Programme: Andy Booth
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).
The arrival of Andy Booth on a month’s loan at White Hart Lane illustrates the reduced attacking options currently available to manager George Graham.
With Les Ferdinand, Steffen Iversen and Chris Armstrong all out injured, we were moved to take the unusual step of making a loan signing and it’s fair to say no-one was more surprised than Booth himself.
The 27-year-old Sheffield Wednesday striker only found out about our interest in him on Monday and by the end of the day he was on his way to London. The deal was completed the following morning and before he could stop to take it all in, Booth was down at Spurs Lodge training alongside his new temporary team-mates.
"It’s been such a whirlwind these last few days," said Andy, after completing his first training session. "The Wednesday boss Paul Jewell pulled me to one side in training on Monday and told me that Tottenham wanted to take me on loan. That was the first I knew about it and now here I am.
"To play for a Premiership club the size of Spurs is an honour. You forget about the Premier League when you’re down in the First Division, you just concentrate on your own club and the teams around you. But the Premiership is where you want to be and Tottenham have given me that chance."
Andy started his career as a trainee with Huddersfield Town in 1992 and it was his goalscoring exploits with the Terriers that caught the eye of our own Director of Football, David Pleat, who was manager of Sheffield Wednesday at the time.
Booth scored 54 goals in 123 league games for Town before David took him to Hillsborough in a deal worth £2.7million in August, 1996, and it is the qualities which David saw then that he hopes Andy will reproduce now.
"He’s strong in the air, very wholehearted and genuine and one of the best professionals I have worked with," said David. "He will give us a bit more power, no question about that. This is a terrific opportunity for him and I hope he enjoys his month here."
Andy was part of the Wednesday side which lost its Premiership place last season and the team has struggled to get to grips with life in the First Division. He is out of contract at the end of the season but doesn’t believe this opportunity is a chance to put himself on show for potential buyers.
"It has been a difficult time at Wednesday over the last couple of seasons but you just have to get on with it," Andy continued. "I haven’t personally been having the best of time either but every footballer knows that could happen to them.
"Now though, I’ve got this chance and all I can do is come in and try to do my best. I don’t see it as an opportunity to put myself in the shop window, that’s not what I’m trying to do.
"I’m just going to give it 100 per cent in any game I play. Playing alongside Sergei Rebrov is a big step up for me, he is a quality performer and being asked to step in for Les and Steffen is also a tough challenge, they too are world class players."
Andy was on target in his last game for the Owls, scoring in their 3-1 FA Cup defeat at Southampton on Saturday. And he was unfortunate not to open his Spurs account on his debut against West Ham in midweek, when an offside flag ruled out an early header he powered past Shaka Hislop.
Booth said: “I haven’t seen it again but I must admit when I headed it I never even thought about being offside.
“It was a great cross from Darren Anderton and I just did what was needed. I did the easy bit.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the game, the fans were absolutely brilliant towards me and with a bit more luck we could have sealed it with a win.”
He has fond memories of White Hart Lane, having not lost on the two occasions he has played here — a 1-1 draw back in December, 1996 and a 3-0 win in August, 1998, both while with Sheffield Wednesday.
And Andy also scored the last time he faced Charlton, another 3-0 victory, this time at Hillsborough in December, 1998. Put those two statistics together and we’ve got a good omen for today’s game.
By Jon Rayner