NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 223
Submitted by Norman Giller
Spurs know just how Mo Farah felt at the end of his London marathon yesterday … exhausted and branded a loser despite a creditable third place, with most of the criticism coming from people who’ve never run a marathon in their lives.
So it was for a Tottenham team that fell at the semi-final hurdle after an inadequate performance against a Man United side that – after taking a barely deserved 2-1 lead – knew how to close them out with disciplined and determined marking.
The reaction from many fickle Spurs supporters has been abysmal. If you follow Twitter, you will know there is a ‘PochOut’ thread, and there are hundreds who have joined in calling for his head.
What these wonderfully loyal fans deserve is for Pochettino to take the job left vacant down the road, and perhaps Spurs could get Brendan Rodgers.
The semi-final hoodoo has now grown to Himalayan heights after eight successive failures, and it does not help when great sages like Lord Sugar tweets: “That’s it folks, out of the FA Cup and Chelsea will catch us in the PL for 4th place …”
That’s the sort of pessimism that spreads like poison. It’s all hands to the pump now to ensure Champions’ League football next season, starting with next Monday’s Wembley game against Watford. That is a must-win match, otherwise the Pochettino lynch mob will start to run riot.
My sincerely held bottom line view at the end of Saturday’s semi-final was that Spurs had played quite well but not well enough. Even our guru Paul Smith jumped on me to tell me I was wrong, and you can read his assessment of the match here.
I despair of Spurs supporters – supporters of any club – who can only watch one team in a match. Instead of giving credit to a masterly defensive display by United people could only spotlight Tottenham deficiencies. Heroes all season like Eriksen, Dele Alli, Son, Dembele and out-of-sorts Harry Kane have been crippled with criticism. The daftest point being made is that Lloris would have saved Herrera’s winning shot. How does anybody know? Hugo’s been taking a lot of stick lately but suddenly he might have been a hero if he had been playing. What sort of sense is that?
How about recognising that Tottenham were outmanoeuvred by a United team that has got to second place in the Premier League by producing exactly these sort of composed and compact displays. People need to know how to watch BOTH teams and give credit to the opposition when it is well earned.
Instead of that it is knock Spurs, knock the manager, knock Levy, knock the goalkeeper, knock the tactics without a word of praise for the way United got their game together after a shaky opening 20 minutes.
Don’t let’s go down the Sugar road of writing us off. He would never have succeeded in his business world with that sort of defeatist attitude.
Get behind Pochettino and the team on the final lap. Not in their way.
WEEK 36 of the Sports Odyssey Quiz League 2017-18 and within sight of the finishing line. 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 36th question of the 2017-18 SOQL season:
Who got a third place medal in the 2014 World Cup finals just weeks before joining Spurs? Against which team did he make his Spurs Premier League debut as a substitute in a 4-3 victory?
Please email your answers by Friday’s midnight deadline to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
IMPORTANT: This is the final question before the dreaded tiebreak. When answering this week, please tell me your points tally to date, remembering that the maximum to this stage is 105. I make it that there are more than 50 of you within shooting range of the title.
As usual, please remember we are all in this just for fun, with the common bond of admiring all things Tottenham.
Question 35 was: Who scored 23 goals in 39 international games and joined Spurs in 2003? Against which London team did he score a hat-trick for Spurs in an FA Cup tie?
As most of you agreed, the answer is Frederic Kanoute, who scored his hat-trick in the third round of the FA Cup against Crystal Palace before slipping behind Robbie Keane and Jermaine Defoe in the pecking order.
First name drawn from the correct answers: Charlie Davidson from Dagenham, who has supported Spurs since the ‘60s. He writes: “I saw your quiz on Google, and wish I’d known about it much earlier. I’ve been following Spurs since my old neighbour Jimmy Greaves joined the club in 1961. Sorry, but Harry Kane cannot be mentioned in the same breath!” I will send Charlie 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!
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