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Tuesday 01 October 2013

On this day in 1998: Spurs call on George Graham

Looking back at Premier League history, we recall former Arsenal manager joining their rivals

Premierleague.com rifles through the annals of the Barclays Premier League to find significant events.

1 October 1998 – George Graham named Tottenham Hotspur manager

Almost a month after Christian Gross had left the club, Tottenham Hotspur owner Alan Sugar named George Graham as the new manager at White Hart Lane.

Graham had just overseen a 3-3 draw at White Hart Lane for Leeds United but was tempted by the opportunity at Spurs. The appointment was met with mixed views among Spurs fans because of Graham's spell as manager at arch-rivals Arsenal, whom he had guided to two league titles.

Two days after his appointment at White Hart Lane, he led his new team to a 1-0 victory away to Derby County. During his first season in charge he took Spurs on a 16-match unbeaten run, the club's best in 17 years.

Ian Walker put it down to the Scot’s disciplinarian nature.

"Everyone knew George's reputation beforehand," the goalkeeper said. "There was a bit of fear there. We knew we would have to knuckle down otherwise we would not stay at the club."

Spurs director of football David Pleat added that Graham had improved the team when they did not have the ball.

"They understand now the defensive shape they need when they lose the ball," he told The Guardian. "They are far better at regaining the ball, at hassling, at reducing the other team to limited attempts on goal."

In his first season Graham led Spurs to the semi-finals of the FA Cup and to winning the Worthington Cup, the club's first silverware in seven years. But in the league he was unable to lift his team above eighth that season and, in the next campaign, despite briefly leading the table after four matches, Spurs finished 10th.

With the team again stuck in mid-table in the 2000-01 season and ownership of the club changing hands, Graham left the club in March 2001. In total, he managed in 98 Barclays Premier League matches for Spurs, winning 34 of them.

  • Sugar presented his new manager Graham to the public

  • Graham took charge of his first match away to Derby

  • In his first season at Spurs, Graham brought the club their first silverware in seven years

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Key Points

  • Premierleague.com looks back through the annals of history of the competition
  • A memorable event or match from each day of the year will be selected
  • We remember Spurs hiring George Graham as manager