A long history of Spurs superiority

02 April 2017 07:48

Down the years, Burnley games against Tottenham Hotspur have held for me, a special sort of resonance. 

My father would recount to me tales of the early sixties, when the two creative genius’ from the Emerald Isle, Burnley’s Jimmy McIlroy and Tottenham's Danny Blanchflower were each at the helm of the finest two clubs in the land, eliciting a rivalry which would culminate in the 1962 FA Cup final.

To continue the game of soccer nostalgia, simply fast forward to 1978. Glen Hoddle’s polished artistry, shackled by the industry and endeavour of Claret icons' ginger clad, Billy Ingham and the balding Peter Noble. Then move on to a famous League Cup Quarter Final in 1983.

Burnley and Northern Ireland's Billy Hamilton rampaging through the heart of the Spurs defence to lead the Clarets to one of the most jaw-dropping 4-1 away victories in their history, achieved after manager Brian Miller had been sacked earlier in the day.

To the League Cup again in 2009, this time the Semi-Final. Burnley overturning a 4-1 first leg deficit at Turf Moor, only seconds away from making it to Wembley, just to be cruelly denied in the final throes of extra time.

Jermain Defoe rendered ineligible for the first leg, was somehow allowed to play and score in the second leg. Can someone even now, please explain that one to me? 

And whilst you are going about that, perhaps you can also shed light on the League Cup’s uniquely bizarre application of the away goals rule?

Yesterday’s match between the two clubs was a decent enough game without ever scaling the heights of those previous encounters. Tottenham it is fair to say, did a thoroughly clinical and professional job in shutting down the match as a contest once Eric Dier had given them the lead.

Burnley’s attempts at mounting pressure broke like the tide washing up on the shore of Spurs’ unyielding defence, whilst Christian Eriksen, the new heir apparent to Blanchflower and Hoddle, dominated the midfield with poise and alacrity.

Worryingly, Burnley lacked both ideas and cohesion, their cause hindered further by an uncharacteristic rash of unforced errors. These factors can be assumed to be the manifestation of the dent in the teams’ confidence brought about by their recent run of results.

Burnley striker Andre Gray, ostensibly the attention of the Spurs' manager Pochettino's transfer target ardour was largely anonymous. The Tottenham goal was not seriously tested in a long afternoon for the Turf Moor faithful.

Tottenham on the other hand, were enthusiastically supported by their large army of travelling fans, seemingly hell bent on helping their team close the gap on their nearest rivals Chelsea, in what has become a two horse race for the Premier League title.  

Once lost, confidence can be hard to find and Burnley are running out of time in which to rediscover it. It’s always to be found in the last place you had it, and the last place for Burnley to look was on the 31st January, 2017 at home against Leicester City.

Burnley need to recall what they were doing back then that was so successful, the collective spirit, the tenacity and the sheer force of will that propelled them to the victories, achieved in those far off winter days and weeks.

Surely, this must involve harnessing the millions of pounds worth of creative talent, left for too long on the bench yesterday. By the time Brady and Defour were introduced, the game was already lost. 

Unlike many fans on social media, in bars, at work and occupying seats close to me at Turf Moor, I have always been reluctant to question Sean Dyche’s tactics and selections. I believe that he has more than earned that consideration but I would humbly suggest that he got it badly wrong yesterday.

As the teams below Burnley continue to pick up points and reel the Clarets into their relegation struggle, the need to stave them off by picking up the points still required, becomes more pressing with each passing game. 

Burnley’s slipping grip on the cliff-face of the Premier League is becoming increasingly tenuous as the summit comes into sight. The crampons need hammering in and the harness securing, and soon. Three points at home to Stoke City on Tuesday have now become a necessity rather than a hopeful whim.

This article was written by long suffering Burnley fan, Dave Thornley. Dave's opinion is entirely his own and does not necessarily reflect the views of Clarets Mad, of which Dave is a regular contributor. (TEC).

Source: DSG


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