Tottenham have been on the brink before, they had been in fourth since December and finally with a game to go at the end of the 05/06 season, just needed 3 points against London rivals West Ham to finally secure a place in the Champions League.
Players that had been carrying knocks like Carrick and top scorer Keane were now fit and it looked likely that Spurs could possibly finish ahead of their north London rivals for the first time in 11 years.
What followed has gone down as one of the strangest stories in football history as the Spurs team were mysteriously taken ill after having a buffet at the team hotel. Players like Edgar Davids, Robbie Keane, Michael Dawson, Michael Carrick and Aaron Lennon were all struck down with Carrick, the most ill, hardly able to walk.
Tottenham faced a dilemma would they play with their unfit players and risk losing out on their place in the CL or not play at all and risk a points deduction meaning they would miss out on Europe entirely?
Tottenham played the game and went down 2-1 much to the chagrin of Martin Jol, their fans and Daniel Levy who saw the club miss out on a £10m windfall. But this year Spurs aren’t looking to leave anything to chance.
They got off to a flyer beating Liverpool on the opening day of the season and have further taken advantage of Liverpool’s poor start to the season as well as a recent dip in form from Arsenal to currently sit 3rd in the league ahead of both.
But Harry Redknapp has urged caution as the season enters the festive period. Redknapp famously cancelled Christmas at Portsmouth after they suffered defeat to Southampton and he is prepared to do so at White Hart Lane if Spurs fail to keep up the pressure on the top four.
“One year at Portsmouth we got beaten by Southampton so I cancelled the festivities. That didn’t make me too popular, I can tell you,” Redknapp said.
Redknapp realises the importance of this period of the season where games come thick and fast and with Spurs already in the Champions League mix he plans on keeping them there,
“This Christmas, for instance, we’ll be training on Christmas Day for our Boxing Day trip to Fulham. “
Although such measure may not go down a storm with the players, come May it could seem like a masterstroke if Spurs manage to pick up the points needed in the coming weeks. Liverpool without the distraction of the Champions League will be looking to snatch back their place in the top 4 and Arsenal’s will be looking to get over their mini slump so the pressure is on Harry Redknapp’s team, but with Tottenham firing on all cylinders, they will be fully prepared.