With two matches to play, Tottenham’s finish to the season bears a remarkable similarity to that of 1985-86. Tim Sherwood will hope to avoid copying Peter Shreeves in the game against West Ham United at Upton Park and come the end of the season.
Tottenham’s last defeat came at Anfield when they lost heavily to Liverpool. Prior to the next game, against Sunderland at White Hart Lane, the news broke that Tim Sherwood would not be in charge at Spurs next season. The month of April has seen an upturn in Spurs performances and results which is very similar to how season 1985-86 under Peter Shreeves (or Shreeve, as he became later) finished.
1985-86It was Tottenham’s second season under Peter Shreeves and after a very promising first season when he had stepped up from being assistant to Keith Burkinshaw, it was a major disappointment. In that first season, Spurs had finished 3rd, level on points with Liverpool, having been top on New Year’s Day after winning at Arsenal. But for a poor run of home form in the second half of the season when Spurs lost 6 out of 8 games and a number of serious injuries, they would have been much closer to champions, Everton.
Throughout the following season, Spurs were constantly in mid-table. It had started well with a 4 – 0 home win over Watford with new signings Paul Allen and Chris Waddle scoring. That put them as early leaders but it was downhill for the rest of the season. Following a win over West Ham on Boxing Day, Spurs went until late February without a league win, taking 1 point from 6 games. Spurs then lost at home to Liverpool and had dropped to 13th in the league.
There was talk of unrest in the dressing room and it had become obvious that Peter Shreeve would be leaving White Hart Lane in the summer.
From early March Spurs results showed a great improvement with only one defeat, at Upton Park, in 12 games. The sequence of results included 8 wins with a number of high-scoring victories starting with a 5 – 0 home win over West Bromwich Albion. They also won 4 – 1 at Leicester City and finished the season by scoring 14 goals in their final three games – winning 5 – 2 at Queen’s Park Rangers and with 4 – 2 and 5 – 3 home wins over Aston Villa and Southampton respectively.
The only blemish in Tottenham’s record to the end of the 1985-86 season was a 2 – 1 defeat against West Ham at Upton Park. In the previous game they had defeated Arsenal at White Hart Lane but at Upton Park West Ham took a first half lead. Ossie Ardiles equalised within five minutes but West Ham regained the lead two minutes before the interval. Although Clive Allen hit the post in the second half after replacing Ardiles, Spurs suffered their first defeat in 5 games. Tottenham finished 10th and the late run of results came too late to save Shreeve who was sacked and replaced by David Pleat.
Similarity With Peter Shreeves
This season hasn’t been as bad as 1985-86 had been under Peter Shreeves but there are a number of similarities:
- Stepped up to manager from within the club
- Poor home form until late in the season
- Early realisation that there would be a possible change of manager come the end of the season
- Defeat by Liverpool sparked a mini-revival
- Scored 5 at home in game following Liverpool loss
Similarities for Tim Sherwood to Avoid
- Defeat at Upton Park on Saturday which would give West Ham a third win over Spurs this season, something they have never achieved before.
- The sack at the end of the season.
Whatever happens at the end of the season, Tim Sherwood’s and Tottenham’s aim is to defeat West Ham on Saturday and go into the final game with the opportunity to match last season’s record tally of 72 points.