INTERVIEWS WITH THE PAST AND PRESENT SPURS!

Tottenham Players regularly come out and give interviews to Sky Sports, National Newspapers etc. well, here you can keep up to date with all of them! I search the Internet for some decent interviews involving our players, below are the ones which I have found!

CLIFF JONES (member of the 1961 double winning team) 

DAVID PLEAT (Director Of Football)

BEN THATCHER (squad member)

Darren Anderton (squad member)

 

 BRIAN MOORE INTERVIEWS... CLIFF JONES

Cliff Jones was an old-fashioned winger who played more than 300 games for Spurs between 1957 and 1968, helping them win the Double in 1961 and the 1963 European Cup-Winners' Cup - the first British club to win a European trophy. He also won 59 caps for Wales and played in the 1958 World Cup. And as he told our Brian, them were the days you used to buy your fans a drink after the game.

Brian Moore: What is the greatest single achievement in your career, with Spurs, Swansea or Wales?

Cliff Jones: Oh, that would have to be winning the Double with Spurs in 1961. To be part of the first team to do the Double this century. That would be the pinnacle of my career.

Brian Moore: That was the peak, but you joined back in 1957, and for a while things didnít go very well for you, did they?

Cliff Jones: No, thatís right. Iíd just finished my National Service when I signed for Tottenham. Iíd been playing rugby and hockey in the army, and I broke my leg in pre-season, so things took a while to get going, under the then manager Jimmy Adamson.

Brian Moore: When did things start to change for you and the team? Was it the arrival of Bill Nicholson as the manager in 1958?

Cliff Jones: Yes it was. Bill was a big influence on all of that team. He was a great believer that managers should take responsibility for what happened on the pitch. Take for example, referees. He hated to see players chase after refs. He would say, ďLook, referees are human. They are going to make mistakes. I just hope they donít make as many mistakes as you lot out there. He also used to remind us that most players didnít understand the rules of the game as well as referees, and he was right. That, for me, is leadership.

Brian Moore: He was a man who had a lot of little sayings. One of them I remember is ďWhen the ball goes dead, good players come alive,Ē

Cliff Jones: Yes, thatís one I used myself when I was a teacher. Another one Bill loved to use was ďIf youíre not in possession, get in position,Ē. For me that sums football up. When you havenít got the ball, get ready to support the man who has.

Brian Moore: He was bringing an amazing side together at that time, in the late 50s and early 60s, wasnít he?

Cliff Jones: Well, it was 1959 when he really sorted things out. That was when he got Dave Mackay.

Brian Moore: That transformed Spurs, did it?

Cliff Jones: Dave gave us that edge, that machine-like approach and the competitive side to the game, that I wonít say we lacked, but we needed a bit more. Dave brought that and we took off from there. The rest is history.

Brian Moore: Most Spurs fans can remember that great Double-winning side. Players like Bill Brown, Bobby Smith and Maurice Norman, and that's without even mentioning Danny Blanchflower. Like many people I regard that team as the best club side I have ever seen. How do you think todayís players compare with those Spurs greats?

Cliff Jones: Well, you know, I go to Spurs a lot and I love to watch David Ginola, heís a class act. People often ask me how I would feel about playing today. But I turn it round. I ask them how todayís players would have fitted into the side I played in? Iím not so sure they would have.

Brian Moore: Spurs were involved in some tremendous matches during those years. What are your great memories of the big games, like the Cup Finals against Leicester and Burnley?

Cliff Jones: Well, I remember the Leicester final in 1961 wasnít a very good game. They lost Ken Chalmers early on to injury and they made it very difficult for us from there on.

Brian Moore: It may be hard for some people to believe today, but in those days, Burnley were a very good side, who played very good, exciting football, much like Tottenham.

Cliff Jones: Yes, well, they were one of the best we played against in that era. We took a lot from them in terms of free-kicks and corners, which we became quite successful at. When I look at todayís games, I think players donít work on them enough. They just come up and try to bend this new light ball around the wall. That's it, nothing else.

Brian Moore: Domestic success took you into Europe, tell us about your memories of those great exciting European nights at Tottenham.

Cliff Jones: I remember the first game against Gornick. At one point over there we were four-nil down, but we scrambled a couple to finish at four-two. We took some stick in the press for that. But BiIl and the fans got us geed up for the return. I tell you, Brian, when we walked out at White Hart Lane that night, the atmosphere was electric. There were 57 or 58,00 people in the ground and the same number outside. We were a goal up before the start, you could tell the Polish mob were intimidated.

