NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 118
Submitted by Norman Giller
Six big hits required!
It is a measure of how far Tottenham have come under Mauricio Pochettino that a 1-1 draw at Liverpool is assessed by many to be something of a failure. Those who know their Spurs history will confirm that Anfield has always been considered a burial ground, where points have been as hard to find as dot balls in the last over of England’s World Cup cricket final.
The one victory that Tottenham had on Merseyside was that the travelling army of Lilywhite disciples managed to make Anfield often sound like White Hart Lane. I know the Spurs players appreciate the support that hits them like a warm wind at their backs. To drown out the Kop choir was a feat worthy of mention in dispatches.
Here’s a fact that will be difficult to digest: If Leicester City beat Sunderland as expected next Sunday they will have stretched their lead at the top of the Premier League table to 10 points before Spurs next kick a ball.
So the realist in me is saying that Tottenham should be bracing themselves for a race for second place, and even that is not going to be an easy prize.
If Spurs want to hang on to the distant hope of catching and overtaking the Foxes they must not drop a single point between now and when the shooting and shouting is over at Newcastle on May 15.
Should points start slipping away like the two that disappeared at Anfield on Saturday then there are a pack of clubs on Tottenham’s heels waiting to try to snatch the precious second and third positions.
They include Sunday afternoon’s visitors Manchester United and, of course, the Woolwich Nomads, who will be breathing down our necks if they get three points from their game in hand.
It is going to be a nerve-jangling finale to what has already been a truly memorable season.
Something that disappoints me is that so many Spurs fans seem unable to find it in their hearts to have any respect for what Leicester have achieved this season.
They queue up on line to have a bash at the quality of their football, and were unleashing a chorus of allegations yesterday that referees are deliberately biased against Leicester's opponents, as if there is some sort of conspiracy to hand the title to the Midlanders.
I much prefer to watch the sophisticated football produced by Tottenham, but you surely have to admire and acknowledge the Leicester team spirit that has helped them overcome superior opposition by sheer endeavour and admirable enterprise.
And the fact that Leicester are seven (maybe soon 10) points clear coming into the home straight is irrefutable evidence that they must be doing something right, and it can’t all be down to dodgy referee decisions.
They started the season as 500-1 outsiders for the title. The fact that some bookmakers are already paying up on bets placed on them is the best indication of all that most neutrals think Leicester have now got the Premier League trophy in the bag . This would be for the first time since they were founded as Leicester Fosse in 1884, just two years after Spurs got their first kick of life.
If Tottenham are not to win the title, I hope we can show that we are sporting enough to accept that Leicester have had a very special season that Christian Eriksen might describe as something out of Hans Christian Andersen.
But, of course, we will continue to cling to the hope that Spurs can come through and beat them with a late burst. Anything is possible in sport. Ask Carlos Brathwaite after his barrage of sixes that won the cricket World Cup for West Indies yesterday in the last over.
Tottenham have six games to go. Every one of them has to be a hit.
There was a quiet, special get-together yesterday of two all-time Tottenham favourites when Steve Perryman paid a private visit to Jimmy Greaves.
Steve, who these days lives in Exeter close to the club where he is director of football, dropped in on Jimmy at his Essex home to wish his old mate well.
They have remained friends since their days together at Tottenham in the late 1960s. Steve played more matches for Spurs than any other player (854) and Jimmy scored a club record 220 League goals for the club.
On April 20 both Steve and Jimmy will be inducted into the Spurs Hall of Fame. Steve will attend in person for the special ceremony at White Hart Lane, while Jimmy will be there in spirit.
You can get full ticket details here: http://www.tottenhamhotspur.com/events/hall-of-fame-2016/
I know that many Spurs Odyssey regulars joined in the Terry Baker-organised benefit evening for Greavsie in Stevenage recently, and I would like to sincerely thank you all on behalf of Jimmy and his wife, Irene, and family for your support.
His progress is slow, but Jimmy is gradually getting his speech back, and coming to terms with having to spend the autumn of his years in a wheelchair.
Never once has he asked for any help, and it is wonderful that he has managed to retain his dignity while so many people have showered him with their love and support.
As ‘Our Skipper’ Steve Perryman said to me: “There is only one Greavsie and we all love him to bits.”
It is heart-warming to have such great members of the Spurs family as Jimmy and Steve, both footballers extraordinary and human beings of the highest calibre.
Just a reminder that ALL profits from my Spurs-themed books go to the Tottenham Tribute Trust, that quietly does a great job helping our old heroes who have hit difficult times: www.normangillerbooks.com
SPURS ODYSSEY QUIZ LEAGUE, Week 35
Week THIRTY-FIVE of our Spurs Odyssey Quiz League, and I caught few of you out with last week’s: “I have scored 16 goals in 46 international matches, and dropped out of school to come to Europe to start my career. I scored my first League goal for Tottenham against Crystal Palace. Who am I, and for which German club did I score 20 goals in 73 Bundesliga matches?”
Yes, Son Heung-min, and the club was Hamburger SV. He later played for Bayer Leverkusen, the club from which Spurs signed the always-cheerful utility forward for an Asian transfer record of £22-million.
This week’s teaser: “I played 292 League games for Spurs and collected an FA Cup winners’ medal against the Arsenal. Who am I, and which club did I join from Spurs in 1993?”
You get two points for identifying the player, and a bonus point for naming the club he joined from Spurs in 1993.
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 SOQL35@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 Trevor Willimott, of Harrogate. I will email a screen version of one of my Tottenham-themed books to Trevor who has supported Spurs since the Bill Nicholson debut manager year of 1958.
Thanks for your company. See you same time, same place next week. COYS!
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