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Book Review - The Team That Dared To Do - Tottenham 1994/95

Monday 29th January 2018

For Tottenham supporters, the cliché ‘rollercoaster ride’ has never been so appropriate, as it was to describe the 1994/95 season. A magical team who, when it clicked, producing some scintillating performances but when it didn’t they were a club in crisis.

The manager at the time, Gerry Francis with journalist and Spurs fan, Chris Slegg re-live that short but amazing time in the club’s glorious history. Revisiting the ultimate in rollercoaster rides, they take us inside ‘the team that dared to do.’

Title: The Team That Dared To Do – Tottenham 1994/95

Author: Gerry Francis and Chris Slegg

Publisher: Pitch Publishing

Date Published: 2017

Price: £16.99

Tottenham’s journey in 1994/95 is a tale of contrasting fortunes, beginning in the depths of despair after FA punishment resulted in an FA Cup ban and a point’s deduction for a team already fearing a relegation battle.

And then came Klinsmania.

It was the scope of the century. Jurgen Klinsmann, world cup winner, the biggest name in world football joining Spurs. Along with Romania superstars Dumitrescu and Popescu, Spurs were suddenly the Premier Leagues star attraction. The team everybody wanted to see. Setting the trend for top foreign talent arriving on our shores.

The anticipation and excitement that surrounded Spurs and the infamous ‘famous 5’ is superbly captured by Slegg. With contributions from those in the squad and detailed match reports the book brings to life the energy, the fantasy football, and the high scoring games that were to dominate Spurs 94/95.

The dive celebration performed by Klinsmann and his teammates after his debut goal at Sheffield Wednesday is still one the of the Premier Leagues enduring images.

All good stories need a twist and Spurs would provide this. From sensational Spurs to Shambolic Spurs. From footballing perfection at Portman Road to league cup disaster at Notts County.

Ossie Ardiles club exit is comprehensively covered as is Gerry Francis arrival. Gerry’s diary entries as he resuscitates Tottenham, along with the player’s thoughts help make ‘The team that dared do’ an excellent read, providing depth, insight and very real memories of that team and that season.

We get a first-hand account of the life of a Premier League manager. The ins and outs of the job, the tactics, the man management and the transition from one regime to the other.

The team that dared to dream – defining moments were to come in that season’s FA Cup. The cup was still a big deal back then and Spurs oozed FA Cup tradition. The cup brought incredible games at Southampton and Liverpool. Then semi-final defeat to Everton against a backdrop of conspiracy that would epitomise that team and that season.

Written in diary format which combines player’s memories, match reports and reflections make for an easy and pleasing read. You feel that you actually get to know the players and their personalities and as such will feel a bond with that side just as the Spurs fans did then and still today.

Obviously ‘The team that dared to do’ is aimed at Tottenham supporters but it will appeal to fans of all clubs who appreciated the flair, excitement and stories that that Spurs team provided. Through following Spurs progression, the book provides a potted history of the Premier League in its early days. A pivotal season between the old days of English football and the bright new future that would emerge as the Premier League we know today.

For me, the book is all about memories and an honour to a team that was prepared to break the mould. They may have won no trophies but remain forever in the hearts and minds of fans of Tottenham and beyond.

Allan Kemp

Born in Suffolk but a Norwich City supporter who is currently trying to swap a career in finance with one in football writing. I am an FA level 2 coach and also a published author, my book of Hall of fame - Norwich City's - All-Time Greats is available from all good bookshops. I currently have a weekly column on Norwich City website - 'My Football Writer' as well as writing book reviews on 'Its Round and Its White'.

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