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FA Cup 3rd Round, 2/1/99
Tottenham Hotspur 5(4)
Scorers: Iverson (11, 20), Anderton (14 pen), Nielson (43), Fox (87)
Watford 2(2)
Team: Chamberlain 3, Bazeley 3, Kennedy 4, Page 3, Palmer 3, Iroha 4, Smart 3, Hyde 3, Noel-Williams 4, Johnson 4, *Robinson 5*
Subs: Rosenthal (for Hyde) 2, Day, Wright (for Smart) 3, Hazan, Gibbs
Scorers: Johnson (1), Kennedy (34)
Another time
Report by Ian Grant

So you stand and wait for kickoff in the vertigo-inducing upper tier of the air-conditioned aircraft hangar that is White Hart Lane. You look down at the Watford players warming up in the middle of an authentic media event - as incongruous as your mates appearing as extras in a Hollywood blockbuster, you half expect to see them waving excitedly to their mums whenever the cameras pass. The video screens play hysterical trailers for that same blockbuster - coming soon to a football ground near you....ANDY SINTON!!! - and the effect is nauseating. You reflect that the Premiership has absolutely no class.

Your mind drifts to absent friends, both the casualties of the mad scramble for tickets and those going undercover into the home sections. If games like this are the future we're dreaming of, it'd be nice if that future didn't come on a first come, first served basis. More than anything, you recall the eternal debt to the donor of your ticket - John Southern, working back in Waterloo when every molecule of his body must be straining to escape.

You remember Matt Rowson's preview and his prayer for just five minutes of leading at White Hart Lane, five minutes of rubbing the elitists' noses in their own fallibility. Silently, you offer up the same prayer. Come on Watford, come on Watford, COME ON WATFORD.

...and then Ben Iroha is carving through from the right wing and gliding past Sol Campbell into the area and you're roaring him on, affirming his ambition. And he drives it across and it's deflected up against the bar and Allan Smart's diving in and Richard Johnson's there to stab it home from three yards and it's there it's there IT'S THERE and your whole life explodes and the away section explodes with it and everything is noise and everything is screaming mayhem and everything is ecstasy...

Because, for a few wonderful minutes, you believed. As Tottenham tried to bounce back and crosses just eluded Iverson and it all went our way, you believed. Whatever else, that prayer was answered...

...and then we're breaking down the left and bundling our way into the box. And the ball is bouncing out to Micah Hyde on the edge and you're out of your seat once again and Micah's hitting it first time with a smack and your heart leaps...

...and it hits the top of the post and the rebound is cleared. For a flickering instant, you realise that that was the chance, that was the moment you'll be morbidly reflecting on in the pub afterwards...

Ten minutes later, you rub your eyes in sad disbelief at a faded dream. Spurs equalised from one of the set pieces that caused the defence so many troubles, the aerial threat of Campbell and Ferdinand providing cover for Iverson - Anderton crossed from a short corner, Iverson floated an immaculate header out of Alec Chamberlain's reach. A minute afterwards, Steve Palmer's flailing arm caught the ball as he competed with Campbell at a free kick and we were behind, Anderton thumping the penalty home. Even worse followed, Iverson on hand to score the third from Ferdinand's knockdown at another corner. We coped (just) with Spurs' skill, we couldn't deal with their power.

But there's no time for despair. The game's too good, the same kind of end-to-end insanity that made the 6-3 League Cup encounter so legendary. All you can do is immerse yourself in the chaos.

And the chaos continues - within seconds of Spurs' third, Gifton Noel-Williams is lobbing the ball goalwards and it's all that Walker can do to touch it up and onto the crossbar. Then Chamberlain's at full stretch to push Ginola's drive over and Iverson's blowing the chance of a hat-trick by heading the corner wide at the near post. Then Sinton - a right Stuart Ripley of a player, if you know what I mean - is exposing the offside trap to sprint through and slash wildly into the crowd.

