Graham Poll: I was scarred by Chelsea aggro but Spurs were brilliant!

11 December 2010 12:38
From 1990, Chelsea went 16 years without losing a league game to Tottenham, their dominance so pronounced that Chelsea fans knew Spurs' ground as 'Three-Point Lane'.

Then, on Bonfire Night 2006, everything changed. Jose Mourinho's Chelsea were beaten 2-1 at White Hart Lane and captain John Terry was sent off by Graham Poll.

Ugly scenes: Sportsmail's Graham Poll was the man in the middle when it turned nasty at White Hart Lane in 2006 after John Terry was sent off

Terry's dismissal sparked a furious reaction from Mourinho and his players, who launched a campaign to discredit the referee.

Sportsmail columnist Poll explains how the FA's failure to defend him was a major factor in his decision to quit refereeing at the end of that season. Chelsea had drawn a controversial Champions League game at Barcelona a few days earlier and arrived at Tottenham in a bad mood.

 It was obvious in the early stages of the game that Jose had been up to his tricks and that his players were going to be difficult to control.

I sent off John Terry for two yellow cards, the second when he hauled down Ledley King. Terry came to see me immediately after the game, the first time in my career any player had done that.

Tipping point: Aaron Lennon scoresthe winner for Spurs, to give them ahome victory over Chelsea at last

He seemed happy to accept my explanation of the two yellow cards. But the day after the game Ashley Cole accused me of having told Chelsea's players I wanted to 'teach them a lesson' and Terry said I had said one thing to him on the pitch and another in the dressing room after the game.

These two claims were as damaging as they were ridiculous but Brian Barwick (then FA chief executive) and the FA failed to stand up for me and, by extension, failed to stand up for the integrity of referees up and down the country.

Angry words: Terry unceremoniously blasted Poll before his dismissal at White Hart Lane

A fortnight later Chelsea withdrew all of their allegations against me and Terry was fined £10,000 for what he had claimed. But I was still dismayed at the way the FA had reacted and that dismay contributed to my decision to retire.

The sad thing is that the whole furore overshadowed what was a magnificent performance by Tottenham.

Pointing the finger: Ashley Cole also held a cross exchange with Poll

PS Since that victory, Spurs have not lost a league game to Chelsea at White Hart Lane:2007-08:Tottenham 4 Chelsea 42008-09:Tottenham 1 Chelsea 02009-10:Tottenham 2 Chelsea 1

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Source: Daily_Mail