NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 270
Submitted by Norman Giller
This is what you might call a testing time for Tottenham. No sooner are the two ground-test matches over – and, hopefully the safety certificate approved – than Spurs go to Anfield on Mothering Sunday for what can be described as the mother of all battles.
Tottenham need a peak performance at Liverpool to not only keep their distant hopes of the title alive but to set them up for one of the most challenging months in their history.
April kicks off with the official opening of the dazzling new stadium against Crystal Palace on Wednesday week. Then there are three matches in ten days against moneybags Manchester City. The full April agenda:
April 3, 7.45 (h, PL) Crystal Palace
April 9, 8.00 (h, CL) Man City
April 13, 12.30 (h, PL) Huddersfield Town
April 17, 8.00 (a, CL) Man City
April 20, 12.30 (a, PL) Man City
April 23, 7.45 (h, PL) Brighton
April 27, 12.30 (h, PL) West Ham
Tottenham are currently 9/1 to reach the final of the Champions League and 25/1 to win the trophy according to online bookmakers comparison site Bestbettingsite.Online.
I wonder if we will have any nails left by the time May arrives? The first major worry is what injuries Mauricio Pochettino has to contend with following the international break. Eric Dier and Serge Aurier got knocks and are lined up for emergency treatment by the Tottenham medical staff, and there is still the Montenegro match to get through this evening for our England boys.
I followed all the on-line comments during yesterday’s first test match and most people seemed bowled over by the feel, look and sound of the new Lane. The most popular description was “phenomenal.”
Spurs Odyssey guru Paul H. Smith gives the Under-18s test match against Southampton full coverage here. Few people had any criticism of the stadium layout and atmosphere, and the only real gripes from a near-30,000 crowd were about queues at the bars and toilets.
The big question is how Spurs will handle match day with a capacity 62,000 audience. I sense they will quickly get over the obvious teething problems, and all the signs are the designers have managed to build a state-of-the-art stadium that locks in the old White Hart Lane sound.
Now, doesn’t that sound great! COYS.
Question No 32 in this 2018-19 SOQL season:
Who has won 25 international caps, joined Spurs from Roma and against which team did did he score a Europa Cup hat-trick for Tottenham?
Please email your answer to me at SOQL32@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: Who lined up alongside Jimmy Greaves in his Chelsea and Tottenham debuts, and which London club did he join from Spurs?
The answer, Les Allen, father figure of the Allen dynasty (late brother Dennis, sons Clive and Bradley, nephews Paul and Martin, grandson Oliver), and he learned and developed his skills on the same Dagenham playing fields as Jimmy Greaves. Unintentionally, Jimmy threw a shadow over Les’s career. He took his place in, first, the Chelsea team and was then bought to replace him at Tottenham, after he had played a major role in shooting Spurs to the historic League and FA Cup Double in 1960-61. He then completed a second double when helping QPR capture the League Cup and Third Division title in 1967.
Several of you dropped points by plumping for Bobby Smith, who played AGAINST Jimmy for Spurs when Greavsie scored the equaliser in his debut against Tottenham at White Hart Lane on August 24 1957. Bobby joined Spurs from Chelsea in 1955, the year Jimmy arrived at Stamford Bridge as an apprentice.
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. See you back here same time, same place next week. Keep the faith. COYS!
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