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Norman Giller's Spurs Odyssey Blog (No. 164) (27.02.17)

NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 164
Submitted by Norman Giller

Greavsie and Kane - no comparison

The Under-50s were out in force yesterday, hailing hat-trick hero Harry Kane as Tottenham’s greatest ever striker. Many were claiming he was even better than Jimmy Greaves, the most prolific British marksman of my (long) life time.

I don’t want to take anything away from Our Harry because I love him like a surrogate son, but I have a duty to stand up for my generation in general and Greavsie in particular.

You can read our website master Paul Smith's description here of Kane’s 100th, 101st and 102nd goals, but please allow me to put things in perspective with a few startling stats …

At the age of 20 in 1960, Jimmy became the youngest player to score 100 First Division goals, including three or more 12 times (three five-goal hauls). The goals were of course, scored for Chelsea. Harry has become a centurion at 23.

Jimmy reached his 200 League goals aged 23 years and 290 days, exactly the same age as the legendary pre-war centre-forward `Dixie` Dean when he reached that milestone.

In all, Jimmy scored 357 goals in the First Division, an all-time record that will never be beaten because the division no longer exists (and don’t forget he was being kicked and hacked by the likes of Chopper Harris, Norman Bites Yer Legs Hunter, Nobby 'The Toothless Tiger' Stiles and Tommy 'The Anfield Iron' Smith, none of whom would last one minute in today’s gentle, sanitised game).

He netted 44 goals in 57 England matches, compared to the record 50 by Wayne Rooney in 107 games.

Jimmy was First Division leading marksman six times, scored seven First Division hat-tricks and six hat-tricks for England.

His 220 League goals for Tottenham remains a club record, and his 124 goals for Chelsea was then a club record.

He amassed 35 goals in the FA Cup, and was top scorer for his club in 12 of the 14 seasons he played in the First Division. In all for Tottenham, he scored 266 goals in 379 appearances.

When he retired at the all-too-early-age of 31 he had a career total of 491 goals, not counting the dozens he later notched in non-League football while battling an alcohol problem.

Jimmy’s most prolific goal-scoring season was with Chelsea in 1956-57, while still an apprentice professional. He scored 114 goals (yes, 114) and Chelsea presented him with an illuminated address to mark the feat. On the first day of the following season he made his League debut and scored for Chelsea against Spurs at White Hart Lane. It was the start of the great goal rush.

When he hung up his boots I was moved to write the following ode:

Greavsie - Poetry in motion

Ok, more Laurel and Hardy than Thomas Hardy, but it showed the impact he made that he had us reaching for descriptive ways to try to capture what he meant to we lucky football watchers.

Harry is still in the foothills of his career but climbing so quickly that one day he could even challenge the goals mountain built by the master, Greavsie.

It is ridiculous to make comparisons between Harry and Jimmy. It’s like choosing between Rocky Marciano and Muhammad Ali. Tall, commanding Harry is all power, energy, strength and enthusiasm, while short (5-8) Greavsie was about stealth, blinding speed over short distances, bewildering ball control and instinctive finishing with either foot.

If you are going to compare Kane with anybody it has to be with the out and out attack leaders like Len Duquemin, Bobby Smith and Martin Chivers. He stands up well against them, but let’s judge him over a longer period. Harry would be the first to admit he still has much to learn about the hardest job of all in football, scoring the goals.

Let’s enjoy him for who he is: Harry Kane the first, not Jimmy Greaves the Second.


Talking of Greavsie, he of course features in my latest book SPURS ’67, which is introduced by goalkeeping goliath Pat Jennings and the famously feared ‘Chopper’ Harris, who at 22 was then the youngest Wembley captain when he led Chelsea against swashbuckling Dave Mackay’s Spurs.

Chopper was Jimmy’s Nemesis and marked him closer than sticking plaster. The only time he scored against Chopper was when Jimmy – who always chatted to the opposition – said casually: "Think it's going to p*** down, Chop ... look at that bloody black cloud." Chopper looked up, Jimmy nipped away, Gilly passed the ball to him .... goal.

It’s Ron who tells the story, and he insists it’s true. Greavsie always played with a smile rather than a snarl, and he put beams on the faces of we spectators.

Could we repeat history with a re-run of the Spurs-Chelsea final in this Golden Anniversary year? It remains a teasing possibility.

Remember that profits from my book are going to the Tottenham Tribute Trust that quietly helps old heroes like Our Jim as they hit difficult times. I have only lukewarm interest to date from our army of Spurs Odyssey disciples, but I’m sure you’re going to change all that.

Please order a signed copy here http://www.normangillerbooks.com/spurs-67/4554925859 You will be helping a great cause. It is the perfect present for Dads and (definitely) Granddads who remember the days when Spurs were FA Cup kings.

Their victory over Tommy Docherty’s elegant but unpredictable Chelsea side was the third time that Bill Nicholson led out a winning side at Wembley in those Swinging Sixties.

Perhaps we can look forward to a Harry Kane hat-trick in the 2017 final!


Spurs Odyssey Quiz League, week 28

The Spurs Odyssey Quiz League

Spurs Odyssey Quiz League, week 28

This week’s mystery player:

“I was a left-half who played 32 times for my country and lifted the League championship trophy as skipper while with Spurs. Who am I and which club did I join from Tottenham?”

Email your answers, please, to SOQL28@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 27th teaser was:

“Born in Liverpool, I was a student at the London School of Economics before playing for three London clubs. Who am I and from which club did I join Spurs as a central defender in 1978?”

A maximum three points in the SOQL table to those who answered John Lacy, who arrived from Fulham as a defender at the same time as Argentine aces Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa were settling into the side during what were revolutionary times for football. It was the start of the foreign ‘invasion.’

First name drawn at random from the correct answers is Dennis Stone, from Basingstoke, a Spurs fanatic since he was an Edmonton schoolboy in the 1960s. I will be emailing Dennis 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!

The "Giller Index" - listing all Norman's articles for Spurs Odyssey

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