier in the season (3-1 in a fourth round replay after a 1-1 draw - we gained revenge via Ginola’s goal the next season). It was such a high-pressure game at the time and they really celebrated that FA Cup win - as they were entitled to do. Oakwell was absolutely rocking, I remember that, because they got ahead in a game they needed to win as well. Neither of us could afford to lose, for sure."

Below: Colin in action against Newcastle's Alan Shearer


'It was a sense of relief'

Colin: “My goal got us back into the game but then Ramon Vega got himself sent off, so we played the last 20 minutes with 10 men but in all honesty, we weren’t in too much danger. The feeling was the draw was a much better result for us, everyone felt the importance of not losing that game. My celebrations were borne out of how Barnsley celebrated their FA Cup win in the February and more than anything, it was a sense of relief."

Below: Colin lines up with Scotland for the opening game of the 1998 World Cup against holders Brazil in Paris


Football can change...

Colin: “A couple of fans have mentioned that match to me since Barnsley beat Derby to play Spurs at Wembley. In adversity, some matches become massive and of course it’s not like playing Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League, no way, but it was a huge game for the Club at the time. It just shows you how football can change.”

Below: Barnsley boss Paul Heckingbottom


Barnsley's class of 2017

As coincidence would have it, Villa played and beat Barnsley 3-0 in the Championship on Saturday.

Colin: "They've ended up losing a number of the players that brought them success but they’ve already taken a couple of scalps, including Sunderland at Oakwell. Jamie Clapham (former Spur) is there as assistant manager. The manager Paul Heckingbottom has done well with the group. When he took over they were almost bottom of League One, he got them promoted and stayed in the Championship last season. They’ve got some younger players and immediately they look together and they are a very hard team to beat, especially at Oakwell. They have plenty of energy and they will get after you."

Below: Colin back at the Lane for last season's FA Cup tie against Villa


Finally...Spurs' defensive class of 2017

Colin: "You are looking at high-quality players in their prime. In fact, most of the defenders could play in midfield. They’ve all got pace, there's a great balance with Alderweireld and Vertonghen, a left-right foot partnership and the technical quality on top of the tactical knowledge make Spurs so hard to break down."