Brian Moore: The semi-final of the European Cup against Benfica was not as successful, but was also an incredible night.

Cliff Jones: Unfortunately the tension of the crowd got to the players, and we didnít play as well as we should have. We tried to get the ball up to our forwards too quickly, and we by-passed our midfield playmakers, Danny Blanchflower and John White. In many ways we played in to their hands.

Brian Moore: Iíd like to talk to you about two other players. The first is Jimmy Greaves.

Cliff Jones: Jimmy was the greatest goalscorer Iíve ever seen. Every season he would score 30-35 goals. And he was a great man to know. I very much enjoyed his company. You know his whole motivation was to score goals. It didnít matter to him if weíd had a good or a bad game, so long as heíd scored, he was satisfied. I couldnít see it like that.

Brian Moore: The other player I want to ask you about is John White. He is still revered at White Hart Lane after he died so tragically young.

Cliff Jones: He was a great talent. People ask me what he was like. I say that he was like Glenn Hoddle. But he was different to Glenn in some ways. Glenn was someone who you had to bring into a game, whereas John White would bring himself into a game. If youíre not in possession, get in position, that was John White. He was always available if you needed to pass to someone.

Brian Moore: You still go to White Hart Lane regularly. Do you still see Bill Nicholson?

Cliff Jones: Yes, I do and its always great to chat to him. And you know, when I look at todayís players, Iím reminded of what Bill used to tell us about the club. Bill used to say that the fans were the most important people at the club, not the players and not the manager. The fans work 40 hours a week, then come here. You must repay that. He also used to tell us how important the club was to the fans and that we had conduct ourselves accordingly. That, to me, is leadership. Modern players donít seem to have the same approach.

Brian Moore: Something else that has changed is the camaraderie between the players and supporters.

Cliff Jones: Oh, yes, we used to go to the Bell and Hare just by the ground after home games and buy drinks for the supporters. That could never happen today, and I think the game has lost something as a result.


David Pleat with Jimmy Hill

Director of Football at Tottenham Hotspur David Pleat gives a fascinating and revealing interview to Jimmy Hill. He talks candidly about the supporters, salaries, Sugar ... and Sol.

Jimmy Hill: Welcome. Spurs fans have unhappily been making demonstrations at the ground and all kinds of things like that, and you say well whatís happening all of a sudden at White Hart Lane?

David Pleat: Well, I think that demonstrations are part of the social scene and youíve got to look at the ages of those that are demonstrating. They are getting restless because they want to win, everyone wants to win, patience isnít a virtue of the football supporter. Strangely enough, weíre getting full houses and out of that 35,000, there are 100 people that are unhappy.

I wasnít at Saturdayís game, but the boo-boys have taken a lot of credit away from three outstanding efforts from Dublin, Carbone and Wright.

Hill: Obviously youíve seen them since?

Pleat: Yes, Iíve seen them since and they were good strikes. Of course, Stewart Houston who was in charge of the team in Georgeís absence, feels that there was an element of doubt about the first goal which was a penalty.

Hill: Well, I was there at that match because of a grand-daughter whoís a Spurs supporter. One, it wasnít a penalty without a doubt, but the other goals, as you say, were quite spectacular. But itís more than that, isnít it at Spurs? Itís wasnít just Saturday, thereís been a lot of unrest recently?

Pleat: Theyíve had a losing sequence for almost three months now, itís a poor record and there are all sort of factors involved. IĎm not looking to make excuses on anyoneís behalf, but itís been particularly hard on the front players, who believe it or not both are in double figures in Premiership goals. Theyíve suffered a little bit with injury and, at times, loss of form this season and we havenít had players to replace them.

I think one of the major disappointments is that we have a lot of injury problems to players for long periods of time. These involve players that weíve paid a lot of money for, such as Les Ferdinand, John Scales, and sometimes itís hard to get on the right track because of that.

Hill: I can remember Manchester United and, in particular, Alex Ferguson when he took over at Old Trafford. For the first two years, he was public enemy number one as far as the supporters were concerned and the elements were against him. Where does this lunacy come from?

Pleat: Well I think thereís a great expectation at Tottenham. Alright, youíll immediately say to me that youíve won nothing since 19 whenever...

Hill: í61.

Pleat: í61, a wonderful year when theyíve of course done the Double. I think theyíve won the cup since and they won the league cup last year but they expect higher standards. Thereís the great rivalry with Arsenal down the road, and they have performed very consistently. Theyíve been like a blue chip company in the last six years, regularily in the top three and the supporters want us to get into that top three or four.

