NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 56
Submitted by Norman Giller
Bow the knee to Aaron Lennon
As I write, the floodgates are open with a rush of rumours about the transfer business Spurs will be completing before tonight’s 11pm deadline. If you listen to the ‘In-the-Knows’ there will be at least ten new players putting pens to Tottenham contracts during the next few hours.
In truth, there will be few comings and goings and only a handful of people in the Spurs inner sanctum know who they are likely to be. You can discount ninety per cent of what you read on line, because the perpetrators of the rumours are playing guessing games.
Dan Levy seems to thrive on the drama of last-minute business, but will never splash the cash unless he feels he has to. I just hope that Mauricio Pochettino gets to bless any incoming transfers, because it is he who has to make them work on the pitch where it matters. So far he is doing very nicely with a playing staff that he inherited.
It looks as if the one player certain to be leaving us is Aaron Lennon, who has been a fixture at the Lane since joining Spurs from Leeds back in 2005. The tiny, darting winger has dazzled and fizzled in equal measure, brilliant one minute and brittle the next.
When on top form he can be almost unplayable, sprinting and twisting and turning past defenders as if they are not there. But too often he will disappear from games, and because of his small stature he is rarely effective with the tackling-back part of his duties.(Ed:- Personally, in recent years, I have often considered Lennon to be the best right back at the club!)
He packs a measured right-foot shot and has piled up 26 goals in his 267 League appearance for Spurs. In his peak years he made it into two England World Cup finals’ squads, and has collected 21 England caps. This is a record of which the little man can be hugely proud.
Let’s all bow the knee to Aaron for the service he has given to the club. We wish him well and will remember him with affection. If his transfer falls through he will still be a useful bench player to send into action when spitfire action is required.
The most preposterous of all the transfer rumours is that Hugo ‘Boss’ Lloris is going down the road to the Emirates. This daft story started sur le continent and had its birth in a tongue-in-cheek article in the leading French sports paper L’Equipe about the players Monsieur Wenger would like to sign. Some of our great British newspapers chose to turn this whimsy into fact.
It would be a transfer as disastrous and as unwelcome as the Pat Jennings move to the Woolwich Nomads in the late 1970s.
Lloris has become as reliable and resilient a last line of defence for Spurs as the great Jennings was back in the Bill Nick days. While it was Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen who got the headlines with their goals at West Brom on Saturday, Lloris was the unsung hero with at least three world-class saves that would have given the 0-3 scoreline a rather different complexion.
Now comes the major test, with the Nomads coming to the Lane on Saturday. As well as the traditional North London Derby rivalry, it is a vital game for both clubs in the context of the race for third/fourth place in the Premier League.
Villa made the Gooners look good yesterday with one of the most pathetic away Premier League performances I have witnessed this season. Spurs will not give them the freedom of the park, and the Poch is sure to have a plan to stifle their lively midfield.
It’s going to be tight, it’s going to be tense. Thank goodness Lloris will be on the right goal-line.
I wonder how tempted Pochettino will be to have Lloris in goal for the League Cup Final against Chelski at Wembley on March 1?
Michel Vorm has been trusted with the goalkeeping role on the way to Wembley, but he has given us some heart-in-the-mouth moments with his dithering over when to leave his line.
I am from the old school that believes you should choose your best team at all times, and I never feel satisfied with squad rotation. But the Poch knows his players better than any of us, and we must all have belief that he knows what he is doing.
It is vital for Tottenham’s pride and confidence that we get our first silverware since the 2008 extra-time League Cup final victory over Chelski.
I personally would pick Lloris to play in the final, but I believe the Poch will keep faith with Vorm. The Dutch international experienced the other side of the coin when with Swansea. He was the first-choice goalkeeper for the Swans but lost out to his understudy – German goalkeeper Gerhard Tremmell – for the 2013 League Cup final against Bradford City.
There’s much more to take our attention before the Wembley date. Arsenal on Saturday, followed by Liverpool at Anfield on the Tuesday, West Ham at home on Sunday February 22, and all shaken and mixed with home and away Europa League showdowns with Fiorentina.
February, the shortest month of the year, is going to feel very long to we Spurs disciples.
THE SPURS ODYSSEY QUIZ LEAGUE
We are now coming up to our FIFTH week of the League, and the logjam at the top of the table continues. More than 100 of you share first place!
Most of you were again correct with the answers to last week’s questions: Who scored two goals for Spurs against Sheffield United in a 5-0 First Division victory at White Hart Lane on March 27 1976, and for a bonus point, which team did he join from Tottenham in 1986?
Yes, it was ‘Mr Spurs’ Steve Perryman, the player who has given more to the club on the pitch than any other in history – with his record 866 games as evidence. Steve joined Oxford United, and he later returned to the Lane as assistant manager to Ossie Ardiles. I thought Tottenham treated him abysmally when they kicked him out in Ossie’s wake, when he deserved a crack at managing the club that is etched into his soul. The powers-that-be preferred to give the job to Gerry Francis.
First name drawn from the senders of the correct answers is Michael McDowell, from Belfast, where there is a strong Spurs supporters’ base. He has been a fan since the Glory-Glory days of the 1960s. I will be emailing him a screen version of my Bill Nicholson Revisited book.
This week’s challenge is triggered by the upcoming North London Derby: For three points, Which defender joined Arsenal from Tottenham in 1977, played in three FA Cup finals, and for a bonus point, which manager signed him for both Spurs and the Gunners?
Email your answers please to SOQL5@normangillerbooks.com Give your name, the district where you live and how long you’ve supported Spurs. I will respond.
A screen version of one of my Tottenham-themed books to the sender of the first correct answers drawn at random.
If you wish to support the Tottenham Tribute Trust by buying one of my books (all profits to the Trust to help our old heroes), please go here: www.normangillerbooks.com
Thanks for your company. COYS
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