Tottenham travel to Watford for their fifth pre-season friendly. The match was originally arranged as a Spurs XI game but Andre Villas-Boas had it up-graded on his appointment to give him additional time to assess the players. With only two weeks to go until the start of the Premier League season, there is still much work to do before the first game at Newcastle.
With Tottenham and Watford being only 15 miles apart there are numerous connections between the clubs.
1. After Jurgen Klinsmann signed for Tottenham in the summer of 1994, he made his debut against Watford at Vicarage Road in a friendly on 6th August. The announcement that he had joined Spurs boosted the ticket sales for the match with the attendance being over 14,000 as supporters from both clubs wanted to see the German international. The match ended in a 1 – 1 draw but Klinsmann failed to score. Six weeks later, however, when Tottenham returned to Watford for a Coca-Cola Cup 2nd Round (1st Leg) match, Klinsmann scored a hat-trick as Ossie Ardiles’ side won a 6 – 3.
2. Tottenham’s greatest goalkeeper, Pat Jennings, was signed from Watford in the summer of 1964 by Bill Nicholson for a fee of £27,000. Jennings had only one season’s experience in the Football League as Watford had signed him from Newry Town a year earlier. Another Northern Ireland international, Gerry Armstrong, joined Watford on leaving White Hart Lane.
3. Ronnie Burgess who captained the ‘Push and Run’ team of the late 1940s and early 1950s, leading them to promotion in 1950 as 2nd Division Champions and then securing the 1st Division title the following year was manager of Watford for four years from 1959. He was one of Spurs greatest players and had arrived from Wales in 1939, an immense half-back who eventually moved to Swansea as player-manager in 1954. As manager of Watford he signed Pat Jennings. Burgess made 301 Football League appearances for the club but like so many players of that era, the total would have been so much greater but for losing six years of his footballing career to the Second World War.
4. Two former Tottenham players managed Watford in the early 1990s. Colin Lee was in charge for eight months from March, 1990 and was replaced by Steve Perryman the following November. Perryman remained at Vicarage Road until July, 1993.
5. Last match: Tottenham and Watford met in last season’s FA Cup 4th Round which was the first time that Watford had had home advantage in an FA Cup encounter between the clubs. Spurs won with a goal scored by Rafael Van der Vaart just before half-time and were rather fortunate to progress to the next round.
6. Spurs first FA Cup tie was in October, 1894 when they met West Herts at their old Northumberland Park ground. Four years later, in 1898, West Herts and Watford St. Mary’s merged to form Watford FC. Spurs won 3 – 2 with goals from Peter Hunter and Donald Goodall (2).
7. In January, 1939 Spurs were playing in the 2nd Division while Watford were in the 3rd Division (South).Â An emphatic 7 – 1 FA Cup win at White Hart Lane was registered as Spurs created another ‘first’ to include in their record books. It was the first time that numbers were worn on the players’ shirts, something which the Spurs directors had been campaigning for over a considerable period of time. The Spurs goals were scored by Ralph Ward (pen), Fred Sargent, Willie Hall (2), Andy Duncan, Les Miller (2).
8. It was at Vicarage Road that Glenn Hoddle scored a wonderful chipped goal in September, 1983 in a 1st Division match. Hoddle turned the game for Spurs with that goal which everyone remembers. Spurs were a goal down when he received the ball moving away from the goal – he cleverly turned the defender, moved round him and coolly chipped the ball over the goalkeeper into the far corner of the net – a goal that is frequently shown on television. Spurs went on to win 3 – 2.
9. FA Cup Semi-Final Success: Spurs were progressing serenely towards the Wembley Final when they met Watford at the FA Cup semi-final stage at Villa Park in April, 1987. The match proved remarkably easy for Spurs who were facing a Watford side who had to find emergency goalkeeping cover due to injury. The 4-1 victory did not flatter Spurs as David Pleat’s side continued their good form and won through goals from Steve Hodge (2), Clive Allen and Paul Allen. Coventry City were their unexpected opponents in the Final and unfortunately that match didn’t go as expected.
10. Tommy Harmer, was known as ‘The Charmer’ and as a player he spanned the years between the ‘Push and Run’ team of the 1950s and ‘The Double’ side of the 1960s but missed out on both. He joined Spurs as an amateur in 1948 and made his debut in September, 1951 against Bolton.Â He played 222 League and Cup games before signing for Watford in October, 1960 having lost his place in the first team to John White. He was loved by supporters with supreme tricks and skills on the ball.Â Lightly built in the rugged midfield battle of those days he was frequently the inspiration for Spurs best performances having taken over from Eddie Baily as the creative influence in the team. He was at his best in Bill Nicholson’s first game as manager, when he was restored him to the team. He was the creator behind the 10 – 4 win over Everton and even managed a goal for himself. At first, Nicholson tried to play both Harmer and White in his team but eventually opted for the Scot. Harmer spent two years with Watford before moving to Chelsea as a player/coach.