Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Jonathan Wilson: Spurs have yet to win over skepticism about title credentials

White Hart Lane, a raw February night in 2004, Tottenham against Manchester City in the fourth round of the FA Cup. Kevin Keegan's job as City manager entering the game was under threat. When Spurs took a 3-0 first-half lead and Joey Barton was sent off for dissent after confronting the referee as the players walked off at halftime, Keegan himself admitted he was looking for the number of the nearest Job Center. 3-0 up with a man advantage? It takes a special kind of ineptness to blow it: a blend of brittleness, complacency and comedy haplessness that was the preserve of only two teams in the country. Spurs were one of them (City, oddly, is the other). Sylvain Distin pulled one back for City three minutes into the second half, and the script from them until Jon Macken's 90th-minute winner was inevitable.

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