UP-FRONT EDDIE

Before he returns there as Chelsea assistant first team coach this weekend, Eddie Newton recalls the day he was our centre-forward and shot down Spurs at White Hart Lane…

It was 20 years ago and the Premier League was in its infancy. Elsewhere in the world, president elect Bill Clinton was preparing to take charge of the United States for the first time while back in England, the Queen was coming to the end of her 'annus horribilis'.

At Chelsea, life was looking up as the club signed leases for the land on which Stamford Bridge sat, meaning a long and draining battle with property developers that threatened our existence was at an end.On the field Norwich, Blackburn and Aston Villa were the only teams above us as we made it four league wins on the spin by beating Tottenham at White Hart Lane in December 1992.

That 2-1 victory came in an era of many victories on our London rivals' turf, but it is one that sticks in the memory of those who witnessed it more than many others, principally due to the way our two goals were scored that day.

With centre-forward Mick Harford suspended, then manager Ian Porterfield decided to go with just one striker at Spurs - record-signing Robert Fleck - and play five in midfield. However when Fleck went off injured after an hour, one of the midfielders, Eddie Newton, was asked to move forward and lead the attack on his own.

Now our assistant first team coach, Newton remembers the day well.

'Before the game everyone was really charged and up for it,' he says. 'There was a lot of shouting and I remember Ian Porterfield coming up to me and saying you must be the calmest person in this stadium. But that is the way I was, I went into myself and prepared that way.

'We were playing well in the game anyway and going up front wasn't alien because that is where I played most of my schoolboy football, and when I came into the Chelsea side I had scored quite a few goals by getting forward and breaking past the opposition.'

Though later in his career Newton became well-established as a deep-lying midfielder, the position wasn't so defined in English football back in 1992. Though he had played anchor behind Andy Townsend a season earlier, that role was now more Mal Donaghy's and the 20-year-old Newton pushed up front was not as much of a shock as it would have been a few seasons later.

There was certainly nothing wrong with the two first-time finishes that can be seen in the video above. They put Chelsea 2-0 up before Sol Campbell (making his Tottenham debut as a substitute striker) pulled one back late on.

It was the only occasion all season a Chelsea player scored more than one goal in a game, and Newton's total of six for the campaign was double that of Robert Fleck.

'I felt so sorry for him [Fleck],' says Newton.

'He did everything that he was meant to do, he just couldn't put the ball in the net for love nor money.

'He was a fantastic guy and even when he wasn't doing well he would still give advice to me and other young guys, and the Chelsea fans gave him a lot of backing because his work-rate was fantastic, but he was there to put goals into the back of the net and it wasn't to be.'

The win at Spurs proved to be a high-water mark for that season and a post-Christmas slump cost Porterfield his job in the February, with David Webb taking over short-term before Glenn Hoddle's recruitment in the summer.

'When we were fourth we were thinking we could go on and do something that year,' recalls Newton, 'but we couldn't sustain it. It was a weird season.'