NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 259
Submitted by Norman Giller
So the first two matches of the New Year – Chelsea tomorrow, Manchester United on Sunday – could signpost whether this really is going to be Tottenham’s return-to-silverware season. Spurs are playing their best-quality football for decades, but the final measure is what’s on show in the trophy cabinet. At the moment, it is cobwebs.
None of us need reminding that it is 10 years since a Spurs skipper raised a cup, and you need to be thirty-something to have clear memories of the last time the FA Cup ‘came home’ to the Lane.
Our Harry Kane was not even within striking distance of mother Earth when Gary Mabbutt lifted the FA Cup in 1991. Now he dreams of shooting Spurs to glory, and nobody is keener to see him succeed than club Legend Cliff Jones.
Cliff and I follow each other on Twitter and I was delighted to see he and Kane exchanging Tweets after Harry had drawn level with him as Tottenham’s fourth all-time most prolific goal scorer:
Two all-time Tottenham greats bowing the knee to each other. How heartwarming to have two dedicated Lilywhites carrying on the sportsmanship that has always been a Spurs tradition.
Cliff, 83 years young and looking as fit as a butcher’s dog, will be rooting for Harry to overtake his 159-goal haul (remarkable for a winger!) as Spurs try to get a toehold in the League Cup final in the crucial semi-final first leg against Chelsea tomorrow.
Regardless of the result, all concentration must then be on the vital next match, when Manchester United are the visitors to Wembley.
I am sure you are as infuriated as me to hear/read “the experts” continually discussing the Premier League as a two-horse race, but that is precisely what it will become if Spurs fail to stop the resurgence of United on Sunday.
Their five-wins-on-a-trot sequence under the caretaker management of Ole Gunnar Solskjær has given them a momentum that Tottenham need to halt if they are to continue to challenge Liverpool and Man City for the Premier League crown.
What a two-edged sword! If Spurs win, it will give new impetus to the rumours that Mauricio Pochettino is taking over at Old Trafford this coming summer. If United win, the possibility of Solskjær being given the job full-time will strengthen.
Meantime, we last night drew a teasing fourth round tie against Crystal Palace after being buoyed by Friday’s seven-goal trouncing of Tranmere – all the gory and glory details in Paul H. Smith’s match report HERE. It was the Magnificent Seven from Super Spurs. Put the first half against Cardiff with that second-half at Prenton Park and you have football perfection
The FA Cup challenge continues at Selhurst Park, but now the next two matches could decide whether we continue to chase honours across four fronts. Pass the blood pressure tablets, nurse.
Happy New Year!
Question No 21 in this 2018-19 SOQL season:
Which defender has won 103 international caps, joined Spurs from Manchester City and which team does he now skipper?
Please email your answer to me at SOQL21@normangillerbooks.com. Deadline: midnight this Friday. I will respond to all who take part.
This year’s prizes for the champion: A framed Harry Kane autographed picture, two books from my Spurs collection with autographs from Jimmy Greaves, Steve Perryman and Dave Mackay, and (most precious of all) a framed certificate announcing the winner as SOQL champion.
Last week I asked: Which London-born player won back-to-back FA Cup winners’ medals with Tottenham before moving to Charlton, and which number shirt did he wear in both finals (including the replays)?
Yes, it was big-hearted Paul (Max) Miller, who wore the No 3 shirt although playing in central defence. He and ‘Mad Dog’ Graham Roberts were a formidable pair at the heart of the Spurs defence and did not believe in taking prisoners. I wonder how they would have got on in today’s more sanitised game?
Please keep a check on your scores. I will be trusting you to count your points as I do not have faith in my email server.
Thank you for taking part. Have a wonderful 2019. See you back here same time, same place next week. Keep the faith. COYS!
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