NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 34
Submitted by Norman Giller
Desperately trying to think of positive things to say
Remember the good old days when Spurs topped the Premier League? It was all of a week ago. My regular reader will know I am not showing 20/20 hindsight when I say that I warned here in Odyssey land that Liverpool would give a reality check to our early optimism.
The 3-0 defeat was worse than an ice bucket tipped over us. I am desperately trying to think of positive things to say, and all I can come up with is that the last three scorelines against Liverpool have been 0-5, 0-4, 0-3. It’s getting better. Oh yes, and we’re still ahead of that other lot down the road.
I took a lot of heavy stick on line for suggesting that it’s back to the drawing board for Mauricio Pochettino. Playing a high back line and pressing is fine if you produce positive passes to make it work, but too much against Liverpool featured ‘Sideways Spurs’. It was tippy-tappy rather than thrusting Tottenham.
The great Tottenham teams – and remember that I saw Push and Run Spurs and, of course, the Double team – fed off forward passes fired to the heart of the opposition defence.
How many times did you see Spurs trying to force a way through the middle against Liverpool? Too often the players took the easy option of passing sideways and giving the opposition precious time to cover and organize.
The major problem was that the engine room was not operating with any cohesion or confidence. Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen produced the sort of duel performance that triggered Ruud Gullit’s searing criticism of them on a recent Match of the Day programme.
After just three Premier League games we are back to the point where if you asked 100 Spurs fans to pick a team there would be 100 different selections. Somehow, the Poch has to keep his nerve and find a rhythm and consistency. Chopping and changing is not the answer. He must decide on his best team and stick with it.
A visit to Sunderland and then a home match against West Brom are Mauricio’s upcoming challenges before the next major mountain against the old enemy at the Emirates on September 27. Then the Poch faces his former Southampton team at The Lane. I wonder what the keyboard warriors will be saying about him by then?
The honeymoon is not over, but the bride’s make-up is beginning to wear off and we can see what’s underneath. All eyes are on Mauricio to see how he handles what is a worrying rather than critical situation.
The transfer window is about to close and as I write there are rumours of the usual late activity, but I will not pass on gossip as fact. Let’s wait and see if Last-Minute-Levy-Strikes-Again.
I spent much of yesterday on Twitter trying to shoot down a cretin who has registered a Jimmy Greaves account as if it is the work of the great man, the most gifted England goalscorer I ever clapped eyes on. His 220 League goals for Spurs remain a club record, and nobody will ever beat his 357 First Division goals because that league no longer exists.
How disgraceful that anybody would even consider pretending to be the man who lit up the Spurs stage with his goals and natural genius. I tried to introduce Jimmy to computers back in the 80s when they were in their infancy. He got so frustrated with the demo model that he threw it across the computer showroom! Hardly the Twitter type.
Jimmy, with whom I’ve co-authored 20 books, remains the wittiest (and one of the wisest) people ever to cross my path, and you can judge for yourself the sharpness of his humour on his 75th birthday on February 20 2015.
He will be doing his hilarious stand-up comedy routine and answering questions in his inimitable style in the company of other old heroes Steve ‘Mr Loyalty’ Perryman and Ron ‘Chopper’ Harris, who used to terrorise opponents but is now a lovely cuddly old geezer.
They are appearing at a special birthday celebration dinner at the Holiday Inn, Stevenage. You will find full details at www.JimmyGreaves.net
Organiser Terry Baker, Jimmy’s manager for many years, tells me: “It is the opportunity to say a happy 75th birthday to arguably the greatest goalscorer in history. He is also surely the funniest ex-footballer there is. I have been working with him on stage for years, and he can still make me fall over laughing with his amazing humour. And he’s as sharp as he ever was. Tickets are going fast, so tell your Spurs Odyssey readers to hurry if they want to join us on what is going to be a very special evening.”
Greavsie scores again!
THE GILLER TEASER
Each week here in my Spurs Odyssey home I test your knowledge of Tottenham. Last week I asked: Who joined Tottenham from Blackburn Rovers, played exactly 300 League games for Spurs and won 44 internationals caps? He later played for Seattle Sounders.
I thought everybody would get this one, but I was surprised to find some of you going for Maurice Norman and several for Tim Sherwood. The answer, of course, was Mike England, who always gets into the No 5 shirt in my all-time greatest Tottenham team. Imagine if he and Ledley King had played alongside each other at the heart of the defence. Unbeatable!
The first name chosen at random from the correct entries: Geoff Taylor, of Palmer’s Green, who wins an autographed copy of Lane of Dreams.
You can get a copy of Lane of Dreams, Bill Nicholson Revisited, Tottenham The Managing Game or Danny Blanchflower This WAS His Life delivered RIGHT NOW to your screen. Send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will reply with a FREE file. If you like it, all I ask in return is a donation to the Tottenham Tribute Trust to help our old heroes who have hit difficult times. If you have Spurs in your soul, you will want to support this great cause. Thank you.
This week’s teaser features another Tottenham golden oldie: Who played in the 1967 FA Cup final, won 26 caps and later became a Premier League manager? Clue: He was not born in the United Kingdom.
I have another copy of my best-selling Lane of Dreams book – including the autographs of Jimmy Greaves and Steve Perryman – for the sender of the correct answer whose name is randomly drawn first. Email your answer please to email@example.com
If you would like a paperback copy of Bill Nicholson Revisited or a hard-back version of Danny Blanchflower This WAS His Life, please go to www.normangillerbooks.com. A donation goes to the Tottenham Tribute Trust
Thanks for your company. COYS!
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