NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 161
Submitted by Norman Giller
If you saw only the BBC Match of the Day’s filleted coverage of Tottenham’s game against the misers of Middlesbrough on Saturday you will have no idea about the controversy in which Dele Alli was the innocent party.
With appalling editorial judgement, BBC chose to ignore the first-half incident that should have left Middlesbrough with 10 men and goalkeeper Victor Valdes kicking his heels in the dressing-room.
BTSport covered the match live, and have shown the Valdes assault on Alli more than 20 times. The Spanish goalkeeper lashed out in anger and twice struck the young Tottenham player in the face, the second time violently clawing at him.
To Alli’s credit – or perhaps his naivety – he made no fuss, when many a wise old pro would have fallen over and claimed a penalty.
Alli just stood with a pained expression on his face and waited for referee Mark Clattenburg to take action, but he – like our Man at the Match, Paul Smith – did not see it, and he waved play on. Paul’s match report here makes no reference to it, but he did not have the benefit of a barrage of action replays.
BTSport had former World Cup final referee Howard Webb in the studio, and his instant judgement was that it was a red card offence.
How will BBC cover the story when, as is likely, Valdes is given a retrospective three-match ban?
There have been several incidents involving Alli when the BBC have held inquests, but on this occasion they chose to ignore it. They should be shown the red card for such incompetence.
The Valdes attack was nearly as shocking as Mousa Dembele’s attempted eye gouging against Diego Costa at Chelsea that brought him a six-match suspension.
But as far as Match of the Day is concerned – and this is the football show that draws the biggest audience – it just never happened. This time the BBC inquest should be into their coverage. The Beeb boobed.
I have worked in the engine room on hundreds of TV programmes and know the pressure on editors, particularly with a show as packed as Match of the Day. But there is no excuse for missing one of the few talking points in a game that had the life strangled out of it by Middlesbrough’s park-the-bus philosophy.
They took the name of the Park Lane end too literally and dragged ‘thou shall not pass’ defence to new depths.
In fairness to Boro they are fighting for their Premier League life, but if I had shelled out to watch the match I would have felt robbed. It was a game in which only one team was looking to play.
I would give Tottenham ten out of ten for energy and endeavour, but only three out of ten for imagination. They kept banging their heads against the Boro wall like Muslims trying to get into America (see, folks, you even get political satire here on Spurs Odyssey!).
Spurs are now sitting all on their own in second place in the Premier League, but the realistic among us will accept that John Terry can already be preparing himself to collect the trophy on behalf of Chelsea.
Tottenham’s best hopes for silverware are the FA Cup and Europa League, and I hope our Generalissimo Pochettino is going to select his strongest side for the upcoming ties against Fulham and Gent.
Meantime, the chase in Chelsea’s slipstream continues with a visit to Anfield on Saturday where we are catching Liverpool in a less than confident mood. Let’s hope we give Match of the Day editors a victory to remember!
NOTE FROM NORMAN: Since posting this, the FA have decided not to take any action against Valdes because the referee mentioned in his report that he had “taken appropriate action” at the time. Clearly Mr Clattenburg had not witnessed the incident in full, or he would have had no option but to send off the Spaniard. Howard Webb,no less, agrees with me. The FA disciplinary committee should have over-ruled the referee on this occasion. And this does not get the BBC off the hook. They should have had an opinion on the incident, instead of just ignoring it. ENDS RANT
Please take this as a final reminder that I am hoping YOU will share your memories of the 1966-67 season with me for my book Spurs ’67 that I am self-publishing this spring.
It is all in a good cause, with profits going to the Tottenham Tribute Trust, the charity that quietly helps our old heroes who have hit difficult times.
Please email me your memories of ’67 – or perhaps recollections passed on to you by loved ones no longer with us – to email@example.com.
Many of you are no doubt too young to remember it, after all it was 50 years ago. But I bet you know somebody who does! Please help me help a good cause.
You may wish to pay tribute to any of the players who were triumphant in that 1967 final. Perhaps the team line-up will trigger a memory or three: Pat Jennings, Joe Kinnear, Cyril Knowles, Alan Mullery, Mike England, Dave Mackay, Jimmy Robertson, Jimmy Greaves, Alan Gilzean, Terry Venables, Frank Saul. Cliff Jones was substitute and Phil Beal was the other regular, who missed the final because of a broken arm.
Do you have a photo taken with one of the heroes of ’67? Please send it to me and we will find a way of getting it into the book as your tribute to the Boys of ’67.
Even if you were not around when the final was played, I am sure you will have been inspired by stories about that season. I promise to reply to anybody who sends me a memory for the book.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Spurs Odyssey Quiz League, week 25
Spurs Odyssey Quiz League, week 25
This week’s mystery player:
“I won 53 caps for my country and wore the No 2 shirt in a World Cup final. What number shirt did I wear when helping Spurs win the FA Cup for the sixth time?”
Email your answers, please, to SOQL25@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 24th teaser was:
“Born in Nottingham, I have won four England caps and scored eight goals in 144 Premier League games for Tottenham. From which League club did I join Spurs in 2005?”
A maximum three points in the SOQL table to those who answered Tom Huddlestone, who joined Spurs from Derby County. Several of you came up with Michael Dawson, but he was born in Yorkshire not Nottingham. Daws and the Hud are both now battling for Hull City.
First name drawn at random from the correct answers is David Jenkins, a Spurs supporter from Brynmill, South Wales, who has been following Tottenham since his idol Cliff Jones helped win the Double in 1960-61. I will be emailing David a screen version of one of my Tottenham-themed books.
As regular contestants will know, the SOQL 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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