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Wednesday, 7 August, 2002, 16:01 GMT 17:01 UK
Nearly men of the Lane

Spurs supporters will have felt another surge of nostalgia when it emerged that we were trying to sign Fernando Morientes.

Following hot on the heels of our narrow failure to secure the services of Rivaldo, it is a clear sign that our old habits are back.

It had been ages since we nearly captured a decent player.

Coming close to major signings has always been something of a club tradition but in recent years the flood of big names almost arriving at White Hart Lane has rather dried up.

Now, with the near-capture of a World Cup-winning Brazilian and a Spanish strike star, we are back with a bang.

As far as I can make out, the tradition began around the time of the 1966 World Cup when, sensationally, we almost stole England captain Bobby Moore from neighbours West Ham.

The 1970s was a fallow period for nearly men, as we managed to actually tie up the signatures of Argentine World Cup winners Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa.

Diego Maradona
I'd rather be playing for Spurs

Ardiles' arrival did, however, prompt possibly the biggest near-coup Spurs have ever managed.

That came in the 1980s when, thanks to Ossie being pals with the great man, we almost captured Diego Maradona, arguably the world's best ever player and certainly the finest to almost ply his trade at the Lane.

Curse

Things could hardly get better than that for close calls and in fact in the 1990s, Jurgen Klinsmann really did join us, not once but twice.

Mind you, just to keep the tradition ticking over, Tottenham did almost sign Enzo Scifo during what seemed like every close-season for about eight years running.

That was also around the same time that most of us began to curse our luck that we were actually attending all those mid-1990s matches, rather than just nearly going to some God-forsaken outpost like Blackburn merely to lose by seven.

And so we come to Rivaldo and Morientes, perhaps our second and third-greatest near-signings ever after Maradona.

Tim Sherwood
Oh no, not Zidane

The fact that we have yet to see either in a Spurs shirt might or might not appease Timothy Sherwood, who rumour has it is rather displeased about the lack of transfer market activity this summer, real or otherwise.

On the one hand, he could feel that Glenn Hoddle has again failed somehow; on the other perhaps he is glad that competition for midfield places remains undisturbed by a player of Rivaldo's quality.

One sure thing, though, is that Treacherous Tim was not nearly fined two weeks wages; that 30,000 really is coming out of his bank account.

As for the rest of us...well I don't know about other Spurs fans but I personally cannot wait until we nearly sign Zinedine Zidane and Raul as well.

See also:

07 Aug 02 | Tottenham Hotspur
01 Aug 02 | Tottenham Hotspur
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