When Tottenham were forced to play without ten sick players and handed Champions League spot to Arsenal on final day of season

Arsenal and Tottenham will battle it out for the final top-four place this weekend and the north Londoners have a long history of final day drama. But nothing is more infamous than Spurs’ Lasagne-gate in 2006. Incredibly, there were fears it could be happening to Tottenham again with club great Gary Lineker posting on social […]

When Tottenham were forced to play without ten sick players and handed Champions League spot to Arsenal on final day of season

Arsenal and Tottenham will battle it out for the final top-four place this weekend and the north Londoners have a long history of final day drama.

But nothing is more infamous than Spurs’ Lasagne-gate in 2006.

It was a traumatic 24 hours for Tottenham’s class of 2006
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Incredibly, there were fears it could be happening to Tottenham again with club great Gary Lineker posting on social media on Friday: “Hearing there’s a food poisoning outbreak at Spurs. No, I am not joking.”

That prompted feelings of deja vu among Spurs supporters before Antonio Conte moved to ease those fears in his press conference on Friday ahead of the final day game against Norwich.

While Conte confirmed there had been illness in the camp, he insisted he had a fully-fit squad to choose from and Harry Kane would be fit to play, with Spurs needing just a point at Carrow Road to beat Arsenal to fourth spot.

It may have been 16 years ago but memories would have come flooding back among the Tottenham faithful about the infamous Lasagne-gate episode.

Arsenal benefited at the expense of their near neighbours in dramatic style in 2006 when the Premier League ignored calls for a postponement.

Not even ten senior players feeling violently sick after food poisoning from a dodgy lasagne could convince the top-flight to postpone Tottenham’s final-day clash with West Ham, despite Champions League qualification being on the line.

Arsenal and Spurs are battling for fourth this season
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A win over West Ham at Upton Park on the final day of the 2005/06 season would have secured fourth spot for Spurs, but the task was made a whole lot harder…

“We had 10 players feeling sick overnight,” manager Martin Jol after the game. “We asked to postpone the game for 24 hours but we didn’t want to risk sanctions.”

Ex-Spurs captain Michael Dawson, one of several key players forced to play through illness, recalled the incident on talkSPORT.

He said: “Saturday night we went to a hotel in Canary Wharf and WOW, late Saturday night and early hours of Sunday morning I was rough along with five or six other players.

“Back then, it wasn’t like it is now when you’re in a hotel before every single game and it wasn’t even an early kick-off.

Spurs were walking wounded that day
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“I remember we had our evening meal, I went back to my room and I think at about 10/11 o’clock I’m thinking ‘wow, I feel rough!’ I phoned the wife up to tell her I hadn’t got any sleep and then an hour later I phoned her up again and I’m really, really ill, sick.

“I thought, ‘I’m going to be struggling to play the next day’. I didn’t want to phone the physio or doc but it got to 4 o’clock and I was really ill again so I phoned them. They both came down and I was like, ‘I’m struggling, I don’t know how I’m going to play’.

“I remember saying that I didn’t think I’d be the only person who’d fall ill. I went for a walk in the morning and I felt washed up, drained. I wasn’t the only one, there were five or six of us really struggling.

Jermain Defoe cancelled out Carl Fletcher’s opener
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But a strike from Yossi Benayoun in the second half won the match
AFP

“The police came round to the hotel. This is a major thing as Champions League was at stake and all of a sudden six or seven of us are going down.

“They said they might delay the game by an hour but I thought I’d need about three days to get over this!”

The clash in east London went ahead as normal and Dawson started but Spurs didn’t get the result they needed as they lost 2-1.

The defeat was made a whole lot worse by the fact Arsenal pipped Spurs to fourth with a win at home to Wigan.

And Tottenham’s Champions League hopes went up in smoke
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Perhaps the team would’ve got the job done if they weren’t ill
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“We turned up and we didn’t perform and I was one of them who had a nightmare of a game,” Dawson added.

“There were players coming in that morning who hadn’t been involved all season – you’d have been better off playing them because we had no energy. I remember Michael Carrick coming off early in the second half and just completely washed out.

“It was devastating. Anyone can lose a game, we may have lost the game, we’ll never know but to not be on a level playing field was tough to take.”

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