NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 2
Submitted by Norman Giller (22.01.14)
Timmy Time for Tottenham is proving more like Tales of the Unexpected. Hands up who is surprised at how quickly Spurs have clicked into gear under the guidance of a man who has no previous experience of club management? As I guessed, a forest of hands have gone up. A Sherwood forest.
There was widespread scepticism, some of it savage, when Daniel Levy handed the baton to Tiny Tim – tiny in his standing in world football rather than his physique (6ft, 12st).
When I applauded the appointment on Twitter I was bombarded with insulting comments that ranged from the obscene to the obscure. One said (I am leaving out the swear words): “Spurs have given the job to a novice who will turn us into a joke club. A big mistake to promote from within.”
I pointed out the minor fact that three of the greatest managers in Spurs history have been promoted “from within”, the Virgin Managers.
First, John Cameron. You need to know your Spurs history to appreciate that he was the first manager to bring silverware to the club. He was promoted to player-manager when our pioneer manager, Frank Brettell, jumped ship to take an offer he could not refuse from Portsmouth.
Cameron, a canny Scot who had been a firebrand players’ union leader demanding an end to the £4-a-week maximum wage, was frozen out by the wealthy northern clubs, and so he agreed to move to non-League Spurs from Everton.
He is the man who introduced “Scottish fitba” to Tottenham, playing accurate ground passes while most English clubs were concentrating on hoof-and-hope long ball tactics (sort of Stoke under Pulis style).
Cameron got his reward when he turned Spurs into the first (and only) Southern League club to win the FA Cup in 1901 – the start of the ‘01’ tradition.
The second successful promotion from Spurs coach to manager was a gentleman by the name of Bill Nicholson. His record speaks for itself:
League and FA Cup double (1960-61)
FA Cup (1961, 1962 and 1967)
European Cup Winners’ Cup (1963)
Uefa Cup (1972)
League Cup (1971 and 1973)
FA Charity Shield: 1961, 1962, shared 1967
They were Glory Glory days that still bring me out in goosebumps when I think back to the football they played. It all sprang from the midfield trio of Danny Blanchflower, John White and Dave Mackay. They were poetry in motion but with a potent punchline from Braveheart Mackay.
Next huge success from the backroom was Keith Burkinshaw, promoted from coach after Terry Neill had gone ‘home’ to Highbury. Keith did an exceptional job despite the doubts of many Spurs diehards when he took the club down in his first season.
But he came straight back up with boldness and style, with the drive of Stevie Perryman and the stunning skill of Glenn Hoddle the highlights of that instant promotion season.
Then Keith had the courage and vision to bring in Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa from Argentina. He started a revolution in football that is felt to this day with the influx of overseas players. It was Keith who was first to “go foreign.” Some would rather bury than praise him!
Now it is Tim Sherwood who is carrying the banner for English coaches. He could hardly have made a better start, with a Premier League record that reads: P6 W5 D1 L0.
It is not just the results that warm my old bones. It is the style in which the Spurs team has been playing that gives me most pleasure.
Under AVB we became Sideways Spurs. Tim has the team playing down rather than across the pitch.
I always felt Tim had the knowledge, the drive and the passion to make it as a manager from when I first interviewed him in his days as the motivating captain for Blackburn. You don’t lead a team to the Premier League title unless you know what you are about. Kenny Dalglish was the boss at Blackburn, and he told me: “Tim is a natural leader on and off the pitch. He always has wise things to say in the dressing-room, gees up his team-mates and leads by example on the pitch. He does not know how to give less than 100 per cent.”
And that is how he is as a manager. He has been there, done that and the Tottenham players respect him. The way he has got Emmanuel Adebayor playing by coaxing and cajoling is man management of the highest order. AVB must lie awake at nights wondering why he could not get the same response from the unpredictable panther of a player.
My brief from Spurs Odyssey website owner Paul Smith for this Tottenham-themed Blog is similar to what Tim is telling his players: “Be positive, balanced and sensible.”
I could not be starting my Spurs Odyssey journey at a better time, and I am one of the few who can say I’ve seen it all before. I was around as a reporter when Spurs last won five successive away games under the great “Sir William” Nicholson.
I just hope that if Tottenham fail to shackle the menace of the merciless Manchester City machine next week there is not a sudden end to the love affair with Tim Sherwood.
Get behind him. Not in his way.
THE GILLER TEASER
I was astonished by the response to my quiz question here in my new Spurs Odyssey home last week. I had scores of correct replies to the question: Who was Tottenham manager when Jermain Defoe first signed for Spurs in 2004?
Yes, the answer was David Pleat, and the winner drawn at random from all the entries is: Barry Hill, of Sandy, Beds
If you are among those unlucky not to have won the Bill Nicholson Revisited book, perhaps you will consider ordering a copy from www.normangillerbooks.com A fiver for every book sold goes to the Tottenham Tribute Trust, that quietly help old Spurs heroes who have hit hard times. They deserve our full support. I will personally reply to everybody who takes the trouble to place an order.
No prize for this week’s Teaser, just pride if you can get it right: Name the Spurs team that clinched the historic Double at Wembley by beating Leicester City 2-0 in 1961. You must name eight or more to count yourself as knowing your important Spurs history. No peeping or Googling. It is a team you should know off by heart.
Answer to my teaser here in my Spurs Odyssey home next week. Thank you for joining me.
Norman Giller's first Spurs Odyssey blog
The "Giller Index" - listing all Norman's articles for Spurs Odyssey
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