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Norman Giller's Spurs Odyssey Blog (No. 24) (23.06.14)

NORMAN GILLERíS SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 24
Submitted by Norman Giller

Norman Giller writes for Spurs Odyssey While waiting for Englandís last rites in the World Cup against Costa Rica Iíve amused myself selecting two teams of players involved in the tournament who are Ė or have been Ė on the Tottenham payroll.

There are seven players from the current squad representing five different nations in one of the greatest of all World Cup festivals. They line up in my first selection, with four former Lane regulars:

Hugo Lloris (France)
Vedran Corluka (Croatia)
Jan Vertonghen (Belgium)
Benoit Assou-Ekotto (Cameroon)
Nacer Chadli (Belgium)
Nabil Bentaleb (Algeria)
Paulhino (Brazil)
Mousa Dembele (Belgium)
Clint Dempsey (USA)
Kevin-Prince Boateng (Ghana)
Helder Postiga (Portugal)

Where, I hear you ask, am I going to find another 11 players who have Spurs affiliation. Well, as you will see, I am cheating a little:

Brad Friedel (BBC Radio 5 Live team)
Giovani dos Santos (Mexico)
Wilson Palacios (Honduras)
Reto Ziegler (Switzerland)
Glenn Hoddle (ITV team)
Luka Modric (Croatia)
Didier Zokora (Ivory Coast)
Andros Townsend (ITV)
Danny Murphy (BBCtv co-commentator)
Gary Lineker (BBCtv presenter)
Chris Waddle (BBC Radio 5 Live)

I did say I was cheating! Sorry. I considered Jurgen Klinsmann, but will appoint him coach.

For me, Danny Murphy has been the surprise package of the mainly indifferent commentary coverage of the World Cup. He talks with calm authority, speaks only when he needs to and has a dry humour you could mix with a martini.

I felt Martin Jol could have given him more of a chance to establish himself in the middle of the Tottenham team before he was allowed to move to Fulham, where he was always a prominent and productive member of their engine room.

He reminds me very much of Scott Parker, with the same enthusiasm and in-depth knowledge. Both took the Tottenham-to-Fulham route and are now studying for their coaching badges. I will be surprised if we do not see each of them popping back up on the Premier League radar in coaching/managerial roles

You read it here first in your favourite Spurs Odyssey website.

Both Scott (18 caps) and Danny (9) were always busting with pride when they played for England, and they would not have come into the Harry Redknapp list of suspects for not wanting to play for their country.

There will be a lot of old pros in the game that will have nodded knowingly when Harry made his accusation that players have often asked him to make an excuse to get them out of playing for their country.

I promise it is nothing new. Don Revie and Brian Clough, for example, were infamous for persuading their players to put club before country. I remember Alf Ramsey blowing a gasket when Cloughie pulled Roy McFarland out of a Euro championships quarter-final match against Germany in the 1970s. Alf was forced to play Bobby Moore out of position at centre-half and Gerd Muller had a field day as the Germans went on to a 3-1 victory at Wembley.

George Best used to pick and choose the international matches in which he played, and in Bill Nicholsonís day there were Tottenham players who got convenient injuries just before England friendlies.

The club or country issue will always be contentious, and there are plenty of Spurs supporters on line who think Tottenham should always come ahead of England.

Harry has again got himself in trouble for speaking the truth!


I have been keeping count of the players linked with transfers to Tottenham since Mauricio Pochettino was announced as the new Lord of the Lane. So far I have seen EIGHTEEN deals that are supposed to be under way. I donít believe it!

Sorry to come the groaning, moaning Victor Meldrew, but it really aggravates me to see so-called In The Knows spreading rumour as fact.

I have to defend the media in this, because while they are guilty of some of the false stories the main offenders are the keyboard clowns who have nothing better to do than spread ill-informed gossip.

They trawl the internet looking for any hint of a deal, and then go on line promoting it as their inside information. It is pathetic at best, and plagiarism at worst.

If the ITKs really knew what they were talking about they would make money by selling the facts to the newspapers rather than sharing their pearls of manufactured wisdom with us for nothing.

My advice is take no notice of the stories until a player has actually pulled on the Lilywhite shirt and put his name to a contract.


You may have been lucky enough to have missed it, but I got involved in a debate on Radio 5 Live this week about the growing crisis of dementia among old footballers.

The idea I put to that all-knowing presenter Nicky Campbell is that Premier League clubs should each be ordered to pay £2m into a fund for research into Alzheimerís Ė its causes and, eventually, its cure. Some of the money could go to helping the old players with their medical care. Remember, they missed the gravy train and played in the Soccer Slave days.

Letís face it, £2m to clubs awash with money amounts to little more than the cost of a strikerís big toe.

The football hierarchy are deliberately trying to duck the issue, mainly for legal reasons and the fear of huge payouts. They know that the NFL have had to pay out millions to ex-American footballers who suffered brain damage during their careers, and now they are being challenged by the Astle family. Jeff, a power-propelled centre-forward with West Brom and England in the 60s, finished up not knowing his own name.

This I am sad to report is the price many of our old heroes are having to pay for their service to our clubs. Peter Baker, Ron Henry and the indestructible Dave Mackay of the Double team are the latest to suffer from the debilitating illness.

I hope you will support my Danny Blanchflower: This WAS His Life book, with all profits going to the Tottenham Tribute Trust, who quietly help ex-Spurs players lost in the fog of dementia.

Danny, the most intelligent, inventive, articulate and talkative footballer I ever had the pleasure of writing about, tragically had no recollection of all that he had achieved as Spurs and Northern Ireland skipper when he passed on in 1993, aged 67.

Please donít sit back and leave it to others. Order the book NOW from me at www.normangillerbooks.com You will he helping a great cause. Thank you.


THE GILLER TEASER

Each week here in my Spurs Odyssey home I test your knowledge of Tottenham. Last week I asked: Which Tottenham player wore the No 15 shirt in the 1986 World Cup finals?

Your answers included Steve Hodge and Chris Waddle, but most of you got it right with Gary Stevens, who Bobby Robson used to call Garry A. to separate him from Evertonís Gary Stevens. He won seven England caps before his career was virtually finished by a reckless challenge from Vinnie Jones.

The first name chosen at random from the correct entries: Maurice Taylor, of Brighton, who wins a signed hard-back copy of Bill Nicholson Revisited.

This weekís teaser again has a World Cup flavour: Which Tottenham player wore the No 19 shirt in the 1990 finals? I expect a flood of correct answers!

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 gillerteaser@normangillerbooks.com

The book is now available in paperback, with profits going to the Tottenham Tribute Trust: www.normangillerbooks.com

Thank you for joining me. COYS!

The "Giller Index" - listing all Norman's articles for Spurs Odyssey

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