NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 37
Submitted by Norman Giller
Take a deep breath and think Lilywhite
Ok friends, take a deep breath and think Lilywhite. This is when we have to dig really deep to find our reserves of positivity. The defeat by an average West Bromwich Albion side has left us all feeling as low as Alex Salmond after a kicking from Gordon Brown.
It’s not even as if we can say “we wuz robbed” because, let’s be honest, Albion just about deserved their victory. It was fashioned with a mixture of graft and determination that was missing from several Tottenham players, who came off the White Hart Lane pitch with dry shirts.
Excuse me repeating myself, but I did say here on my Spurs Odyssey soapbox that letting go the likes of Dawson, Parker and Holtby meant the squad has become bereft of natural-born leaders, not necessarily the most talented players but those who lead and inspire by example and their energy.
There was nobody flourishing a fist (Dave Mackay style) or playing with real enthusiasm (Daws fashion) against a West Brom side that made up for their lack of style and guile with gutsy, honest commitment. A few Tottenham backsides needed kicking.
I ducked off line as soon as the keyboard warriors started to pour dung on Mauricio Pochettino. He does not have a magic wand, and without the addition of a top-flight striker there are going to be more frustrating matches like this one that spoiled our Sunday.
The failure to add a goal-scoring forward to the shopping list during the transfer window becomes more of an irritation with each game. Emmanuel ‘The Enigma’ Adebayor is into his now-you-see-me-now-you-don’t phase, and Bobby Soldado may be a lovely bloke but he is still playing in lead boots since his goal-gorged days in La Liga.
It is fairly difficult to win games when you have forwards who cannot find the target; a bit like playing darts in the dark.
The one thing I was impressed with was Pochettino’s immediate after-match interview when, even with his limited English, he managed to convey his anger and a resolve to sort things out quickly. I don’t think I’d like to cross him. He looks a tough hombre when he’s angry.
That’s four straight games without a win, which does not constitute a crisis. But it certainly knocks the confidence, and the Poch is going to have to show what he is made of both as a tactician and as a motivator.
We will probably see many of the second-tier players against Forest in the Capital Cup on Wednesday, and then it will be all attention on the monster match against “them” at the Emirates on Saturday evening.
I will be watching that from behind the sofa, and am coming out in spots just thinking about it. Who, I keep asking myself, is going to score the goals to puncture the Arsenal arrogance? I do not get an answer.
All of us suddenly have to face the reality that this is going to be a season of anguish before Pochettino finds a consistent winning combination.
I used to go on like a cracked record saying that one day we would be looking back on the Harry (4th,5th-4th) Redknapp reign as a golden era. But I did not think it would be quite this quick that we’d be sighing about the ‘good old days’.
I wonder what the L-Men – Levy and Lewis – think? I hope they’re going to give their manager time to get it right. Meantime, are they going to sell or stay?
Perhaps we could bring Gordon Brown in to knock their heads together and get some answers.
A story to lift the spirits …
I am from the old school that appreciates what many brave Polish pilots and soldiers did for us during the Second World War. They rarely get the praise they deserve for the part they played among The Few to whom so much was owed by so many.
The grandson of one of them – Steve Czyrko – grew up in Wealdstone and became a fanatical Spurs supporter through his maternal granddad Horace Bonney.
“I remember my Granddad Horace sitting me on his knee during the 1961 FA Cup final and telling me all about this great side we were watching on the way to the Double,” he recalls. “It started my up and down love affair and I have followed them ever since. I live in Usk in Wales now, but I remain loyal to the team and avidly follow their exploits through the Spurs Odyssey website. My paternal Granddad, Wladyslaw, died in Lithuania during the war, and did not live to see his son, my Dad Stanislaw, win the Polish equivalent of the VC. They were even bigger heroes to me than the wonderful Spurs players of the 1960s.”
Steve has underlined his affection for the club by buying my Bill Nicholson and Danny Blanchflower books and at the same time making a wonderfully generous donation to the Tottenham Tribute Trust.
“This is in memory of my old Tottenham heroes,” he says, “and also remembering my late Granddads and my Dad, Stanislaw, who sadly suffered the sort of dementia that has hit so many of the Spurs players of my youth.”
I will be passing Steve’s gift on to the Trust, along with the £120 that Davie Elder – aka The Spurs Poet – has so far raised by kindly selling copies of my Danny Blanchflower book in Northern Ireland.
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
Alternatively you can have either of the books delivered right NOW to your computer screen for NOTHING. If you like it, just please make a donation to the Tottenham Tribute Trust to help our old heroes. Please email me at email@example.com. Thank you
THE GILLER TEASER
Each week here in my Spurs Odyssey home I test your knowledge of Tottenham. Last week I asked: Which defender started his career with Luton, played in both 1982 FA Cup final matches and won 25 international caps?
Many of your struggled with this one, but those in the know got it right with Paul Price, who played in central defence in the two 1982 FA Cup final matches against QPR and was a proud and polished defender for Wales. He was not in the class of his countryman Mike England, but still did a sound job for Spurs whenever called on.
The first name chosen at random from the correct entries: Jill Pullman, of Woking, who wins an autographed copy of Lane of Dreams for her Spurs-mad son, Geoff.
This week’s teaser features a Hackney-born player: Who joined Spurs as an apprentice in 1963, played in midfield in Tottenham’s 1973 League Cup winning team at Wembley and scored 49 goals in 331 League games for the club?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for your company. COYS!
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