NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 8
Submitted by Norman Giller (4 March 2014)
You will be pleased (or peeved) to know that I have escaped my kidnappers in Manila to post these thoughts on Tottenham’s task at Chelski this weekend.
I feel as if I have been tackled by Chopper Harris (if you remember him, you are of a certain age who can recall when football was a game of physical contact). My emails were hacked and ransom notes sent to the several thousand people I manage to bore on line.
My apologies if you were among those troubled, and I hope you kept your hands in your pockets. The clumsily written ransom note said that I was under arrest in the Philippines. The email actually originated in Nigeria. All very international, particularly as I had to spend four hours on line to technicians in India to get myself back on line, by which time I was feeling very hacked off.
But now to matters of Interest to discerning Spurs Odyssey readers …
How ironic that just as Bobby Sodaldo finds his shooting boots he is likely to be demoted to splinter duty on the bench. It would be a Stamford Bridge too far for Tim Sherwood to play a double spearhead against Chelsea on Saturday.
The hungry Adebayor is likely to get the nod as sole striker, with Soldado ready to join the battle as a substitute.
The Spaniard’s smartly taken goal on Sunday was one of the few memorable moments in a lethargic performance against a stubborn Cardiff team fighting for their Premier League life.
There will have to be a huge improvement across the board for Tottenham to come away from the Bridge with anything but a demoralising defeat.
On paper, Chelsea will be warm favourites to take maximum points. On the pitch, it is a huge test for the tactical nous of the still-in-nappies Sherwood.
If I were Tim I would wear blinkers and earplugs during the build-up to Saturday’s showdown.
Jose Mourinho will be certain to try to intimidate Tim by playing mind games, and will use his press conferences to spread doubts and indecision among the Tottenham players and management.
The Special One would definitely eat himself if he were a bar of chocolate, but you cannot take away from him the fact that he gets the results that matter.
He is looking down from a position of power at the summit of the Premier League, and when you study the table it is difficult to be optimistic for Spurs to gatecrash the vital top four.
Sherwood is making all the right noises as he prepares for the battle of Stamford Bridge. “Sometimes when the expectation is not with you, it makes it a little bit easier,” he says. “With games against Chelsea at the Bridge, Arsenal at the Emirates and Liverpool at Anfield, perhaps the pressure’s off us a little bit and we can cause a surprise.
“We’re going to the Bridge, and that’s definitely tough, but sometimes expectancy works against you.”
He is remembering to look over his shoulder as well above him. “We’re looking upwards but we know we’re not only chasing teams above us,” he adds. “There’s people chasing us from behind too. I’d relish a challenge with Arsenal but they would argue they were up chasing Liverpool.
“I think Everton would still be in the frame and Newcastle possibly will be in there. These are teams capable of putting a run together, so you just don’t know.”
It will be like an Oscar victory for Tim if he can pull off a victory at Chelsea. But it’s more likely to be Mourinho posting a selfie in celebration.
A LITTLE word in the shell-like of those keyboard warriors I see constantly bashing away at Michael Dawson in the forums, where many people feel the need to act like bullying Putins.
He is not the most skillful of players, he is not the best reader of a game, he is not the man you would put up as an example of how the Beautiful Game can be played.
But he has something money cannot buy: a heart bigger than his head and a battling spirit that is contagious.
Long-time Spurs fans will have seen this gift of being able to graft in the likes of old heroes such as Ron Burgess, Dave Mackay, Stevie Perryman and Graham Roberts, all players who brought the best out of the players around them by their motivating powers.
Take the spirit of Daws out of the current Spurs team and you will suddenly have a hole-in-the-heart team.
I cannot understand why Spurs fans should jeer and taunt one of their own. Leave the criticism to the rival fans.
Supporters should, uh, support.
While Daws is wearing that Lilywhite shirt give him the 100 per cent backing that he deserves. You will never ever see him giving less than 100 per cent.
THE GILLER TEASER
Each week here in my Spurs Odyssey home I test your knowledge of Spurs. Scores of you were correct last week when I asked which manager signed Tim Sherwood as a player from Blackburn Rovers in 1999. Yes, it was the red-blooded George Graham. When I collaborated with him on his autobiography, The Glory and the Grief, he told me: “Tim Sherwood is the type of English player I admire, not only talented but with a heart as big as his head.” The same can be said of Michael Dawson.
The first name chosen at random from the correct entries is George Rutherford, of Colchester, who wins a signed copy of Bill Nicholson Revisited.
This week’s teaser:
Which former Chelsea player scored in back-to-back FA Cup finals for Tottenham?
A signed Bill Nicholson Revisited book to the sender of the correct answer whose name is randomly drawn first. Email your answer please to email@example.com
If you are among those unlucky not to win 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 to help old heroes who have hit hard times.
Thank you for joining me.
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