NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 111
Submitted by Norman Giller
Now we definitely dare dream!
Well it wasn’t quite a Valentine’s Day massacre, but my mascara was running as I wept over that beautifully composed winning goal by birthday boy Christian Eriksen at the Etihad yesterday. I’ve made that up about the mascara just to grab your interest, but the tears were genuine.
Suddenly, suddenly after a wait of 55 years there really is a chance of nicking the championship. I was serving my apprenticeship in alliteration in the press box the last time Spurs won the title in 1960-61, and I’ve warmed myself on the memory ever since.
I was just starting my love affair with Spurs as a kid in short trousers when Arthur Rowe’s Push and Run masters lifted the championship in 1950-51, so I feel sorry for the majority of you out there who would not have experienced the joy of being top of the football mountain.
But now we definitely dare dream. And even if the dream does not come true this season what a ride we’re having, and what great things we have lying ahead in a state-of-the-art stadium and (hopefully, hopefully) led by one of the finest young managers in captivity.
The problem with Spurs keeping on winning is that Mauricio (Just One) Pochettino is getting bigger and bigger on the radar screens of the major major clubs in the world.
I was delighted to hear him talking after yesterday’s heart-stopping victory about the future of his bright young team. “They are young and learning all the time and the experience will show in the future,” he said in that made-in-Argentina accent that must have the ladies swooning.
The future’s bright. The future’s Pochettino.
What he has built as well as a team of magnificently prepared athletes (for that is what they are, over and above being footballers), is a team spirit on which you can warm your hands and your heart. It was epitomised by the way Danny Rose produced two moments that deserved a bravery-in-action medal. He twice took the ball in the bread basket while defending with raw courage. If that had been me, I would have taken to my bed for two weeks. Danny was the Valentine’s Day rose that would not wilt. I bet he ain’t half sore today!
The focus on this being a team effort was further spotlighted at the end when the players made a point of celebrating with the Tottenham fans, acknowledging the importance of their presence and their vocal input rather than taking them for granted.
It would not have been lost on the more discerning of you that the crucial second goal was created by Erik Lamela and finished off in style by Christian Eriksen, two of the key players bought from the money received for Gareth Bale. Who said the cash was wasted? Thank you, Gareth.
Now let’s try to keep our feet on the ground (I say while typing this from up here on the ceiling). Don't forget, we have all pledged to follow the cliché road of taking one game at a time, and just to remind you these are our next half dozen challenges:
Thursday, Europa League: Fiorentina (away, 6.00)
Sunday, FA Cup fifth round: Crystal Palace (home, 3.00)
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)
Fighting on three fronts. It’s going to be hard, as much for we spectators as the players. My heart was racing so fast yesterday that I was urging referee Mark Clattenburg to blow the final whistle with fifteen minutes still to go.
But he had already done us a great favour with the penalty that should never have been, so there was only so much we could have expected from him.
Trying not to show too much bias, I see no match in that fixture list that we cannot win right up to the explosion that will be this year’s NLD, which we can already forecast will be the Collision of this Century for both clubs.
Will my ticker stand up to it? Will my mascara be running again? Will I wake up and find this is all a dream?
Watch this space.
I have often mentioned here on Paul Smith’s Spurs Odyssey treasure island that it reaches all around the globe, and I get email correspondence from Tottenham fans as far out as Australia, Indonesia, India, Norway, Denmark and Estonia, and lots from the good old US of A, where Spurs have a huge following.
We are all bound together by a mutual love for Tottenham Hotspur, and that indefinable Spurs spirit is best captured by an article I read on line here:
It is written by a Welsh-born, California-based Hollywood journalist and scriptwriter called Ashley Collie.
We have become good on-line mates through our shared admiration of all things Tottenham, and when you read of his thoughts and experiences you will have a better idea of why the love for Spurs travels around the world in more than 80 ways.
He also draws attention to the upcoming Terry Baker-organised benefit event for the one and only Jimmy Greaves, who is home from hospital this week but still with a long and difficult uphill fight to a decent quality of life.
So off you go for a fleeting trip to Los Angeles, but don’t forget to come back here for your weekly Spurs Odyssey Quiz League test. See you in a few minutes.
SPURS ODYSSEY QUIZ LEAGUE, Week 28
Week TWENTY-EIGHT of our Spurs Odyssey Quiz League, and I caught few of you out with last 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?”
The answer: John Lacy who moved on to Crystal Palace for his final kicks in League football. An intelligent man who studied at London School of Economics, John still occasionally turns out for the Spurs Legends. I felt sorry for him when one of his best-forgotten experiences in a Spurs shirt was in the team that got pounded 7-0 on his hometown pitch at Anfield in 1978. He was big in every way, in physique, personality and in heart. Not the best central defender we’ve ever had, but he left his mark.
This week’s teaser: “Capped 102 times, I played 85 League matches for Tottenham before moving to the Bundesliga. I later played for Fulham. Who am I and what was my first English club?”
You get two points for identifying the player, and a bonus point for naming his first English League club.
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 27 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 SOQL28@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 Johnny Crompton of Isleworth. I will email a screen version of one of my Tottenham-themed books to Johnny, who has been a Spurs disciple since 1964.
Thanks for your company. See you same time, same place next week. COYS!
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