Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Road to the London Senior Cup 2013/14 (Quarter-Final)

One day more, another day, another destiny. A midweek trip to Tooting to watch this Quarter-Final clash in front of less than 100 people would have normally appealed. However, a trip to watch the outstanding Les Misérables was always going to win so the QF tie was missed.

IMG_3273(Can you hear the people sing?)

Tooting’s victory over Thamesmead in the previous round saw them face Southern Counties East League side Cray Valley Paper Mills. Slap bang in midtable and 12 points behind leaders Ashford United suggested that The Terrors should comfortably make the next round. It seemed that way too on 4 minutes when Zenio Aiken-Simon fired into the roof of the net. However, having already beaten Barkingside and Welling United (who both play in leagues above them), Paper Mills came back strong and after creating many chances Laurent Hamici finally equalised for the Paper Mills on 79 minutes. No more goals came and so it was penalties, which someone has to miss and that was Tooting’s Zenio Aitken-Simon to send the mighty Cray Valley (PM) into the Semi-Finals.

maxresdefault(Tooting take the lead)

Cray Valley (PM) now await the winners of the AFC Wimbledon/Cray Wanderers vs Bromley QF. Brilliantly, this Semi-Final has been scheduled to take place on 5th March when I’m in Poland. So it’s another tie that I’m likely to miss unless it’s moved. It’s going well…


1ST ROUND: Thamesmead Town 2-2 Greenhouse London [Thamesmead win 6-5 on penalties] (Bayliss Avenue, Att: 22)

2ND ROUND: Tooting & Mitcham United 2-0 Thamesmead Town (Imperial Fields, Att: 64)

QUARTER-FINAL: Tooting & Mitcham United 1-1 Cray Valley (PM) [Cray Valley win 7-6 on penalties] (Imperial Fields, Att: 96)

Friday, 24 January 2014

Macclesfield Town vs Sheffield Wednesday (04/01/14)

Match 221

Ground #: 175

Ground: Moss Rose

Competition: FA Cup 3rd Round

Kick Off: 3pm

Cost: £10 (concession)

Programme: £3

Attendance: 5,873

Macclesfield Town 1

Williams 72’

Sheffield Wednesday 1

Johnson 25’


A final castaway to a Saturday evening, set at times that neither side’s fans could get home from. Teams playing weakened sides as they see the competition as a hindrance and going to Brackley Town and losing. (Hello Gillingham!) TV execs picking dreadful Premier League based ties that fail to take into account the romance of it all. It hasn’t been a good recent history for the FA Cup and the fear is clearly there that the competition is on its arse. The 3rd Round draw this season wasn’t the best either with very few standout ties. Step forward however, plucky Macclesfield Town who hosted struggling Championship side Sheffield Wednesday. The town got behind it too – with the game a sell out and thanks to Macc Phil (who I’d seen the Macc attack with at Wimbledon, Bradford and Barnet) we’d be there. The magic of the FA Cup.


Macclesfield is a market town within the unitary authority of Cheshire East, and the county of Cheshire. The Domesday Book records the town as "Maclesfeld" and in 1183 it was referred to as "Makeslesfeld”. The English Place-Name Society gives its name as being derived from the Old English name, Maccel and field meaning `Maccels' open country'. Macclesfield was granted a borough charter by Earl Ranulf III of Chester, in the early 13th century and was the administrative centre of the Hundred of Macclesfield, which occupied most of east Cheshire. In the uprising of 1645, Charles Stuart and his army marched through Macclesfield as they attempted to reach London. The mayor was forced to welcome the prince, and the event is commemorated in one of the town's silk tapestries. Macclesfield was famously once the world's biggest producer of finished silk with 71 silk mills operating in 1832. Macclesfield is the original home of Hovis breadmakers, produced in Publicity Works Mill (commonly referred to as "the Hovis Mill"). It was founded by a Macclesfield businessman and a baker from Stoke-on-Trent. Hovis is said to derive from the Latin "homo-vitalis" (strength for man) as a way of providing a cheap and nutritious food for poor mill workers.


