NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 62
Submitted by Norman Giller
Bring on the Tottenham Tots!
As Harry Kane slipped in his second goal against Queen’s Park Rangers on Saturday, I allowed myself the luxury of a daydream. I had a vision of next season and saw Harry feeding off the passes of Joshua Onomah, and Cameron Carter-Vickers standing strong alongside Jan Vertonghen at the heart of the Tottenham defence.
Josh and Cameron are two of the outstanding youngsters coming through on the youth conveyor belt that has given us Kane, Bentaleb and Ryan Mason. They were both outstanding in the FA Youth Cup semi-final first leg defeat of Chelsea, and have each figured in many of the illuminating reports that feature regularly here from Spurs Odyssey youth team expert Ray Lo.
I would like to see them given Kane-style chances to make it at Premier League level before we bring in highly expensive foreign imports. Enfield boy Onomah has the silky skills of a natural-born footballer, while Carter-Vickers – who has an American dad – is a powerful defender with the ball skills of a forward.
I am from the generation that thrilled to the Cullis Cubs of Wolves, the Drake Ducklings of Chelsea and, of course, the Busby Babes of Manchester United. The Matt Busby theory rings true to this day: “If they are good enough they are old enough.”
Spurs are currently fielding the youngest team in the Premier League at an average 23 years 290 days. Now let’s take it even lower. Bring on the Tottenham Tots.
Sandro the Beast broke my daydream as he steered in a rare goal for Rangers, sentencing we long-suffering supporters to yet another nerve-shredding finale to a game we should have had sewn up much earlier. It was a stuttering performance by Spurs against a Rangers side that might easily have had a couple of penalties. I am sure most Tottenham fans will join me in hoping old Spurs servants Chris Ramsey and Les Ferdinand can drag QPR out of the relegation rut.
Now comes the real reality check when Spurs take on Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday. It’s Beware the Ides of March day, anniversary of the assassination of Julius Caesar. Let’s hope the dagger thrusts come to the heart of the United defence.
For Mario Pochettino, this match is the test of how far he has come as manager of Tottenham. Now that we are out of all the cup competitions, the Premier League is the last (and most important) measure of the impact he has made in his first season.
A defeat at Old Trafford would seriously dent Tottenham hopes of a fourth-place finish. For the record, United have a big historic edge over Spurs with 86 wins to 51, and 49 of the 186 matches played to date between the two mighty rivals have been drawn.
Time to get the daggers out. Beware the Ides of March.
My friends on Facebook, Twitter and here at Spurs Odyssey have so far helped raise £790 in memory of the indomitable Dave Mackay. All the money goes to the Tottenham Tribute Trust to help our old heroes pay their medical bills. Please help take the total up to £1,000.
These were the former players who gave us our Glory-Glory years, and few of them enjoyed many seasons earning more than £20 a week. It was not until 1961 that the maximum wage was kicked out and the players released from their ‘soccer slave’ shackles.
Tottenham were champions and Cup holders when the wage barrier was lifted, and for that first season all regular first-team players were put on a £65-a-week contract. Now there are plenty of players in the Premier League who are taking home £65,000+ a week. The world has gone barmy.
What would the likes of Dave Mackay command today?
You can leave a message in praise of Dave when making a donation of any amount to the Tottenham Tribute Trust https://www.justgiving.com/thettt.
THE SPURS ODYSSEY QUIZ LEAGUE
We are now into our TENTH week of the League, and today I can tell you that the winner at the end of the season will get a huge, personally autographed photograph of Jimmy Greaves holding the FA Cup in 1967, plus a signed, framed certificate announcing you (if you’re the winner) as the inaugural Spurs Odyssey Quiz League champion.
Okay, it’s not the Crown Jewels, but it’s not bad for what is, I hope, a lot of fun.
There’s no better place for football souvenirs than here at A1 Sporting Memorabilia, which is the operating base for Jimmy’s manager Terry Baker.
Many of you are on a maximum 42 points for the questions asked to date, but don’t worry because there will be a tiebreaker introduced next month that will stretch your minds and knowledge.
Most of you were again correct with the answers to last week’s questions: For three points, which member of the Double team joined Spurs from Swansea, and for a bonus point: what number shirt did he wear at Wembley for the 1967 FA Cup final? Yes, of course, it was the Welsh Wing Wizard Cliff Jones, who (along with Chelsea’s Joe Kirkup) was the first named FA Cup final substitute and wore the No 12 shirt. Cliff was the bravest winger I ever saw, and it would have been neck and neck with him and his countryman Gareth Bale as to who was the fastest sprinter.
First name drawn from the senders of the correct answers is Bob Reilly, of Ware, Herts, who saw his first Spurs match at the age of four and has supported the Lilywhites for 66 years. I will be emailing him a screen version of my Bill Nicholson Revisited book.
This week’s challenge is triggered by Sunday’s Premier League match against Man United: For three points, who scored the winning goal when Spurs last won a First Division match Old Trafford? (Note that is First Division, and not Premier League!)And for a bonus point, for which club did he score 95 League goals?
Email your answers please to SOQL10@normangillerbooks.com Add your name, the district where you live and how long you’ve supported Spurs. I will do my best to 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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