NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 12
Submitted by Norman Giller
Here comes a world exclusive: Tottenham Hotspur are about to be taken over by a consortium of billionaire businessmen, who will spend £800m buying out ENIC. Their first revolutionary move will be to organize a ground-sharing scheme with Arsenal.
Harry Redknapp has been lined up to return as manager, and the seven players who were brought in to replace Gareth Bale will be sold and the money used to bring the Welsh wizard back to The Lane.
Also on the Redknapp shopping list will be Luka Modric, Van der Vaart, Jermaine Defoe, Michael Carrick and Dimitar Berbatov.
The consortium is being headed by Noel Edmonds, who plans to juggle running the club with taking over the BBC. Daniel Levy telephoned Joe Lewis on his Bahamas yacht last night and they have agreed to say “deal” to Edmonds. Nigel Farage is keen to join the consortium, provided Tottenham stay out of Europe.
Yes, of course, you only have to look at the date to know that I’m fooling around.
I thought April Fool’s Day had come early on Sunday when rumours flooded the internet that Tim Sherwood had punched a player after the 4-0 slaughter by Liverpool.
It is perplexing the way people turn gossip into fact. The newspaper messengers are continually being shot, but their stories are no way near as far off target as those that are made up on line.
The only thing that surprised me about Sunday was the rage that followed the defeat. What did you honestly expect? Liverpool are seeing off all teams as Brendan Rodgers builds the strongest Anfield team since their golden 80s era.
They have now won seven successive matches, and have taken over from Manchester City as favourites for the title.
What was sickening about the 4-0 drubbing is that two of the goals were gifted to Liverpool as the sluggish Spurs defence continued giving away goals like a charitable organization.
I don’t see how Tim Sherwood’s growing army of critics can blame him for professional footballers suddenly playing like novices.
It was not Sherwood who was asleep for the instant first goal, and it was not Sherwood in Dawson’s boots when he opened the way to goal for Luis Suarez – one of the greatest strikers to set foot on a Premier League pitch.
I wonder why it is that many spectators cannot watch TWO teams on a football field? It was obvious from the opening moments that Liverpool were the team more in tune with each other and that it was going to be a long 90 minutes for a Tottenham side nearly as low on confidence as some of their supporters.
The worst kept secret is that veteran Dutch football master Louis van Gaal will be the next Tottenham manager. Wonderful. He will come full of ambition, not for the money, of course. As he is nearly as old as me I know how the oldies think, and I give him a couple of months before the lynch mob who saw off Harry, AVB and (soon) Tim Sherwood will be trying to hang him from the nearest crossbar.
You think Louis would have made a difference against Liverpool on Sunday? If a player is going to turn the ball into his own net in the second minute and another player is going to pass the ball to Liverpool’s best player, you think Louis could have prevented those goals? Take those two giveaway goals out of the match and Spurs were all square.
I detest the new sport of turning on managers before they have had time to catch their breath. AVB suffered from it, Moyes is getting it at Old Trafford, Tim has been shot at from day one, and let’s remember there were rumblings about Rodgers at Anfield last season. The saying ‘patience is a virtue’ is lost on many supporters, who are from the “I-want-it-NOW” generation.
This is the lych mob who would have hounded Bill Nicholson out in his first season when Spurs finished 18th and a gnat’s breath from relegation. Goodness knows how Bill would have handled the social network with its instant hatred.
I just hope those people who criticize Sherwood at every turn set the sort of standards they demand of him in their own work environment. They must be perfect in every way.
Many turned on Sherwood because he took a high view of the match. Tim the Intimidator is following in the best traditions by taking a seat in the stands rather than on the touchline.
Most of the outstanding managers from my reporting days – the likes of Sir Matt Busby, Bill Nicholson, Stan Cullis and Ron Greenwood – preferred to watch from a seat in the stand. Each of them reckoned they got an enhanced overview and were able to make more complete tactical evaluations.
Bill Nick once told me: “I dislike watching it from pitch level. You get a distorted view, and it is pointless shouting out instructions to the players because they can’t hear you properly and it just leads to confusion. From the stand you get a complete view of the pitch and are better able to assess the team and individual performances.”
Wherever Sherwood plants himself he will get my full support until he is shown the door. Remember that he inherited his squad of players and did not buy one of them. Let’s see what he can do with them in his remaining weeks. He deserves fans being behind him NOT in his way in what will almost certainly be his Spurs swansong. What sort of support is it when fans want him to fall on his face? It makes no sense to me.
Soon, it will be over to an old Dutchman who has been there, done that. At his peak he was one of the great managers, who I used to interview back in the days when he had Ajax playing magnificent Total football.
Let’s see if he can beat Harry Redknapp’s 4-5-4 record. How long will he put up with the manager-baiting Spurs fans? He is famous for his temper and not suffering fools. Even April ones.
With Father's Day in mind on June 15, I am publishing a limited edition of a book called Danny Blanchflower, This WAS His Life.
As I'm sure you know, he walked away from Eamonn Andrews and his This Is Your Life book. I was a member of the Life scriptwriting team for 14 years, and will be telling the true story about Danny's life and career and quoting for the first time from the actual script for the show-that-never-was.
Danny tragically died of Alzheimer's without knowledge of what he achieved as a footballer and writer. I will again be making a donation to the Tottenham Tribute Trust, who do so much to help our old heroes who have become lost in a fog of dementia.
For everybody who orders the book, I will be sending a personally signed message (which I hope does not devalue the book).
You can order the book here: www.normangillerbooks.com … or you could email me at email@example.com and ask me to put a copy on one side.
I hope you will support this great cause and enjoy the book I have written about the most interesting, intelligent, talkative and artistic footballer I ever knew: Danny Boy, arguably the most influential player ever to wear the Lilywhite shirt.
THE GILLER TEASER
Each week here in my Spurs Odyssey home I test your knowledge of Spurs. Most of you were correct with last week’s answer to the question: Who joined Tottenham from Liverpool in 1988 and scored 19 goals in 128 League games for the Lilywhites?
It was, of course, Paul Walsh, a quick and lively striker who now pops up on our screens as a SkyTV pundit and match reporter.
The first name chosen at random from the correct entries is Gerry Thomas, of Stevenage, who wins a signed hard-back copy of Bill Nicholson Revisited.
This week’s teaser, with Monday’s League game against Sunderland in mind: Who scored a hat-trick for Spurs at Roker Park in March 1997? It was the first of his two hat-tricks for Tottenham.
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
The book is now available in paperback, with profits going to the Tottenham Tribute Trust: www.normangillerbooks.com
Thank you for joining me.
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