NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 199
Submitted by Norman Giller
Let’s get things in perspective. On Saturday, Spurs suffered their first away defeat of the season at the citadel of Old Trafford, one of the great fortresses in football. Manchester United snatched a 1-0 victory in a miserable match that neither team deserved to win.
If Tottenham had come out of the game with the draw they merited there would have been none of the hysteria that followed online from fickle fans who seem to forget the praise being showered on the team before the suicidal League Cup exit against West Ham.
The goal that decided the game was, suitably, a Halloween horror. It was a Route 1 nightmare for a Tottenham defence that was still dwelling on Dele Alli’s agonising failure to convert a magnificent pass from Christian Eriksen.
It brought into sharp focus the fact that the man who might have prevented the goal was sitting on the substitutes’ bench as a spectator – Davinson Sanchez, who has hardly put a foot wrong since his arrival from Ajax.
It was suggested by some pundits that Mauricio Pochettino left Sanchez out because Jose Mourinho had said he did not rate him. It was supposed to have been a classic piece of Mourinho kidology.
That is an insult to Pochettino’s footballing intelligence. He would have had his own reasons for leaving Sanchez on the bench, and certainly nothing to do with anything that came out of the mouth of Mourinho.
I expect Sanchez to resume his three way partnership with Belgian twin towers Toby and Jan against Real Madrid in the Champions’ League at Wembley on Wednesday. Privately, I sense Mauricio would admit that he got it wrong leaving him out against United.
Our travelling guru Paul H. Smith captures the full agony of Saturday’s match HERE, and I hope he has now dried out. It was one of those traditional Manchester days when mists of rain made every step a challenge. Rather than knock the players, we should praise them for battling through conditions that were hardly conducive to the sort of quality football both teams like to produce.
The positives we should be focusing on are that Spurs are still third in the Premier League, ahead of deadly rivals Chelsea and Arsenal, plus the fact that there is optimism that Harry Kane could be fit for the return date with Real. He Tweeted: “Recovery going well.” But for all we know that could be a smokescreen. Pochettino quite rightly plays injury news close to his chest.
There will be late fitness checks for Our Harry as well as for former Tottenham idol, Gareth Bale.
It will be a shame for the spectators if these two outstanding footballing masters miss one of the showpiece matches of the season.
Tottenham against Real Madrid at Wembley. It does not get much better than that.
BOBBY BUCKLE, THE BOY WHO HELPED GIVE BIRTH TO SPURS
The campaign continues to honour Spurs pioneer Bobby Buckle with a Heritage plaque at his old home and the original HQ of Tottenham Hotspur, 7 White Hart Lane.
Without Bobby and his cricketing schoolmates there would probably be no Tottenham Hotspur. He was one of the boys who famously met beneath a gaslit lamppost in Tottenham High Road in 1882 and decided to start a football club to give themselves something to do in the winter months, when there was no cricket.
A pupil at Tottenham Grammar School, he became the first club captain, scorer of the first recorded Spurs goal, the club treasurer, secretary and later Board director. He more than anybody kept the club going in the early days, working from his home at the White Cottage, 7 White Hart Lane. It became the first postal address for Tottenham Hotspur F.C.
Barry Middleton is one of a handful of Tottenham Grammar old boys who have got together with the support of the very proud Buckle family to get Bobby’s influence recognised for posterity.
The White Cottage is being refurbished and fit for the home of a hero. “We would like to encourage as many Spurs followers as possible to get behind our campaign to gain Blue Plaque recognition for Bobby,” says Barry. “They just need to go to our simple website and complete a very brief survey.”
Please give your support for a true legend of Tottenham here: http://bobbybuckle.co.uk/index.html
Incidentally, for those of you who wonder why Bill Nicholson has not received Blue Plaque recognition at his old Tottenham home in Creighton Road, the person to be honoured needs to have passed on a minimum 20 years before they can be considered by English Heritage.
Let the campaign kick off on 23 October 2024.
WEEK 12 of the Sports Odyssey Quiz League 2017-18. The rules are simple: I ask one Tottenham-related question for which a right answer earns you two points, and then a related teaser that can bring you an extra point.
The questions are always easy, provided you know the answers!
The winner this season will get a framed certificate proclaiming him (or her) the Spurs Odyssey Quiz Champion, plus a no-longer-in-print autographed GOALS book by Spurs idol Jimmy Greaves and another collectors’ item from my Greavsie collection: Football’s Greatest Entertainers, signed by Jimmy and Tottenham’s Mr Loyalty, Steve Perryman.
Now here comes the twelfth question of the 2017-18 SOQL season:
Who was in two FA Cup winners’ teams with Spurs and won a League championship medal. From which club did he join Tottenham before winning the first of his 23 England caps
Please email your answers by Friday’s midnight deadline to: email@example.com.
Keep a check on your points score, because I can never rely on my server that often loses emails in the ether.
I test you with Spurs questions until the last few weeks of the season, when I introduce the dreaded tiebreaker teasers that call for your opinion as much as your knowledge.
But please remember, we are all in this just for fun, with the common bond of admiring all things Tottenham.
Answer to last week’s question was ‘Sir’ Les Ferdinand, who helped Spurs beat Leicester City 1-0 in the 1999 Football League Cup final at the old Wembley.
First name drawn from the correct answers is Endre Zsoldus, from Budapest in Hungary, who has faithfully followed Spurs since 1971. He has been a strong challenger for the SOQL title from day one of the first competition. I will send Endre a screen version of my Spurs ’67 book (I have now sold all copies, and the book raised £4,000 for the Tottenham Tribute Trust to help our old heroes Thank you all those Spurs Odyssey followers who gave their support. Have you thought of writing a book yourself? My latest book, ‘How to SELF Publish’ is going to press this week. The perfect present for that person you know has a book in them, perhaps you! Full details at http://www.normangillerbooks.com.
Thanks for your company. See you same time, same place next week. COYS!
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