NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 36
Submitted by Norman Giller
News for Spurs Godfather Joe Lewis
I have news for Spurs Godfather Joe Lewis and his Godson Daniel Levy as they take the club into a sudden fog of uncertainty: TOTTENHAM DOES NOT BELONG TO YOU BUT TO THE SUPPORTERS.
Yes, I know that legally and economically the club is in the grasp of ENIC and its shareholders.
But the heart and soul of the club is its fan base; always has been, always will be. And it is the fans that will decide the long-term future of Tottenham.
ENIC holds the relay baton at the moment, and there is clearly a battle going on in the inner sanctum as to whether to pass it on to new owners in return for a mooted billion pounds.
But whoever takes over, it is the SUPPORTERS who will ultimately call the tune.
I am old school and believe in backing the devil you know. I would like to see ENIC steer us through the next difficult couple of years and then – when there is a new 56,000-capacity state of the art stadium in place – decide who should hold the reins.
Rumours grow of American and Arab syndicates being interested in the Tottenham franchise, but only one man will decide which path to follow: the reclusive Bahamas-based zillionaire Joe Lewis.
Just to give you some idea of his wealth, he is an art collector who has one painting that is worth more than the entire Spurs squad. He has the biggest yacht in the world, the Aviva, which he uses as a mobile office. We are talking mega-mega rich.
The thing to remember is that Lewis is not getting any younger. He is 78 next February. As we are from the same generation, I know what I am talking about when I say you lose your drive and ambition as galloping old age sets in.
Joe was born around the corner to me in the East End, and I used to go to his swish Hanover Grand restaurant/nightclub in Mayfair in the 1970s when he was known as the Money Magnet. He is one of the most successful UK businessmen ever, and is a legend in the City over deals that almost put the pound sterling on the floor.
Does Lewis have the appetite and the energy to see through the White Hart Lane rebuilding programme, with the aggravation of the club having to spend at least a year as football nomads?
That is the question he and his godson Daniel Levy are wrestling with.
Levy is the public face of ENIC, but it is Lewis who pulls the strings. Now on their 10th manager in 13 years, they have reached the crossroads. One route is to cash in, sell up and get out. The alternative is to hang on until they have the new stadium erected, a project that has become almost as complicated and divisive as the Scottish Referendum!
But whatever happens the bottom line is that the club belongs (in soul and spirit) to the supporters.
ENIC has just borrowed the baton.
Like me, I’m sure you’re wondering just how damaging the goal that Harry Kane did not want to score will prove?
When we do the sums at the end of the season it will be recalled that three deserved points at Sunderland were suddenly reduced to one.
Harry could not help turning the ball into his own net, but it was a knife thrust to the ribs for Mauricio Pochettino, who was convinced he was leaving the Stadium of Light with a victory.
I could not believe the stick the team took on line from an army of moaning, groaning fans, who reacted to the accidental Kane goal as if it had turned Spurs instantly into a rubbish team.
Look at the positives: Spurs were clearly the superior side, played with a fluency that was missing against Liverpool, hit the woodwork twice, allowed Sunderland only a couple of shots on target. Lamela and Eriksen are beginning to look a formidable duo, and Dembele proved again that he has an impressively educated left foot.
The main negative is one we have learned to live with, a lack of thrust in the final third of the pitch because Spurs are a class striker short of being a major power.
A Uefa League victory in Belgrade on Thursday followed by three points against West Brom, and then a Football League Cup win against Forest will put us all in the mood for the monster match with that lot down the road at the Emirates on September 27. No problem!
Then we can all catch our breath and see where the club stands.
And where Spurs will be playing their football next season!
THE GILLER TEASER
Each week here in my Spurs Odyssey home I test your knowledge of Tottenham. Last week I asked: Who scored 58 League goals for Spurs between 1980 and 1984, and moved on to Barcelona? Clue: He won 27 international caps.
I did not catch out too many of you. Just a handful went for Gary Lineker. Yes, it was Steve Archibald, an at times enigmatic player but exceptional when in the right mood. He and Garth Crooks had a dynamic partnership that would be welcomed today by Senor Pochettino!
The first name chosen at random from the correct entries: Mike Johnson, of Paddington, 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 1980s player: Which defender started his career with Luton, played in both 1982 FA Cup final matches and won 25 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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