NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 35
Submitted by Norman Giller
Kick-start needed on Saturday!
Take the devastating defeat by Liverpool, a disappointing summer transfer window and the dreary international break and you can understand why so many Spurs fans are feeling as flat and redundant as Daniel Levy's hair stylist.
Tottenham are in desperate need of a new kick-start to the season, which ideally means victories over Sunderland and West Brom going into the monster match at the Emirates.
Not to be too dramatic about it, but the next two games could prove the defining moments of Mauricio Pochettino's reign as head honcho at White Hart Lane.
If he can lift spirits with six points then it will help erase the memory of how easily Liverpool took his team apart. Anything less and Spurs supporters will become as edgy and unsure as undecided voters in the Scottish Referendum.
The ‘In-The-Knows’ who infest the social network managed to come up with the names of 68 players who they claimed Tottenham were about to sign.
In fact, there were just six newcomers and – let’s be honest – few of them make the pulse quicken.
A quick summary on the players added to Pochettino’s squad:
Eric Dier, a thoroughbred of a footballer who has served his apprenticeship in the Portuguese League. Our early hopes that he is the finished product were put on hold when Liverpool exposed his inexperience, but it’s not every week that he is going to come up against the likes of Sturridge, Sterling and Balotelli. It’s cause for concern that he has dropped out of the England Under-21 squad with an injury. I’m told it’s not serious but the club would say that, wouldn’t they.
Ben Davies comes in from Swansea, with the under-rated Gylfi Sigurdsson going to the Liberty Stadium. A cultured left-back, Davies like Dier is a player for the future and will hopefully develop in the same way as his fellow Welshman Gareth Bale. I typed that last sentence with great difficulty, because I had my fingers crossed
Michel Vorm is another capture from Swansea, joining veteran Brad Friedel as goalkeeping understudy to the hugely talented Hugo Lloris. Vorm has won 15 caps with the Netherlands and is a solid and reliable last line of defence.
Federico Fazio stands 6ft 5in and is the new Leaning Tower of White Hart Lane, joining Spurs from Sevilla where he was an inspirational captain and noted for his strength and his strategy at the heart of the defence. Pochettino sees in his fellow Argentine a reflection of how he used to play the game in his central defender days.
Benjamin Stambouli arrives from Montpelier, a late choice after attempts to reunite Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin with the Poch failed. He is a ball-winning midfielder who will play the role of stabilizing anchorman.
We have to wait until next year to see the sixth of the transfer window buys, defender DeAndre Yedlin who will join Spurs from Seattle Sounders late in the season.
That’s it then. And not a sniff of a much-needed striker.
It makes you wonder what exactly ‘Technical Director’ Franco Baldini has been doing all summer. There is not a Spurs fan who fails to realize that Tottenham have been under-strength in the goal-scoring department since Bale departed.
We all love Bobby Soldado, but his goals output has yet to match expectations. Harry Kane is an honest and committed competitor, and we still never know exactly what to expect from the enigmatic Adebayor.
As an old-timer weaned on the partnerships of Duquemin and Bennett, Smith and Allen, Smith and Greavsie, Greavsie and Gilly, Gilly and Chivers, Archibald and Crooks you can imagine how underwhelmed I am by the current strike force.
But as I always preach the three Ps – positive, positive, positive – let’s go into the match at Sunderland confident we can get the Liverpool defeat out of the system and accumulate three points that will keep Tottenham in the top four hunt.
Typing with crossed fingers again!
The whole point of the transfer window business is that it is supposed to make a squad stronger rather than weaker.
In my view, letting go Sandro ‘The Beast’, Siggy, Lewis Holtby and Michael ‘The Lionheart’ Dawson has drained Tottenham of four players who gave Spurs that special spirit that is so difficult to define. They have followed in the exit path of the likes of Scotty Parker, Tom Huddlestone, Steven Caulker and Van Der Vaart, all of whom were ready to give their all for the team.
You would have to work hard to convince me that the squad is now stronger.
Most Tottenham supporters will be sad to see the back of the Beast. He was a personality player who always took the eye with his energy, enthusiasm and sheer power.
He was a cult hero at the Lane, and Harry Redknapp knows better than anybody that he brings Brazilian inspiration and invention to the midfield. Now it’s the QPR fans who will feed off the intoxicating influence of the Beast.
THE GILLER TEASER
Each week here in my Spurs Odyssey home I test your knowledge of Tottenham. Last week I asked: 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.
Most of you were spot-on with Joe Kinnear, the Cockney-sounding right-back who was born in Dublin but brought up in Watford. There have not been many better right-backs wearing the No 2 Lilywhite shirt. Alf Ramsey always gets my vote as the best of them.
The first name chosen at random from the correct entries: David Hutchins, of Peterborough, 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 scored 58 League goals for Spurs between 1980 and 1984, and moved on to Barcelona? Clue: He won 27 international caps.
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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