NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 93
Submitted by Norman Giller
The (Three) G-men!
The international break allows me the opportunity to give a proper update on the Spurs Odyssey Quiz League, which is now into its tenth week of its second season.
There are 62 of you sharing first place, with maximum points from the first nine questions. The leaders include defending champion David Guthrie, who along with most of you correctly answered last week’s teaser:
“I scored more than 100 goals for Tottenham and 12 in 22 international appearances, and I won an FA Cup winners medal and two League Cup winners medals at Wembley. Who am I and against which English team did I win a Uefa Cup winners’ medal with Tottenham?”
The answer is one of my all-time favourite footballers, the Softly Softly Assassin Alan Gilzean. He is the nearest I have seen in British football to Nureyev on grass, and his G-Men partnership with Jimmy Greaves was as lethal a striking combination as Tottenham have ever had.
I caught up with Alan at the 75th birthday bash given for Greavsie on February 20, a few weeks before Jimmy’s severe stroke that has left him fighting for a return to reasonable fitness.
We lined up for a reunion photograph, and Jimmy said: “Greavsie, Gilly and Gilly … now that really is the G-Men.”
When I asked Alan about all the wild rumours that he had gone missing, he told me in that laconic, very dry Scottish way of his: “Well I always knew where I was.”
I could never understand why there was such a mystery about Gilly’s whereabouts. He was living just down the road to me in Somerset during my days in Dorset, enjoying being out of the public eye.
Throughout his playing career he had never ever set out to be a personality off the pitch, and he treated all we football reporters with caution rather than contempt. He was just not interested in courting publicity. Gilly let his boots (and head) do the talking, and what eloquent language they spoke.
He is equally idolised at his original club Dundee, where he has been inducted into their hall of fame to mark a career at Dens Park in which he scored 169 goals in 190 games.
He also reached the century mark in England, netting 133 goals in 420 matches for Tottenham.
After Greavsie moved on to West Ham on transfer deadline day 1970 (what a black day that was!), Gilly started a new plundering partnership with the gentle giant Martin Chivers.
It was Big Chiv who demolished Wolves in the Uefa Cup final that was the second part of the SOQL question, but Gilly played an important supporting role.
He was a true artist – whether with a ball at his feet or with a glass of Bacardi and Coke in his hand – and I have rarely seen anybody match him for the cushioned, gliding header, which might explain his extreme baldness now!
Gilly was always a gentleman on and off the pitch, and a modest man who liked his privacy. It’s good to see him recently enjoying a selective return to the spotlight.
Long live the King of White Hart Lane.
This week’s SOQL challenge: “I scored 31 goals for Tottenham in 123 League games, won four England caps and briefly managed England in a caretaker capacity. I was once sold by Terry Venables. Who am I and from which London club did I join Tottenham?”
You get two points for identifying the former Tottenham player and a bonus point for naming the London club that sold him to Spurs.
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 SOQL10@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 Dixon, of Hemel Hempstead. I will email a screen version of one of my Tottenham-themed books to John, who says has been a Spurs supporter since the Glory Glory days of the early 1960s.
Back to business at White Hart Lane on Saturday, with the Klopp factor giving extra impetus to the match against Liverpool (kick-off 12.45).
Jurgen Klopp was once on Daniel Levy’s bucket list (who hasn’t been?), but according to the German newspaper Bild he preferred to wait for a call from the Liverpool club he supported as a boy.
Our hearts will be in our mouths watching England playing their final Euro 16 qualifier in Lithuania tonight. Harry Kane, Andros Townsend, Kyle Walker and Dele Alli are likely to be called into action for a game that carries little meaning now that qualification for the finals has been clinched.
If there is an injury of any kind to one of our lads, my TV screen just might be getting a good Dan Biggar-style kicking.
Spurs are going to need a full strength, fully fit squad for what will be a tough battle against Liverpool players going flat out to impress their new boss.
Mauricio Pochettino has made no secret of the fact that he wants Roy Hodgson to treat the promising Alli with kid gloves. Looking at it selfishly through Tottenham-tinted glasses, I would rather Alli sat this match out. He has plenty of time to build an international career, while Spurs need his almost irreverent invention right now.
We want to give Herr Klopp a friendly but fruitless welcome to the Premier League.
Thank you those of you who have kindly ordered my 100th book: my life story, Headlines Deadlines All My Life.
The book is a journey through my life and times from the bomb-blitzed East End, and my adventures as a world-travelling sports reporter, television scriptwriter (attached to the This Is Your Life team for 14 years) and a publicist and ghostwriter working with dozens of celebrities including Eric Morecambe, Muhammad Ali, Sean Connery, Henry Cooper, and Tottenham legends Bill Nicholson and Danny Blanchflower. I also have tales of the unexpected to share about the Kray Twins.
For those who order now, you will get a signed copy and at a reduced price. Full details here:
Jimmy Greaves, with whom I have collaborated on 20 books, was going to write the foreword until his recent violent stroke.
My old mate Ricky Tomlinson has kindly stepped in as substitute and writes: “Anybody who can mention knowing Bobby Moore, Jimmy Greaves, Eric Morecambe, Muhammad Ali, Sean Connery and the Kray twins in the same breath deserves to have his story heard.”
I hope you will join me. I promise you an entertaining and enlightening read.
Let’s not call it a journey. Let’s call it an odyssey!
Thanks for your company. See you same time, same place next week. COYS!
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