NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 110
Submitted by Norman Giller
Happy Valentines' Day Mauricio!
I think I can get away with it in this day and age. I want to send a Valentine’s Day card to Mauricio Pochettino, expressing my love for his footballing philosophy and for what he has brought to Tottenham in the way of style, dignity and, dare I say, title potential.
Spurs are sitting second in the Premier League table as I type, and the pulses of thousands of Tottenham fans are racing faster and their anthems of acclaim getting louder. Yes, we dare dream of having silverware to parade at season’s end.
And while it is the team that is doing it on the pitch, the success is down to one man … one man with a plan. Head honcho Pochettino has given his players direction like a conductor of a supreme classical orchestra, and he has them all playing harmoniously from the same sheet music. He is the maestro of White Hart Lane.
In my Fleet Street reporting past I had the ear of the people in charge at the Lane, but now that I am virtually out to grass I look on like the rest of you, and what is being put before my eyes is a feast fit for a king.
I would love to ask Mauricio if he had any knowledge of the great Cruyff-propelled Ajax and Dutch national teams of the 1970s. They specialised in a style of play known as Total football, and what we are seeing from this young Spurs side is very reminiscent of it.
Put in simple terms, it involved players slotting into any position and adapting their game to take on the role of a team-mate at a second’s notice. Attackers were encouraged to defend and defenders to attack. All for one and one for all.
Which brings us to the vital goal that settled the match against Watford, when right-back Kieran Trippier came drifting in like a seasoned winger to guide a beautifully weighted pass from Dele Alli into the net from close range.
How appropriate that Kieran chose this match for his first goal for Tottenham, just an hour or so after the Lane had respectfully marked the passing of Peter Baker, right-back in the great Double-winning team of 60-61.
Peter would have approved of the style in which this Tottenham team is playing. There is something of the Double side about them, but the work rate of Pochettino’s team is even more impressive than that of the side that had the League championship wrapped up by this time 55 years ago. To put it succinctly, they work their socks off, and when mixed and shaken with a huge skill element that is a winning cocktail.
Cliché alert: with Spurs competing for trophies across three fronts, we are into the territory of taking one game at a time.
That means all concentration must be on the visit to the Etihad on Sunday for the most important match of the season so far. Ideally, we want the Nomads and the Foxes to slog it out in an exhausting goalless draw and then Spurs to ‘do a Leicester’ on Man City.
Wouldn’t it be rather tasty to see Tottenham delivering a Valentine’s Day massacre … from Pochettino, with love!
The beauty of this Spurs Odyssey website – masterminded by our guru Paul Smith – is that it reaches round the world, and I am continually being contacted by fellow Tottenham disciples from across the seven seas.
Here’s a message for those scores of Tottenham followers based on the beautiful Mediterranean sunshine island of Cyprus.
Graham Roberts, heart and soul of the Spurs team back in the 1980s, will be guest speaker at a Cyprus Spurs Supporters’ Club gathering at the New Fiesta Banqueting Suite in Limassol on the evening of Saturday March 12.
Capped six times by England, Graham has a fund of stories that he will be sharing from his days as a granite-hard defender with Tottenham and a queue of other clubs, including Chelsea, West Brom and Rangers.
You can get full details by email from club treasurer Ivan McOwens at email@example.com
Ivan has been following Spurs since he lived in North London in the early 1950s, when Arthur Rowe’s Push and Run Spurs ruled the roost. He is now enjoying retirement in the Cypriot sunshine but is just as passionate as ever about the Lilywhites. He tells me the club was formed in 2007 and has more than 170 registered members. A touch of Spurs in the sun, which is where the club is basking at the moment.
SPURS ODYSSEY QUIZ LEAGUE, Week 27
Week TWENTY-SEVEN of our Spurs Odyssey Quiz League, and I caught just a few of you out with last week’s teaser: “Born in Macclesfield, I scored 12 goals in 73 Premier League games for Tottenham and have netted 22 goals in 42 international matches. Who am I and with which London club did I net 10 League goals in the 2000-01 season?”
The answer: Peter Crouch and QPR. This stumped several of you, because many people think that because he started his career as a youngster with Spurs Peter was a Londoner. They were also thrown by the fact that he scored ‘only’ twelve Premier League goals for Tottenham, but most of them were of the memorable variety.
This week’s teaser: “I’m a Scouser who played in the 1975 FA Cup final before signing for Tottenham. Who am I and with which London club did I finish my League career before winding down my playing days in Norway?”
You get two points for identifying the player, and a bonus point for naming the London club that he joined from Spurs.
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.
If you believe you have maximum points from the 26 questions to date, please confirm it with me. I am trying to double check my records following some email delivery problems.
Email your answers, please, to SOQL27@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 Terry Jones of Aberdeen. I will email a screen version of one of my Tottenham-themed books to Terry, who has been a Spurs follower since the mid-60s, when he grew up in Hammersmith.
Thanks for your company. See you same time, same place next week. COYS!
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