When Tottenham goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes threw one into his own net little over a year ago at Fulham, manager Harry Redknapp immediately thought of Tony Adams. His former assistant at Portsmouth had described Gomes as the best goalkeeper in the world, and Redknapp wondered if reformed alcoholic Adams had slipped off the wagon.
Redknapp said: "I remember that when he first signed for Tottenham Tony said Spurs had signed the best goalkeeper in the world. Tony had worked in Holland and said he was fantastic. Then Guus Hiddink, who had him at PSV Eindhoven, came out with the same thing. I thought, 'Is that right? Tony's not drinking any more?' But now he does look a terrific keeper."
Redknapp had seen enough and immediately went out and made a new signing. The manager did not buy a replacement in the January window but instead brought in former Spurs keeper Tony Parks to replace the Austrian goalkeeping coach Hans Leitert.
Gomes' athletic performance denied an excellent Fulham side the three points they thoroughly deserved, and vindicated Redknapp's decision to stick by the Brazilian, who was bought for £8m by previous manager, Juande Ramos. It was also three clean sheets in a row for Gomes.
Both manager and goalkeeper paid tribute to Parks for reviving Gomes' form. Redknapp said: "When I first came here I thought, 'We've got a problem here'. But Tony Parks has made a big difference." Gomes added: "I give Tony all the credit because he has worked hard with me."
Fulham take their pleasing brand of football to Chelsea today with manager Roy Hodgson admitting he has taken the club about as far as he can. "At the moment we are near the maximum of what we can be," he said.
Fulham (4-3-2-1): Schwarzer; Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky; Duff, Murphy, Baird; Gera, Dempsey; Zamora. Substitutes not used: Stockdale (gk), Johnson, Nevland, Etuhu, Smalling, Greening, Kallio.
Tottenham (4-4-2): Gomes; Corluka, Dawson, Bassong (King, 90), Assou-Ekotto; Lennon, Jenas, Palacios, Kranjcar (Modric, 71); Crouch, Keane (Defoe, 71). Substitutes not used: Alnwick (gk), Bale, Huddlestone, Pavlyuchenko.
Referee: S Bennett (Kent).
Booked: Fulham Pantsil.
Man of the match: Gomes.