NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 149
Submitted by Norman Giller
If I live to be 100, I will never understand how Arsenal’s gift-wrapped goal from Kevin Wimmer yesterday was not flagged off-side (the odds are shortening on my getting the Queen’s telegram, because I am more than three-quarters along the road to the century mark).
To my old eyes, both Sanchez and Shkodran Mustafi had strayed yards off-side when Ozil floated over the free-kick that led to Wimmer mis-heading the ball into the Tottenham net. Retired referee Howard Webb tried hard to explain on BT Sport why the goal was legal, but he could not even persuade arch Gooner Ian Wright that it was justified when the two players in off-side positions were clearly interfering with play.
As Liverpool legend Bill Shankly used to say: “If they’re not trying to interfere with play what are they doing on the pitch?”
But enough of the moaning … after the shooting and the shouting was over in this tense North London Derby, a 1-1 draw was just about a fair result. There was a tsunami sigh of relief from Tottenham fans, because following the dreadful performance against Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions’ League last week we were fearing the sort of drubbing I hope Donald Trump gets in the US election tomorrow.
Our webmaster Paul Smith gives a balanced breakdown of the match action here, and even he was smiling after a Spurs performance that restored his faith that we could stay in the hunt for the Premier League title.
How bold (some would say barmy) of Mauricio Pochettino to go with that unorthodox 3-3-2-2 formation in a match of such importance to both teams. It worked thanks to the flying full-back play from Kyle Walker and Danny Rose, supported by the midfield marshalling by Victor Wanyama and the dance master Mousa Dembele, who would comfortably win Strictly doing the conga.
According to moaning Arsene Wenger, Wanyama should have seen red after a coming-together with Theo Walcott, but the evidence did not support his call for a sending-off. Wenger also claimed that Koscielny’s trip on Dembele that brought a penalty was not a foul. An appointment card for the Arsenal manager to visit SpecSavers is on its way.
It was heart-warming to see Our Harry Kane back leading the attack, and despite obvious ring rust he still looked our most dangerous forward. The way he tucked away the penalty proved he has lost none of his confidence and desire.
He has been called into the England squad for the World Cup qualifier against Scotland, along with Eric Dier and Walker and Rose. I will be surprised if our full backs are fit to face the Scots after their buffeting against the Gunners, and the whisper is that Alli could be sidelined for a month with the knee injury he picked up in training.
Considering Tottenham have now gone seven games in all competitions without a win, I am feeling amazingly buoyant after the performance at the Emirates. For much of the game they played with the fluency that marked them as championship contenders in the first few weeks of the season.
The saddest thing for this old hack was to have it reported to me by a friend who went to the game that there was a small element of the Arsenal crowd making vile racist chants.
They were apparently shouting: “Hitler was a Gooner, ‘coz he killed Jews.”
This sickens me down to my boots. I hope if Arsenal find the culprits they will ban them for life. But I won’t hold my breath.
I have heard similar antisemitic chants from Chelsea and West Ham fans, who add the hissing background noise to represent the gas chambers of the concentration camps.
At a time when the poppy is being worn in remembrance of our fallen heroes this sort of moronic behaviour scars the Beautiful Game and we all have a duty to condemn it.
West Ham are the next visitors to the Lane on November 19. I hope their fans bring their bubbling humour and not a hint of racism.
Leave that to the likes of Donald Trump.
Spurs Odyssey Quiz League, week 13
This week’s mystery player:
“Born in Skegness, I won 61 international caps and played for Spurs up until 1988. Who am I and which manager signed me for Tottenham?”
Email your answers, please, to SOQL13@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 12th teaser was:
“Born in Hertfordshire, I played for Tottenham in both 1982 FA Cup final matches and won 25 caps. Who am I and to which League club did I move in 1984?”
The majority of you were on the ball with Paul Price, who moved to Swansea City before moving into US football in Minnesota and then going Down Under as a successful coach.
First name drawn at random from the correct answers is Gerald Hodges from Watford, who has been a Spurs supporter since the early 1970s. I will be emailing Gerald 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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