Meet Scott, the Spurs fan who could ruin Tottenham's Champions League dream
EVEN in this age of cosmopolitan football there is something beautifully ironic in the fact that, when Tottenham face Young Boys in Europe next week, the player who was born nearest to White Hart Lane will be playing for the Swiss...
By Ben Pearce
EVEN in this age of cosmopolitan football there is something beautifully ironic in the fact that, when Tottenham face Young Boys in Europe next week, the player who was born nearest to White Hart Lane will be playing for the Swiss.
For those who are not already aware of Scott Sutter, this is the boyhood Spurs fan who was born in Chase Farm in Enfield and grew up in Potters Bar, just a short drive down the A10 from N17.
And, next Tuesday, the 24-year-old defender will be standing between the Lilywhites and the Young Boys goal, blocking Tottenham's route to the Champions League.
"I had a season ticket at Spurs when I was 10 or 11," Sutter recalls. "It must have been 1997/98, when Jurgen Klinsmann was there and Christian Gross was the manager.
"My favourite player was David Ginola but there were quite a few that I liked. I liked Jose Dominguez, although he seemed to get knackered in no time! He seemed to be one of these guys who shot out of the blocks was wasn't capable of sustaining it, but he always looked quite tricky when he came on.
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"I'm definitely still a fan of Spurs. A lot of the Premier League gets televised over here and, when I haven't got a game myself or if I'm in a hotel then I'll definitely try to watch it.
"I think when you start playing professionally then you lose a little bit of that, the way it used to be, but I do still watch out for Tottenham and hope that they do well. "Hopefully we go through, it's a great experience for us as well, trying to get into the Champions League, but if not then at least Tottenham are in the next stage instead. I suppose that if we lose, I'm glad it will be them!"
Sutter started his football career with Millwall's Under-10s and, while attending Chancellor's secondary school in Brookmans Park, he moved on to Barnet and then Charlton before quitting England for Switzerland and joining Grasshoppers, eventually signing for Young Boys last summer.
His father is Swiss and the pair enjoyed a special moment last Friday, soon after flying back together from Scott's victory over Fenerbahce in the third qualifying round in Turkey.
"We watched the draw on Eurosport at the stadium, in one of the restaurants where the team usually has lunch," said Sutter. "It was really good because we were the first two names out of the hat, it wasn't like the last two names when you already know what it is. I jumped up and punched the air.
"It was because of my dad that I supported Spurs. When he moved to England 35 years ago Tottenham was the first team he took an interest in. At that time they had people like Ricky Villa, and actually my brother Ricky is named after him.
"I'm looking forward to playing all of the Spurs players, and actually I've played against Peter Crouch once before. I played against Liverpool in a pre-season friendly with Grasshoppers in 2006, just after they won the Champions League.
"The most difficult thing with Crouch is obviously crosses coming in. I'm not really going to win a header against him. If long balls are played forward then I just have to make sure that I'm covering the centre-back who will usually go up for the header, to make sure that someone like Defoe doesn't get in round the back. The danger with Crouch is that he can lay balls off and head balls on. It's difficult to play against him either way."
While Sutter knows all about his Spurs opponents, he is aware that he and his team-mates will be a rather unknown quantity for Harry Redknapp and his squad. Fortunately the personable defender is happy to level the playing field, and give his rivals some clues.
"It's not hard to get hold of videos and I think Redknapp's probably already seen both of our games against Fenerbahce, but they won't know too much about us," said Sutter.
"Last year we played a 3-4-3 formation, but we've played 3-5-2 or 4-1-4-1 in the league before so we're very flexible. In the two games we played against Fenerbahce we played 4-1-4-1 and 4-2-3-1, and that sort of information isn't well-known about us. Well, I suppose it is now!
"We've got a really young team with an average age of about 23. Our captain is a brilliant goalie, Marco Wolfi. A couple of bigger clubs have been interested in him and I think the club are desperate to keep hold of him.
"Our centre-back is one of our most important players, [Emiliano] Dudar, an Argentinian. He's our rock. He was especially important last season because when you play three at the back you've got the one in the middle, and he's the main guy.
"Our striker's been quite good recently, Henri Bienvenu. Our main striker from last season, Seydou Dombia, has gone to CSKA Moscow, and he got about 30 goals last year.
"We play our home games on astroturf. It's really quick, but it's not that big a difference compared to the kind of pitch that Tottenham play on, which is like a carpet.
"The main advantage for us is that we train there every day, so we know the bounce and that kind of thing. It's an evening game, the pitch is going to be wet because it's sprayed beforehand so it's going to be lightning quick, and we'll be in familiar surroundings.
"We go into those changing rooms every day, and it's just going to be like going to training for us. I do think the pitch will be an advantage for us next week but there isn't much difference between a really nice pitch, which they're used to, and our artificial one.