NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 116
Submitted by Norman Giller
The fox hunt continues
It was the first day of spring yesterday, so fittingly Spurs have a spring in their step, hope in their hearts and determination in their soul as they arrive at the business end of a stunning season. The international break gives us all time to catch our breath, ready for the final run in to what yet may be a title-winning finish.
Let’s face it, all neutrals want Leicester to pull off one of the most astonishing championship triumphs in British football history. This time a year ago they looked dead and buried and doomed to relegation, but now with just seven games to go their five-point lead over Spurs at the top of the table looks as large as Gary Lineker’s ears.
At least we are keeping on their heels, and they have got the message from yesterday’s positive performance against Bournemouth that Tottenham refuse to accept the ban on hunting Foxes.
With the goals of Our Harry, the skill of players like Dembele and the richly promising Dele Alli, the slide-rule passing of Eriksen, the midfield anchor work of Dier and a watertight defence in which Alderweireld and Hugo Lloris are exceptional Tottenham are going to keep the chase up right to the wire.
It is Leicester’s title to lose, but the pressure on them coming into the home straight is going to be enormous. If everything goes to the Pochettino plan, Spurs could time their run to get a nose in front on the line.
From here on in every match is a cup final, and ideally no points can be dropped.
These are the mountains left to climb, and I give points out of ten for their degree of difficulty:
April 2: Liverpool away (8)
April 10: Man United home (7)
April 18: Stoke City away (7)
April 25: West Bromwich Albion home (6)
May 2: Chelsea away (8)
May 7: Southampton home (6)
May 15: Newcastle away (6)
Compare this run-in to the challenges facing Leicester:
April 3: Southampton home (6)
April 10: Sunderland away (6)
April 17: West Ham home (7)
April 24: Swansea City home (6)
May 1: Man United away (8)
May 7: Everton home (6)
May 15: Chelsea away (8)
If I had predicted at the start of the season that Spurs would be second in the Premier League at this stage most people would have accused me of having overdosed on optimism.
I don’t know about you, but I feel exhausted just from watching. So goodness knows how the players must be feeling, but with the outside chance of stealing the trophy they have the motivation and the desire to battle through the fatigue barrier.
We can be fairly confident of being in the Champions League next season, and we all know that is going to be an almighty challenge after the way Borussia Dortmund buried us over two legs in the Europa League quarter-final.
It makes me laugh when I hear people describe the Premier League as the best in the world. Teams like Dortmund, Bayern Munich, PSV, Barcelona and Real Madrid are light years ahead of us, and there is going to have to be some serious spending if Spurs want to live with the major players in Europe.
Something to bear in mind is that sometime soon every single Spurs match will be the equivalent of an away game. We will play at The Lane next season, but somewhere else the following year for one year only.
But let’s not start worrying about that yet. Let’s first of all confirm our Champions’ League credentials, hopefully as winners of the Premier League.
The hunt continues.
SPURS ODYSSEY QUIZ LEAGUE, Week 33
Week THIRTY-THREE of our Spurs Odyssey Quiz League, and I had many of you wanting to give me a kick in the goalies over last week’s question: “I won 119 international caps and was briefly leading goal scorer for Spurs. Who am I and from which Scottish international did I take over my role in the Tottenham team before moving to another London club?”
Most of you eventually got to dear old Pat Jennings, with memories of that remarkable long-range goal in the Charity Shield match against Man United in 1967. I was at Old Trafford and Greavsie said to Gilly: "You realise, Al, that this makes Pat our top scorer. He'll never let us forget it." I've left out the 'f' words. Bill Brown was, as you all said, the loyal 'keeper he replaced.
This week’s teaser: “I scored 68 goals in 174 League games for Spurs and later moved to Watford and then QPR. Who am I and against which team did I collect a Uefa Cup winners’ medal with Tottenham?”
You get two points for identifying the player, and a bonus point for naming the team against which he collected a Uefa Cup winners’ medal.
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.
PLEASE NOTE that because my server gave me problems for a couple of weeks I failed to receive some SOQL responses, and so I would like you to tell me if you think you have maximum points. I have discovered three contestants not listed in the recent League table who should have been listed among the leaders.
Email your answers, please, to SOQL33@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 John Bailey, of Portsmouth. I will email a screen version of one of my Tottenham-themed books to Hackney-born John, who has supported Spurs for 30 years.
Thanks for your company. See you same time, same place next week. COYS!
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