NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 112
Submitted by Norman Giller
Blessing in disguise
If you’re sitting comfortably, I would like to share with you my thoughts on Tottenham’s elimination from the FA Cup yesterday by an industrious Crystal Palace team …
Yes, that’s as much as I am going to say about the blankety-blank match. It is already consigned to the dustbin of history, and now all concentration must be centred on the remaining priorities of the Premier League and the Europa League.
It sickened me yesterday to see the know-nowts out in force, taking hungry bites at the players and even Mauricio Pochettino. They had not been able to feed off them in recent weeks and had gone to ground, but could not wait to get their teeth into the team after a reasonable performance that was not blessed with good fortune.
Just imagine (in the match I am not going to mention) if Dele Alli’s shot had not hit both posts in the first-half. What a talent. Both posts.
Mauricio is one of the most positive young managers in the business, and I am certain he will be turning the FA Cup defeat into a blessing in disguise. It will be much more comfortable and less demanding to be fighting on two rather than three fronts
I am convinced that priority No 1 remains the Premier League, and we can expect to see a full-strength side against Swansea at the Lane on Sunday. Then the following Wednesday it’s West Ham at Upton Park before THE North London Derby against the Woolwich Nomads. Tin hats at the ready for that one!
Second on Mauricio’s list of priorities will be Thursday’s Europa League return match against Fiorentina, with the carry-forward scoreline balanced at 1-1.
It will be a huge disappointment if Spurs do not confirm what was obvious in Florence, that they are the superior side. I just hope there is not a continuation of some of the personal feuds that were brewing in last week’s match. It will be fascinating to see if the Italians again make Alli a marked man to try to get him to lose that touchpaper temper of his.
I was disturbed by Alli’s body kick during the match in Italy, and it deserved a red card. This is NOT the Spurs way. Nothing wrong with aggression. Dave Mackay had it in bucketloads. But we pride ourselves on never resorting to foul play. Alli must retaliate by exposing his opponents with his precocious skill.
Sorry to spoil a good story that has been doing the rounds about Spurs winning the League championship 55 years ago after being knocked out of the FA Cup by Crystal Palace and out of the League Cup by Arsenal.
One, the year they last won the League in 1960-61 they also won the FA Cup.
Two, neither Tottenham nor the Arse entered the League Cup in 1960-61.
Apart from that, it’s 100 per cent correct.
Tottenham fans will be showing their famous Spurs spirit when they gather to pay homage to the one and only Jimmy Greaves at the Stevenage Concert Hall on Friday.
Just a reminder that the last few remaining tickets at £36 are available from the theatre box office on 01438 363200.
All profits from the benefit night are going towards helping to pay the medical bills as Our Jimmy battles for a decent quality of life following his violent stroke last May.
The picture above was taken on his 75th birthday, exactly a year ago on Saturday. There was no hint of the savage stroke that was just a few weeks away.
It’s going to be quite a night at Stevenage, and Sir Geoff Hurst is cutting short a holiday to the United States to join the gallery of ex-players who will be there sharing their memories of the greatest British goalscorer of my life time.
As much as Jimmy wants to be there, let me tell you that the chances of him making an appearance are close to zero. The brutal truth is that he is likely to be confined to a wheelchair for life. It’s heartbreaking, but Jimmy refuses to give up hope of getting mobile again.
I had a chat with him on the phone last week, which in itself is close to a miracle because there was no way he could have managed that six weeks ago. He is gradually getting his speech back with the help of vocal coaching. He is managing a flurry of ‘f’ words, which is a good sign.
He has asked that his sincere and humble thanks goes to everybody who has him in their thoughts, and he is overwhelmed by the goodwill showering his way. Let me add that at no time has Jimmy ever asked anybody for any help, and he remains a man of pride and dignity. Everybody loves Jim, and we all want to thank him for the memories he gave us as an untouchable goalscorer on the pitch and as a rascal of an entertainer on our screens.
I am particularly pleased to thank my old colleagues at Mirror/Sunday People newspapers who continue to pay for a weekly column that he can no longer produce. That is wonderfully generous in these critical times for the newspaper industry.
Jimmy has recently completed a highly specialised 12-week rehabilitation course at the magnificent Wellington Hospital, who provided the skilled service with their compliments.
Terry Baker, Jimmy’s manager and on-stage straight man, is the event organiser, and he tells me: “There will be over 700 people paying tribute to Jimmy, including more than a dozen of his old team-mates and we have two top-line comedians lined up to make sure that in true Greavsie tradition we leave everybody laughing. It should be a cracking night.”
My little personal contribution goes through the sale of my Tottenham-themed books, with all profits going to the Tottenham Tribute Trust. I have managed several hundred pounds so far, hopefully with more to come. You can purchase any of the books at www.normangillerbooks.com
The Tottenham Tribute Trust quietly does a great unheralded job helping our old heroes. Please support them through my books. Thank you.
It’s a funny old game.
SPURS ODYSSEY QUIZ LEAGUE, Week 29
Week TWENTY-NINE of our Spurs Odyssey Quiz League, and several of you struggled with last 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?”
The answer: Kasey Keller, the likeable American goalkeeper who started his English football life with Millwall and was a popular last line of defence for a couple of seasons at The Lane. Many of you were surprised to discover he won 102 international caps.
This week’s teaser: “I scored 93 goals in 343 League games for Spurs, another 12 in 22 international matches and my son was a youth player with Tottenham. Against which team did I collect an FA Cup winners’ medal with Spurs?”
You get two points for identifying the player, and a bonus point for naming the club he played against when collecting an FA Cup winners’ medal with Tottenham
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 28 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 SOQL29@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 Geoff Brown of Kingston-upon-Thames. I will email a screen version of one of my Tottenham-themed books to Geoff, who has been a Spurs supporter since 1971.
Thanks for your company. See you same time, same place next week. COYS!
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