Christ, what a match. You exhaust yourself, screaming and singing and jumping up and down and praying for a miracle. You may no longer believe, but you're sure as hell not going to let those eleven players on the pitch stop believing. Come on Watford, come on Watford, COME ON WATFORD. And then Allan Smart's laying the ball into Darren Bazeley's path and his raking cross finds Peter Kennedy at the far post and Walker can't stop the header and the 'Orns are back in the game and you take back everything you ever said about Darren Bazeley's crossing....

You think that 3-2 at half-time leaves plenty of room for an inspiring teamtalk, a couple of miraculous tactical changes and more drama after the interval. Even if that ignores the very obvious reality that Spurs are going to score more goals and the equally obvious possibility that Ben Iroha's tour of duty as Ginola's man-marker will end with a red card to follow an early yellow. But then you remember that the very obvious has never been a friend of Graham Taylor.

You attempt to catch your breath once more, yet the game allows no such respite. You laugh at Ginola, who's robbed by a last-ditch tackle, stands with his head in his hands and promptly gets hit by Ferdinand's wayward shot. You reflect that, with a little less of the primadonna act, he'd be one of the all-time greats. You decide, upon further reflection, that Ginola without the primadonna act would be less of a player, not more. You weep for Micah Hyde, who wins the ball inside the box and criminally fails to clear decisively, giving Nielson a chance he doesn't refuse - with unerring accuracy from twenty yards via the inside of the post, it's four. Iverson heads wide again, as he appears to do at ten minute intervals throughout the match.

You spend half-time having a metaphorical lie-down.

The chance had gone and the second half belongs in the past tense. The substitution of Hyde for the warmly received Ronny Rosenthal was one of those tactical masterstrokes that don't come off - Rosenthal was ineffective and we missed Hyde's midfield link-play. Hindsight's a wonderful thing. Iroha was freed from following Ginola around to provide our most dynamic attacking threat, but that just left the Frenchman to torment Bazeley for forty-five minutes. We were beaten - proud but beaten.

Had Johnson's drive from the edge of the area gone the right side of the post immediately after the re-start, there might've been hope again. It didn't, though, and it proved to be our last hurrah. Apart from a couple of surging runs from Iroha, we spent most of the remainder learning lessons, losing the ball too cheaply and struggling to get it back. Much of the post-match analysis will concentrate on first half defensive failings - fair enough, but credit must be due for keeping rampant Spurs out for most of the second. This could've easily turned into a damaging, painful rout.

Mercifully, it was merely disappointing. We were outclassed, that old resolve surfacing to aid survival. Darren Bazeley's not the first to be unable to live with Ginola's dazzling skills and that battle left us exposed - twice Chamberlain blocked fierce cross-shots at his near post before the keeper produced his best to push away the curling shot that was the inevitable result of Ginola cutting inside. A more naturally gifted footballer you will never see.

Still we hung on, through a hailstorm of such ferocity that the referee consulted the managers to see if they wanted to come off (bizarre, bearing in mind that White Hart Lane feels like an indoor arena) and through some equally vicious Spurs pressure. Fox hit the outside of the post when played through, the utterly heroic Paul Robinson blocked both Fox and Iverson with diving tackles as they shot and then cleared Ferdinand's header off the line. But, just as it seemed that we were going to make it through to full time, Ginola crossed to the far post and Iverson set up Fox for a simple finish. Wright volleyed over from Bazeley's centre to bring the afternoon to a conclusion.

Regardless of the anticlimactic second half, it was a belting football match. Those Hornets deserved all our applause as they left the field. If you remove one piece of horrendous misfortune and one awful error from the equation, then it was a tremendous effort. A game of many ifs, in fact - if Micah's shot had gone in, if Gifton's shot had gone in, if Johnno's shot had gone in....

