NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 108
Submitted by Norman Giller
That "When Harry met Alli" moment
Writers like what I am (Ernie Wise circa 1974) are being forced to reach for new superlatives by what is happening at Tottenham in general and the emergence in particular of Dele Alli. I have been asked time and again how his wonder goal at Crystal Palace rates in the parthenon of great Tottenham goals.
Out of respect to my honoured heroes of the past I am not going to say his was any better than those from the treasure chests of the likes of Greavsie, Gazza, ‘God’ Hoddle and a fairly decent goal conjured by Ricky Villa at Wembley in 1981.
But what I will say is that it was as good as any of them, and there can be no higher praise than that. It had all the ingredients you want in a magical goal, skill, control, accuracy, athleticism, and that gift given only to youth, the impudence to try what looked the impossible.
What shone through from the heavenly affair is the Spurs team spirit. Alli was submerged beneath celebrating team-mates, and Our Harry Kane was clearly as delighted for Dele as if he had scored the goal himself. It was a beautiful When Harry Met Alli moment.
Let me just say to the impatient ones out there that great things are worth waiting for, and should not be hurried. If quite a few fans on line had got their way Alli would have been demoted to the bench long before his artistic masterpiece. And from what I could hear from the travelling army as Spurs came off at the interval there was some fierce criticism being aimed in the direction of Hugo and the boys.
I felt moved to put up this half-time post on line:
“I cannot believe the stick Tottenham are getting from their own fans. They are so in command they even scored the Palace goal. Patience. Get behind the team, not in its way.”
Before an hour had gone many non-believers were going on Twitter and Facebook to demand that Alli be taken off. “He’s all hype,” wrote one, “Get him off and bring on Lamela.”
“Alli is useless,” opined another. “A boy failing to do a man’s job. He needs a rest.”
They of course were soon silenced by a goal many will be telling their grandchildren about. Thank goodness, the couch coaches are not running the club.
Let us not forget in our raptures over the Alli goal that Our Harry had settled nerves with a Bobby Smith-style header, that Chadli finished Palace off with some individual inspiration of his own, and that once again Hugo proved he can literally pull great saves out of the air.
But now, friends, let’s all come down to earth. There’s a job to be done … or rather jobs on three fronts: the FA Cup, the Europa League and the little matter of the Premier League.
First of all Colchester must be swept out of the way on Saturday to open the route to the fifth round of the FA Cup. It looks easy on paper, but as many giant killings from the past prove it is not always straight forward on the pitch.
We are all holding our breath over the fitness of Jan Vertonghen. His partnership with fellow-Belgian Toby Alderweireld and their understanding with Hugo Lloris has been a main source of Tottenham’s success so far this season.
Thank goodness we have Kevin WImmer waiting in the wings. The few views we have had of him suggests he is a competent central defender, who will not be fazed by having to fill the boots of the hugely talented Vertonghen.
These are the Tottenham fixtures after Colchester and taking us up to the fairly crucial NLD at the Lane on March 5 …
February 2, Premier League: Norwich City (away, 7.45)
February 6, Premier League: Watford (home, 3.00)
February 14, Premier League: Man City (away, 4.15)
February 18, Europa League: Fiorentina (away, 6.00)
February 20, FA Cup fifth round (provisional, if qualified)
February 25, Europa League: Fiorentina (home, 8.05)
February 28, Premier League: Swansea City (home, 2.05)
March 2: Premier League: West Ham United (away, 7.45)
March 5: Premier League, Arsenal (home, 12.45)
We are going to be limp rags if Spurs are still competing on all fronts by the time of the North London Derby.
Let’s just hope there are many more Alli-style magical moments to help recharge our batteries.
This spectating lark is hard work. COYS!
SPURS ODYSSEY QUIZ LEAGUE, Week 25
Week TWENTY-FIVE of our Spurs Odyssey Quiz League, and most of you were on the ball with last week’s teaser: “I have won 109 international caps and scored 24 Premier League goals for Tottenham, including a then record-equalling goal in five successive matches. Who am I and to which club did I return when leaving Spurs?”
Yes, of course, the silky smooth Dutchman Rafa van der Vaart, who returned to Hamburg when leaving Tottenham all too early. I would rate him very high in the list of greatest overseas players to pull on the Lilywhite shirt.
This week’s teaser: “I played 67 first-team games for Tottenham and won 82 international caps, including in three World Cup final tournaments. Who am I and with which club did I make the first of my Premier League record 310 successive appearances?”
You get two points for identifying the player, and a bonus point for naming the club with which he played the first of his Premier League record 310 successive matches.
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 SOQL25@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 Ivan McOwens of Cyrpus via North London and Southend. I will email a screen version of one of my Tottenham-themed books to Ivan, who has been a Spurs supporter since the early 1950s and the Push and Run era.
Thanks for your company. See you same time, same place next week. COYS!
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