Programme: David Pleat
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).
Everyone at Tottenham gives a warm welcome to the players, officials and supporters of Stockport County, a club that has done remarkably well considering that their average attendance does not reach 8,000 and they play in the shadow of the two big Manchester clubs.<P class=MsoNormal>Our current scout, Danny Bergara, my long-term coaching colleague, helped put the club on the right route with some consistent play in play-offs and cup finals over the years. Dave Jones inherited and continued his good work.<P class=MsoNormal>Now we wish Stockport and their manager Andy Kilner well, particularly after today.<P class=MsoNormal>Stockport come here today having already beaten our very young side in the FA Youth Cup recently - indeed nine of our players remain eligible for next season's competition. Regardless of that, Stockport deserved victory on the night and although they were subsequently beaten by Liverpool that result provides extra motivation for us to ensure that they don't repeat that victory this afternoon.<P class=MsoNormal>Last week was more than positive. Stephen Carr played 30 minutes at Manchester City and it was nice to also welcome back our important strikers Les Ferdinand and Steffen Iversen who joined the activities at St. Albans last Tuesday night in our 3-0 reserve win over Wimbledon.<P class=MsoNormal>If our major players can get and stay fit, the top six league place that has been spoken about can become a possible target. In addition, a cup run would be a welcome bonus.<P class=MsoNormal>The talks in Brussels go on but it seems quite clear that the days of building a football team through good coaching practice could now be a thing of the past. Short-term management appointments of two years, as in Italy and Spain, now seem inevitable as players are able to come and go and break contracts.<P class=MsoNormal>I agree wholeheartedly with the views of Arsenal's Arsene Wenger on this subject. It is a sad day for football when people give their heart and soul to clubs, particularly in the lower leagues, and then have their strengths nullified overnight by decisions such as these. I am thinking of coaches like Dario Gradi, John Rudge, Graham Taylor, Lawrie McMenemy, and even myself at Luton, who have built teams and further teams during spells of over eight years at the helm.<P class=MsoNormal>Sven Goran Eriksson was here for our disappointing home game against Charlton and his assistant Tord Grip watched the exciting cup game at the Valley. They have had a good look at our players and I fully expect Sol Campbell to be included in the squad for the forthcoming game with Spain. It is hoped that Darren Anderton's playing as a wing-back in recent games hasn't jeopardised his position with England. This would be most unfair and unlucky.<P class=MsoNormal>They also noted the progress of our younger element and the adaptability of Ledley King who has played in midfield and at centre-back in recent games. They were also impressed by Gary Doherty's performances in two positions but I quietly reminded them that, although he comes from Luton, he is in fact Irish!<P class=MsoNormal>A lot of press comment in the last few weeks has given the impression of uncertainty and unease around the club. ENIC will take over soon and then be in the position to start assessing what needs to be done.<P class=MsoNormal>In the meantime those stories have not been supported by the fact that we are unbeaten in eight games, including two important cup ties, and although we have found goals hard to come by we have had several clean sheets, all to the credit of the players.<P class=MsoNormal>From that base we can push forwards again and progressively turn draws into convincing victories. <P class=MsoNormal>This afternoon's game is a one-off. I once played here for Exeter City in a 6-3 cup defeat. It was a tremendous experience. As always in these situations, Stockport have nothing to lose and everything to gain while we must try to assert our expected superiority on the game.<P class=MsoNormal>Enjoy the tie. Whoever succeeds, let us hope that they can continue on the road to Cardiff.<P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp;<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>