NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 142
Submitted by Norman Giller
Third in the table! Just think how well Tottenham will be placed when they start playing with real fluency and fire. Let’s be honest, the team has yet to settle into the season but there is something about them that gives off good vibes, despite that frustrating defeat at Wembley last week.
You can almost warm your hands on the team spirit, and once the newcomers have been properly cemented into the Tottenham way of doing things I truly think we could have the strongest squad of players since the Glory-Glory days of the 1960s.
And yesterday’s narrow but thoroughly deserved victory over Sunderland proves we need a squad with in-depth strength. Among the walking wounded at the end of the match – recorded here by webmaster Paul Smith – were Kyle Walker, Eric Dier, Mousa Dembele and, most worrying of all, Harry Kane.
Don’t expect any of them to play in Wednesday’s League Cup tie against Gillingham, or even perhaps Saturday’s Premier League game at Middlesbrough. We will know more about the extent of Our Harry’s twisted ankle after a thorough examination today.
The early surprise of the season is the way Heung-Min Son has hit the ground running, playing with such pace and purpose that he is suddenly a must-selection for Mauricio Pochettino.
The South Korean, whose smile could light up a stage, looked to be heading for the exit during the summer, with Wolfsburg ready to take him back to Germany.
But thank goodness a deal could not be put together, and now he is a key member of the squad. His performance yesterday against a Sunderland team that double parked the bus was exceptional, and quite rightly earned him the Spurs man of the match honours.
Only one other player on the pitch made more of an impact, and that was Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, who packed in at least half a dozen saves that prevented certain goals.
It took a lot of character for the team to climb above the disappointment of the defeat in last week’s historic match at Wembley that will crowd the memory for its sense of occasion. Just watch over the years as more than 200,000 people will be saying they were there the night the 85,000 crowd set a Tottenham ‘home’ record.
I wonder how many of them will turn up at the Lane on Wednesday for a League Cup game against Gillingham that looks easy on paper? But it is just the sort of match than can prove a morale-damaging banana skin on the pitch.
The League Cup is the least of the Tottenham targets, and I expect Pochettino to field a second-string side. But it is still silverware and I hope Spurs make a full-throttled challenge for a cup that has sat in the White Hart Lane trophy cabinet four times.
For the last time, I am offering two books for the price of one: July 30 1966 Football’s Longest Day and Headlines Deadlines All My Life, my 100th book and the story of my life as a sportswriter. They are now both available post-free and for the price of one at http://www.normangillerbooks.com/july-30-1966/4591562026.
Ends commercial. Thank you.
Spurs Odyssey Quiz League, week 6
This week’s mystery player:
“I was an FA Cup winner in 1967 and later captained a League Cup and Uefa Cup-winning Spurs team. Who am I and from which London club did I join Tottenham?”
Email your answers, please, to SOQL6@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. Deadline is midnight on Friday.
Please keep a check on your points tally, because the contestant topping the SOQL table at the end of the season will receive a framed certificate announcing the winner as the 2016-17 Spurs Odyssey Quiz League champion. And the first three in the final table will win an autographed, hardback copy of my Bill Nicholson Revisited tribute book, PLUS a souvenir card signed by Spurs legends Jimmy Greaves and Steve Perryman.
The fifth teaser was:
“I am captain of my national team and have won 42 caps, and so far have played 87 Premier League matches. Who am I and which unusual number shirt did I wear while playing for Celtic?”
I did not catch out many of you, and most identified Victor Wanyama, the African powerhouse who when at Celtic chose to wear the No 67 shirt in tribute to Jock Stein’s all-conquering 1967 Lisbon Lions.
First name drawn at random from the correct answers is Philip Montgomery from far-off Ontario, who has been a Spurs supporter since his days growing up in Hackney in the 1960s. I will be emailing Philip a screen version of one of my Tottenham-themed books.
As regular contestants will know, the League table is decided on facts up until the final weeks of the season. Then I introduce tie breaks based on opinions, which is when I lose friends and fail to influence people with my views.
But please remember, it is just for fun and helps us all refresh our knowledge on the history and the heroes of our great club.
Thanks for your company. See you same time, same place next week. COYS!
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