I think that the management were hoping to get towards the top six, a top six position would have been good progress. We havenít been able to achieve that and I suppose there is some sort of restlessness present - particularly when youíve had three defeats in such a short period time. Also, all of a sudden weíve started conceding goals. Iíd written in my own programme notes that we seem to be quite resilient away from home, weíd had the second highest defensive record to Liverpool away from home.

Hill: But the venom is usually directed at the manager, but on this occasion the venom appears to be against Sir Alan Sugar, a man I know personally, is totally involved in making something happen there?

Pleat: Absolutely, heís very determined to achieve. There is a wonderful stadium, there is a superb academy, we are buying more land to expand, our academy is now beginning to really flourish, weíve got good coaches in there - but all these things, they take time.

Hill: And he gets no credit for it does he?

Pleat: Well, heís been unlucky with a couple of managerial appointments. A level of mediocrity has been amassed, and we need better players than that, and as a consequence weíve had to kind of get rid of this mediocrity to make room for better players. But since January '98 weíve spent over £22m and I donít think a lot of supporters realise that. The difficulty that weíve had is that we havenít been able to sell an Anelka for £23m, weíve been selling mediocre players. That has accumulated to around £3m and thereís been a couple of very poor mistakes in the transfer market where weíve literally had to give players away who have failed for whatever reason - like Moussa Saib who the new manager didnít fancy, and the lad Tramezzani who was a major disappointment. But all clubs have these kind of players.

Hill: Iím not acting as a defence counsel for the chairman, but surely it was the managers involved who selected those players which for whatever reason didnít come off?

Pleat: Absolutely. I havenít had or seen an interfering chairman who has said, why donít you go and buy him or get rid of him. I havenít had that, and Iíve been in the game for a long time. Iíve had the occasional comment from a chairman when you think is there a hidden agenda but certainly at Tottenham since Iíve been back there, never at any stage has the chairman said to the manager 'Why donít you sign him or why donít you get rid of him?'. Heís said many times weíve been unlucky with certain players that weíve signed in terms of injuries, but the manager signs the players, the manager recognises the ability of the players he sees, he puts the team together, he arranges the tactics, he does the training. The manager is the one that controls the players and the team.

Hill: So, is the chairman saying Iím not going to give the manager any money to spend, or is he saying, if you can persuade me that money needs to be spent in the interest of Tottenham Hotspur, then itís there?

Pleat: I think we are very aware that we need to spend money, we have identified a couple of areas for sure, weíve been very frustrated this year on a couple of occasions. I think itís been very well documented we brought the boy Bridges for talks. However, I think that the deal was almost done and dusted with Leeds, although I like the boy Bridges immensely.

Hill: But you know that goes down bad with supporters to think that Leeds United are getting a player we should have had?

Pleat: Well, they have to come to terms with that. Thereís a lot of competition in the Premiership and sometimes itís for geographical reasons, sometimes itís because a team is in Europe. Youíve got to get in to Europe to be able to say, come and join us. The bottom line usually with players is salary, I have to say that, and what their prospects are within that team. Where we have done well is I think weíre bringing younger players into the club.

In the past, a lot of players in the 29Ė30 age group were brought in for decent money, and if you look at the record over the last five years thereís no future in those players. The money is available at Spurs to buy players, that is a clear message. The manager is very careful with his money, as he was at Arsenal. If you look back at the record, he was a very slow spender, and he didnít spend big and he may wish to do it a similar way here.

Hill: But also I mean if you declare to the world now, weíre going to spend money because we want to be successful, and we want to give Spurs supporters all the joy in the world, anybody you come to buy a player from says: ĎOh, here they come knocking at the door. How muchí. So you have to be temperate?

Pleat: Exactly, we canít tell the world that weíve got £50m to spend. What you do know is one or two clubs in this country have had a very big go at it, and have sacrificed quite a lot and mortgaged quite a lot in those attempts. They may have invested money that they havenít even received yet from new proposed television deals. It's a slightly dangerous way to go. We try and take a sensible line, but there is money available. He knows weíve got to get two or three players and we will do that but weíve been suffering recently. Weíve started the season well and finished badly, perhaps we should have started the season badly and finished well. But I thought the best that we could hope for was about 6th this season, at the moment weíre languishing in around 12th position, which isnít good and we should do better than that.

Hill: There are no trips to Europe next season thatís a certainty?

