Norman Giller's Spurs Odyssey Blog (No. 151) (21.11.16)
NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 151 Submitted by Norman Giller
Today’s blog comes to you from the Intensive Care Unit at Tottenham hospital where I have been interviewing those Spurs supporters who elected to leave White Hart Lane five minutes from the end of Saturday’s battle with West Ham. I have been asked not to identify them to protect the inconsolable.
‘John, from Hoddesdon told me: “I was sick of the taunts from the West Ham fans and we were playing rubbish. I could not see how we were going to turn the game round so decided to beat the rush. I was halfway down the High Road when I heard the roars of the crowd. I woke up here in hospital.”
‘Eric’, from Clapton: “I left the ground because I didn’t want to see what I was convinced was going to be our first defeat of the season. It was 2-1 when I left and then my wife phoned me on the mobile with the result. She told me not to come home because she feared for the cat. So I checked in here.”
Yes, of course, I am making this up, but there were a lot of fans who gave up on Spurs, and they were streaming out of the ground as the team came back from the dead.
It always baffles me how supporters who have dug deep into their pockets can leave a match before the end, but if you read our webmaster Paul Smith’s report here you will see there was sound reason for the mood of pessimism that permeated the ground.
Let’s be honest, Tottenham got away with one here and a draw would have been a fairer reflection of the play. On the other hand, we should yet again applaud the Spurs players for the character they showed for the umpteenth time since Mauricio Pochettino took the reins.
This is no longer the Tottenham team that caves in under pressure. They will scrap and fight to the final whistle with Andy Murray spirit (ok, I admit to blanking out the memory of that nightmare at Newcastle!).
MoPo was rewarded for the faith he showed in the promising Harry Winks with a gleefully grabbed goal, and it was the battling spirit of ‘the other’ Harry – Kane – that generated those two late-late goals that burst the West Ham bubble
A triumph for the Harry Hotspurs, with a bow to the energetic Son Heung-min for his input as a substitute. The Korean with the sunshine smile showed his team-mates how to get behind the West Ham back line, and his enthusiasm went through the team like an electric shock as they dramatically turned 1-2 into 3-2.
I was delighted for Harry ‘Forty’ Winks, and Tweeted him: “Take the advice of an old git and make this a memorable start to your career and not the pinnacle. Congratulations.”
He will, I know, adopt the policy of all Poch’s Pups and put fitness and improvement at the top of his agenda. I am sure you will never find a Pochettino player peed out of his head at five o’clock in the morning.
Problems of injuries and suspensions are piling up for Mauricio as he gathers his shrinking squad for the trip to Monaco and tomorrow’s tough Champions’ League appointment.
Once the Monaco challenge has been put to bed, Tottenham’s unbeaten record in the Premier League will be given the ultimate test at Chelsea on Saturday, when key defender Danny Rose will be sidelined because of his fifth booking against the Hammers.
Strength, friends. It’s going to be a long, long week. But remember to stay to the end.
I had a good chuckle last week with Jimmy Greaves over his connection with President-Elect Donald Trump. He and his old sidekick Ian St John were in New York covering the 1994 World Cup draw for their popular Saint & Greavsie show on ITV.
It was also planned as a side show to stage the League Cup fifth round draw, and producer Bob Patience came up with the idea that they should invite Donald Trump to draw the balls with Greavsie.
Publicity-mad Trump agreed, and invited them to his opulent boardroom on the 68th floor of Trump Tower. “Not seen a boardroom like this since I was with Doug Ellis at Villa Park,” Jimmy said, a joke that flew over Trump’s head.
“He didn’t have a clue what was going on,” Greavsie told me. “He’d do anything to get his face on the box. To be honest, he was a real charmer, but I never dreamt he’d become President of the United States. He didn’t back then, either.”
Jimmy continues his fight for a better quality of life following his severe stroke, and is getting accustomed to being confined to a wheelchair. “I just take each day as it comes,” said Jimmy. “I appreciate all the good wishes from everybody.”
As you will see from this clip, Jimmy drew Spurs out first. For the record Tottenham went on to reach the semi-finals, beaten by Nottingham Forest in a repeat of the 1990 FA Cup final.
Spurs Odyssey Quiz League, week 15
This week’s mystery player:
“I have won 58 international caps, and made my League debut as a winger with Peterborough in 1997. Who am I and which manager sold me from Spurs to Everton?”
Email your answers, please, to SOQL15@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 14th teaser was:
“I won 60 international caps, played for Spurs from 1994 and made my early League appearances with Liverpool. Who am I and which club did I join from Tottenham in 1997?”
As if I was going to catch you all out with this one! Yes, Ronny ‘The Rocket’ Rosenthal, who moved on to Watford and is always affectionately remembered for his hat-trick in that mad game at Southampton and THAT open-goal miss when playing for Liverpool.
First name drawn at random from the correct answers is Jim Murning, one of our growing army of overseas Tottenhamites. He is based in Johannesburg and celebrates 50 years as a Spurs supporter the season the new White Hart Lane kicks off. I will be emailing Jim a screen version of one of my Tottenham-themed books. Jim tells me that as many as 90 Jo’burg Spurs fans gather to watch the team play on a large screen, including his well-educated son. You can find out more about them on their JohannesburgSpurs Facebook page.
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!