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Norman Giller's Spurs Odyssey Blog (No. 102) (14.12.15)

NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 102
Submitted by Norman Giller

Norman Giller writes for Spurs Odyssey

Couch coaches' criticism

A club record 14 Premier League victories without a defeat comes to an end against revitalised Newcastle, and Spurs fans – SPURS FANS – turn on the team with a vitriol that you would expect to be aimed at their worst enemies.

More disappointing than yesterday’s defeat was the way it was greeted by a minority of Tottenham supporters, who could not find it in their hearts to give Newcastle credit for the character they showed in that second-half after taking a shellacking for most of the first 45 minutes.

The danger signals were there when Tottenham failed to turn their domination of the first-half to more than the single headed goal from Eric Dier. Goalkeeper Rob Elliot was the barrier that stood between Spurs and at least a 3-0 interval lead, and the Greenwich-born shot-stopper fully deserved his man of the match award.

I could not believe the abuse that was fired on line in the direction of Mauricio Pochettino and his players, without any allowance for the fact that 1) they were running on empty after Thursday’s UEFA League win against Monaco; 2) they are the youngest team in the Premier League and short on vital experience.

I know I go on like a cracked record, but this situation called for a fist-brandishing captain out in the muck and nettles when Newcastle started to take command in the last 20 minutes. Hugo cannot do it from his goal area. It needs somebody patrolling in midfield with the tactical know-how to close the gaps that were suddenly opening up and giving hope to the previously mugged Magpies.

Some fans actually took pot shots at Lloris, giving him terrible stick for conceding Ayose Perez’s late-late winning goal at the near post. They suddenly forgot the number of world-class saves he has been making all season.

Other couch coaches picked on Pochettino, saying he had been naïve with his tactics, and that he had been out-thought by Steve McClaren (who has been hanging on to his Newcastle job by the skin of his teeth).

The big test comes now for Mauricio and his young team, starting with Saturday’s visit to his old club Southampton on Saturday. Then it’s Norwich City (home, 26th) and Watford (away, 28th). It is imperative that Tottenham do not drop any more points to these – let’s be honest – inferior teams, otherwise that Top 4 position could suddenly become a mirage.

Most of all the team needs ALL supporters behind them, and an end to the pessimism that is contagious and can spread through the club like a wrecking ball.

It was a bad day at the office yesterday. Now there is work to do.


Last call to any of you who may like my 100th book (Headlines Deadlines All My Life) in your Christmas stocking, so drop big hints now and point people towards www.normangillerbooks.com.

As you will learn from the book, two of my biggest pals in football are Jimmy Greaves and England’s greatest goalkeeper Gordon Banks. We already know that Greavsie is battling to get some sort of quality back into his life after his recent stroke, and now comes the news that Gordon’s kidney cancer has returned to haunt him.

I am writing this blog with heavy heart, and know you will join with me in wishing both these footballing legends a full recovery.

It’s a cruel old life.


SPURS ODYSSEY QUIZ LEAGUE, Week 19

Could you be the winner of the second Spurs Odyssey Quiz League?

Week NINETEEN of our Spurs Odyssey Quiz League, and the vast majority of you were correct with last week’s teaser: “I scored 16 League goals in 98 games for Spurs between 1976 and 1980, and won 63 international caps. Who am I, and against which host country did I score a winning goal in a World Cup finals match?”

Yes, it was the impish Irishman Gerry Armstrong, who scored his memorable World Cup finals goal against Spain, the country that he has adopted as his homeland. He and his wife run a bar in Majorca, and Gerry (who speaks fluent Spanish) has become an authoritative Sky pundit on La Liga matches.

This week’s teaser: “I scored 48 goals in 125 League games for Spurs, and netted an equalizing goal for them in an FA Cup final. Who am I, and what number shirt did I wear in the FA Cup final in which I scored?”

You get two points for identifying the player, and a bonus point for giving the correct shirt number that he wore in the FA Cup final.

Keep a check on your points tally, because the contestant topping the SOQL table at the end of the season will receive a huge, personally autographed photograph of Spurs legend Jimmy Greaves, plus a signed, framed certificate announcing the winner as the 2015-16 Spurs Odyssey Quiz League champion.

Email your answers, please, to SOQL19@normangillerbooks.com Give your name, the district where you live and how long you’ve supported Spurs. I will respond, and will email a screen version of one of my Tottenham-themed books to the sender of the first all-correct answer drawn at random. Closing date for entries: midnight this Friday.

First name drawn at random from the correct answers last week is Barry Groves, of Stevenage. I will email a screen version of one of my Tottenham-themed books to Barry, who has been a Spurs supporter for 30-plus years.

Thanks for your company. See you same time, same place next week. COYS!

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

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