London Bus Syndrome a real pleasure for Spurs

Last updated : 12 January 2004 By Nico Claesen
You wait ages for a bus, and what happens, three arrive in a row. Being a Spurs fan has been like that in the last month or so, waiting, just waiting, as impatiently as one waits for a bus, for a win from somwehere. A defeat at St. James' Park was followed by defeats by Middlesbrough in the Carling Cup and Manchester United in the league at White Hart Lane. The victory was hoped to have turned up at Fratton Park but Portsmouth won 2-0 so the game at home to Charlton was due to see its arrival. It didn't and the South Londoners (aptly sponsored by RedBus last season) took the spoils. So, when Crystal Palace came to White Hart Lane in the FA Cup on the first Saturday of 2004, it finally arrived and although coming against a side struggling in the First Division, was most welcome.

As well as being the first win for five games, it was also the first clean sheet, or 'shut-out' that Kasey Keller and his defence had kept since the 1-0 victory over West Ham United on October 29 (a total of 11 games). The way Spurs approached the game also allowed Stephane Dalmat to get on the ball on numerous occasions which increased his own confidence in himself and both the players and fans in him too. Dalmat also dazzled four days later in the 4-1 drubbing of Birmingham, where Keller would have had consecutive clean sheets were it not for Barry Knight's ludicrous decision to award the Blues a penalty with twenty minutes remaining. To many people's surprise, Gary Doherty was immense in that game, as he was in Saturday's crucial and hard fought win at Elland Road. The sides third win in a row, and first Premiership clean sheet since the 3-0 win over Everton on October 4th was full of a confidence that has been so obviuosly lacking in recent weeks. Spurs defended and attacked with equal confidence and the return of Simon Davies coupled with the form of Dalmat have allowed for swift breaks and an increase in the energy levels on the field, and hopefully, just hopefully this can continue.