Let's not kid ourselves. As a guide to our progress, this showed us both how far we have come and how far we have still to go. Gifton, for example, had a fine game - yet he could do nothing to get the better of Sol Campbell. Ditto for Iroha and Ginola. We're talking about absolutely world class players here, so that's nothing to be ashamed of...but it's a note of caution before we get too carried away. Ask supporters of any of the clubs recently relegated from the Premiership and you'll get endless hard luck stories, lots of ifs - we have much work to do to avoid that fate.

Enough waffling. For ten minutes, we kicked butt at White Hart Lane and it was bloody glorious. That's plenty to be going on with.

You spend Saturday night getting on the outside of too many pints of Guinness. You replay it in your mind - Micah shoots and the ball hits the post and it's there it's there IT'S THERE and it'll have to wait for another time....

Enjoy the ride
Report by Paul Goldsmith

So, it's official then - Watford are a good team, but they're not a Premiership team. They have plenty of quantity, but not enough quality. It was a harsh lesson, but I'll tell you something, it was the most entertaining lesson I've ever seen taught!

It's a story of a courageous team of free transfers, youth team players, cheap signings and foreign imports from Watford taking on a Tottenham team containing eight or nine players who by themselves cost more than the entire Watford team.

The story begins with a bit of a shock, as the little yellow team took the lead. A throw in on the right went to Ben Iroha, who literally ghosted past at least four players, including a surprisingly static Sol Campbell, and planted a cross towards Allan Smart and Micah Hyde. Hyde's effort came off the bar, but Richard Johnson was following up, and duly dispatched the ball into the net.

There was a stunned silence, followed by delirious celebrations from the 5,000 Watford fans in the crowd. For that glorious moment, and the eight minutes that followed, the £21 or £25 that Hornet fans had paid seemed a pittance. And when Micah Hyde picked up a loose Peter Kennedy ball near the Spurs penalty area ten minutes in, the whole South Stand rose in disbelieving anticipation. What followed turned the game.

Hyde's shot crashed against the post, the ball came out, eventually making its way out to Ruel Fox, on the right. He won a corner, Darren Anderton took it short to Fox, got it back and swung the ball in, straight onto Steffen Iversen's head. 1-1.

David Ginola was giving Iroha and Bazeley a torrid time. He was twisting and turning all over the place, and if he didn't get through, he simply fell over. It worked three times, once getting Iroha booked. Then he fell over in the penalty area, thankfully, this was ignored.

But when Ginola won another free kick and Anderton swung it over, Steve Palmer's quite blatant hand-ball wasn't ignored. What he was doing handling a ball sailing over both his and Sol Campbell's head I don't know, but a penalty it was. Anderton stepped up, 2-1.

It looked as if Tottenham would score every time they ventured into Watford's half. The gulf in class was huge. Watford were brave and combative, but for all their graft, and the competent passing of Johnson and Hyde, they were up against a defence organised by George Graham, and that means something in this game.

Spurs were up against a reserve defence, and it showed. The marking was poor, the impressive Iversen was receiving free headers for lunch, and Darren Anderton was sending in crosses and passes of such unerring accuracy and quality that a destruction seemed on the cards. Whatever you say about Anderton, his striking of the ball is sublime. If Watford's crossing was as good as Anderton's, many problems would be solved.

The Hornets would certainly score more anyway. As Spurs did after the 25th minute, when another Anderton free-kick was turned in by Iversen to make it 3-1. There were groans from the Watford support, but then they started singing again. To their credit, the Hornet fans never stopped singing all day, which was amplified by the fact that even at 3-1, the Spurs fans were not to be heard. They seemed to have no songs, or were not prepared to sing them. Oh yes, they genuflected and sang "Gin-ola" whenever the Frenchman was around them, but that was it. It's easy to see why a team with this much talent doesn't perform to their full potential, they don't exactly get much support to help them.

