NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 174
Submitted by Norman Giller
Hands up, Tottenham have as much chance of winning the Premier League title as Jeremy Corbyn being handed the keys to No 10. You do not have to be a political geek or pollster to know that means virtually no chance at all.
I refuse to join in the kicking of Tottenham’s performance against the fanatically wound-up Hammers, described here in claret and blue blood by our distraught webmaster Paul Smith.
Poch’s Pups have given us a season to remember, and for that I thank them on behalf of all balanced Spurs Odyssey readers.
There has been a lot of nonsense spouted about the team “bottling” it against West Ham. That was the dismissive description offered by that vastly experienced football pundit Rachel Riley when co-presenting Sky’s live coverage of the match. It just doesn’t add up, Rachel.
I don’t condone the abusive Tweets she received on line from morons, but I have a nine letter word for the queen of Countdown: POPPYCOCK.
Spurs have shown courage and character beyond measure to even make a fight of it, considering they were ELEVEN points behind Chelsea in February. Without Tottenham’s perseverance the Premier League would have fallen as flat as a UKip election party. The fact is that Spurs have battled rather than bottled it.
Friday’s defeat was simply a case of Spurs not being allowed to get into their usual rhythm and stride by a West Ham team that set up a fortress defence. It hurt like hell to fall at this late hurdle, but the fair-minded among us accept that on the night West Ham deserved to prick our nine-match winning bubble with their best performance of the season.
A major cause of concern for me is that Tottenham do not seem to function as well on huge playing areas like West Ham’s 2012 Olympic Stadium. With a full season of Wembley challenges coming up, let’s hope that proves to be a myth.
Now on to what will be a hugely emotional last ever match at old White Hart Lane on Sunday, when Manchester United will be trying their hardest to be party poopers.
Don’t forget that the Tottenham Tribute Trust will benefit from the fund-raising to mark this finale of one of the best-atmosphere grounds in football that has given us a million memories. There are certain to be tears to go with the cheers, particularly when a procession of Lane Legends are paraded before the kick-off.
If you can’t get to the game, you can help boost the fund by ordering my Spurs ’67 book, with all profits going to the Trust to help our old heroes who have hit difficult times. Please order direct from me at: http://www.normangillerbooks.com/spurs-67/4554925859.
It’s the countdown to the end of a great era, and we need another nine-letter word from Rachel to sum up what life at the Lane has been like: FANTASTIC.
SPURS ODYSSEY QUIZ LEAGUE, THE DECIDER
The only good thing to come out of Friday’s depressing defeat at Stratford is that we can now concentrate on the final lap of the great Spurs Odyssey Quiz League title race.
At the last count, there were 40 contenders separated by just a handful of points in the chase for the crown, and there are many more on their heels. Included among the usual suspects are reigning champion Glen Scarcliffe, a Hampstead lawyer, and inaugural winner David Guthrie, each with an encyclopaedic knowledge of all things Tottenham Hotspur.
Among those in the running for the title:
Rob Alberici (Basingstoke)
Shuban Naushad Ali (Enfield)
Ian Banfield (Bushey, Herts)
Edward Benson (Westchester, New York)
Eric Church (Tunbridge Wells)
Avi Chaudhuri (Walthamstow)
Roy Davies (Shrewsbury)
Trevor Dawson (Beeston, Notts)
John Dodd (Oakhampton, Devon)
Kevin Field (Lincoln, Lincolnshire)
Alex Gaffarena (Wandsworth)
David Guthrie (Wokingham, Berks)
Michael Hawkins (Los Angeles)
Carson Heatley (Heckmondwike, W. Yorks)
Pete Hicks (Brighton)
Josh Hudson (Ulverston, Cumbria)
Ian Landeryou (Laindon, Essex)
Peter Lane (Baldock)
Peter Lawton (Haifa, Israel)
Jim Logan (South Croydon)
Clifton Melvin (Chalfont St Giles, Bucks)
Michael McDowell (Glengormley, Antrim)
Ivan McOwens (Cyprus)
Ian Miller (Hong Kong)
Tony Nightingill (Gerards Cross)
David Pope (Leytonstone)
Alan Priest (Huntingdon, Cambs)
Bob Reilly (Ware, Herts)
Robert Rockett (Cookham, Berks)
Glen Scarcliffe (Hampstead, reigning champion)
Jim Sherring (Stevenage)
Leslie Sullivan (Hoxton)
Richard Taunton (Guildford)
David Thomas (Stevenage)
Roger Turner (Cyprus)
Andy Tyzzer (Shenstone, Staffs)
Steve Uglow (Salisbury)
Stephen Walker (Belfast)
John Wiseman (Austria)
Pete Woodhams (Poole, Dorset)
To try to separate them all and come up with the 2017 champion we arrive at the dreaded tiebreak teaser. This is not so much a test of your knowledge as your opinion. Or more accurately MY opinion!
The winner receives a coveted framed certificate, 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.
As a bonus, I will add just for the champion a card autographed by the Braveheart Dave Mackay in one of his very last signing sessions.
To try to break the log jam at the top of the table, I am – as last season – going to take us all back to our school playground days. Remember when it was team-picking time and two captains took turns in selecting their side from a bunch of clamouring mates?
I am going to give you (in alphabetical order) a list of 20 heroes who have played Premier League football for Spurs. You have to pick just FIVE in 1-2-3-4-5 order for your team, plus one substitute. So it will be who you consider the best player first, and five in all, plus a substitute. Good luck!
The contestant who gets closest to my five all stars and the order of selection plus choice of substitute takes the crown. If more than one agrees with me then we would have another tie-breaker. To summarise: Just select who you consider the five best players in the order you rate them, plus the sixth best as your sub.
So, eyes down, here are the 20 players you must choose from (imagine them jostling in front of you demanding to be picked):
Rafael van der Vaart
You have until midnight on Friday to get your choices to me. Email your selections, please, to SOQL38@normangillerbooks.com. Give your name, the district where you live and how long you’ve supported Spurs. Deadline is midnight on Friday.
I am the sole adjudicator, and will not enter into any correspondence with anybody who wants to dispute my selection (welcome to the Trump-era of justice!). Yes, I will build a wall to shut out anybody who disagrees with me.
I will announce the winner in my next Spurs Odyssey blog … hopefully one that is rejoicing in Tottenham clinching runners-up position in the Premier League.
Last week’s mystery player:
“I started my career with FC Metz in France and played for Monaco, Arsenal and Manchester City before joining Tottenham. Who am I and for which country have I scored 30 goals in 75 appearances?”
A maximum three points in the SOQL table to those who answered Emmanuel Adebayor, who scored his goals for his homeland of Togo.
First name drawn at random from the correct answers is Ben Webber, from Swindon, who has been a Spurs supporter for 36 years. I will be emailing Ben a screen version of one of my Tottenham-themed books.
Thanks for your company. See you same time, same place next week. COYS!
And thank you White Hart Lane for the wonderful memories.
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