NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 44
Submitted by Norman Giller
Worst fears realised
So Daniel Levy now knows how Ed ‘Billy No Mates‘ Miliband feels. Nobody would vote for our Dan as the most popular man at the Lane after yesterday’s debacle against that – sarcasm alert – so-sophisticated Stoke City team.
The ‘Levy Out’ campaign is growing in strength, but all those shouting for his head are wasting their time and breath. Danny boy ain’t going nowhere.
He holds a major stake in the club and in ENIC, second on the power throne only to billionaire owner Joe Lewis. He is sack-proof.
I am convinced that ENIC want out of their investment in Tottenham Hotspur. Remember, this is a company that seeks to make money for its shareholders. They do not have Spurs in their soul, only in their financial portfolio.
But as it’s suggested that Lewis wants a mind-blowing, bank-breaking billion pounds for the club, prospective buyers are as rare as ties in Simon Cowell’s wardrobe.
It is not just the money that is a barrier, but the fact that there are still legal delays on the building of the new stadium, and then doubt as to where to set up camp for the year that it will take to construct the ground.
I can take defeat. But what I found unacceptable yesterday – and in most of the defeats this season – was the lack of fight and spirit from several of the highly paid, totally spoilt players.
There was no leadership on the pitch, no fist brandishing, no heart, no pain. I wondered what the likes of Ron Burgess, Dave Mackay, Steve Perryman, Alan Mullery, Graham Roberts, Gary Mabbutt, Ledley King, Michael Dawson would have made of it. These were great servants who hurt when the team was losing and would raise their game and battle with everything they had in their locker.
And the defence! It came apart against an ordinary Stoke City attack as easily as an Ed Miliband bacon sandwich. Hugo Lloris is going to get old before his time having to play behind that lot.
As somebody weaned on watching wingers like Sonny Walters and Les Medley and Cliff Jones and Terry Dyson, I cannot believe how narrow-minded the current team has become. It’s a forgotten Tottenham tradition that our greatest teams have always made use of the full width of the pitch.
I am being gentle on Mauricio Pochettino. He inherited these players, but it is a worry that he does not seem to be able to motivate them or give them the right direction.
He deserves to be given the chance to bed in his own choice of players, perhaps during the January transfer window.
But we all know how quick Daniel Levy is with his finger on the trigger. If I were in Mauricio’s shoes, I would not make any plans beyond Christmas.
Jurgen Klinsmann’s appearance at the Lane yesterday set the rumours flying that he could be brought in to replace Pochettino. That is nonsense. Have you seen the life style Jurgen has in the United States as national team manager? He has a huge salary, flies around his adopted country in his own helicopter and just may not be tempted to swap the sunshine of California for the delights of N17.
I am not being hindsight-wise when I say that Levy got rid of Harry Redknapp a season too early. He should have had another year, while bringing along a successor. Then the club might have had some continuity instead of stumbling from one plan to another without finding a settled formula for success.
I doubt if in my lifetime any manager will get near to matching Harry’s 4-5-4 finishes. But, as I’m an old git, that should not cause too much concern.
What disturbed me was the second-half performance in Greece last week. That was one of the worst defensive displays I’ve ever seen from a Tottenham team, and they were lucky not to concede at least four goals.
It put me into a mood of doubt and dread for the game against Stoke, and my worst fears were realized.
There are now just cups to play for. That top four position is suddenly a distant dream unless there is a miracle around the corner.
After all, Ed Miliband could yet become Prime Minister.
THE GILLER TEASER
Each week here in my Spurs Odyssey home I test your knowledge of Tottenham. Last week I asked: We all know who scored the classic winning goal in the 1981 FA Cup final, but which player scored Tottenham’s first goal at the start of the run to Wembley – a 3-1 victory over QPR in a third round replay?
There was a very special prize offered, a beautiful, brand-new Spurs third-kit shirt, 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.
It was put up for grabs by our Spurs Odyssey master Paul Smith to mark his sending of a 10,000th Tweet. If you are a member of Twitter you can follow Paul at @spursodyssey
Dozens of you took part, and only about 40 per cent of you got it right at the first time of asking. Too many lazy webmasters have put the scorers from that game in the wrong scoring order, and so when people checked on line many went for Tony Galvin.
But Tony scored the second goal and Glenn Hoddle the third. The man who netted the first goal from just a yard out for his 14th goal of the season was Garth Crooks. It was a slightly different goal to the Ricky Villa classic that finished off the Cup run at Wembley four months later.
The first name chosen at random from the correct entries: John A. Matthews, of Castletown, Isle of Man, who wins the special shirt. Wish you well to wear it, John.(Ed:- The shirt will be on its way asap)
This week’s teaser features a Lane legend: Who once scored all four goals against Manchester United in a 4-1 victory in an old First Division match at Old Trafford?
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
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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