NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 9
Submitted by Norman Giller (9 March 2014)
‘Intimidating Tim’ Sherwood got his tactics right against Chelsea but lost control of his tongue. His after-match comments (“gutless … lack of character … capitulation”) were badly advised, and his warrior words strengthened the clamour against him from those anti-Tim from day one of his appointment.
As somebody who has interviewed Sherwood in the past, I was not too surprised by his outburst. He has never taken prisoners with his observations, and expects every player to give the same full-blooded commitment that used to mark his combative style.
If (yes, that big word) Saturday’s game had ended at 55 minutes there would have been satisfaction that Tottenham had managed to at least stifle a Chelsea team unbeaten in 75 successive home matches.
But it suddenly became a Bridge too far when Jan Vertonghen of all players – one of the finest defenders in the Premier League – gave away a gift-wrapped goal. Christmas had come early for Chelski.
There is a lot of talk at the moment about ‘legislated suicide.’ I think what happened in the last 35 minutes at Stamford Bridge could have come under that heading.
It was painful enough to watch without Sherwood then adding to the misery by making remarks that would have been better saved for the privacy of the dressing-room.
Now Tottenham go into their crucial Europa League match against Benfica on Thursday with the confidence of players and supporters as low as a Putin punch.
Those of us of a certain age feel we have a score to settle with Benfica. We were robbed against them 50 years ago in a pulsating European Cup semi-final when a Jimmy Greaves goal was wrongly ruled off-side.
Today’s Benfica and Tottenham teams are nowhere near the class of the sides that did battle back then in a Golden Age for both clubs, but there is still pride and prestige at stake.
Benfica are sitting on top of the Portuguese League, and Spurs would have their hands full if they could field a full-strength side. To have to face them with central defenders unused to each other is going to put a huge burden on Hugo Lloris.
Intimidating Tim must now try to lift the players he has publicly lambasted for a vital game, with injuries dictating he selects a makeshift defence.
All those who have wanted the Marmite Man – captain Dawson ¬– out will now get what they wish for.
Three days after the game with Benfica there’s the little matter of a showdown with the Gooners.
Hold your tongue, Tim!
HERE’S your opportunity to put something back into our great club.
On Tuesday March 18, the industrious trustees of the Tottenham Tribute Trust stage a special screening of Julie Welch’s wondrous Those Glory Glory Days at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre, Town Hall Approach Road, Tottenham N15 4RX (kick-off 8pm).
All profits from the evening are going to the Trust Fund that helps our old heroes who have hit hard times.
Golden oldies Cliff Jones and Terry Dyson will be among the VIP guests, along with omniscient MC Paul Coyte and ‘Dame’ Julie, one of the finest women sportswriters of any era who led the revolution that opened press box doors to female reporters. She used to write the likes of me under the table (not difficult), and her knowledge of that era is second to none.
As my little contribution, I’m giving free Bill Nicholson Revisited books to be sold on the evening at discount price. It’s a small gesture so that I can give something back to those great old players whose careers I was privileged to chronicle in the summertime of our lives. I hope YOU will play your part.
You can get full details of the Glory Glory night from Voice of the Lane Daniel Wynne, email: email@example.com Please give a great Spurs cause your support.
THE GILLER TEASER
Each week here in my Spurs Odyssey home I test your knowledge of Spurs. I caught only a handful of you out with my question last week: Which former Chelsea player scored in back-to-back FA Cup finals for Tottenham? It was, of course, Bobby Smith, who netted crucial goals in the 1961 and 1962 finals (when Spurs beat Leicester 2-0 to clinch the Double, and then the following year when Burnley were defeated 3-1).
The first name chosen at random from the correct entries is Joan Richards, of High Barnet, who wins a signed copy of Bill Nicholson Revisited.
This week’s teaser:
Who scored from the penalty spot for Spurs against Benfica in the second leg of their European Cup semi-final in 1962?
A signed Bill Nicholson Revisited book to the sender of the correct answer whose name is randomly drawn first. Email your answer please to firstname.lastname@example.org
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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