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).
This afternoon we welcome Sunderland, a club deserving of success. They have managed their resources magnificently over the last few years. They are not one of the clubs who have spent money that they have not received and got into terrible troubles with their finances.
They work hard for the community, they have a fantastic new stadium, a stability of management and a chairman who understands the importance of steady progress as opposed to buying success overnight and then suffering the consequences later.
It is difficult to find any consolation in last Sunday's result but just as one swallow doesn't make a summer neither does one defeat become a cause for gloom.
In any final you need a kind run of the ball, no-one can dispute that, and you also need the majority of your players to hit a good game.
When you consider the disappointment of the likes of Oyvind Leonhardsen, Alton Thelwell and Matthew Etherington who didn't make the squad, and the watching injured players Steffen Freund, Stephen Carr, Gary Doherty, Goran Bunjevcevic and Stephen Clemence you realise that we now have a depth of squad that will continue to challenge for cup honours and indeed climb the league towards the aim of getting an established place in the top six.
The progress of the club should not be doubted — going into the cup as favourites sometimes can give one a false sense of security and, as I made clear in one media comment, the release of playing away from league football for Blackburn and playing in a cup as underdogs with no pressure, would add an edge to their game.
This proved to be so.
Our competition for places will intensify now. We have been scanning the market all season and, in terms of younger players, were ready to bring in a young forward from Wimbledon to join our youthful promise which will supplement Glenn's most senior international players.
Unfortunately the deal with Wimbledon was put on ice after some internal politics at their end but a price had been agreed. That is why we have made no response to challenge some of Wimbledon manager Terry Burton's comments who suggested that we were taking the player on the 'cheap'.
Last week I attended a Premiership meeting and two of the subjects that cropped up were the question of refereeing standards and the need to understand their difficulties and also to have a body of people to keep an eye on their performances who aren't self regulating.
It was also noted how much the Worthington Cup had done for the Nationwide clubs in helping them to survive. Indeed, half of their income comes from the revenue generated by this competition.
On March 12 we have an opportunity to equal up the score with Blackburn Rovers when we play them in the sixth round of the FA Youth Cup here at White Hart Lane.
Some supporters have been asking are there likely to be future first team players among this group.
This is a query one can never be sure of because often it is down to how the players not only progress on the field but how they respond to pressure and if they have a strong mentality. Also, of course, the manager has to take a fancy to the player.
Last weekend I stated in an article that our ambition must be to provide two or three players over the next three or four years to make sure that they can follow in the footsteps of Stephen Carr, Sol Campbell, Ian Walker and, more recently, young Stephen Clemence and Ledley King.
The players involved in the Blackburn game are likely to come from the followinggroup — Rob Burch, Stephen Kelly, Paul O'Donoghue, Ronnie Henry, Chris Herron, Marcel McKie, Dean Marney, Mark Hughes, Ben Bowditch, Walter Thomas, David Galbraith, Nicky Wettner, Jamie Slabber, John Sutton and Lee Barnard.
I challenge this interesting group not only to achieve deserved goals this season but as individuals to have a massive self-determination to become senior players. I hope that we have a good crowd here on the night to support their efforts.
Last week Uli Hoeness, Bayern Munich's Director of Football, said very clearly: "For all of us the time has come to say 'no' to higher salaries and 'no' to higher transfer fees. If it is not possible for us to find a solution we will all be killed by this problem. In football there is a lot of income from television, advertising, gate receipts and merchandising but if all that is taken by the coach and the players there is not a lot you can do with it. We have to think things through and bring to an end the cycle.
"We need to look at developing young players." That seems a sensible recipe for
the coming years — we are singing off the same songsheet.
If all our supporters understand this scenario then I'm sure we can say "Audere est Facere" together and stay strong despite our current disappointment.
League progress and the FA Cup beckons.
Enjoy the game.