NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 87
Submitted by Norman Giller
Popping my positivity pills!
I am still popping my positivity pills as Tottenham totter into the international break week with just three points from a possible 12. Let’s hold hands here at Spurs Odyssey and look on the bright side of the goalless draw with Everton:
A CLEAN SHEET, with Lloris again looking what he is: one of the finest goalkeepers in Europe.
MORE PROMISE of a long-lasting central defensive partnership between the cultured Jan Vertonghen and the cool Toby Alderweireld. They occupy the full-back positions for Belgium, but Mauricio Pochettino – once an exceptional centre back for Argentina – is convinced they belong at the heart of the defence.
IMPROVEMENT from Eric Dier, settling to his role as a midfield anchorman with a tackle that is firm and fair. He would rather be in the back line, but is determined to do his best for the team regardless of where he plays.
ENERGY AND ENTHUSIAM from Ryan Mason, thriving on the extra responsibility given to him in emergency by Pochettino. The team is desperately missing the poise and purpose of injured Christian Eriksen, but Mason did his best to fill the void. It’s not his fault he has less flair, and nobody could fault his driving and determined input.
It was Mason who provided the best pass of the match, putting Harry Kane clear for a chance he would have gobbled up last season. But the goalden touch has temporarily deserted him. It will return. Believe oh ye of little faith.
I was disappointed to see and hear people taking pot shots at ‘Our Harry’. I just hope Roy Hodgson gives him the chance to collect a bagful of goals against San Marino on Saturday. It will do wonders for his confidence and Tottenham will benefit from him once again believing in himself.
Next up for Spurs is a trip to Sunderland, holding up the Premier League table in bottom place. With Crystal Palace, Leicester and Swansea in the top four, anything is possible in what is a topsy turvy start to the season.
Tottenham have not been playing badly, but just need to start turning their possession into the only currency that counts in football – goals.
The Stadium of Light is a good place to start.
Keep the faith.
My regular reader will know that last week I gave the count of players with whom Spurs have been linked by the ‘In the Knows’ as 67. Well that figure jumped to 72 over the weekend.
Thank goodness the transfer window closes tomorrow. If I had my way it would shut before the first kick of the season, because all the speculation and guesswork is unsettling for everybody … and it will save a lot of ITKs making fools of themselves.
As an old Fleet Street man I know hacking is illegal, but I would love to have an ear to Daniel Levy’s telephone calls over the next 24 hours.
His conversations with West Brom chairman Jeremy Peace over Saido Berahino will be particularly interesting. Harry Kane would love him as a striking partner, and Levy and Peace have been playing a poker game in negotiations.
Last-minute Levy is poised to bring in at least one major signing before the deadline to go with the arrival of Clinton N’Jie from Olympique Lyonnais and Heung-Min Son from Bayer Leverkusen.
Both are speed merchants, which shows Pochettino realises the Spurs attack needs an injection of pace.
As I understand it urgent efforts are still being made to bring in a playmaker who can pass the ball with accuracy and penetration.
I saw just the man yesterday helping Swansea dismantle Manchester United. His name, uh, Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Why oh why did Spurs let Siggy go? Sounds like the cue for a song.
SPURS ODYSSEY QUIZ LEAGUE, Week 4
Week FOUR of our Spurs Odyssey Quiz League, and most of you collected three points last week by correctly answering this teaser: “I was born in Sweden, played in two World Cups and captained Tottenham in an FA Cup final at Wembley. Who am I and with which club did I win nine successive League titles?”
Yes, it was the Scot born in Stockholm Richard Gough, who was a magnificent defender for Spurs before joining the club of his dreams, Rangers, where he achieved legend status. A born leader, Gough was captain of the Spurs side shocked to defeat by Coventry in the 1987 FA Cup final.
This week’s challenge: “I scored 28 goals in 131 League games for Spurs, played as a striker and in midfield, and netted for Tottenham in an FA Cup final. Who am I and with which club did I start my career in 1981?”
You get two points for identifying the former Tottenham player and a bonus point for naming the club with which he started his 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.
I should point out that if you have all three right to date you have NINE points. That clears up the misunderstanding for those of you who thought you had ten points. My fault for not making it clearer. Back of the class Giller.
Email your answers, please, to SOQL4@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 (4th September, 2015).
First name drawn at random from the correct answers last week is Bill Clarke, from Tonbridge. I will email a screen version of one of my Tottenham-themed books to Bill, who is a former Shelf regular who first saw Spurs play in 1959.
Thanks for your company. See you same time, same place next week. COYS!
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