Macclesfield Town (now referred to as the Macc Attack for the rest of this post) were first formed in 1874 and started out playing rugby union rules. (Some clubs would argue they still play by these rules today…) They played under a combination of names until football resumed after World War 2 when Macclesfield Town FC Ltd were created and the Macc Attack were truly born. The club joined the Cheshire County League and saw their first real successes in the early 50s and 60s, which saw league titles and reaching the FA Cup 3rd Round for the first time in 1968. The club were also founding members of the Northern Premier League (along with currently FL sides Wigan, Morecambe and Fleetwood) and won the competition in the first two seasons. Despite the excellent early start, the Macc Attack were relegated in 1980 when the stronger teams in the Northern Premier League founded part of the Alliance Premier League (or the Conference). It took Macc a while to get up to this level, but they rebuilt and achieved this in 1987.


Again, Macc Attack started off well in their new surroundings but started to struggle and so Sammy McIlroy was brought in as manager. McIlroy changed the club for the better as a positive approach was taken and they won the Conference title in 1995 but could not take promotion due to Moss Rose having too few seats. They won the title again in 1997 and could finally take their place in the Football League after work had been done on Moss Rose. McIlroy kept them going and Macc Attack were runners up in Division 3 so gain a 2nd successive promotion. This was as good as it got however as Macc started on a downward trend and after Ince nearly took them down back to the Conference (sound familiar?), years of fighting against the drop could not be avoided in 2011/12 as Macc returned to the Conference.


Moss Rose is a ground that is clearly under the “old-school” category for the Conference. Being Macclesfield’s home since 1891, the ground is dominated by the large Main Stand which reeks of being from a bygone era, but actually only dates from 1968. With no supporting pillars in the way of it, views from the Main Stand are excellent with terracing around and under it. Opposite the Main Stand is the more modern Henshaw’s Stand from 2001. An all seater stand that also has the hospitality areas at the back to give the ground a more modern look. Behind the first goal is a strange seated and terrace combo of the Star Lane End. The seating actually in front of the terracing as it was added on later to ensure the Macc Attack complied with Football League rules. Finally, just to add to the old school feel of the ground was the uncovered, large terrace behind the goal.


The Macc Attack had a cup run last season that was only ended with a narrow defeat to the eventual winners Wigan. The board used the money and the last remaining pennies to try and push towards promotion but it didn’t happen. Giving ex boss Andy King too much money for no return means the club are now suffering financially with the board desperate for extra investment. Despite a slow start, September saw them start a run (including a win at Barnet) and Macc were now making a play-off charge in 11th place. This season’s cup run had been kind, all home games with Vauxhall Motors battered (7-0), Swindon battered (4-0) and Brackley Town just scraped past (3-2) to set them up nicely for this. Wednesday were good opponents. Having a dreadful time in the Championship, they were hovering just outside the drop zone and with a caretaker boss in charge since the sacking of Dave Jones. This was going to be a proper cup tie.


With the grey skies (when is a classic cup game played in the baking sun!?) threatening rain, Wednesday made some of the early running before the Macc got right into it. Possibly not liking the up and at them approach, Macclesfield were unlucky not to take an early lead when Joe Connor’s header was cleared off the line. Macc were pushing forward when they stupidly got done on the counter. From their own corner, Macc tried a training ground move that within 10 seconds had allowed Wednesday to win a contentious corner. Big Reda Johnson was unmarked from the cross and powered a header past Rhys Taylor for a 25th minute lead. Macc Attack were rocked and Wednesday were unlucky not to be 2 up before HT as Taylor made an outstanding save from Jose Semedo. Wednesday did not look impressive and so everyone knew Macc had a chance in the 2nd half if they went for it.