Pleat: No, you look for defining moments Jim. They lost in the last minute at Kaiserslautern, they were winning 1-0 and itís a horrible scenario to concede two goals in the last minute. That, looking back may be a defining moment, I donít know, everyone tries to look for when it happened, where it went amiss, and Kaiserslautern was a massive disappointment.

Hill: Can or does the number of factors that are significantly against the chairman, manager, history of the club, can that in itself have a detrimental effect on the teams chances of doing well, does that make it any harder or does it not make any difference?

Pleat: I donít think so, I think every 90 minutes is a separate issue and if they win itís a lifter, if they lose it can be a demoraliser. We have young players, Campbell, Carr, Walker, Iversen, still only 22, we have some good young players coming through our club. The experienced Sherwood has been out for a long time, Leonhardsen who was bought in has been out for half the season, When we had Leonhardsen, Sherwood, in the same midfield, and Freund, thatís when I think we were playing our best football.

People have short memories. We beat Man Utd at home, we beat Liverpool, we beat Arsenal, but they havenít been able to maintain the pressing game because George hasnít been able to keep the same team.

Hill: Itís strange really that you explain matters beautifully and intelligently so people can understand Ė why then is there such bitterness about the chairman? If you donít mind me saying, you are a very experienced and talented person to have on board. Is there something the chairman can do to help you and the manager in your tasks?

Pleat: He has an image that comes over to many as rather brusque and severe. Unlike all men whoíve been quite clever in their field, he possibly has a two-way personality at times.

I shouldnít really say this because you canít generalise about the media but, I think he gets a very unfair and rough ride in the media. Whether thatís deserved or not, no-one deserves personal abuse and some of the things that are said are most unfair, theyíre not correct and theyíre misleading and unfortunate. The publicís opinion is definitely clouded by what they read and sometimes the man who's the victim of this business feels because heís had so much of it that you cannot go out to the world and explain it because itís not worth explaining any more because they donít listen.

Hill: Because the journalists will say there he goes, members of the public will say, of course he supports the chairman because he employs him so an argument for him is once again discredited?

Pleat: Well, I try and see things fairly, itís not easy for the chairman, the manager or me but we know how to run a football club and if youíre looking at young players and the academy, weíve got a good set-up. What we need is a good run of results to show our confidence is justified. At the moment we havenít got that, so it calls for patience, sense and calm.

Hill: But you are confident that the little triangle at he top of Spurs, given time, will make Spurs regular contenders for some sort of honour. Is that the target for future seasons, and are you going to achieve it?

Pleat: On pride alone, George has been a very successful manager and it will hurt his pride severely of he doesnít achieve that. The chairman is bursting to get some success after making several moves in the past few years that havenít proved as successful, and from a personal view I desperately want to show that the general manager role, can be seen as a very important mediator and give all sorts of reasons to mould a club together.

Hill: And you have no fear that Sir Alan Sugar, obviously successful in some aspects of life, if not at the football club for the moment, will stick with it?

Pleat: I think so, he hasnít been a lucky chairman so far, thatís for sure, some people would have thrown in the towel. But I have to say this, Iíve seen chairman get it in the neck and itís not just Tottenham. Iíve seen it in different clubs where you have a bad spell, people are ignorant and abusive and I wouldnít tolerate that, thatís bad and if it affects your home life. Managerís children that have been bullied at school because the team wasnít doing well can be very tough. Alan Sugar is a strong man, but weíve all had it in football, youíve had it both as a player, manager and chairman haven't you?

Hill: Yes, every team Iíve played for finished higher up the ladder than when I joined them. Anyway, back to Spurs. Iím asking you for optimism?

Pleat: Weíve got some good young players. The next step is weíre going to buy some big players. Weíve got no contractual problems at the end of this season. Sol Campbell stays whatever until the end of next season. Hopefully he wonít leave because if he did heíd be very unhappy, heís Tottenham through and through because heís been at Spurs since he was 12. He wants the club to do well.

Hill: I was going to ask you later, not that the chairman wants to become Mr Popular but if the chairman could persuade Sol to commit himself to Spurs, wouldnít that be the most enormous thing that could be done?

Pleat: Yes, I think Sol and his agent knows that. He has to have a feeling. There has to be a confident mood. Obviously then we can talk about salary. We will do everything in our power to get Campbell to extend his contract past next year. But whatever happens, itís part of this hype. He has another year to go. Really, Sol has always discussed and signed extensions in the summer months. All the talk about him been seen in Manchester, so much devious stuff has been printed.

Hill: I take it that Alex hasnít put a bid in?

