Today, Spurs drew 0-0 with Stevenage in the Cup.
Stevenage’s caption was one Ronnie Henry, who just happens to be the grandson of Ron Henry, who was in Spurs, double side of 1960-61 and probably played for them in February 1962. I saw him play probably near to 100 times.
Ronnie Henry played right full-back today for Stevenage, whereas his grandfather always played left full-back.
I thought at one point that Ronnie was going to do what his grandfather did a few times. As the match neared conclusion, he moved forward and sent over a well-aimed cross, which didn’t come to anything. I seem to remember quite a few of Ron’s crosses leading to goals, but then he had better target men in the middle than Stevenage did. Ron, in fact only ever scored one goal, but it was against Manchester United to win the game. A Spurs corner had been part cleared and the ball bounced out to Ron, instead of redirecting it back in, decided to go for goal. It went straight-in like the proverbial bullet. If there was one player who should have shot more often, it was Ron Henry, but he was a very steady and unspectaculr player and he probably felt defending was his responsibility in the game.
He did nearly score on one other occasion, when Spurs were something like three up and could not be beaten, when he did a mazy dribble into the penalty area only to be upended by the defence. He was mobbed by his team mates and almost dragged towards the penalty spot, but still he could not be persuaded to take the penalty kick to get the second goal he never got.
I’m afraid they don’t make players like Ron Henry any more!
There are some good pictures and video of the cat at Liverpool last night, that some of the Press are now calling the Scouser Mouser.
Just type Liverpool Cat into Google. There was this report with a video from the Telegraph. Obviously, cats sell newspapers to those who live in Tunbridge Wells. The Sun also has a nice graphic entitled, Move of the Match, showing where the cat went.
Rumour has it that Millwall fans have rung up the London Zoo to enquire about borrowing a lion.
After a few minutes tonight, a cat managed to get on the pitch at Anfield. It’s part in the game is summed up in this text commentary from the Guardian.
16 mins: “Would it be unfair to say that the stray cat has already shown more awareness in the penalty area than Andy Carroll?” asks Michael McCarthy, not alone in comparing the two. It showed a good turn of pace and its movement was decent if unconventional, but it also showed a very limited grasp of the offside law and offered limited aerial ability. I’m giving Carroll the nod here.
13 mins: The cat has now been removed, quite gently, by a burly steward. Carroll celebrates this with a couple of tasty touches.
11 mins: There’s a cat on the pitch. It’s currently settled in Tottenham’s penalty area. Not a fox in the box, but not too far off.
I can’t ever remember seeing a cat on the pitch before, although a fox did sneak into the Oval.
It’s not the first time though that Hogan-Howe has been at a high-profile event on a horse in uniform. This is an extract from a report in the Guardian.
One of Bernard Hogan-Howe’s greatest pleasures as chief constable of Merseyside police was riding through the crowds on horseback at the Grand National. It gave him the chance to pursue his passion for horse-riding while also soaking up the very particular atmosphere of Aintree.
I’ve always felt that horses are an interesting part of a Police Force’s tools. If of course they are used properly.
But I do wonder who was the previous high-ranking Police Officer who patrolled on horse in London?
Spurs could probably claim that they were robbed against Manchester City today, as Mario Balotelli could have been sent off after kicking Scott Parker in the head. Harry Redknapp thinks he should have been according to this report on the BBC. But he would wouldn’t he! And so do I!
On the other hand Spurs second goal had a bit of familiarity in my mind. Aaron Lennon weaved inside from the left and gave a perfect pass for Welshman Gareth Bale to drill home from outside the box.
I can remember that great Welsh winger, Cliff Jones, doing the same from probably the other wing and teeing the ball up for either John White or even Danny Blanchflower to score. It couldn’t have been Jimmy Greaves, as he usually scored inside the six-yard box and the distance was too great. Also Greaves didn’t join Spurs until the 1961-62 season and I have a feeling this was earlier.
Jones in his prime was as fast if not faster than Bale, although he wasn’t protected as much by the referee. He’s one of those players, who if they played in the modern era would be so much better.
My father also saw another great Welshman, who played on the wing for Tottenham in the 1930s. He was Taffy O’Callaghan, who although not being as fast as either Bale or Jones, was in a team nicknamed the greyhounds, which won promotion in 1932-33. But by repute he could hit the heavy leather ball as hard and accurate as any.
