king of hearts

Heart of Midlothian vs. Spurs  
Pre-season friendly .8.1990

Having been a fan of Spurs from the tender age of 11, after witnessing the miracle that was Ricky's winning goal at Wembley, it had always been a dream of mine t see them play.  Living in Dunfermline and following the Pars (that's Dunfermline Athletic for the heathens among you) every week, this is a bit of a disadvantage in this respect.  So, when I heard that hearts had arranged a friendly against London's Pride, the pulse rate rose discernibly.  Would my image of Tottenham as a classy, entertaining side be confirmed or destroyed ?

Persuading a couple of mates to join me was easy after Gazza's brilliant display in Italy and as we walked up the Gorgie Road, we found ourselves in the middle of a group of loyal Lilywhites. They were in good voice (especially under the bridges) with their Anti-Arsenal songs particularly pleasing to the ear.

The presence of Gazza, Lineker and Hearts' big summer signing Derek Ferguson was the reason for an impressive crowd of just under 20,000.  With both teams fielding their strongest sides, it was obvious from the start that the game was going to be serious and competitive, as Nayim found out when he was clattered in the opening minutes.

Almost inevitably, Gazza produced the first incident worth discussing.  He was booked, very harshly in my opinion, for dissent (i.e. for smiling and laughing) and although the referee - George Smith - is renowned for being pedantic, it looks as though the (less) fat boy will be in for similar treatment from all refs this season as his profile is higher than a bid from Juventus !!

Hearts were impressive in the first half with their World Cup pair of central defenders. McPherson and Levin (buy him Tel), looking very assured.  Nonetheless, after the Jam Tarts had taken the lead with a superb goal from Foster, Spurs were unlucky not to equalise with Stewart and Gazza squandering good chances.  Mabbutt was absolutely superb and covering for the decidedly dodgy defensive pairing of Sedgley and Howells, he needed to be.  Half time 0-1 down, but there was enough good signs to merit optimism for the coming half.

The Spurs restarted the match, in a much more positive mood, with Gascoigne taking complete control of the midfield.  Although Ferguson was playing quite well, he was not in the same class as the Geordie.  The speed of Spurs' attacks from defence, particularly stemming from Gudni, was impressive and Hearts' goalie, Henry Smith, had to make some great saves from Lineker and Stewart.  The long-awaited goal arrived when Howells, who definitely looked more comfortable in more forward positions (ooh, err !!), nodded in a Gazza free-kick.

As happens in most friendlies, the last ten minutes were a bit of a non-event, with numerous substitutions from both sides.  The match finished 1-1 and although the result was a bit disappointing, the overall performance was not.

Were Spurs potential League winners ?  With a solid defender (come back Gough), then I don't see why not.  After all, this season does end in a "one" and we have the best player in Britain (maybe the world ?) in Gazza.  He was the star of the show at Tynecastle and the fact that he left the field to a standing ovation from the same fans who were taking the mickey out of him all night shows he let no-one down.

So, was the image confirmed or destroyed ?  Confirmed beyond all doubt !!  Now, where are those train timetables to Kings Cross ... ??

A Scottish Spur

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