Macc really did go for it! Winning more and more possession, they began pushing Wednesday back and creating more chances. Firstly, Chris Holroyd had a header from a corner cleared off the line with Wednesday keeper Damián Martinez beaten again. Scott Boden was then put through in the clear but Miguel Llera managed to track back and stop the chance before he could get his shot away. A frantic half saw Macc keeper Taylor make another fine save from a Jeremy Helan strike before Martinez did even better to keep out Danny Whitaker’s half volley. The pressure Macc had put on a team 3 leagues above them had been a fine effort and they were finally rewarded on 72 minutes when Steve Willilams stuck out a leg to divert a long ball in. Moss Rose was bouncing at that equalizer as Macc really really went for it! Neither keeper was particularly tested in the final 20 minutes though as a replay was required. (And probably the right scoreline on the day)


The replay at Hillsborough earnt Macc a fine pay day in their quest to close the financial hole they have and an away crowd of around 1,500 also boosted this. In the end, Wednesday did have too much for them but not without a scare as Scott Boden’s penalty cancelled out Chris Maguire’s opener. Scott Kay then had a glorious chance to put Macc in front but his shot struck the bar before late goals from Jacques Maghoma, Jermaine Johnson and Miguel Llera put Wednesday through to Round 4. A mightily brave effort over 180 minutes from the Macc Attack though.


Wednesday’s “reward” for this win was an away tie at Rochdale. A difficult and unglamorous game is probably not what they would have wanted. It is a winnable tie for them however and with Wednesday still in top form with a hammering over Leeds (6-0) and a credible draw at Burnley (1-1), a Round 5 tie likely awaits them. Macc have also been boosted by the tie and packed house at Moss Rose. Financial difficulties still await them but with form ok and the club just outside the play-off race, the next few months will be very interesting for Macc. While the occasions are rare, the FA Cup still means a lot to enough people to show it still has a place in today’s game. Just remember that when you next watch a dull TV FA Cup tie, it still matters. It did to the 5,873 fans for this game.

Photos from Macclesfield Town vs Sheffield Wednesday


Match Ratings:

- Match: 7/10 (just lived up to expectations)

- Value for money: 7/10 (good work by Macc for this)

- Ground: 6.5/10 (looks tired in places, but still a great place to go)

- Atmosphere: 7/10 (full house and was rocking)

- Food: N/A – didn’t eat at the ground, lengthy queues anyway

- Programme: 6/10 (good amount of material for a Skrill League programme)

- Referee: Lee Mason – 5/10 (just got a lot wrong)

MT vs SW prog

MT vs SW stub

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Edinburgh United vs Harthill Royal (28/12/13)

Match 220

Ground #: 174

Ground: Paties Road Stadium

Competition: East Region Juniors South Division

Kick Off: 1:30pm

Cost: £4

Programme: None

Attendance: 23 (h/c)

Edinburgh United 7

Gordon (pen) 5’, Mitchell 14’, 16’, McMillan 57’, 70’, 75’, Robertson (O.G) 86’

Harthill Royal 0


Another Christmas and another week in Scotland allowed me to have a fairly vast choice of games for the festive period. Having put myself through 90 minutes of shite at Tynecastle on Boxing Day, the next Saturday it was back down to grassroots level. With the weather trying to recreate some sort of Atlantis style island on the UK, a list of 12 games were created and then the worst game of weather bingo was played on the Saturday morning. With choice #1 at Benburb falling early on, Edinburgh United were lucky #2 as their clash against Harthill Royal went ahead.

