Spurs executive praises fans' behaviour

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The Independent Online

Tottenham fans "behaved impeccably" during Saturday's north London derby with Arsenal, according to Spurs' executive vice-chairman David Buchler.

Spurs supporters' groups have condemned the actions of a small minority who threw bottles at the Arsenal team bus from a nearby pub beer garden as it left White Hart Lane. But Buchler insisted that the behaviour of fans inside the ground was beyond reproach. "We did hear of some bottles coming from a local pub while the coach was leaving the ground and the police took immediate action and did an outstanding job," he said.

"There were three or four hooligans who were quickly dealt with by police but the majority, I would say 99.9 per cent, who were in the ground behaved impeccably."

During the game the Arsenal defender Sol Campbell, who agreed to join the Gunners from Spurs on a Bosman free transfer in the summer, was subjected to chants of "Judas" from the home fans and was allegedly struck by a plastic bottle while taking a throw-in.

"Saturday was an outstanding success for both clubs. It was an extremely good game, a very competitive game, although I would naturally say Spurs had the edge," added Buchler. "We saw nothing in relation to any incident inside the ground. [The bottle-throwing incident] is very much a police matter outside the ground. I'm not aware of any incidents inside the ground in relation to that at all." Buchler made it clear that if the hooligans are identified as Spurs supporters, the club will ban them from White Hart Lane.

The referee Jeff Winter said yesterday that he had no knowledge of a bottle being thrown at Campbell, and would therefore not be including it, or any alleged confrontation in the tunnel between Teddy Sheringham and Patrick Vieira, in his report.

The latest round of talks designed at averting a threatened players' strike ended in further stalemate yesterday. The Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor met his Premier League counterpart Richard Scudamore, along with the Manchester United director and solicitor Maurice Watkins.

The PFA are demanding a 5 per cent stake – £36m – of the TV deal the Premier League recently negotiated with Sky and ITV, with the latest offer of £50m over three years having been rejected last week.