Once again with International boarders emerging and changing in recent years we have only met Ukrainian opposition once before in competition. However we did play in the country when it was still part of the Soviet Union and a Ukrainian has played for Spurs.
There has also been a couple of links in the international arena with one Spur scoring for England and one Spur playing at the Dnipro stadium.
Our earliest encounter came during the famous Russian tour of 1959. When we played in Kiev now Ukraine’s capital. Spurs had played in Moscow on the 27th May then moved to Kiev where they played the Dynamo club on June 1st. Before completing the trip with a game in Leningrad three days later.
The tour party found Kiev much warmer than Moscow and the team trained for three mornings at the Kruschev stadium. The pitch was dusty and bumpy and did not encourage free flowing football. The game was played in front of a 60,000 crowd. In the 21st minute Terry Medwin crossed for Johnny Brooks to fire home. The Kiev team equalised. Then with a quarter of an hour to go a flowing move involving Norman, Baker, Mackay, Clayton and Dunmore set up Brooks for the winner. The Tottenham team that day was - Reynolds, Baker, Henry, Blanchflower, Norman, Mackay, Medwin (Clayton), Harmer, Dunmore, Brooks, Cliff Jones
The only competitive encounter we have had prior to this week was in 2008-09. We met the Shakhtar Donetsk club in the Europa League. It was the same stage as this years games, the Round of 32. The first leg away was lost 0-2. Our team that night was - Gomes, Gunter, Huddlestone, Dawson, Chimbonda, Jenas, Zokora, Parrett (replaced by Bostock) Bentley, Giovani and Campbell. So from that weakened team only two survivors are still with the club as we go into this weeks tie. The tie was played before 25,500 very enthusiast fans. Harry Redknapp gave Dean Parrott his debut at the age of 17 and the bench had a very youthful look to it The team held out to the 79th minute when Yevgen Seleznyov, now with Dnipro, scored. Then at the death the home team got a second. After the game their coach said "It was a very good win but we had problems because it was difficult to get through their defence, It was a good match against a good team who were very organised.’
Spurs battled to get back into the tie and then in the 55th minute Santos gave a rare glimpse of his talent in a Spurs shirt with a lovely curling shot. The team struggled in search of a goal to put the tie level and with five minutes left the visitors scored and we were out. Harry Redknapp said "They all worked hard and gave everything, their coach said to me afterwards that he thought they were lucky to have won and they were - we should have won.”
The problem being he did not show them enough. He struggled with the physical side of the English game and his work rate seemed poor. He went on loan to Turkey and then moved to West Ham where he failed to shine, 2 goals in 32 appearances. He then returned home and later moved to Russia. After retiring he is now back at Kiev as reserve team coach and also as the assistant coach to Ukraine’s national team). Sadly he will be remembered by most Spurs fans for advising Pavlyuchenko not to sign for Spurs as the streets of Tottenham are not safe. This from someone who likes Kiev and Moscow.
At International level, There has been a Tottenham presence in every full international between England and Ukraine. From Sol Campbell in 2000, through Ledley King, Jermain Defoe, Jermaine Jenas, to Peter Crouch who scored from about 3 yards in 2009. Aaron Lennon played in that game and again when we met them later that season at the Dnipro stadium. He only lasted 15 minutes as goalkeeper Robert Green was sent off and Aaron, even though he looked England’s main threat was scarified to allow another goalie on. Since then Scott Parker and Kyle Walker have met the Ukrainians. Walker becoming the first Spur to be booked in the fixture for a clumsy tackle on the edge of his own box. Caulker and Townsend have also made the bench in these games.
It might be worth noting that that international game in Dnipro was marred by flares thrown from the crowd stopping the game a couple of times.
Thanks - UEFA, The FA, England on Line, THFC, THOS, BBC, Daily Mail, Times Images - Top & 2 - Daily Telegraph. 3- Geocities,
About the author:
Keith Harrison, Nilgiris, TN
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