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Published: 06 JAN 2005

A TEAM OF IMMENSE CLASS
by John Ryan

Tottenham Hotspur were blatantly robbed at Old Trafford last night by a disgraceful decision not to allow the goal caused by Roy Carroll's howler at the death of the game. Had the Spurs players and staff been spitting fire in their post match interviews we could have no complaints and when Alex Ferguson says that it was a blatant goal then you know it was. One can debate at length for the remainder of 2005 about the linesman's position & whatnot, but the fact remains, Spurs should have left Old Trafford with three points. They put in a wonderful defensive display and had England's keeper in fine form all through the game. Robinson's strength is not just in making the leaps and twists to save efforts like Gabby Heinze's effort, but in making the basics look so easy. He is turning out to be a tremendous acquisition for the Spurs.

But in the post match analysis and debate, the class of the Tottenham management & players shone through. Sky interviewed Ledley King and Paul Robinson just after the game and while both were delighted with their hard earned point and clean sheet, neither condemned the match officials. The furthest Ledley King went was to suggest that decisions like that go against you at big clubs grounds, but when looking at the replay, he offered excuses for the linesman saying he was unsighted. Martin Jol, when also interviewed by Sky was also in jubilant mood. His smile & celebration with his players at the final whistle shows that he feels the work he & his players are putting in is taking Tottenham to a higher position and earning them a lot of respect. He refused to be bitter when Sky were looking for a headline for their Sky Sports channels and although he later labelled the decision "disgraceful", one could easily forgive him for feeling some frustration. Tottenham's best days are some twenty years ago in history when in a three year period they won two FA Cup finals and the UEFA Cup. They have never won in the Premiership at Old Trafford but last night they should have. They walked away with their heads held high, without a bitter word emanating from a Spurs mouth.

Compare and contrast the reaction of a Tottenham side robbed of a huge result at Old Trafford to an Arsenal side who lost their unbeaten run at the same venue last October. Was Alex Ferguson pelted with food last night? Was anyone labelled a cheat in post match interviews? Are Tottenham fans vowing "ultimate revenge" when we play them next? The answer is no. The decisions that went against Arsenal did not rob them of a win at Old Trafford. The decision that went against Tottenham did. But the reactions from both of these North London neighbours could not have been more different. On and off the pitch last night the Spurs showed immense class. If there is any trophy we fail to win this season I would like to see them do well. If they land a trophy (most likely to be the FA Cup) I'm sure we'll all think of how the officials stole two points from them last night and wish them well.

As for Tottenham's North London neighbours, a lot could be learned from Spurs dignified reactions last night. It really does make you think about Arsenal robbing Spurs of their place in the old division one all those years ago. And if a decision of magnitude of last night's one ever goes against us, I sincerely hope our players & management take a leaf out of Tottenham's book too.

John Ryan

Copyright 2005 Red11. All rights reserved.
Not to be reproduced without permission of the author.


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