IMG_3196(Shit pitch bingo)

Edinburgh United plays in the Colinton area of Edinburgh which is situated in the south-west of the city. Originally sited within a steep-sided glen on a convenient fording point on the Water of Leith, Colinton's history dates back to before the 11th century. The nearby 15th century Colinton Castle was destroyed by Oliver Cromwell during his invasion of Scotland. Following repair, the castle was subsequently partially demolished by the artist Alexander Nasmyth in order to create a picturesque ruin. Other notable figures with connections to Colinton include: Robert Louis Stevenson who spent the summers of his childhood at the manse when his grandfather was the village's Parish Minister and the philanthropist James Gillespie. Between 1909 and 1915, the War Office constructed Redford Barracks to the east of the village. The barracks represent the largest military installation built in Scotland since Fort George in the Highlands although they are now earmarked for disposal as part of the defence spending review. The village was the location for numerous mills producing textiles, snuff, and paper and it is thought that the first banknotes produced by the Bank of Scotland were printed on paper manufactured in Colinton.


Now that The Spartans have withdrawn their Junior team into the East of Scotland League, Edinburgh United are the only side in Edinburgh now to play in the Junior Leagues. Formed in 1985, from a group of players at North Merchiston Juveniles, United won the East Region Division Two in their first season but with only a few hardcore spectators, have struggled to push on. Instead, spending most of their time in the lower divisions of the East Juniors. They finished last season in 15th place but the small reshuffle in the East Region last season seems to have galvanised United and they went into this game in 2nd place.


With a brilliant 7 away wins from 7 in the league so far, they were only 3 points behind leaders Dundonald Bluebell. Dundonald had won 2-0 at United in September, with the crunch return game to come later in 2014. For this game however, they welcomed a team who were struggling as Harthill Royal came to Paties Road. With only 3 points all season, they were clearly bottom of the league and a huge 7 points behind 13th place Rosyth. Harthill were rumoured at the end of last season to be thinking of taking an absence just to sort themselves out on and off the pitch (much like Bankfoot Athletic in the North Division), but they persevered and stuck at it.


A short(ish) walk from Slateford station, Paties Road Stadium is a decent venue for this level, settled very much in suburban Edinburgh. A large covered stand with seating benches straddles one side of the pitch and provides much needed cover for when the weather (like for this game) is absolutely perishing. The rest of the ground is grass standing with no old school grass banks such as those at Linlithgow. A simple enough venue, but set in the pleasant place that it is, Paties Road is somewhere that I would be happy to visit again, especially in the summer. (It was far too cold to head away from the stand and round to take pictures of the stand from the far side!)


For a team that has conceded 46 goals already this season, Harthill needed to keep it tight early on and try to hit United on the counter attack. This plan lasted just 5 minutes as a mazy run from Kayne Paterson saw him brought down in the area and Chris Gordon easily dispatched it past Davie McGuiness. From then on, Harthill showed why they were bottom of the league as United cut them open at will. It didn’t take long for United to add more goals as Kenny McMillan romped down the left on 14 minutes and his cross was spilled by McGuiness to allow Kris Mitchell in for an easy finish. Harthill then from that kick-off laughably gave the ball away which allowed Mitchell to again score from a McMillan cross. 16 minutes and it was already 3-0, oh dear. Amazingly, Harthill managed to survive until HT conceding no more goals but this might have been more down to United relaxing than the Royal getting better.


To be fair to the Royal, they must have received some bollocking at HT because they looked a much more determined outfit at the beginning of the half. They even had a few half chances to give the United defence something to think about, especially United goalie Ross Combe who must have been perishing after not needing to do anything for the first 45 minutes. Harthill then had all their work undone on 57 minutes as a simple long ball forward completely took out their defence. This allowed McMillan to get forward and fire home for #4. With the game now quite open as Edinburgh looked to boost their goal difference, they added another 3 goals before full-time. McMillan completed his hat-trick with two close range finishes, the 2nd being a header while stooped on the floor. The final goal scored right at the death sadly epitomised Harthill’s performance. A low driven cross was diverted in by Colin Robertson as no danger looked on. United declaring at 7.