Backed by THEIR voluble support, the Watford team didn't lie down. The impressive Gifton Noel-Williams finally broke the shackles of Sol Campbell to hook the ball against the bar. Then, hope. Away went Darren Bazeley down Tottenham's weaker right hand side, he advanced into the area, and then did a very un-Bazeley like thing. He looked up, and placed an inch-perfect cross on Peter Kennedy's head. Where the Spurs cover was I don't know, but Kennedy didn't disappoint, placing a header in the corner of the goal past Ian Walker's despairing dive. Cue bewildered silence all over the ground, followed by complete apoplexy in the South Stand.

Now Watford had a chance, now Spurs were on the rack. The Hornets attacked, looking for an equalizer, Richard Johnson going close with a typical piledriver. Now was the time when Watford could take advantage of their opponents worry, and temporary disorganisation, and at least peg them back until half-time.

Unfortunately Micah Hyde decided it was time to completely lose it. There he was, in his own penalty area, comfortably dribbling the ball out. There were the fans, screaming at him to get rid of it. Hyde did rid of it. He played a delightful little pass along the ground to......Alan Neilsen. The Tottenham midfielder had 25 yards to the goal, with the time and space to line it up, which he duly did, and it was 4-2. Oh dear.

Hyde didn't re-appear after half-time. At this point, I'm not sure why. Perhaps he was injured, or more likely he was so despondent after the gift he gave Spurs that Graham Taylor realised that with his head down he wouldn't contribute enough to Watford's comeback attempt. And so on came Ronny Rosenthal, to rapturous applause from all sides of the ground.

Last season, having Ronny to come on to lift Watford would have been a good idea. This season, he isn't (yet) the same player. And without the ball-winning effervescence of Micah Hyde to complement Richard Johnson, Ronny wouldn't see enough of the ball to be able to make a difference anyway. Peter Kennedy moved into the centre of the midfield, but he isn't a ball-winner, and against a Tottenham midfield containing only Alan Neilsen to win the ball, that was where the advantage could have been pressed home.

Richard Johnson sent another pile-driver just wide of the goal, but Spurs had the initiative, and the two goal lead enabled them to relax. Alec Chamberlain had to make a diving save from Ginola, while Ruel Fox hit the post and Les Ferdinand had an effort cleared off the line.

Nick Wright came on for the tiring Allan Smart, who had had another game where he hadn't stopped running. But Spurs had tightened up, bringing on Stephen Clemence for the also tiring Darren Anderton. Any time Watford attacked, a Tottenham player seemed to fall over, and every time that happened, the linesman also fell...for it. It was very frustrating. Andy Sinton, the real weak link in Tottenham's defence, was particularly culpable, simply tumbling down while looking pleadingly at the linesman whenever under pressure. But it worked.

Meanwhile, Sol Campbell was showing why he could just be the best defender in the world. It reminded me of Colin Foster at his best. His head was like a magnet, clearing the ball out of danger anytime it came near. He stuck to Gifton like a leech, but kept it clean. One simply had to admire the work of a defender at the top of his game. George Graham must NOT let him go.

And so the game fizzled out, although the Watford fans' singing never did. George Graham came under attack for his Arsenal connections, Ian Walker was poked fun at for his pink shirt. And I don't think any Hornet was not aware of David Ginola's nationality, sportsmanship, or parentage by the end of the game!

Ruel Fox grabbed a fifth near the end from Ginola's cross. But it didn't really matter. We had not expected to win, and the entertainment value was unquestionable. One Sunday Newspaper went so far as to thank us for the game we delivered. I for one have never left a ground after seeing the Hornets lose with a smile on my face, but I did this time (albeit small).

The lesson learnt was that if Watford are promoted, they are going to need to acquire very carefully over the summer to ensure it won't be an embarrassment. This team are mid-table, remember. But I also had to admire the quality of Tottenham's attacking skill. They are great to watch. But let's not forget Watford. I can't remember so many matches in one season where I've come away feeling that the football I have watched has offered so much value for money. Let's continue to enjoy the ride, it may not last.

