NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 14
Submitted by Norman Giller
There’s nothing like a funeral to bring things into perspective. I said goodbye to my big brother, George, yesterday, and after delivering the eulogy I had time to reflect on the 74 years I knew him. I cannot possibly write this Spurs Odyssey blog without him playing a huge part in my thoughts, and I make no apologies for his presence. You would have liked him, even though he was a lifetime Millwall supporter.
Being a bloody-minded City of London copper for 33 years, he found appeal and understanding in their “nobody likes us, we don’t care” attitude.
George had an in-depth knowledge of all major sports, and was sensible and logical with everything except his unswerving support for Millwall. I could never get him to acknowledge that Tottenham were the team with the superior pedigree, even back in the glory-glory days of the Double and beyond.
His preference for Millwall – the nearest club to our East End home – only made geographical sense, but as I continually told him it was a blind loyalty.
What is it about football that makes normally quite sane and sensible people become one-eyed and unable to see the entire picture?
I come on line for conversation not confrontation, yet continually find myself having the best of three falls with Tottenham fans who do not like me telling them they are blinded by bias.
It makes me come across as pious, but I try hard to take a balanced view and attempt to watch both teams during a football match.
But as I could never talk big bruv George round to looking beyond Millwall, what chance do I have of making Tottenham fans rub the Lilywhite dust from their eyes?
I have always conceded (or, if you prefer, confessed) that my biggest weakness in judging Tottenham is that in more than 50 years I have not put my hand in my pocket to watch them or any sport. I have been a pampered pressman in all that time, with one of the best seats in the house and showing presumed neutrality.
I often wonder if I would be less forgiving with my match analysis if I were coughing up £45+ for the privilege of watching?
What I know is that I will continue to give Tim Sherwood my full support until he makes his well-publicised exit at the end of the season. The on-line poison poured on him (and me!) during the first-half of the frantic match at West Brom bordered on the obscene, and I was laughed at for continually reminding Spurs surfers that a match lasts 90 minutes.
Tottenham rescued a point out of the wreckage of their appalling start when the novice-like defensive mistakes again knocked the confidence of the team and the supporters. I honestly don’t see how Sherwood can be blamed when highly paid professionals make elementary errors.
He inherited this team and did not bring in one of the players. It was not Sherwood who missed from the penalty spot, yet the criticism on line of Tim was savage.
People often say to me that they don’t understand why I get so annoyed with the poisonous posts on line because, they point out, it is not read by the players.
In my view it spreads a negative mood that is contagious, and it DOES spread to the dressing-room. Many of the players have Twitter and Facebook accounts, and they pick up the scent of defeatism spread by many Tottenham fans.
Fulham at home next, thankfully without Lewis Holtby, their on-loan Spur who has the sort of spirit and commitment missing in the performances of some of the players he left behind at the Lane on his journey to Craven Cottage.
The Cottagers are fighting for their Premier League life. Any Tottenham fan who thinks it is going to be easy has no understanding of the roller coaster world of Premier League football.
Even my Millwall-motivated brother George could have understood that.
Rest easy, big bruv.
Another reminder that I am publishing a limited edition of a book called Danny Blanchflower, This WAS His Life.
Danny 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. The perfect Father’s Day gift.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and ask me to put a copy on one side. I promise to respond.
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: Which former Spurs skipper later played for Chelsea and West Brom, and won six England caps under Bobby Robson?
It was, of course, Graham Roberts, the man with a heart bigger than his head. How Tim Sherwood wishes he had a leader like him in the current Tottenham dressing-room.
The first name chosen at random from the correct entries is Geoff Kelsey, of Hatfield, who wins a signed hard-back copy of Bill Nicholson Revisited.
This week’s teaser, with Saturday’s League game against Fulham in mind: Which member of the 1967 FA Cup winning squad moved to Craven Cottage the following year?
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 email@example.com
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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