United have kept up their surprise form so far this season as the games after this one has seen them beat Dunbar United 6-3 before another away win, this time at Haddington Athletic. This continued good form along with Dundonald Bluebell seemingly losing some bottle means United currently sit in the nose bleeding position at the top of the pile. Harthill’s next game saw them grab a famous point with a 2-2 draw against Lochgelly Albert to leave them now only 9 points behind Rosyth. A return visit in the summer to Paties Road Stadium is a must, mainly to enjoy the far side and hopefully a tighter game! It was good to see another new ground up in Scotland, but it was far too cold to really enjoy it as the bovril was nearly spilt through shivering! An extremely cold way to end watching football in 2013.

Photos from Edinburgh United vs Harthill Royal


Match Ratings:

- Match: 4/10 (too onesided and far too cold)

- Value for money: 7/10 (fair amount for Junior football)

- Ground: 5/10 (basic, but scenic ground)

- Atmosphere: 3/10 (the Harthill ultras tried their best to encourage their team)

- Food: 6/10 (good pie)

- Programme: N/A – did issue earlier in season but a fall-out in the committee stopped it

- Referee: Paul Crosbie – 7/10 (don’t think he had much to do)

Monday, 6 January 2014

Tottenham Hotspur vs Anzhi Makhachkala (12/12/13)

Match 218

Ground #: 173

Ground: White Hart Lane

Competition: Europa League Group Stage

Kick Off: 8:05pm

Cost: £20

Programme: £3.50

Attendance: 23,101

Tottenham Hotspur 4

Soldado 7’, 16’, (pen) 70’, Holtby 54’

Anzhi Makhachkala 1

Ewerton 44’


Despite living in London now for over 2 years, there was still one professional ground that I had still not managed to get to. It was strange too, my best friend at uni supports Spurs, my housemate supports Spurs and my girlfriend’s Dad supports Spurs. All roads lead to White Hart Lane it seems! The time had come then to finally get there.


Tottenham is an area of North London in the London Borough of Haringey, England, situated 8.2 miles north east of Charing Cross. Tottenham is believed to have been named after Tota, a farmer, whose hamlet was mentioned in the Domesday Book; as Toteham. When the Domesday Book was compiled in 1086, about 70 families lived within the area of the manor, mostly labourers working for the Lord of the Manor. A humorous poem entitled the Tournament of Tottenham, written around 1400, describes a mock-battle between peasants vying for the reeve’s daughter. From the Tudor period onwards, Tottenham became a popular recreation and leisure destination for wealthy Londoners. Henry VIII is known to have visited Bruce Castle and also hunted in Tottenham Wood. While it was a semi-rural and upper middle class area until the 1870s, today the area has been fully absorbed into London (helped by the various transport links that run through the area). They also love a good riot in Tottenham, with the deaths of Cynthia Jarrett and Mark Duggan in 1985 and 2011 being the cause of some serious disturbances between the population and Met Police.


Tottenham Hotspur’s history is far too much to write in just a single paragraph or section, but I got Billy Radstock to pen a few words to try and explain the Spurs:

Tottenham Hotspur – a love excelling

Tottenham Hotspur Football Club is situated in North London, an area it shares with Arsenal Football Club. The latter re-located from Woolwich, in South London, in the first part of the 20th century and was elected to the First Division in 1919, on the resumption of football after World War 1, and at the expense of Tottenham. Not surprisingly this injustice was resented by all Spurs fans and is still something of a sore point to this day. Arsenal fans may quibble about the exact boundaries of London, and whether Tottenham was actually in Middlesex rather than London, but common sense and natural justice will tell any normal person that Spurs are the genuine North London article and Arsenal a bunch of South London interlopers.

Tottenham are the only football league team to be named after a Shakespearean character (Harry Hotspur), the only non-league team to win the FA Cup (in 1901), and the first British team to win a European trophy (The Cup Winners Cup in 1963).