Tottenham Hotstuff
Report by Dave Perahia

This was the game that had everything - goals, controversy and a brilliant atmosphere, and it was the focus of a superb day out. We kicked off with beers in Islington Upper Street, with a lengthy walk to Highbury and Islington tube to follow. As we neared the station, we heard the sound of singing and happened upon another pocket of Watford fans who'd taken over another pub. Tube to Seven Sisters and an interminable walk to White Hart Lane. And what a stadium - we walked up the steps to our seating area to be faced by a fabulous sight. A huge, enclosed arena with a big video screen seamlessly built into the front of the roof of the home end (as opposed to a barely-functioning message board tacked to some scaffolding in a disused section of terracing !). It was a breathtaking sight, and was like a slap in the face after the pre-match bravado.

Milo and others were right - the stewarding was excellent - not just courteous, but actually friendly. The atmosphere grew and grew, and by kick-off there was a fair old racket emanating from the away end. I was sorry to read subsequently about anti-Semitic chanting, but didn't hear any of it myself. Just excellent positive support from 4,400 in the Watford end (plus hundreds in with the Spurs fans) with hardly an anti-Luton chant to be heard. The team had a slightly more defensive look about it, with Robbo in for Iceman/Wrighty, but I was very sorry to see that Gibbsy had missed out. I can honestly say that I was crapping myself as they read out the Spurs team - Ginola, Campbell, Ferdinand, Anderton, Iverson - packed with quality.

We started well, and a blinding, mazy run from Iroha culminated in a shot which deflected off a defender and onto the bar. Smart got a touch to the rebound and Jonno applied the finishing touch. This resulted in an explosion of noise and absolute bedlam in the Watford end. The celebrations seemed to last for ever, and all I can remember is screaming so much I wanted to throw up ! As the celebrations eventually calmed, Fincham reminded me of our first-minute goal at the Vic against Spurs in a 3-6 defeat a few years ago. And then reality took hold. We were, to be honest, absolutely destroyed at the back in a twenty minute spell. I was perhaps a little harsh on our defence at the time as I screamed and ranted at them while the goals flew in, but really, what were they doing ? Yes, they were up against fabulous forwards. Yes, it was a big occasion and maybe some were nervous. But the way we fell apart at the back bodes so badly for any progression into the top league. I can forgive our players for being outclassed as they were, but the number of schoolboy errors at the back was appalling. No players on the posts. Slow to react, e.g. short corners. Woeful marking. Hopeless, I'm afraid. Our Division 1 "goals against" tally tells its own story, and higher class opposition just continued where Div 1 strike forces left off. The media always drone on about our "well organised" teams, but after seeing this defensive shambles, they might have to revise that view.

Spurs' first was from a set-piece. Campbell, Ferdinand et al basically out-muscling and out-fighting our backline. They were so strong, and Iverson powered in a header from a corner. The second was a penalty, Campbell man-handling Palmer at a set-piece, spinning him round and Steve flinging up an arm (why oh why ?) which touched the ball. I can only think he was attempting to regain his balance. I actually thought the ref was giving us a free-kick, so was less than pleased with the penalty award ! The third was from another set-piece. I don't think it's possible for me to convey the awesome way that the Spurs forwards contemptuously brushed our defence aside during this period of the game. We looked like rank amateurs, and they frankly made Page and Palmer look like a couple of non-league has-beens. They also had another penalty appeal turned down (for a 'foul' on Ginola) and Iroha was booked for a rash challenge on the same man.

And yet despite our shaky performance at the back, we continued to hold our own up front. Micah cannoned a strike off the upright at 1-0, and we also hit the bar. And to keep us in the hunt, Kennedy headed home unmarked from a superb Bazeley cross from the right to make it 3-2. I'd have taken 3-2 at the break, and we still might have been in with a shout with GT's halftime elixir or whatever it is that he does. But then Micah characteristically over-elaborated while clearing up in defence, misplaced a pass which fell nicely to Neilsen outside our box and it was all over at 4-2.

