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  Sunday, 24 February, 2002, 23:57 GMT
Wrinklies steal the show
Blackburn's Mark Hughes tries to block a Gus Poyet shot
Hughes proved himself older and wiser than the rest
BBC Sport Online's John May reports from the Millennium Stadium

It was not so much the Worthington Cup final, as the Wrinklies trophy final.

The number of seasoned professionals on show suggests the much-maligned competition could find a whole new target audience.

Perhaps a re-naming to the Sanatogen Cup or the One-A-Day Vitamins trophy would be just the ticket, even if it is a senior citizens bus-pass.

It was not exactly Dad's Army on parade, but there were plenty of thirty-somethings putting the ageing limbs through the mangle.

Christian Ziege celebrates his goal with Teddy Sheringham and Les Ferdinand
Sheringham and Ferdinand shared 70 years but no goals
Heading the list was 38-year-old Mark Hughes, who had company in the Blackburn team in the shape of Brad Friedel (30), Henning Berg (33) and Stig-Inge Bjornebye (32).

Even winning goalscorer Andy Cole will soon have enough candles on his birthday cake to set off smoke alarms or cause serious burns if he gets too close to blow them out.

Spurs also relied heavily on the experience of years.

The front pairing of Teddy Sheringham and Les Ferdinand share 70 years equally, while they were backed up in midfield by Gus Poyet (34) and Tim Sherwood (34).

Sheringham is living proof that when a player reaches his middle 30s, speed of thought becomes more important than quickness of foot.

Lack of pace

Sheringham has made an art-form of finding calm in the eye of the storm, finding time and space almost by standing still in the hurly-burly surrounding him.

As defenders mature in years, it becomes even more important for them to acquire wisdom.

The ability to read the game can often get them into a position quicker than their legs.

For all that Bjornebye and Berg have become streetwise and canny, Spurs will be disappointed not to have exposed their lack of pace more.

Glenn Hoddle's side created enough chances to have won the game, but there were long spells when Berg and company were allowed to be comfortable.

They organised themselves well and Spurs did not do enough to pull them out of shape.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Alan Green
"There were so many chances"
Blackburn boss Graeme Souness
"We deserved it"
Blackburn's match winner Andy Cole
"This is all about the fans"
Spurs boss Glenn Hoddle
"We could have played better"

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24 Feb 02 | Football

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