NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 120
Submitted by Norman Giller
76 year old Norman Giller says "Pochettino is putting together the most gifted Tottenham team of my lifetime"
Gather round friends, I have something fairly major to say. Last night’s 4-0 dismantling of Stoke City convinces me that Mauricio Pochettino is putting together the most gifted Tottenham team of my lifetime.
That is quite a statement when you consider that I celebrated birthday number 76 yesterday, and have been a witness to the highs and lows of Tottenham since the 1950-51 days of the Push and Run side.
I refuse to say they have overtaken the best of the teams – Bill Nicholson’s Double side – because they have no silverware to support their case, and I must stay loyal to the memory of Danny, Dave, John White, Smithy and Co.
But I am sure it is only a matter of time before Pochettino’s Pups have a trophy or three to show for their prodigious skill and infectious enthusiasm and energy.
I was asked on Twitter last night how Bill Nicholson would have rated the current team as they try to chase down Leicester in the last furlong of this topsy-turvy season.
I said that he would be purring in paradise, or better still Spurring.
It is still Leicester’s title to lose, and they have the Premier League trophy in their sights. But you can sense a change in the weather forecast as a hurricane of hope hits the Tottenham backs.
I loved the elegant style of Spurs last night. That cool all-blue kit made them look like an ocean at its most powerful, moving forward in waves of attacks that had the usually mean Stoke City defence rocking as if caught in a tsunami of turbulence.
Our Harry got the Man of the Match award, but – as he admitted – it would have gone to his stunning side-kick Dele Alli if he had not managed to somehow hit a post with the empty net facing him like a wide-open door. The miss had Pochettino falling to the floor in disbelief, a rare show of passion that revealed that under his apparent calm exterior there is desire for victory equal to that shown by any Tottenham fan.
Now we wait to see not only if Tottenham can snatch the title away from Leicester, but also if Harry Kane can edge out Jamie Vardy for the PFA Player of the Year award next Sunday. The “one-season wonder” is finishing the campaign like an express train, while the mean-tempered Mr. Vardy is coming off the rails.
Toby or not Toby, that is the question as we approach Tottenham player of the year award voting time. I cannot believe that the rock-solid Alderweireld is not on the PFA roll call for the season. He is a challenger to Harry Kane and Dele Alli for the Spurs choice, while Hugo ‘The Boss’ Lloris must be in the running. Then also to be considered are the Danish midfield marshall Christian Eriksen, the anchorman Eric Dier and the now-consistent ball master Erik Lamela. It is a sure sign that this season’s success run has been a true team effort when so many players come to mind for the premier player prize.
And it is as a team that they are famously taking each game at a time, and these are their last four challenges of the most memorable season for years:
April 25: West Bromwich Albion home
May 2: Chelsea away
May 8: Southampton home
May 15: Newcastle away
Every match has to be won. And for this old hack that will mean every match will be celebrated like a birthday.
The title would be the icing on the cake.
One of the best birthday calls I had yesterday was from the Greavsie household, with Jimmy and his wonderful wife Irene wanting to pass on their good wishes. Just eleven months ago Jimmy would have been unable to remember his own birthday, let alone mine.
Now faced with a future in a wheelchair, he is making a brave fight back after his devastating stroke in May last year. Supporters at the Tottenham Hall of Fame dinner tomorrow (April 20) will see him forcing himself to make a filmed thank you to all those who have supported him through his ordeal.
It is going to be a hugely nostalgic night, with not only Jimmy but Captain Marvel Steve Perryman at long last being inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Terry Baker, Jimmy’s manager and pal, tells me that donations are still reaching him following the heart-warming benefit night at Stevenage recently, when there was a massive turn-out of Tottenham fans paying their respects to the greatest goalscorer in the club’s history.
I try to support all old Lane favourites by passing on the profits from my Spurs-themed books to the Tottenham Tribute Trust. Have a peep here and see if there is any book that takes your fancy, knowing that you will be helping a good cause (and, of course, getting a great read!): www.normangillerbooks.com
SPURS ODYSSEY QUIZ LEAGUE, Week 37
Week THIRTY-SEVEN of our Spurs Odyssey Quiz League, and like the Premier League title race it is going to go down to the wire, with a cluster of contestants gathered at the top of the table. I will soon be sorting you out with a tie breaker or two based on opinion as well as fact. Meantime I caught very few out with last week’s teaser: “I was born in Peterborough, made my League debut for the other North London club and have won seven international caps. Who am I, and from which Lancashire club did I join Tottenham?”
Yes, it was David Bentley, who arrived at Spurs from Blackburn. He rarely lived up to expectations, but will always be remembered for his corking goal against the Gooners club with which he briefly started his career … and Harry Redknapp will never forget him tipping a bucket of water over him during a television interview. But we know who finished up looking the drip.
This week’s teaser: “I won the first of 41 England caps with Leeds before moving to Spurs in 2004. Who am I and against which team did I score a goal for Tottenham with a free-kick from 95 yards in 2007?”
You get two points for identifying the player, and a bonus point for naming the team against which he scored with a 95-yard free-kick.
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 SOQL37@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 Terry Dawson, of Coventry. I will email a screen version of one of my Tottenham-themed books to Terry who first started supporting Spurs when he lived in Hertfordshire in the early 1960s.
Thanks for your company. See you same time, same place next week. COYS!
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