Half time was spent fretting that we were heading for a defeat of cricketing proportions, and my feelings of doom weren't helped when our already overrun midfield was further weakened by the substitution of Rosenthal for Hyde before the second half had even kicked off. I shan't go on any longer about our inability to defend against quality, but suffice to say I left the ground relieved that we had conceded less than ten goals. The woeful Ruel Fox for one missed three excellent chances before finally grabbing Spurs' fifth. Much of the half was spent camped in the Watford half, the brilliant Ginola tormenting a series of Watford players who by the end couldn't even catch him to kick him let alone get the ball. He is a prodigious talent, and would be far and away my choice as the best player in the country were it not for his infuriating tendency to dive at the first sign of contact. I mean, for Chrissakes, it's not as if he even needs to gain such an advantage - he already has the ability to take the piss out of pretty much anybody.

We did have our moments in the second period, not least when Jonno hit a shot inches wide near the start of the half, but I never really felt we had it in us to turn the game. Our best chance of progressing to round four came when White Hart Lane was engulfed by a hailstorm of truly epic proportions, accompanied by lightning and thunder. The conditions were so appalling for a few minutes that the ref consulted GT and George Graham, presumably to get their views on whether the contest should continue. Our hopes were raised by a possible abandonment, but the game continued (and rightly so). All hope was finally snuffed out by Tottenham's fifth eight or nine minutes from time.

There was no shame in defeat, even by five goals. Tottenham have some truly special players - I doubt I will witness again such a fabulous display of running with the ball, superb crossing and trickery as Ginola provided. Campbell too was an absolute giant in defence, and shackled Gifton absolutely. We can take much credit that we created so much against a Premiership defence. But we must also accept that this current side will need some significant strengthening if we are to hold our own at a higher level than our current one. A superb day out and fabulous game, but also a timely reminder of our weaknesses.

What a way to go
Report by Steve Harris

Call me insane, call me disloyal if you must, but even in the face of a 5-2 reverse I for one refuse to be p*ssed off about Saturday's FA Cup exit. I live in North London these days and therefore within an hour's brisk walk of White Hart Lane. Even the fact that I was only five minutes from home afterwards when the heavens opened and I got fully drenched failed to dampen my spirits. You see...this really was one of the finest football matches I've ever seen and I will never forget it.

World class footballers (well - footballer actually), breathtaking skill, all out attack, this game had the lot. Yes, we lost; yes, defensive mistakes; yes, THEY were the better side, but I'd happily bet a few bob that we witnessed the best Spurs performance for many moons and, believe me, it needed to be. In a nutshell, Watford were superb. Spurs were better.

I would not try to deny for one minute that the right team went through to Sunday's fourth round draw, but in many ways nothing really rolled for the Golden Boys and the scoreline was more than a little harsh. After all, we've already played much worse this season and won comfortably. You could say that this what happens when a Premiership side plays a team from the Nationwide. If the former play to their potential, the latter's performance becomes irrelevant - the Premiership team are gonna win.

Our defence struggled to hold the stunning Ginola (and more of him later), Iverson and Anderton, but some of our counter-attacking was wonderful. Our second goal was the best of the game and in the first half we looked as dangerous going forward as our illustrious foe.

From the first minute we were up and at 'em and had already spent the first couple of minutes camped in the Spurs half when Ben Iroha picked the ball up on the right and headed for goal. He ghosted past several challenges before delivering a cross cum shot which came back off the cross bar to be eventually turned in after what seemed like a age, by Jonno from a couple of yards. 90% of the stadium went very quiet indeed and the remaining 10% went absolutely mental.

Shortly after that it should have been 2-0 when Watford took advantage of some sloppy play on the Spurs right and the resulting cross was thumped against the corner of crossbar and post by Micah Hyde and then cleared.

Never have the words "I bet we regret missing that!" seemed more prophetic, for ten minutes later Watrford were 3-1 down. Surprisingly for a Graham Taylor side, all were as a direct result of set pieces that, well worked or not, could and should have been avoided.

