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Crazy days with Sam

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).

Ben Thatcher has fond memories of his time spent with now Cardiff chairman Sam Hammam, who was the driving force behind Wimbledon during his spell at Selhurst Park.

Hamman brings his new club to White Hart Lane tonight, presenting the opportunity for Ben to provide an insight into the man who appeared to add his own dash of Crazy to the old Gang.

"To be honest I found him a very, very nice fella," reflected Ben at Spurs Lodge on Monday. "He is a very hands-on chairman, he would come down and take the lads out for lunch, one at a time.

"It was obviously a different size of club and the way he ran it was quite unique.

"I should imagine he is doing the same thing at Cardiff, he's had a few Wimbledon old boys on the playing and coaching staff. It looks like the magic touch is working again and they're flying high.

"Long may it continue - apart from Tuesday night!"

Ben confirms that Sam's 'one of the lads' approach, from time to time, used to cost him a few quid in suits.

"He has a unique style, very friendly, he used to get involved in all the banter. The lads used to give him some - ripping his suits up and throwing him in puddles.

"He just seemed to love it and was one of the lads."

So were stories of Wimbledon players having to eat various parts of sheep's anatomies and sit through opera true or purely a publicity stunt?

"We had it in our contracts - some weird things.

"Once we had to sit through a five-hour German opera - crazy things. If we lost by a certain amount of goals he used to come in and announce something we had to do."

One thing Ben is sure of is that Cardiff will not be lacking in motivation when their team bus swings into N17 tonight.

"They had a little taste of it last season with Leeds when they got the great result. They are flying high at the minute, have good players and some have big reputations. They've done great in a short space of time.

"It'll be a hard game, they've spent good money for that level and have some proven names and good young players."

But Ben insists the team are on a mission of their own - to win the tie and make a return visit to Cardiff in March.

"We have to win. It is quite good to have the game so close after the 3-0 drubbing where so many players didn't play well. To be honest, we are better off trying to forget it and try to get this result at home in front of the fans.

"We want to give them something to cheer about. We got to the final last season and were one step away - let's just go on and win it.

"Realistically Cardiff have nothing to lose. Tottenham is a great day out for them and we don't want to turn into another scalp for them."

Please note: Tickets for tonight's fixture at the Lane are no longer on sale and remember that the London Underground stops running from 8pm.

By Richard Hubbard