NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 121
Submitted by Norman Giller
Cutting through the black cloud of gloom
Let me cut through the black cloud of gloom that has suddenly descended on White Hart Lane following last night’s 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion and make three clear statements:
1) I am proud to be known as a Spurs supporter, and would much rather watch the likely Premier League runners-up Tottenham to the probable champions Leicester City.
2) Before fear became a factor last night Tottenham produced football that rather than being photographed and filmed deserved to be captured in oils. We are so lucky to be witnesses to their flair and style.
3) This has been a magnificent season for Spurs, one of the very best in living memory. IT IS JUST THE START and the foundation has been laid for glory-glory years ahead. Of this I am certain.
I did not hang around on line to listen to the inquests after West Brom had shown cartloads of character to pinch a point that was like a Dele Alli punch to the solar plexus.
I prefer to think of the flowing football of the first-half, the three times that Tottenham hit the woodwork and the panache of Pochettino’s Pups up until their boots turned to lead as they lost their way at the business end of the pitch. They needed an old-head player to put his foot on the ball and steer them away from the perils of panic, but Mauricio has elected to go with youth and so we cannot have it all ways.
Mathematically there is still a distant hope that Spurs could snatch the title … about the same chance of President Obama inviting Boris Johnson to dine with him at the White House.
But please let us be positive and not lose sight of the fact this has been a season to remember. When it started, how many of you thought Spurs would be in with a shot of the Premier League championship with just three matches to go? As I thought, not a single hand raised.
I suspect it has all come a year earlier than Pochettino planned, and now we can prepare ourselves for another tilt at the title next year before becoming gypsies for a season while the super new stadium is built. A stadium fit for champions.
And as well as a properly planned bid for the Premier League crown next season we will also be trying to lord it over Europe in the Champions League. What times we have ahead of us, so chins up after the disappointment of last night’s draw.
The one anchoring fact is that we could lose PFA Young Footballer of the Year Dele Alli for the last games of the season. I cannot believe the powers-that-be will let him get away with last night’s sneaky off-the-ball punch against Albion’s canny Claudio Yacob.
Pochettino will have known all about his countryman, whose hard-as-nails approach to the game is not unlike the way Mauricio used to play, an aggressive style that earned each of them Argentine international caps.
The Spurs boss would I am sure have warned Alli not to let Yacob wind him up, but the one weakness in Dele’s make-up is that he reacts with petulance and sometimes violence when put under physical pressure. It is not the Spurs way.
He must learn to control the volcano that is always threatening to erupt inside him and put opponents to the sword with his stunning skills and flamboyant finishing. Yes, it’s good that he has an edge to his game and that he knows how to look after himself, but it should never be at the expense of his team input.
We need a composed and disciplined Dele Alli for the glory-glory years to come.
Chins up. What a great season we are enjoying. COYS.
SPURS ODYSSEY QUIZ LEAGUE, Week 38
Week THIRTY-EIGHT of our Spurs Odyssey Quiz League, and we are fast galloping towards a tie breaker (or two) based on opinion as well as fact. Meantime, it remains tight at the top of the table, with most of you finding last week’s question a doddle: “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?”
Of course it was goalkeeper Paul Robinson, whose long-range goal against Watford remains one almost in the same bracket as the Pat Jennings classic four decades earlier. As several of you mentioned, it was against Ben Foster. I wonder if the result would have been any different last night if he had been fit to play in goal for West Brom?
This week’s teaser: “Capped 13 times by England, I joined Tottenham from Charlton and scored 18 Premier League goals for Spurs before moving on to Sunderland. Who am I and with which cub did I start my Football League career?”
You get two points for identifying the player, and a bonus point for naming the team with which he started his League career.
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 SOQL38@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 Brendan Commins, of Cape Town. I will email a screen version of one of my Tottenham-themed books to Brendan, who has been a Spurs disciple since seeing a Tottenham tour match in South Africa in 1963, when he was seven years old.
Thanks for your company. See you same time, same place next week. COYS!
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