Firstly, a short corner left Gift with the job of marking two players, giving Spurs plenty of time to place a decent cross into the box . Iverson rose unchallenged and glanced the ball into the net.

Within a minute, we were behind. Spurs were awarded a debatable free kick on our right and for reasons best known to himself, Steve Palmer decided the best way to clear the already over-hit cross was to punch it out for a corner. My mate Mick said he saw a push but, sorry Mick, I didn't. The ref had no choice really other than to point spot-ward and Anderton stepped up to do the honours.

As if to prove that you need to learn quickly in this game, we then did exactly the opposite and goal number three was a repeat of the corner routine that lead to goal number one - Iversen again, this time from a Les Ferdinand lay-off.

UNBELIEVABLE! Enough incidents to fill a better than average game and still only twenty minutes on the clock. You couldn't write off any result at this stage with both sides attacking so well and so much time left, but the Hornets sure had one hell of a mountain to climb.

Play went form end to end and Jonno had a couple of long range efforts at bringing us back into the game - the first blocked, the second a yard wide. Then with half time looming, the best move of the game ended in a cross from the right and Peter Kennedy losing his marker on the far post to nod past Ian Walker.

We were in with a chance at 3-2, and if we'd made it to the break without conceding another then things may still have gone our way in the second half.

We didn't.

Much has been said lately of the rather striking resemblance between Ben Iroha and a certain Mr. Dublin who used to scare the cr*p out of us a few years back. A closer impression to the way KD used to play came after 43 minutes when Micah Hyde decided to dribble the ball out of defence, lost control and Nielson hit a first time curler away from Chamberlin and into the bottom corner.

What a cock-up! What a shot! What a half!

I can't help feeling that this one mistake was the reason Hyde failed to emerge for the second half. In his place came a rather rusty looking Rocket Ronny for an emotional return to his spiritual home (Graham Taylor, you old romantic!). Yet again we had a glimmer of a chance to get back into contention but Jonno's third (and best) long range shot of the day missed the post by a whisker with Walker stranded, and that, as they say, was that as far as the result goes.

We continued to battle manfully, but we'd lost the midfield by then and I spent the rest of the game pretty much open mouthed at the antics of a certain Frenchman.

You know, I just don't get David Ginola. I'm pretty sure I've never witnessed a more completely brilliant display of football from one man than I did on Saturday. He has far more ability than anyone has a right to have.

He would also appear to be a cheat (err...can I say that, BSaD Legal Dept?) (You just have - BSaD Legal Dept)

Can anyone explain to me why a player with his super-human skill feels he need to dive, fall over and generally challenge Lawrence Olivier's acting abilities every time an opposing defender comes within a mile radius? Someone out there should take him to one side and point out that if he stayed on his feet, he'd stroll past the aforementioned defenders anyway. It's little wonder he loses so much credibility in the "World's Best Footballer" stakes because at the end of the day, no one likes him. It defies all logic.

Substituting Smart for Wright did little except isolate GNW up front and Spurs had near total control for that last half-hour. Fox hit the post and then added a fifth before the end. The whistle blew to signal both full time and "concentrate on the league" time.

Much honour in defeat then as the Premiership got a huge taste of the entertainment that Watford games have been serving up all season. We played really well for most of this match and with the roll of the ball, I feel the result could have been a little different. In Ben Iroha we had one of the best players on the park - attacking with skill one minute, tackling with impeccable timing the next. A worrying ability to get booked aside, he looks one hell of a signing.

There was many lessons to be learned, but more from watching Watford's performance than Tottenham's. You can forget any thoughts like "how are we ever going to get players and play the ball around like that?" because we never are. Comparisons with Saturday's opposition are always going to be a waste of space because reaching and surviving in the top flight will have to based more on the Wimbledon or Leicester model (or indeed GT's old "Watford FC Mark I") than the likes of Spurs, Liverpool or Moan Utd.

As it was before, so it will be again.

See also: Spurs unofficial