It had been a traumatic season for Spurs. A change of manager and the return of Jurgen Klinsmann had brought little improvement and with two games to go Tottenham were still in danger of relegation. A match against Wimbledon at Selhurst Park was not going to be easy until Klinsmann scored 4 goals.
On This Day
2nd May, 1998
Wimbledon 2 Tottenham Hotspur 6
Scorers: Fear (2) Ferdinand, Klinsmann (4), Saib
Team: Walker; Carr, Calderwood, Campbell, Neilsen; Fox (Saib), Berti, Anderton, Ginola; Ferdinand (Armstrong), Klinsmann Subs: (unused) Grodas, Scales, Clemence
Survival and what a way to do it! The penultimate game of the season and Spurs were not assured of Premiership football for the following season. It had been a long, difficult season and Spurs needed a fighting performance to retain their place in the top Division.
Christian Gross’ appointment in place of Gerry Francis, the previous November, had not been successful and there was discontent among the players over his style of management. The return of Jurgen Klinsmann in December had not brought about the hoped for revitalisation of the team. The German was trying to regain full fitness in order to play for his country in the World Cup Finals in France but he had struggled to make a major impact in his second spell at White Hart Lane.
Klinsmann, however, rectified that situation in just one game. Spurs had taken the lead against Wimbledon through Les Ferdinand after 18 minutes, Ginola having hit the post in the build up. The home team were level within three minutes and ahead after half an hour – Fear scoring twice. As half time approached, Spurs equalised when Klinsmann scored his first goal of the afternoon, after some wizardry on the left and a beautiful low cross from Ginola.
In the second half Ben Thatcher was sent off after 52 minutes. Two minutes later Klinsmann scored his second. This time it was created by Nicola Berti and Klinnsman added two more inside six minutes. With half and hour to play, Spurs were coasting 5 – 2 ahead. Klinsmann then set up the sixth goal for Saib.
Klinsmann scored the four goals to grab the headlines but it was the play of Ginola which destroyed the Dons defence and supplied the German with the goal scoring opportunities. That day David Ginola was simply unplayable – he ran the Wimbledon defence ragged, as Spurs guaranteed their place in the Premiership for another year.
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#knowyourtottenhamhistory 1st May, 1963 Spurs Reach ECWC Final with Win over OFK Belgrade
More articles on Jurgen Klinsmann
Tottenham’s Transfer Coup in 1994: here
Klinsmann’s Debut v Sheffield Weddnesday: here
Home Debut v Everton August, 1994: here