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Norman Giller's Spurs Odyssey Blog (No. 218) (19.03.18)

NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 218
Submitted by Norman Giller

Will Wembley make Mourinho home sick?

So it’s Manchester United who will be the home side hosting Tottenham at Wembley in the FA Cup semi-final, with the Spurs players having to use the away dressing-room.

I hope the Tottenham lads don't get too confused, and we must brace ourselves for propaganda coming from Portuguese spin surgeon Jose Mourinho about Tottenham having unfair ground advantage.

Those of us of a certain age will warmly remember Tottenham’s semi-final victory over Man United in 1962, when goals from Jimmy Greaves, Cliff Jones and Terry Medwin put United to the sword on the way to retaining the Cup with a 3-1 dismantling of Burnley.

A repeat result on the weekend of April 21/22 would be very acceptable. We will be very happy to see Mourinho feeling home sick!

I detected tears among the cheers on Saturday as Tottenham moved comfortably through to a second successive FA Cup semi-final at their temporary home of Wembley.

It’s the move to the NEW home that anchored the usual euphoria as Eriksen-engineered Spurs surgically removed Swansea in a match as one-side as a Russian election

It has started to dawn on the faithful Lilywhite supporters just what the switch to the state-of-the-art stadium is going to cost them. Rises of as much as 40% in season tickets has caused consternation among even the most loyal of disciples.

I have a confession to make. Never in the 70+ years of following the fortunes of Spurs have I put my hand in my pocket to watch them play (although I have raised hundreds of pounds for the Tottenham Tribute Trust through my books).

When I was a kid in the Push-and-Run era, my Uncle Eddie Baldwin – my Godfather and a Spurs fanatic who lived within goal kicking distance of the Lane – used to pay for me to watch his heroes. Then I had the privilege of a press box seat throughout my reporting career. Now, as I enjoy the last of the summer whine, I watch them on large-screen television.

This makes it difficult for me to relate to the thousands who put money where their mouths are to get behind the Tottenham march (hopefully) to glory.

It always astonishes me how people manage to fork out each week to follow the team here, there and everywhere. And I worry that their addiction could be affecting their families. I just hope children do not go without to finance their father’s footballing pleasure. (Ed: Women follow Spurs at home and away too!)

Now, with the move to plush new headquarters, it is going to cost even more, and since the season ticket prices were announced the air has been thick with supporters squealing and complaining about the increased cost.

I detest the galloping greed that has enveloped the game, and on principle I would not pay the extra money being demanded by Spurs. But it’s easy for me to say, because I have become a TV addict … which means I also lob money into the football coffers with my subscriptions.

It’s the billions being paid for television rights that make the game gold-plated, and I think it’s disgraceful that the clubs still try to squeeze extra cash out of the supporters, who give the games the atmosphere that is vital for TV entertainment.

But I still love the Beautiful Game, particularly the way Spurs are playing it under the baton of Generalissimo Pochettino. As our guru Paul H. Smith reports HERE, they could easily have won 6-0 against the swamped Swans, and it was a delight to my old eyes to see Christian Eriksen bossing the pitch in Luka Modric style.

Eriksen, a magical, measured metrognome of a player, is the man who makes Tottenham tick just as much as Harry Kane – when fit – makes them explode.

While our Danish prince is in this sort of masterclass form as schemer and scorer there is every chance that Tottenham will overcome Man United just a week after hosting champions elect Manchester City at Wembley.

I think Professor Pochettino will be too canny to get involved in a war of words with Mourinho on the topic of Tottenham being too much at home on the Wembley pitch. Let’s be honest, if it was the other way around we would have a good moan about Wembley favouring United.

Let the FA sort it out, while Pochettino and his players concentrate on trying to get some much-needed silverware into the virgin cabinet at the new ground. Fingers crossed that Harry is back to get on the end of the superb Eriksen passes.

The great Dane must now be worth five times the £11m that Spurs paid for him, but remember that while he is calling the tune it is YOU who are paying the piper.

As I said to Eriksen on Twitter yesterday: “We want a Hans Christian Andersen happy ending to the season.” Christian is the man to write the winning words with his educated feet. I think even I would pay to watch him in this form!


Spurs Odyssey Quiz League

WEEK 31 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, if you’re sitting comfortably, here comes the 31st question of the 2017-18 SOQL season:

Who won five of his 61 international caps while with Tottenham and reached a fifth FA Cup final in 1987? With which club did he start his League career in 1966?

Please email your answers by Friday’s midnight deadline to: soql31@normangillerbooks.com.

Keep a check on your points score, because I can never rely on my server that often loses emails in the ether. You will (hopefully) receive a response from me.

I test you with Spurs questions until the last few weeks of the season, when I introduce the fiendish 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.

Question 30 was: Who was born in Bethnal Green in 1960 and scored 89 goals in 236 Tottenham appearances? Against which team did he score one of the penalties in a winning UEFA Cup final shoot out?

Yes, Mark Falco, one of the penalty taking heroes in the memorable UEFA Cup final shoot-out triumph over Anderlecht in 1984. All the leaders in the table came up with the correct answers as we gallop ever closer to tie-break time!

First name drawn from the correct answers: Owen Wright, self-described Spurs ‘fanatic’ from Welwyn Garden City. I will send Owen 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).

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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