Thursday, 12 September 2013

Don't underestimate Spurs legend Chris Hughton

Spurs fans always have time for club legend Chris Hughton but we could soon be sick of the sight of him.

We host his Norwich side on Saturday afternoon hoping that our old player and coach does not continue his good run of form against us. 

Hughton was unbeaten over three meetings last season and the pressure is rising for Andre Villas-Boas to break that trend this weekend.

Just three games in, Norwich at home is billed as "a must-win game". As if, somehow, any dropped points could cause the club to ditch the new stadium plans, flog off the assets and call it a day.

True, if we want to be competing for a top-three spot then it is the sort of game we should he winning. 

But presuming we're entitled to three points does a massive disservice to the plucky Canaries, and Tottenham favourite Hughton.

As left-back, coach and No 2, Hughton gave us 27 years of dedicated service.

He played 398 games for us between 1979 and 1990, winning the FA Cup in 1981 and 1982 as well as the UEFA Cup in 1984.

Hughton served under ten different Spurs bosses including Ossie Ardiles, George Graham, Glenn Hoddle and Martin Jol.

It was only right that, having more than overpaid his dues, he tried his hand at full-time management.

Arriving at Norwich last summer following stints with Newcastle and Birmingham, Hughton took the club to an 11th-placed Premier League finish.

His Canaries side twice held us to 1-1 draws in the league and knocked us out the Capital One Cup. 

On the face of it, that's not a good return for a "must-win" game but when you look at some of Hughton's other results it brings some perspective.

He masterminded 1-0 wins over Arsenal and Manchester United and ended last season with a 4-0 Carrow Road win over West Brom and a 3-2 away victory at Manchester City.

Hughton has worked with polar opposite styles and temperaments. He has seen good and bad, successes and failures, kings of men and lords of idiots.

With this melting pot of experience it should come as no surprise that he can mix it in management, or that he has the tactical know how to flick between gameplans. 

Norwich are just as capable of hammering a team out of sight as they are of grinding out a result against top opposition.

In fact, at 54 years old, it would be little surprise if Hughton went on to become one of the top flight's star gaffers in the coming years.

As for Spurs, we're hardly in a bullish mood having used up all our bull in a frustrating 1-0 loss at Arsenal - where the usual pre-match guff talked us all into believing we had won the game before kick-off.

With the international break in the way our raft of new players have hardly had a chance to settle let alone gel together.

We all feel like a win would set our season back on track after a rowdy transfer window. But this Norwich side will be no pushover.

Hughton will always be welcome at White Hart Lane, we would just prefer it wasn't in the away dugout.

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