NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 175
Submitted by Norman Giller
Apologies for the tears staining this web page. I held it together for most of yesterday until that rainbow appeared over the Lane and then I allowed myself to be submerged in a sea of emotion.
At that moment when the almighty orchestrator in the sky worked his magic I could suddenly hear the ghosts of Tottenham’s great past joining in the anthem of acclaim for the glory-glory years.
We could hear you Bobby Buckle, Bertie Bliss, John Cameron, Jimmy Dimmock, Arthur Grimsdell, Willie Hall … we could hear you Arthur Rowe, Ted Ditchburn, Les Bennett, The Duke, Alf Ramsey, Ronnie Burgess ... we could hear you Charmer Harmer, John White, Bill Brown, Danny Boy, Indestructible Dave ... Cyril ‘Nice One’ Knowles, Jimmy Neighbour, Peter Baker, Ron Henry, the mighty Smithy ... we could hear you. We could hear you dear Bill Nicholson. We could hear all of the voices shouting from The Shelf.
The final whistle has sounded for The Lane. But ... Glory Glory Hallelujah, the spirit of Spurs will march on into the new ground bathed in the promise of that beautiful rainbow that was like a signpost for great things to come.
A word of praise here for the often maligned Daniel Levy. We can now see with our own eyes the evidence of his skilled planning as the new stadium starts to rise towards the skies like a futuristic, space age monument to architecture. He has been heavily criticised by people who would not even be able to organise a loft conversion. Now we are on the brink of being a major club not just in Britain, not just in Europe, but in the world.
Webmaster Paul Smith describes the final shots at the Lane here; a victory over Man United that was much more emphatic and impressive than the 2-1 scoreline suggests.
Now it is onwards and upwards, first with a season at football’s headquarters at Wembley, where Spurs must prove they can play just as consistently well as at the Old Lane.
I just hope we can transfer the atmosphere captured at the Old Lane last night to Wembley and then carry it with us to the New Lane (will we ever call it anything else?). The noise emanating from all those Tottenham throats was in danger of knocking down the stands without need of the wrecking balls. And there were a lot of wrecking balls knocked into the United defence, that at times looked as easy to take apart as if by a hacker attacking the NHS computers. The finest passes came from the great little Dane Christian Eriksen, who has this season emerged as capable a midfield maestro as the artistic Luka Modric. I can give him no higher praise. He has today been named Spurs Player of the Year, and that is a thoroughly deserved accolade.
I understand from good contacts that it is likely we will move into the new era without brilliant right-back Kyle Walker, whose head has apparently been turned by the promise of huge wages at the Etihad. Who can blame him as a young professional athlete from wanting to secure his future, but I bet he is torn apart at the thought of missing what are going to be exciting days at the new Tottenham.
My thoughts last night drifted to three all-time greats missing from the parade of Legends: 854-game Steve Perryman, laughing cavalier Paul Gascoigne, and the greatest goal scorer any of us are ever likely to see, Jimmy Greaves. Steve apologised for his absence on Facebook, pointing out that he is Spurs forever, and Paul is busy fighting (and we hope beating) his personal demons.
It was touch and go whether Jimmy would make it, but it was finally decided that the occasion would have been too much of an emotional strain.
I am hopeful that Spurs will eventually mark his stunning contribution to the club’s footballing fortunes with a statue.
Perhaps somewhere over the rainbow …
Farewell White Hart Lane. And thanks for the memories.
SPURS ODYSSEY QUIZ LEAGUE, THE NEW CHAMPION
The 2016-17 Spurs Odyssey Quiz League championship has gone across the Pond to New York based lawyer Edward Benson, a Tottenham disciple since his growing-up days in Southgate in the 1960s.
He saw off more than 60 challengers for the crown by agreeing in correct order with my line-up of the five best players to wear the Lilywhite shirt since the launch of the Premier League in 1991 …
1. GARETH BALE
2. LEDLEY KING
3. LUKA MODRIC
4. JURGEN KLINSMANN
5. HARRY KANE
And Edward also selected the same substitute as me: DELE ALLI.
Several of you had a similar line-up but in different permutations. Our two previous champions – Glen Scarcliffe and David Guthrie – hit the post with their selections, both preferring Ledley ahead of Gareth.
For me, Bale is one of the few truly world-class players produced in the British isles in modern times. It was a pleasure and a privilege to see him performing in a Tottenham shirt.
I will not bore you with reasons for each of my selections; suffice to say that I was thinking world class in each case.
There’s something about the legal eagles that draws them to Tottenham. Last year’s winner Glen Scarcliffe is a Hampstead solicitor, and Edward is now a respected attorney, who was was pipped for the title last season.
He summed up what it is like trying to follow my reasoning: “This phase of the competition reminds me of my first boss in the US who advised that my continued success at the firm would depend on my ability to read his mind! As he was an alcoholic megalomaniac, the thought of delving into his grey matter was an unappetising prospect.”
I am tee-total, but will accept megalomania as among my virtues :-) I have even got as much hair as Donald the Trump. Anybody disputing my decision will find themselves hitting a brick wall, provided I can get the Mexicans to pay for it.
On behalf of webmaster Paul Smith and myself, I sincerely thank all of you who have taken part in the quiz throughout a memorable season. It is purely for fun, and so I will not be getting involved in any explanations (or excuses) for my selections. Time is far too precious for me to waste it revealing why I am right!
As the winner, Edward will be receiving a coveted framed certificate announcing him as Spurs Odssey Quiz League champion 2016-17, plus an autographed, hardback copy of my Bill Nicholson Revisited tribute book, a souvenir card signed by Spurs legends Jimmy Greaves and Steve Perryman and a card autographed by the Braveheart Dave Mackay in one of his very last signing sessions.
An autographed Bill Nicholson book will also be going to the two runners-up who got closest to my selections: Michael McDowell of Glengormley in Antrim, and Roy Davies, formerly of Shrewsbury and now living in Llanon in West Wales.
To save you having withdrawal symptoms with the end of the SOQL competition, here’s a teaser to test your Spurs knowledge …
“Who scored a League Cup winning goal for Tottenham and also played for Real Madrid?”
Email your answer please to SOQLTeaser@normangillerbooks.com.
First name drawn from the correct solutions will be sent a screen version of my Spurs ’67 book (you might consider buying a signed copy from me at http://www.normangillerbooks.com … all profits to the Tottenham Tribute Trust to help our old heroes). Closing date for the competition, midnight this Friday.
Thanks for your company. See you same time, same place next week. COYS!
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