Win a signed book about Bill Nicholson! (Competition now closed)
Submitted by Norman Giller(16.01.14)
It is my privilege to join the Spurs Odyssey team, and I look forward to sharing my Tottenham thoughts here with true supporters who have Spurs in their soul, blood that runs blue and white and who consider White Hart Lane sacred ground.
I have had many offers to join Tottenham-themed websites, but I've always refrained because after a lifetime's writing career I think people are just about fed up with my river of words that, like Father Thames, keep on rolling along.
What swayed and persuaded me to finally start a Spurs blog is that it is with a website that treats the club and the Glory Game with the respect and dignity they deserve.
Spurs Odyssey website founder Paul Smith has never gone down the road of sarcasm and spite. He monitors the input of contributors to ensure there is no needless and mindless vulgarity.
Paul encourages strong opinion, but demands that it is couched in words that are neither offensive nor obscene. Spurs have a habit of bringing us all to a frothing-mouth condition but that does not mean we should lose control.
Before I frighten you away with my pious pomposity, let me quickly lay out my credentials for being able to write about Tottenham with authority, knowledge and a fondness born of devotion.
Paul asked me to answer the following questions that will hopefully explain why I will be worth following here at Spurs Odyssey:
When did you first see Tottenham play?
In the 1950-51 season when Spurs won the League championship with their famous Push and Run team. It was against Charlton at the Valley, a 62,000 crowd and I was a ten-year-old schoolboy spectator in my older brotherís hand-me-down short trousers. My Uncle Roy had taken me along hoping to convert me to his religion of supporting Charlton, not knowing that my Godfather, Uncle Eddie, from Edmonton, had already fed me with a diet of history about Spurs. I came away after a 1-1 draw a Spurs disciple.
Who from the past is your favourite Spurs player?
Greavsie, by several miles. Young people often ask me to describe him and I tell them that when watching Messi they are seeing a mirror image of Jimmy at his peak. He had the same low centre of gravity, the close ball control, the ability to ghost and glide past tackles, the sudden acceleration. and then passing rather than shooting the ball into the net. The difference is he was being kicked by the likes of "Bites Yer Legs" Norman Hunter and "Chopper" Harris. How would Messi react to being hacked from behind every time he gets possession?
Why is it only in recent years that you have made it known you are a Lilywhite?
I spent much of my working life reporting football for my daily bread, including nearly ten years as chief football writer for the Daily Express in the golden days when it sold four million copies a day rather than a week and England were world champions. I had to retain press box neutrality and this became equally important when I settled arguments as The Judge of The Sun. It is only in the last four years as a full-time author that I have been able to, so to speak, come out of the closet as a committed Spurs admirer.
How many books have you had published?
At the last count, 96. These include 20 in harness with Greavsie. As I wind down I have decided to try to put something back, and am donating the profits from my latest books to the Tottenham Tribute Trust, a wonderful volunteer organisation that helps old Spurs heroes who have hit hard times.
Which books are dedicated to the Trust?
One recently published called Bill Nicholson Revisited, and based on my 40-plus years of conversations with the Master of White Hart Lane. And another that I am publishing in the spring on Lane legend Danny Blanchflower, a dear old friend who was a colleague of mine on Express Newspapers for many years. Tragically, when he passed on in 1993 he had no knowledge of his achievements because of the ex-footballerís curse of Alzheimerís. Several of our old heroes are lost in a fog of dementia right now and through the Trust I want to help them.
How do we get a copy of your books?
They can be ordered at www.normangillerbooks.com A fiver for every book sold from my website goes direct to the Tribute Trust, who quietly help the ex-players with their medical bills and any pressing needs. Donít forget this is the generation that played in the Soccer Slave days when the maximum wage was £20 a week. They were not swimming in money like todayís hugely rewarded stars. I have had to take vile abuse on line from keyboard warriors accusing me of feeding off the ill health of old players. I am way out of pocket on the project, but that does not bother me provided I can help the footballers that gave me so much pleasure when I was chronicling their careers.
Who is your favourite modern Spurs player?
A little past tense, I was a huge admirer of VDV and I consider Gareth Bale one of the finest British-born players of the last thirty years. He told me when he was 16 that his dream was to play for Real Madrid, and I knew from day one when the rumours started of a move that he was going to the Bernabeu. I took terrible stick on line for reporting it, but knew all along that it was a done deal. Daniel Levy demanded a news blackout while he completed all the incoming transfer business.
How do you rate Levy as a chairman?
A brilliant businessman, but too quick to chop and change managers. I thought Harry should have had another season, but I admit to bias because we have been pals for around 50 years. AVB was, in my view, the wrong choice but once he had been given the job he deserved longer to show he could do it. Now I hope Tim gets a good run at it. I remember interviewing Tim back in the early 90s when he was skipper of title-winning Blackburn Rovers, and he frightened me with his intensity. He is a football man through and through and if the results go his way could develop into a Cloughie-type character. He has the fastest tongue in he west when riled, and it may be fun to watch him as he grows with the job.
Your prediction for the Swansea game?
I am from the Michael Fish School of forecasters and so never make predictions. Three points at Swansea would get us in just the right mood for the big one, the Manchester City game. I hope I am writing about a win here in my new Spurs Odyssey home next week. Thank you for having me, and I hope I have not bored all your visitors away. COYS!
THE GILLER TEASER
Each week I will ask a question here in my Spurs Odyssey blog. There is a signed Bill Nicholson Revisited book to the sender of the first correct answer picked at random:
Who was Tottenham manager when Jermain Defoe first signed for Spurs in 2004? (NB:- Competition now closed)
Send your answer please to firstname.lastname@example.org I will reply to all that contact me, provided you are polite! Conversation, not confrontation.
The "Giller Index" - listing all Norman's articles for Spurs Odyssey
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