NORMAN GILLERíS SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 43
Submitted by Norman Giller
Trick or treat at Villa Park
Trick or treat came 48 hours late to Villa Park yesterday. Spurs tricked us into thinking relegation could become an issue and then treated us to a thrilling climax that lifted our Halloween spirits to the sky.
I bet if there had been a pre-match poll of Spurs supporters it would have been almost 100 per cent in favour of starting with Harry Kane. But Mauricio Pochettino has his own ideas, and the game was nearly an hour old and slipping away from Spurs before Hurrikane Kane came blowing in with his boyish enthusiasm and gift for goals.
The relief of a victory must not be allowed to paper over the cracks of a poor performance on a par with the shocking displays against West Brom and Newcastle. There were times when I felt as depressed as Ed Milliband reading his popularity ratings.
But I have a hunch (itís the way I walk) that the three points collected at Villa could give Spurs the confidence lift they need to get back into the battle for a top four place. The Premier League is in such a logjam that a defeat would have had us talking about the threat of joining the relegation dogfight.
Letís be honest, Spurs were fortunate to escape with their victory. It was not until Christian Benteke saw red that a lethargic Tottenham team began to take control against one of the most mediocre Villa sides I have ever seen in the top division.
Benteke was hardly Christian in the way he reacted to a flurry of challenges from Spurs players, and he committed the cardinal sin of raising a hand. Mind you, the feigned butt from Ryan Mason was equally unsavoury, and he should have shared an early bath with the "Villan" of the piece.
After the Spurs defeat by neurotic Newcastle I considered serving legal papers on Tottenham for putting years on me. Before Chadliís equaliser yesterday I thought I had definite grounds to sue, and then dramatically Our Harry (yes, one of our own) brought a touch of spring to my autumn years. His nod-to-Klinsmann victory dive proved that hereís a young man with Spurs deep in his soul. He must have been dreaming of that moment for years.
Suddenly I can see the sunshine of success on the horizon. We are level with Liverpool, looking down at Man United and Everton, and there is still the prospect of runs in the League Cup and UEFA Europa League, and the FA Cup challenge still to come.
I donít think I am being too optimistic to hope for maximum points from our next three League games against Stoke, Hull and Everton leading up to the monster match at the Bridge.
A Europa League victory in Greece on Thursday and then a revenge win over Newcastle in the Capital One Cup and the years will come tumbling off me like autumn leaves. I would withdraw my threat to sue. Letís face it, Daniel Levy has his hands full enough with legal matters over the new ground without having to worry about me hitting him with a writ.
At least and at last Pochettino is nearer knowing his best team. He now surely accepts that he must start with Kane and Lamela. Eriksen played against Villa as if he was running through treacle, and Our Harry must be preferred to either the enigmatic Adebayor or the sad Soldado, who has missed more goals in the Premier League than Iíve had hot paellas.
Trick or treat? Iíll have the three points against Stoke on Sunday please.
THE GILLER TEASER
For this week only, my Spurs Odyssey Teaser is tougher because we have an extra special prize.
Instead of one of my so-so books, we are giving a lucky winner a beautiful, brand-new Spurs third kit shirt (Size XL), one of those lovely yellow ones that when worn by the team makes them look like a field of dancing daffodils. It would set you back fifty quid in the Spurs store.
The exclusive prize is being put up by Spurs Odyssey grand master Paul Smith to celebrate his recent posting of his 10,000th tweet (every one a gem). If you are a member of the Twitterati you can follow Paul @spursodyssey
The question we challenge you to answer is: We all know who scored the classic winning goal in the 1981 FA Cup final, but which player scored Tottenhamís first goal at the start of the run to Wembley Ė a 3-1 victory over QPR in a third round replay?
Please email your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org. As usual, the first name chosen in a random draw will be the winner, announced here in my Spurs Odyssey home next Monday.
Last week, I asked: Who won 78 caps and played for Chelsea and Arsenal before joining Spurs? He was primarily a central defender, and captained both the Gunners and Tottenham.
It was far too easy for you Spurs Odyssey regulars. I received 100 per cent correct entries, all of you agreeing it was William Gallas, who came to us late in his career but was, in my opinion, a superior player to any of the centre-backs on our books at the moment.
The winner of the autographed Lane of Dreams book drawn randomly is Scott Humphreys, of Hemel Hempstead.
More news on the Teaser front. I am publishing a book in time for Christmas that is half Spurs history and half examination for quizzical Tottenham supporters. It is called Spurs IQ, and has a ton of teasers to test your knowledge. How do YOU rate? What is YOUR Spurs IQ?
Can you please let me know if you might be interested in purchasing the book for a tenner. Usual address: email@example.com. A donation will be made to the Tottenham Tribute Trust on behalf of all those who buy the book. We must do all we can to help our old heroes who have hit difficult times.
Thanks for your company. COYS!
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