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Norman Giller's Spurs Odyssey Blog (No. 57) (09.02.15)

NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 57
Submitted by Norman Giller

Norman Giller writes for Spurs Odyssey

Build a protective wall around Harry Kane

Let’s hope that the Tottenham hierarchy has a plan to protect He Who Shall Not Be Named from the blaze of publicity that so easily becomes a fame flame than can cause third-degree burns.

I have seen it happen so often from close range, to players such as George Best to Paul Gascoigne, Jimmy Greaves to Tony Adams and Kenny Sansom to Alan Hudson.

Each of us has a responsibility to treat One Of Our Own with reverence and respect but not to the point where our hero worship eventually turns his life into a living hell.

Tottenham must take a lesson from Sir Alex Ferguson, who did a fatherly and fabulous job in controlling the hysteria that threatened to engulf the young Ryan Giggs. He kept the press pack at arm’s length and monitored all the media interest.

I am as bad as the next man in heaping too much praise too early on a young footballer whose natural gifts have suddenly come bubbling to the surface like an oil gusher. Within a minute of his magnificent headed winner against the Woolwich Nomads I was tweeting that we should start building a statue to him at the new ground.

Hand on heart, how many of us had spotted his talent when he was being hired out like a taxi to Orient, Millwall, Norwich and Leicester? The only one who truly knew of his potential was Tim Sherwood, who gave him his first Premier League call shortly before being shown the exit door. Now everybody is jumping on his bandwagon to the point where I worry that we could crush him with the weight of our expectations.

As an old Fleet Street veteran, I know that even as I write there will be Sports Editors demanding their troops dig out every fact they can on Our Hero. They will want to know the ins and outs of his private life, his girlfriends (or, in this age, even boy friends), what he eats, how he sleeps, his schoolboy secrets and every fact that they think can help sell newspapers.

Tottenham have a duty to build a protective wall around him, and we can all play our part by not demanding too much from a player who seems to have the world at his feet. I have already sent him a personal Tweet advising him to choose his friends and not let them choose him. There are a lot of sharks out there.

What thrilled me just as much as the two-goal flourish from You Know Who was the all-round team performance. It was balanced, controlled, at times stunning, and on occasions even majestic in its delivery. Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb were twin pistons in midfield, and Mousa Dembele used that left foot of his like a knitting needle to stitch up the parked-bus opposition defence.

Dembele is a mystery man to me. He has the unlocking skill of a master safe breaker, and rolls past challenges as casually as if leading an okey-cokey dance. But for some reason he does not have the confidence to go that extra yard and shoot for goal. It was way back in 2013 when he last scored a Premier League goal, and he would become the complete player if he made use of those openings he creates by passing the ball into the net.

Kyle Walker and Danny Rose were continually causing problems to the Nomads with their driving, over-lapping runs, and – while neither at their best ¬– Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela were still a thought and a deed ahead of their midfield rivals.

At the heart of the defence, there were promising signs that Hugo Lloris, Eric Dier and Jan Vertonghen could forge a tight triangle in which predatory forwards are trapped by their combined efforts. Playing Dier ahead of the more physical but less athletic Fazio was a master stroke.

Let’s make it clear that this was not a one-man show. It was a classic team effort, with Mauricio Pochettino’s tactics working to perfection. A word in the shell-like to watching England manager Roy Hodgson, the first name on your next team-sheet should be a boy by the name of, uh, Harry Kane. Whisper it, he’s one of our own.


What a pity we do not have the luxury to wallow in the pleasure of Saturday’s triumph before facing another huge challenge. The visit to Anfield tomorrow is every bit as important in our season as the NLD.

I hope we don’t come down to earth with a bump, but we must be aware (and beware) that Liverpool have discovered a couple of Kane-style heroes in Raheem Sterling and Jordan Ibe. They will be a handful for a Tottenham defence that has often been dragged out of trouble this season by the flying Frenchman Hugo ‘Boss’ Lloris.

Lost in our delirium over the defeat of the Woolwich Nomads is the fact that Hugo came up with another couple of blinding world-class saves that would have let the team from the Emirates in for at least a draw.

There has been so much widespread media fuss over You Know Who that you can bet your boots Liverpool will be double marking him.

But that could be good news for the support players, who may find they have extra space in which to make their presence felt.

Another tense 90 minutes coming up, folks. But the beauty of watching this Tottenham team is that even when they go a goal behind we have faith in their character and super fitness to come back and at least equalize.

That 2-1 victory scoreline is becoming a happy habit. Repeating it at Anfield tomorrow will be very acceptable, and to leapfrog Southampton and Man United into third place would make us all deliriously dizzy. I think I’d better lie down. COYS.


THE SPURS ODYSSEY QUIZ LEAGUE

We are now coming up to our SIXTH week of the League, and the logjam at the top of the table continues. More than 100 of you share first place! Don’t worry … I have a super tie-breaker for later in the season. Meantime, please keep playing along. It’s all about having fun while testing our Tottenham knowledge.

Most of you were again correct with the answers to last week’s questions: 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?

Yes, it was the Ginger Man Willie Young, who was taken to Arsenal by that very red-blooded manager Terry Neill. Willie was a hard, uncompromising central defender, who would have won a cupboardful of Scotland caps but for getting involved in a nightclub incident with Billy Bremner when he was on the brink of an international career.

First name drawn from the senders of the correct answers is Stuart Gibson, from Tewkesbury, who has been a Lilywhite supporter for the little matter of 56 years. I will be emailing him a screen version of my Bill Nicholson Revisited book.

This week’s challenge is triggered by tomorrow’s match at Anfield: For three points, who played for Liverpool between two spells at Tottenham and has won more international caps than Peter Shilton? And for a bonus point, with which club did he start his League career?

Email your answers please to SOQL6@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

The "Giller Index" - listing all Norman's articles for Spurs Odyssey

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