So perhaps Harry’s team will upset the odds and win the Premier League this year or perhaps in the near future. They have the most important brick in place.
My thoughts go out to those who died or lost loved ones in the Hillsborough tragedy.
In my view though, we were very lucky that it didn’t happen earlier at any number of grounds.
In the 1950s and 1960s, I was in some quite bad crushes at various grounds, like Tottenham, Chelsea, Arsenal, Everton and Hampden Park and my father told me of similar crushes before the Second World War.
In one match, I saw Spurs play Wolves at White Hart Lane and getting away from the ground was dangerous to say the least. At least the steps to White Hart Lane station seem to be better now, but there was a disaster waiting to happen at Tottenham. Luckily it didn’t!
It may be a cop-out and complacent to say that all-seater stadia mean that we can’t get another Hillsborough. But I hope we don’t.
People in Liverpool, talk of conspiracies and dark underlying frces behind Hillsborough.
It was the reluctance of the football authorities to spend any money on grounds and their surroundings, that really caused the problem at Hillsborough.
This is a better picture of where I used to park my bike to for Spurs in the early 1960s.
Salubrious isn’t it! Obviously, the two shops either side have seen a makeover, but the garage certainly hasn’t. They have removed the sign that said “Slow Down to 50 mph. Through This Gateway” and added a litter bin.
Such is progress!
After Ipswich Town’s fiascos against Southampton and Peterborough, I thought that things couldn’t get worse. Ipswich certainly improved against Leeds, but then today their defence was seriously out underperformed by both Spurs and Arsenal.
I think I’ll wear my Ipswich hat tomorrow.
It would appear that Spurs are on the point of dropping their bid to take over the Olympic stadium according to the BBC.
I have looked at the plans for the new stadium and feel that the way it would be built is innovative and good project management, making the best use of all the resources.
A deal seems to be being working out with the Mayor and the Government about improving public transport in the area. As I said earlier, I believe this should be achieved by giving some or all of the Lea Valley lines to Transport for London and adding them to the Overground. The trains, track and power supplies are not the worst, but improving the stations with their dreadful access and especially the link at Hackney Downs to the North London line and to buses must be done. A point here, is that this access traps the locals in the area, whether they like football or not.
It would also help London and Tottenham Hotspur, if a large Park and Ride was built somewhere to the north of White Hart Lane station on the Cheshunt line by the M25. London and the City lacks a decent Park and Ride and parking at most stations to the north and east of London is inadequate and overpriced.
So in my view a proper modern railway run to the same reliability as the Overground would transform the whole area from Bethnal Green, through Hackney and Tottenham to Enfield and the M25.
Finally, it has always irked Spurs supporters that Arsenal have their own Underground station. So why shouldn’t White Hart Lane be renamed Spurs?
What caused the riots that happened last week is very much a matter for others to decide.
I’ve known the area for years and quite frankly parts of it haven’t changed much since the end of the Second World War. As an example, the scruffy garage where I parked my bike in the 1960s to go to see Spurs is still there and it looks as if it hasn’t been painted in the last fifty years.
Transport is a major problem and it is even worse when Spurs are at home.
In the short term, I’d do three things.
In the first place, bring the area maps and the bus information up to the same standard that Londoners expect and get in other areas like Islington, Hackney and Westminster.
And then I’d put some investment into the railway that runs between Hackney Downs and Silver Street, by trying to improve the dreadful and dangerous steps. Escalators are expensive, but certainly a single escalator with a double width staircase could be used to improve safety at White Hart Lane. Lifts should also be selectively installed, so that step free access for the disabled is available at probably White Hart Lane, Seven Sisters and Hackney Downs.
One of the problems of the railway is that entry and exit at some stations is quite low. Could this be because it’s a difficult climb, whereas the nearby buses are just a step on and off? Also the trains are not Oyster-friendly! That would be the thrd thing!
So perhaps as I said earlier, should this line and the other Lea Valley lines be added to the Overground? Yes, I think it’s a no-brainer.
Incidentally Hackney Central on the Overground has substantially more passengers going through its doors than the nearby Hackney Downs.
Lots of things need to be done, but let’s improve the transport first.
The second thing that must be done is that Tottenham Hotspur decide quickly what they are doing with White Hart Lane stadium and the derelict land north of it. If they moved the stadium further north, it would actually be nearer to an upgraded White Hart Lane station. The station could even be renamed as Tottenham Hotspur.