NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 18
Submitted by Norman Giller
Now that the inevitable axe has fallen on Tim Sherwood, let’s all hold hands and sing good riddance to the 2013-14 campaign.
Let’s be honest, it was hardly a good season to be a Spurs supporter. There are fans at 86 other clubs envious of the sixth place finish, but we never forget that our club was born when the Charles Dickens novel Great Expectations was top of the best sellers.
Just to make the final crumbs of the season even harder to digest we have to sit through Arsenal probably lifting the FA Cup, and an England football team preparing for the World Cup in Brazil without a sniff of Spurs input.
I am in a small minority sympathising with the hand that Sherwood was dealt. He inherited a team of passing strangers from Andre Villas-Boas, who was like a brilliant scientist kicked out of his laboratory before he’d had time to heat his Bunsen burner.
Tim is no football intellectual. He is more mud and bullets, and his straight-for-the-jugular approach made him more enemies than friends. It greatly depressed me that so many jumped on him with almost naked hatred from day one, rather than giving him the support he deserved.
He will go away with the satisfaction of knowing that his 59% win ratio was the best any Spurs manager has achieved in the Premier League. Sadly, he did not do the business in the matches that mattered.
Now another foreigner will take up the reins, possibly one who does not even speak English. But the only tongue that matters to most Spurs supporters is the language of victory.
How quickly before the lynch mob – a new breed given a platform of power by the social media – will turn on Sherwood’s successor?
Sherwood did not spend a penny of the Bale inheritance, most of which appears to have been squandered. I would lift Christian Eriksen beyond that criticism, and would vote for him as my player of the year just ahead of the brave and brilliant Hugo Lloris.
Harry Kane came of age thanks to the faith shown in him by Sherwood, and Adebayor came back from the dead – again thanks to Tim’s motivating powers. There is not a lot more to crow over.
Biggest disappointment for me was the failure of Erik Lamela to make an impact. When I saw him playing for River Plate in Argentina as a teenage prodigy I thought he was one of the most exciting prospects I had seen in years. But not even Tim could get him to turn it on in what has been a miserable injury-handicapped time at the Lane.
The best thing to be salvaged from the rollercoaster season is that Spurs are once again in the Europa League. Those who knock it have no understanding of the economics of football.
The Champions League is better, of course, but only Harry Redknapp has managed that … and the lynch mob chased him out after his 4-5-4 finish. Now he has taken QPR to Wembley for the Championship play-offs and could be back in the Premier League next season where he belongs.
If I’d had my way he would still be in charge at Tottenham. He speaks English, well sort of.
Enjoy your summer.
TOTTENHAM’s official shops disappointed me this week by deciding they will not be stocking my Danny Blanchflower book, even though I told them they could pass all income to the Tottenham Tribute Trust.
Their excuse is that they have many books in stock that are not selling. Maybe so, but this is a unique book aimed at helping old Spurs heroes who have hit hard times.
It was wonderful for Ledley King to be given a great hero’s send-off on Monday. Long may he prosper. But my thoughts are with the heroes of long ago who missed the gravy train.
Many are now being hit by the ex-footballers’ curse of Alzheimer’s, the illness that brought the great Danny Blanchfower down.
My book – Danny Blanchflower, This WAS Your Life – can now be ordered in time for Father’s Day at www.normangillerbooks.com
Profits are going to the Tottenham Tribute Trust, who quietly help the old players who are having difficulties paying medical bills.
I hope YOU will help me help them by ordering the book that tells the remarkable story of a great footballer and writer, and arguably the most influential player ever to pull on the Lilywhite shirt. As well as telling the story Eamonn Andrews could not tell, the book gives the most in-depth recall of the historic Double year you will ever read.
Thank you. COYS
THE GILLER TEASER
Each week here in my Spurs Odyssey home I test your knowledge of Tottenham. Last week I asked: Who played for Barnsley and Villa before lifting trophies for Tottenham? Back of the class if you get it wrong!
I deliberately planted this question to put the spotlight on Danny Blanchflower to help sales of my book, which I hope you agree is for a great cause. Danny was the most intelligent, inventive, inquisitive footballer I ever knew, and I hope they are planning to have a statue of him alongside Bill Nicholson when the new stadium is built.
The first name chosen at random from the correct entries is Doreen Smith of Edmonton, who wins a signed hard-back copy of Bill Nicholson Revisited.
This week’s teaser, with the FA Cup final in mind: Who came on as substitute for Ricky Villa in the first match against Manchester City at Wembley in 1981?
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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