NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 133
Submitted by Norman Giller
The Managing Game (9) - Joe Hulme
It will be all eyes Down Under next week as Spurs warm up for the new season with a mouth-watering competition involving Italian kings Juventus, Champions League runners-up Atletico Madrid and Australian A-League champions Melbourne Victory.
With no attempt at false modesty, the Aussies are billing the mini-tournament as the 2016 International Champions Cup. I will not try to spoil the party by pointing out that Spurs currently hold just the title of the so-near-yet-so-far club.
As I write, it looks like Tottenham need an extra visa and plane ticket for Georges-Kevin Nkoudou, a fast-paced utility winger who is on his way to London for a medical check before signing from financially-challenged French club Marseille. He is a French Under-21 international who is equally at home on either wing or coming from midfield. Sounds like a carbon copy of Lamela.
Tottenham’s original target at Marseille was Michy Batshuayi, whose agent preferred instead to steer him into the arms of Chelsea despite overtures from his Belgian international team-mates in the Spurs squad.
Probably going in the opposite direction to Marseille is Clinton Njie, who was never able to show his full potential at Spurs because of injury problems, plus few opportunities to get off the bench. In the rare flashes we saw of him he looked to have the ammunition to take defences apart.
Mauricio Pochettino’s first priority is getting his players fit for the challenges ahead, and if any of his players think they are going to Australia for a holiday they are in for a rude shock. The Poch demands total fitness for his pressing game, and the pre-season training sessions are brutal.
The Down Under trip will give Our Harry Kane and Dutch striker Vincent Janssen the chance to bond on and off the pitch, and Kenya’s captain Victor Wanyama is a powerful personality who is sure to quickly make his presence felt in the Spurs squad.
With Nkoudou on his way, there is going to be huge competition for places when the Premier League kicks off with a tricky visit to Everton on August 13.
Who to select, who to leave out? Perhaps Mauricio should hold a Referendum!
Ten Spurs Odyssey readers have now accepted my invitation to buy an autographed copy of my 101st book – July 30 1966 Football’s Longest Day – at the post-free price of just £10. It’s a great holiday read (I would say that).
In case you want to join the rush to buy the book, I will keep the special offer going for another week. Kindly order it by clicking on the Spurs Odyssey link at the bottom of the page on my website: http://www.normangillerbooks.com/july-30-1966/4591562026.
You can see an edited version of a recent BBCtv interview I gave about the book here: https://normangillerbooksdotcom.wordpress.com. Even if I say it myself, I don’t look bad for an old hack in need of a preservation order. You could also check out this sportsbook review
End of sales pitch from a hungry writer.
We reach manager number nine as I continue my history odyssey on the men who have carried the baton as boss at White Hart Lane. This week you will be seeing red …
JOE HULME (1946-49)
Born Stafford, Staffordshire 26 August 1904
Died Winchmore Hill, North London 27 September 1991
Appointed 1 January 1946
Sacked 30 April 1949
P150 W64 D47 L39 F230 A167 Win%42.67
JOE HULME, a famous flying Gooner in the historic Herbert Chapman days at Highbury, was the surprise choice as Tottenham’s first post-war manager. The deep chill between the two clubs had thawed because they shared White Hart Lane during the war, while Arsenal’s ground was being used as an Air Raid Precaution centre.
For many years the boardroom at The Lane featured an illuminated address from the Arsenal directors thanking Tottenham for their five years of hospitality and friendship. It was in this climate that Hulme accepted an invitation from Arthur Turner to become his deputy manager in 1944, an appointment that was changed to manager before the 1946-47 season kicked off.
I can say from personal experience that Joe was a lovely, gentle and humorous man, but not moulded for the cut-throat world of football management. He became a respected journalist with the Sunday People following his sacking by Tottenham after three barren seasons, and I spent hours in his company listening to him reminiscing on his eventful career as a footballer and first-class cricketer.
He had won three League titles and two FA Cup finals with Arsenal during his twelve years at Highbury before winding down his playing career with Huddersfield, with whom he collected an FA Cup runners-up medal in his final season of 1937-38. A jet-paced right winger, he had earlier played for York City and Blackburn and won nine England caps. He spent his summers playing cricket for Middlesex as a powerful all-rounder. What a life!
The nearest Joe got to winning silverware with Spurs was when he steered the club to the FA Cup semi-final in 1948, going down 3-1 after extra-time to Stanley Matthews-inspired Blackpool at Villa Park. Spurs, sixth in the Second Division, were leading Blackpool – seventh in the First Division – until a Stan Mortensen equaliser in the 86th minute. Morty completed a hat-trick in extra-time, and Blackpool went on to a 4-2 defeat by Manchester United in one of the classic finals.
The directors ran out of patience with continuing Second Division football and quite heartlessly sacked Joe the following year after he had been off sick. During my sitting at his feet hearing his tales of sporting adventures most of us can only dream about, he told me:
”I was never fully accepted at Tottenham. The supporters could never think of me without seeing Arsenal red. I thought I could overcome that but our League results were just not good enough, and I knew after a couple of seasons that I would do well to satisfy the board that I deserved a longer contract. It was with a mixture of sadness and relief when I finally departed, but I left on less than good terms with the chairman. He gave me no time to get back into the swing of things after I had been off with an illness, and he gave me a month’s notice. It destroyed my confidence. For years afterwards I used to take great delight telling my old friend Arthur Rowe that I had laid the foundation to his Push and Run team. But I was not half the manager or tactician that Arthur was, and he was Spurs through and through.”
And it’s Mr Push and Run Arthur Rowe I will be revisiting here next week. His story is always worth retelling when the topic is great Tottenham managers.
SPURS ODYSSEY QUIZ TEASER
As we patiently wait for the third Spurs Odyssey Quiz League to kick off at the start of next season, I am challenging you each week to a teaser test of your knowledge of Tottenham players, ancient and modern. Last week’s teaser.
“I have won 65 international caps, played for five years in Holland and started my English career with Fulham. Who am I and what number Spurs shirt did I wear last season?”
Yes, the buccaneering Belgian Mousa Dembele who wears the number 19 Tottenham shirt. He misses the opening matches of the season following his out-of-character attempted eye gouging incident in that ill-tempered match at Chelsea in May.
First name drawn: Mary Taylor, who was introduced to the travails of following Tottenham by her “Spurs-mad Dad” when growing up in Hertfordshire in the 1970s. I will be sending Mary a screen version of one of my Tottenham-themed books.
This week’s teaser: “I was a member of the 1970s Tottenham team relegated and then promoted, scoring nine goals in 172 League matches. Who am I and from which Lancashire club did I join Spurs in 1975?”
Please email your answer by midnight on Friday to SOQLTeaser@normangillerbooks.com You will receive an automated acknowledgement.
Don’t forget to add your name, the district where you live and how long you’ve supported Spurs.
Thanks for your company. See you same time, same place next week. COYS!
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