NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 10
Submitted by Norman Giller (17 March 2014)
This is being written in Arsenal-red blood. Nothing hurts like a defeat by the Gooners, but it cuts even deeper when Spurs are clearly the better team. Anybody who thought the Woolwich Nomads deserved to win Sunday’s showdown was watching a different game to me.
‘One-nil to the Arsenal’ was delivered like homage to George Graham, who infamously became Tottenham’s ‘Man in an overcoat.’ They did it with a defensive display that was at times desperate yet always defiant, the Graham way.
I quickly came off line when the usual diatribe started against Tim Sherwood, as if he was the man who failed to take clear-cut chances after Arsenal had stolen an instant lead with a magnificent Tomas Rosicky goal fashioned from nothing.
The growing army of Sherwood critics are aiming their anger at the wrong man. He did not spend a penny of the £90m+ on players clearly – and depressingly –failing to deliver what was expected of them.
The finger of derision needs to be pointed at the man who goes through managers more rapidly than many of us change our socks. Step forward Daniel Levy and accept the responsibility for the torture Tottenham are putting us through.
That little bloke Napoleon famously said: “I don’t want good generals. I want LUCKY generals.”
That little bloke Levy has not done very well finding LUCKY managers.
I am in a dwindling minority of Sherwood supporters who think that given the proper support he can prove himself the right man for the job. He is definitely lacking luck, otherwise at least two of the opportunities created against Arsenal would have been snapped up … and we would all have been celebrating a victory rather than mourning a desperate defeat.
The performance after the sudden goal was at times proud and always pulsating, and the effort put in by the players proved that Sherwood has not lost the dressing-room, as his critics had predicted.
You don’t have to be Mystic Meg to forecast that Tim will not be managing Spurs very far into next season. The odds are that he will be replaced by yet another foreign manager, here for the money (Louis van Gaal and Frank de Boer are among the front runners).
Am I alone in seeing the Premier League as having become a huge haven for foreign mercenaries, more interested in chasing the pounds than the points? Many of the overseas players and coaches are dipping into the treasure chest and not putting a lot back.
At least the likes of Sherwood (and while we’re about it, Harry Redknapp) knows our history, understands the traditions and feels the pain of defeat as much as we supporters.
The clamour against Tim will, I know, grow on Thursday when Benfica finish us off in the Europa League. How many of his knockers will put their hands up and admit that Tottenham are on their way out simply because they have come up against a vastly superior side?
Sometimes you have to concede that a team is simply better. That was the case with Benfica.
But it was not so with Arsenal on Sunday. And that hurts.
What odds on Lane legend Glenn Hoddle being recalled as interim manager if Spurs lose their crucial match against Southampton on Sunday? Oh no, hang on … he’s not got a foreign passport..
My Bill Nicholson Revisited book is now available in paperback. It will set you back just £9.99, with a donation for every book sold being paid to the Tottenham Tribute Trust.
I hope Spurs Odyssey followers – discerning Tottenham fans – will support this great cause. The Tribute Trust helps those former Spurs players who have hit difficult times.
Let me give you a specific case. Peter Baker, a magnificent servant for Spurs, was an anchorman in the greatest Tottenham team of them all – the history-making Double side of 1960-61.
Sadly, Peter has been hit by the old footballer’s nightmare of Alzheimer’s, and cannot remember a moment of those wonderful times he gave those of us of a certain age.
As soon as they heard Peter was in trouble the Tottenham Tribute Trust quietly moved to give as much help as they could in this terrible time for his loving family.
Linda, his lovely wife, said: “The invaluable help that the TTT has given Peter and I during his battle with Alzheimers has made a huge difference to all the family. We cannot thank them enough. I know many of Peter’s former team-mates have also been helped by the TTT and I know how grateful those families are, too.
"I would like to also thank all the Spurs supporters and the Club who have helped the TTT by making donations. The kindness that has been extended to us means so much to us at this difficult stage of our lives.”
Don’t forget, Peter and his peers did not catch the gravy train. They earned less than £20 a week for most of their careers.
My book on the greatest manager in the history of Tottenham will help YOU put something back to help our old heroes. Full details at www.normangillerbooks.com
THE GILLER TEASER
Each week here in my Spurs Odyssey home I test your knowledge of Spurs. I caught few of you out with my question last week: Who scored from the penalty spot for Spurs against Benfica in the second leg of their European Cup semi-final in 1962?
It was, of course, skipper Danny Blanchflower, whose astonishing story I will be telling in my 98th book. He was the supreme spot-kick specialist.
The first name chosen at random from the correct entries is Jimmy Jones, of Cardiff, who wins a signed copy of Bill Nicholson Revisited.
This week’s teaser, with Sunday’s Premier League game against Southampton in mind:
Which player was sold to Southampton as a makeweight when Martin Chivers joined Tottenham from the Saints?
A signed Bill Nicholson Revisited book (one of the few remaining hardback versions) to the sender of the correct answer whose name is randomly drawn first. Email your answer please to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for joining me.
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