Tottenham’s teams have become associated with free flowing attacking football, this stemming from Arthur Rowe’s ‘push and run’ team of the 1950s and Bill Nicholson’s double winning side of 1961. To this day Spurs managers are judged against this criteria; the team has to play with some style. Most Spurs fans would rather not win the Premiership if it meant we had to play boring defensive football that no-one would like or remember. In this context the ultimate Spurs hero would either be the prolific drinker, smoker and goal scorer Jimmy Greaves, or the mercurial Scottish ball player Alfie Conn, who lit up a dark time for Spurs fans when we were relegated in the 1970s, although the magnificent lion hearted Dave Mackay has some claim to be rated the greatest of them all.

Tottenham’s home ground, White Hart Lane, is famously difficult to get to and away from, and now has a reduced capacity of 36,000. Plans are afoot to build a new stadium nearby. Visitors to the stadium can alight at the nearest tube station, Seven Sisters, and walk along the attractive continental boulevard known as Tottenham High Road. Tottenham fans enjoy this promenade greatly, particularly on winter days when it is cold and raining.

Spurs last won the league championship in 1961 and will probably never win it again, as Chelski and Man City hoover up all the quality players, but we don’t really care. We want to see some decent football, played in the Tottenham way, with a bit of success occasionally, perhaps in the Champions League. Not much to ask really...”


White Hart Lane is a short distance (ish) away from their pals Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium but could not be more different. White Hart Lane being the old school ground that despite being modernised several times, still retains that character that is massively missing from the red bowl up the road. 3 of the 4 stands have undergone major refurbishment since the 1980’s which has also included the introduction of two “Jumbotron” video screens above either goal. We were situated in the West Stand which was apparently “the prawn sandwich brigade” section according to a season ticket holder. With some decent views over the pitch, the compact nature of White Hart Lane means this was an excellent ground to finish the London Professional scene on. (Until someone gets a new ground! Or the Olympic Stadium…)


While many clubs started this season with a period of transition, you feel in the Premier League at least, none were in more than Spurs. After the World Record sale of Gareth “likes a dive” Bale (I’m not letting that disgraceful 15 minutes from him in Cardiff 2012 ever go) for a ridiculous amount, boss AVB decided to star in a real life Football Manager game. In came Paulinho, Nacer Chadli, Roberto Soldado, Étienne Capoue, Vlad Chiricheș, Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela for the nice sum of £105m. With a completely new team comes some time to adjust and while the early form saw Spurs challenging for the title, defeats to West Ham, Newcastle and a complete embarrassment at Man City means AVB is a man under pressure. They were 6th in the league in this game, but these new signings weren’t meant to achieve that, they had to be much higher.


Another piece in Spurs’ current state of transition is the announcement (and seemingly the start of the construction too as I walked past it) of their new ground right next door to White Hart Lane. While the Lane has been home to Spurs since 1899, its current capacity of 36,240 means it is smaller than many of their rivals and could see them missing out on potential revenue. While they lost the right to move to the Olympic Stadium (do West Ham really need a 60,000 stadium? Really!?) they have proceeded with a project called the Northumberland Development Project which should see Spurs move into a new 56,250 capacity ground in 2016.

NDP_Night(That looks remarkably like The Emirates Stadium…)

While AVB was under some pressure in the league, this game against the Russian Premier League side should have provided some respite with Spurs having already secured top spot in the group and their opponents Anzhi Makhachkala bagging 2nd. Spurs were one of only 2 teams in the Europa League Group Stage (as well as Red Bull Salzburg) that were going into this game with a 100% record so far. With the easiest group in the competition, Spurs were expected to cruise through and having already done the double over Sheriff Tiraspol and Tromsø, only Anzhi now could deny Spurs the 100%. It would be tough for the Russians as Anzhi’s days of mass spending have long finished with owner Suleyman Kerimov no longer wanting to heavily finance the team. With big names such as Samuel Eto'o, Willian, Lassana Diarra and Christopher Samba sold on, Anzhi are struggling in the league and currently sit in bottom place. With no wins to their name and 5 points away from safety, they need a big 2014 in the league to pull themselves out of this one with 11 games to go.


