Tottenham team in 1991 [Photo: Alan Hill]

Tottenham Can’t Take Anything For Granted Against Southampton


Tottenham can take nothing for granted in their quest for three points against Southampton on Saturday at White Hart Lane. Spurs beat the visitors at St.Mary’s earlier in the season but Southampton have caused a few upsets in the past.

Betting Against Southampton – a Life Lesson for a Young Boy

Southampton v Tottenham 1991 [Photo: Alan Hill]

My nephew Richard was 12 when I drove him and my wife to Southampton in August 1991 for the opening game of the season at the Dell. On the stroll from the multi-storey car park nearby, I could not resist the pull of a bookie. I popped in and placed a bet. It was on Spurs to win, including Gary Lineker to score a hat-trick. The winnings would be £250.00. Spurs went 1-0 down but I was very confident. I whispered to my nephew about the bet and told him how much we stood to win. Spurs improved as the match went on, One goal for Lineker, 2 goals for Lineker and then right near the end, under our noses, he scored a third – or so we thought. For a couple of seconds we started to go mad as the ball bounced back out – and the goal was disallowed for not having crossed the line. Except it had. We saw it.

So, no payout to collect from the bookies. I turned solemnly to my nephew and said, “Let that be a lesson to you. Betting is a mug’s game”. What made it worse was that when we got home and turned on the TV, the local South Today news item was just explaining how Spurs were unlucky not to have a greater margin of victory as they showed a frozen picture of the ball having crossed the line! Years later I found out that at a still relatively young age, my nephew had opened an online betting account. He obviously found the thrill of the risk more attractive than the disappointment of that first encounter with the gambling world!

The FA Cup 2003

Never take a victory against Southampton as given either. You need look no further than my trip to our FA Cup tie in the third round at Southampton in 2003 for a stark reminder of what might happen if you do. We had been on an unbeaten run throughout December until a narrow one-nil defeat away to Newcastle on 30th December. We then had to play Southampton away twice in quick succession. They beat Glenn Hoddle’s team one-nil on New Year’s Day and we returned for the FA Cup tie a few days later on 4th January. It was a team that contained Teddy Sheringham, Gus Poyet, Ledley King and Robbie Keane.

I went to the game with a young colleague from work who was a keen Southampton fan. I was his boss’s manager and although I was never the type to stand on ceremony, he didn’t seem very relaxed in my company. Thinking about it, I would have probably felt the same if the roles were reversed. He was exceedingly polite on the train journey to the game. The talk was all about how they had been fortunate to scrape a win on New Year’s Day and Spurs’ superior quality would probably show through in this game. So imagine how awkward he must have felt when Southampton played us off the park and thrashed us 4 – 0!

He left the job working for me shortly afterwards to join a mass recruitment of air traffic controllers locally. I am sure he will have done very well, especially if he maintained the same diplomatic approach he adopted with me, when he could have really taken the rise in the wake of Southampton’s victories. Wherever you are now, Simon, I wish you well.

The Challenge Ahead

At this time of the season, everything is so unpredictable. Southampton have been playing some attractive football since their change of manager but at times still look very vulnerable. They are not totally safe on 39 points and if they had another 3 they may have subconsciously eased off against us but like Wigan, they will be fighting for their lives. We had 20 great minutes against Man City but were outplayed for much of the game there and our equaliser was fortunate to say the least. It was a relief to see Arsenal only get 1 point against Man United. We are still in with a chance. 4th place is back in our own hands yet again. We need the extra point because our goal difference is well short of our rivals. It’s just not a sensible time to put a bet on.

Come on you Spurs.

Over To You

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