Pleat: No, Man Utd have expressed an interest for a year now, but you know how it is, at the time we were talking about Solskjaer, but we havenít made too big a fuss about that. We spoke about it and hoped we got a deal. Alex persuaded us Solskjaer is better on the bench at the moment, two years on and heís still scoring goals and more or less on the bench.

Usually, when you have a discussion with another club about a player who they respect, they usually come around to talking about one of your players that they respect, so you canít deny that youíve had a discussion.

Hill: But in terms of Spurs here and now, how will things happen?

Pleat: We hope Sol will commit himself beyond the next year of his contract this summer before he goes away with England in the Euro championships.

Hill: For the sake of everyone, is that going to be a niggling problem that might cause further trouble for Georgeís health?

Pleat: George had some tests on his joints and he has gone home and heíll have a rest. He wonít be at the club for a few days and we respect that. Weíve only got a few games to go, we all wish George well and we hope heís going to be back amongst us very quickly.

Hill: I have a feeling that Spursí future is going to depend on the team spirit of those off the field, staff, chairman, more than those efforts on the field?

Pleat: On the field, we can put together a competent side that needs improving with a couple of quality players. There is no doubt in my mind about that. In terms of supporters, of course they want to see us do well and they have to behave themselves, providing that the players can prove that they are giving the effort. That's the most important thing. In the end, itís a very competitive business and you think we enjoy finishing 6th, 7th, 8th, we want to be in the top there.

Hill: Thank you very much indeed. Youíve been honest. Iíve thrown everything I can at you about the club and I think the message has come over that if I was a Spurs supporter, rather than a the grandfather of a Spurs supporter, I would say 'keep it up'.

Ben Thatcher with Spurs.co.uk

New signing Ben Thatcher conducted an interview with Spurs official web site Spurs.co.uk and this is what he had to say!

Are you pleased to be joining Spurs?

Thatcher: "I'm very pleased. It's a great move for me and I'm looking forward to the start of the season."

Are you looking forward to being back in the Premiership?

Thatcher: "Obviously, with Wimbledon going down, the Premiership's the only place to be, its where all the coverage is, and I wanted to get back there as quickly as possible and Spurs have offered me that opportunity.

Was it a wrench to leave Wimbledon?

Thatcher: "Wimbledon are a very good club, very friendly, and I got on great with all the staff. It was a wrench when I left Millwall so these things happen, and I'll be popping back to see the players."

What are the other attractions of moving to Spurs?

Thatcher: "Spurs are a massive club, a London club so I don't have to move house and I know a few of the players here. They are going forward, they've spent a few quid this summer and will be looking to win things. Neil Sullivan and Chris Perry will make settling in a bit easier and it shouldn't be a problem."

Were you aware of any other clubs being interested in signing you?

Thatcher: "I read the papers and that was all I knew until I heard from Wimbledon and the horse's mouth, so I didn't get too excited. It's been well documented Tottenham were after me for a long time and, as soon as it happened, I jumped at the chance."

Do you think the move will improve your chances of a full international call-up?

Thatcher: "Obviously, my main ambition is to play for England but I am just concentrating on playing for Tottenham, playing well. If I play consistently well for a good side in the Premier League then I've got half a chance.

There's been a lot of talk about the lack of a left-back harming England's Euro 2000 chances. Do you think that will improve your chances?

Thatcher: "Obviously you hear things, but I'm just going to concentrate on Tottenham for the time being. I wouldn't want to comment on others."

You've played at both left-back and centre-half. Which position are you expecting to play in?

Thatcher: "Oh, the first one definitely."

How do you rate Tottenham's chances for the new season?

Thatcher: "Our prospects are very good. We can improve on last year as we've made some quality signings, maybe there will be some more before the start of the season, and we'll probably be aiming for a European place, but we'll see how it goes.

Do you think a European place is a realistic ambition or do you think the club can challenge for the Championship?

Thatcher: "I've only seen Tottenham's games on television. Obviously every club goes into the season hoping to win the league, but a European place is probably what we're aiming for."

After last season's disappointment, you must be looking forward to a better time this year?

Thatcher: "Definitely, definitely. I'm not expecting to be involved in a relegation battle. It'll be nice to be at the other end of the table!"

Do you think Wimbledon can recover?

Thatcher: "I think Wimbledon are strong enough to come back up. Its one of those things, there's a million excuses but Terry Burton has a big job on his hands."

