NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 113
Submitted by Norman Giller
Pochettino’s Cardiac Kids!
Tottenham, the Comeback Kids of White Hart Lane, took a huge step closer to the ‘Impossible Dream’ with yesterday’s dramatic victory over Swansea City, but please excuse me while I use an ‘F’ word … Fabianski! I honestly thought the ex-Gunner was going to rob us of the points with a series of saves that could have come out of the Hugo Lloris goalkeeping manual.
Then the goal charmer Chadli and the hugely under-appreciated Danny Rose finally found a way past the giant Pole. He had been managing to give a passable impersonation of an octopus for the first 70 minutes, leaping around his goalmouth like, uh, a Pole dancer. It was a match in which we were all nervous and neurotic in equal measure, and there were times when I wondered if my snuff-it time had arrived, but – like Spurs – I kept going right to the end.
As a sofa man these days, I monitor the reaction of the fans on line, and until Chadli conjured the first goal you would have thought many Tottenham supporters had switched sides. Some of the vile things they were saying about their own players defied belief. For the umpteenth time I will say: What sort of support is that? A lot of them don't deserve a (potential) Premier League championship-winning side.
I wonder if they ever read through their posts and see what they say in the heat of battle? They should save the nasty stuff for the opposition, not their own players.
Surely we have now accepted that Spurs never know when they are beaten and can be counted on to battle until the last whistle. I know our Spurs Odyssey guru Paul Smith has said it in his eyewitness match report that they have now come from behind five times in Premier League matches this season. But it’s a stat worth repeating, just to hammer home to those who lack faith that Tottenham are no longer the team that gives up.
Put simply, Spurs have salvaged 17 points from losing positions in the Premier League, and that is why it is Tottenham who are the closest challengers to shock side Leicester City for the golden prize of the Premier League trophy.
Can we really do it? Can we? Can we? Don’t wake me up, I’m enjoying this dream.
During a quiet moment of reflection, friends, a bow in the direction of that cagey old Dutchman Louis van Gaal. What a favour he did us against the Gooners. Hands up all those Spurs fans who want him sacked? I thought so. None of you. Now there is more pressure on the Nomads than us for Saturday’s nuclear NLD showdown.
But first there’s the little matter of a trip round the North Circular to Upton Park on Wednesday. West Ham are nobody’s pushovers these days, and so we have another blood pressure challenging 90 minutes to suffer through.
My Palm Springs-based American pal Steve Kelly reminds me on Twitter that in US football they call the San Diego Chargers the Cardiac Kids because of their dramatic comebacks. Pochettino’s Cardiac Kids has a ring to it.
Who’d be a Spurs supporter? At this moment, just about anybody with a taste for magnificent football mixed and shaken with passion by Generalissimo Pochettino.
You can imagine him licking his lips as he prepares to do battle with Borussia Dortmund in the last sixteen round of the Europa League.
Tottenham will start underdogs, but Poch’s Pooches are not prepared to be poodles for anybody.
Blimey, I think I have gone barking mad. It’s all this title talk. Matron, please pass the pills.
Legend of Legends Jimmy Greaves humbly thanks all those wonderful supporters who turned up at Stevenage on Friday to support his benefit night, brilliantly organised by his manager and long-time friend Terry Baker.
As I exclusively revealed here last week, Jimmy faces the rest of his life as a wheelchair-bound invalid. That’s tough for anybody to take, but when you have been the greatest goalscorer ever to wear a Tottenham and England shirt the diagnosis is ten times more devastating.
Jimmy desperately wanted to get along to Stevenage to say a personal thank you, but his days of long travel are over for the foreseeable future.
On behalf of Jimmy and his family, a simple thank you.
Meantime I am continuing to give all profits from my Tottenham-themed books to the Tottenham Tribute Trust that helps our heroes in their moments of need as old age starts to bite.
You can buy any of my books here: www.normangillerbooks.com or make a donation direct to the Trust here: https://www.justgiving.com/thettt
SPURS ODYSSEY QUIZ LEAGUE, Week 30
Week THIRTY of our Spurs Odyssey Quiz League, and today I can reveal our first Top 20 League table. The following contestants are all sharing the lead with maximum points to date, and there are twice as many in close contention just three points behind.
We will sort the men from the boys with a short series of tie-break questions near the end of the season, just as hopefully Pochettino’s Pups are close to clinching silverware. At the moment the Double is still on :-)
The SOQL top table reads, in alphabetical order:
Rob Alberici (Basingstoke)
Dickie Baldwin (Enfield)
Ian Banfield (Bushey, Herts)
Edward Benson (Westchester, New York)
John Dodd (Oakhampton, Devon)
Kevin Field (Lincoln, Lincolnshire)
David Guthrie (Wokingham, defending champion)
Carson Heatley (Heckmondwike, W. Yorks)
Peter Hicks (Brighton)
Ian Landeryou (Laindon, Essex)
John Matthews (Isle of Man)
Michael McDowell (Glengormley, Antrim)
Ivan McOwens (Cyprus)
David Pope (London E11)
Glen Scarcliffe (London NW3)
Jim Sherring (Stevenage)
Mark Taylor (Redruth, Cornwall)
Roger Turner (Cyprus)
Andy Tyzzer (Shenstone, Staffs)
Steve Uglow (Salisbury)
Some of you struggled with last 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?”
The answer: Alan Gilzean, who was an elegant member of the Tottenham team that beat Chelsea 2-1 in the Cockney FA Cup final of 1967. His son, Ian, started his career as a youth player with Spurs but struggled to step put of his Dad’s huge shadow. Gilly – who had unforgettable partnerships with Greavsie and then big Martin Chivers – was a Nureyev on grass, a master of close control and the glided header. A class act from tip to toe. A superbly-composed book was written about his apparent disappearance following his retirement from football, but as Alan said to me recently: “I always knew where I was.”
This week’s teaser: “I scored 15 goals in 75 international matches, and was signed for Tottenham for £11 million by George Graham. Who am I and which London club did I join when I left Spurs?”
You get two points for identifying the player, and a bonus point for naming the London club 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.
Email your answers, please, to SOQL30@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 Dr Neil Hand of Nottingham, a Spurs disciple for the little matter of 56 years, which takes in the last time they won the League. I will email a screen version of one of my Tottenham-themed books to Neil, who lived in Tottenham for his first 18 years.
Thanks for your company. See you same time, same place next week. COYS!
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