Football: The faithful fall for Klinsmann: Julie Welch joins a full house to greet the arrival of Spurs' German recruit

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The Independent Online
SO it's goodbye to the millionaire lifestyle in Monaco and hello to the English game. After playing in front of crowds of 74,000 and a world television audience in the United States, Jurgen Klinsmann took his dive - sorry, bow - for Spurs at Vicarage Road in a 1-1 draw with Watford yesterday.

The Tottenham team bus deposited him outside the directors' entrance, where his first sight of one of our footballing citadels was a row of garages with corrugated iron sides and some dustbins full of abandoned kit.

What had originally been planned as a nice little pre-season friendly with 6,000 bums on seats if Watford were lucky turned out to be a mega-earning capacity-crowd situation. By 2.45 they had to put back the kick-off to 3.15 because so many fans were still piling in. The office equipment store in the Vicarage Road shopping precinct was flogging Klinsmann T-shirts at pounds 9.99 or two for pounds 15, and the stands were chocker with Spurs supporters.

Klinsmann's appearance for the pre-match warm-up prompted some big questions. How long is that Seventies hair-do going to last in the cut and thrust of British football hairstyling? How would the Tottenham faithful greet this new Spur who up until now has been one of the most demonised players on the world stage? With a standing ovation, was the answer.

He is obviously determined to make a good impression. When was the last time you saw a very expensive footballer stop to sign autographs on his way out of the tunnel?

Klinsmann was the only one of Ossie's new big signings on show. Ilie Dumitrescu was still back in Romania, sorting out his family. Efforts to rope in other new talent such as Stefan Effenberg, Marcio Santos and Phil Babb have come to nothing, though there was mounting speculation about the stoat that scuttled across the pitch just before kick-off.

The game was just 10 minutes old when Klinsmann executed his first recorded fall of the season, though it was pretty tame stuff, as he merely slipped while trying to get in a cross.

Incidentally, he was wearing the No 18 shirt, which must come as some relief to Teddy Sheringham, whose squad number - 10 - was on Klinsmann's back when he appeared at a Spurs press conference on Thursday.

Watford had a new signing of their own to trumpet - the goalie Kevin Miller, who had been sprung from Birmingham in a pounds 250,000 deal. Between the sticks in a pre-season friendly with Fulham on Wednesday, then saving a bender from Klinsmann yesterday. Funny game, football.

Even funnier, if you weren't a Spurs supporter that is, was that when Watford went ahead in the 35th minute the scorer, Richard Johnson, was a player who had once been on trial at Spurs and had been spurned. It was the most amazing shot, too, from more than 30 yards, in off the bar. Jurgen who?

It was coming up to 20 minutes after the restart when Spurs equalised through Sheringham. It would have been good to report that Klinsmann then clinched his first game for the club with a winning goal, but about the closest he got was in the 80th minute when Barmby put him through but his shot from the right rolled just wide.

And just before the final whistle he sent a marvellous header from the left spiralling towards the net. Miller's save was positively classy.

You can't honestly say on the evidence of one warm afternoon in Watford whether he really is the inspired buy that Tottenham need to write off that six-point deficit and mount a challenge at the top. The fans certainly rate him - as he left the pitch they mobbed him and, heavens alive, ran their fingers through his hair.

Will he settle in the team? It looked good yesterday, though clearly no one is quite sure yet who will run alongside him up front. But he doesn't half make you look forward to next season. Thank you, Mr Sugar.

There were no great shocks at the post-match press conference. Klinsmann revealed that he enjoyed the game a lot, that he is going to enjoy the heavy programme, and that he is going to enjoy the cold weather.

Asked if he thought there would be harder games than this, he showed that his mastery of the English football cliche is coming along well, too. 'There is no easy game any more.'

(Photograph omitted)