DARREN ANDERTON INTERVIEW Courtesty of Total Football

It was exactly what I didn't want, exactly what I didn't need. Basically I just thought why me? What the hell have I done to deserve this?" There is emotion in Darren Anderton's voice when he talks about his latest injury. And while you don't get the feeling he's about to break down or anything, the sense of frustration, the anger and the injustice are palpable. Clues to his state of mind are also abundant in his body language. Anderton sits hunched, his head forward, lolling, unsupported, lifted only to be shaken in disbelief at his misfortune. This time it's his Achilles. He first damaged it in the warm-up against Everton, second game of the season. Initially he thought he'd just jarred it but he came to this diagnosis without factoring in his usual bad luck; a scan subsequently revealed a degenerative weakness requiring an immediate operation. He is hoping to be back some time in the new year, though no target date has been scheduled.

"What does injury prone mean? It's not like I pick up little niggles here and there, I've had a lot of very bad injuries"

In recent times Anderton's injury problems have become familiar to followers of English football, even a source of comedy. We've all heard the `sicknote' jibes and so forth. It might not be wise for him to admit it but the gags annoy him, not least because he does not consider himself to be injury-prone. "What does injury prone mean?" he asks. "It's not like I pick up little niggles here and there, I've had a lot of very bad injuries. The injury I've got now is completely unrelated to anything that I've had before." He also points out, quite legitimately, that before joining Spurs he played two seasons at Portsmouth injury-free. The problem of course is that the memory of your average football fan, pundit and journalist is short. In their eyes a player is only as good as his last strain.

Anderton admits that this latest injury is the most crushing blow of his career to date. "Things had started so well for me this season. It was the first time in four or five years I'd had a full pre-season and I could really feel the benefit of it. I felt like I was pretty much back where I was four or five years ago before all the injuries. Then I get this." He points to his right foot. "And here we go again."

 

Although he still attends matches while injured, the role of spectator frustrates him. When Tottenham are losing he wants to get on and help; when they are winning he longs to be part of things. Recently he has mostly longed to be part of things. Under the stewardship of George Graham Tottenham are threatening to become a force and, while Anderton does not believe they are genuine title contenders just yet, he is quick to acknowledge the progress the club have made since the former Arsenal boss arrived at White Hart Lane. Compared to Christian Gross, Anderton has found George Graham to be a more `traditional' coach. His training sessions are hard and thorough, sure, but they are at least conventionally scheduled, unlike those of Herr Gross who had the peculiar (and universally unpopular) habit of putting the full first team through their paces at 8.30am on every match day, both home and away.

"One time he had us running around the Belfry golf course at dawn because there was nowhere else to train," recalls Anderton. Graham's attitude to Anderton's injury problems has also contrasted sharply with that of Gross. In hospital, and during the first couple of weeks of his recovery, Graham telephoned him regularly to check on his progress, see if there was anything he could do. Gross, on the other hand, displayed little sympathy for him, once actually forcing him to play when he was injured.

"It was against Barnsley last season," Anderton recalls. "I knew I'd torn my groin. I felt it go the day before in training so I went to him on the Saturday morning and told him it was no good, that I couldn't play. But he said I had to. In the end I played the whole game with my left foot." A couple of days later Spurs were scheduled to play Aston Villa. Again Anderton told Gross he was not fit to play and asked to be sent for a scan. His request was refused, though Gross did relent slightly, naming Anderton as a sub. Clearly struggling, Anderton came on with 15 minutes to go with Spurs 4-1 down. "It was madness," he says. "I think he just didn't believe me. Before the next game with Arsenal I said to him, `Listen if you let me go for a scan and it doesn't show anything I will play'." The scan revealed a severe tear in Anderton's groin. He did not play again for four months.

Before his Achilles injury Anderton was in the process of thrashing out his future with Tottenham. His current contract runs out at the end of this season when, under the Bosman ruling, he will be able to leave on a free transfer. Some have already interpreted his failure to agree terms by now as an indication of his intent to move on. Anderton does not wish to go into the details of the negotiations, offering only that he would like to stay. He would not patronise the supporters or anyone else by claiming that money is not a factor. He is honest enough to concede that it is, but it is not his sole consideration by any means.


Indeed, one suspects how much he receives might be less of an influence on his decision than how much the Tottenham board are willing to plough into the transfer kitty of his manager. "I want to be successful and I would like it to be at Tottenham," he says. "With the manager we have Spurs can be successful but even a great manager like George needs money. You need more than 11 good players to challenge for the Championship. The manager needs money to be made available to buy the top players. Look at Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal. It has cost them a lot but look where they are now."