While Spurs may have expected a coast in the park, Anzhi came out and showed they could cause problems up front. In fact, Spurs had their defence to thank for getting back and covering Ilya Maksimov before he could get his shot away when through on goal. While up front, Anzhi looked ok, defensively they were hopeless and when Andros Townsend was brought down, the resulting free kick was whipped in and met by Soldado who gave Spurs the lead after just 7 minutes. Spurs could relax now, play some nice football and try to reduce the pressure on AVB for the upcoming Liverpool game to be played that Sunday. This nice football was too much for Anzhi as a slick passing move just 6 minutes later saw Lamela play Soldado in again and he found the bottom corner to make it 2-0. If any of the crowd still thought Anzhi had a chance in the game after the 2nd goal, that should have gone on 40 minutes when Townsend was through on goal, but his shot was lifted over Yevgeny Pomazan and wide of the goal. Spurs under AVB however, have had a habit of conceding daft goals and did the same right on HT when an Anzhi corner seemed to hit Brazilian defender Ewerton and go in. Game back on then!


Anzhi started the 2nd half well causing Spurs more problems at the back and winning a series of corners. With nothing to show from them however, Spurs effectively killed the game off on 51 minutes with a piece of class. Having not properly cleared a corner, despite having about 3 attempts to do so, Anzhi saw the ball played back in by Townsend where Lewis Holtby controlled the ball perfectly before lifting it past the keeper with his other foot. Brilliant. Anzhi were going to struggle to score once again, never mind twice and when Jucilei stupidly brought down Ryan Fredericks in the penalty area, Soldado stepped up to complete his hattrick and make it 4-1. With the hattrick hero brought off, the game slowed right down for the final 20 minutes as everyone knew it was up. Anzhi did force a couple of decent saves from Friedel, but never really looked like getting back into it as they suffered their largest ever European defeat. Spurs, along with Salzburg (who beat Danish side Esbjerg) maintained their 100% record for the group and things looked good for AVB!

AVB sacked

Well actually, it got sour, rather quickly. A 5-0 defeat to a team inspired by that racist was the final straw for Chairman Daniel Levy as AVB was punted. This has caused mass debate in the (normally useless) football media as the journalists try to decide what just went wrong for a manager who now will surely struggle to get a top job in this country again. Coach Tim Sherwood took charge for their next two games and his decision to play attacking football seems to have paid off as he has been bizarrely given the job until the end of 2014/15, despite some top names being linked with the job. His first objective will be to try and get in the slipstream that Man Utd have created on their way back up the league to join the fight for the title and European spots.

Dnipro Arena(Dnipro Arena – Spurs next leg on their Europa League journey)

Spurs reward for their Group K win was a Round of Last 32 tie against Ukrainian side Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk. Despite me being certain they had, Spurs have never played them and so a trip to the Dnipro Arena awaits them in February. For Anzhi, I said at the game whoever they drew would knock them out and so that falls to Belgian club Racing Genk. Spurs should they get through that tie with Dnipro (they should) will face the winners of PAOK or Benfica as they go for the Champions League qualification spot that winning this tournament brings. Considering how many people I could go to White Hart Lane with, I’ll be back there, probably many times before Spurs move across the road. A ground with good views, good atmosphere and occasionally sexy football (strikingly similar to watching Hearts actually), its worth the visit.

Photos from Tottenham Hotspur vs Anzhi Makhachkala


Match Ratings:

- Match: 7/10 (reasonably decent for neutral)

- Value for money: 7/10 (nice of Spurs to reduce the prices)

- Ground: 7/10 (excellent ground)

- Atmosphere: 6/10 (good noise from a small block of Spurs fan)

- Food: 5.5/10 (pies that break apart are not pies, sort it Spurs)

- Programme: 6.5/10 (was ok, but crossing that £3 mark for a programme is a no)

- Referee: Stefan Johannesson – 7.5/10 (was good and even consulted the mysterious penalty box official for the penalty)

Spurs vs Anzhi prog

Spurs vs Anzhi stub