NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 271
Submitted by Norman Giller
April Fool’s Day arrived early at Anfield yesterday, and it was Hugo Lloris who was sadly the laughing stock of the Liverpool fans. The fumbling Frenchman – safe as maisons for 90 minutes – gifted an injury-time winner to the cock-a-hoop Scousers to puncture what had been a proud and positive performance from Spurs.
It will go down in the record books as an own goal by Toby Alderweireld, but it was Hugo’s failure to hold a tame header from Mo Salah that created the freak and heartbreaking goal.
There could now be many empty seats at the new Lane on Wednesday for the grand opening match against Crystal Palace that kicks off a new era for Tottenham Hotspur.
Why do I say this? Because so many on-line supporters seemed ready to commit hari-kari at the final whistle. I had to do my headmaster impersonation and tell them to stop spreading pessimism that can be contagious.
Here at the business end of the season we MUST have positivity, and I reminded those trashing Tottenham of these five facts: 1) Spurs are still third in the Premier League; 2) They are in the quarter-finals of the Champions’ League; 3) Tottenham are about to launch a golden new age in what everybody agrees is one of the world’s greatest football stadiums; 4) Five of the seven final Premier League matches are at our splendid new home, and most look winnable; 5) Man City are stretched on four fronts,
Lift your heads everybody. If we, the supporters, are adopting a defeatist attitude, what chance of giving the team the lift and encouragement it needs to clear the final hurdles?
Our Spurs Odyssey guru Paul H. Smith tells the cruel tale of Tottenham’s self-harming at Anfield HERE. The climax was like a kick in the unmentionables, but World Cup winning captain Hugo did not deserve the vicious abuse unleashed on him by some so-called supporters.
Time and again he produces world-class saves to prove he has the best reflexes in the game, and it was not as if he made the cock-up against Liverpool on purpose. He was more hurt by it than any of us, but let’s try to help him keep his confidence high. Those butchering him on line – who could not catch a cold, let alone a football – should get behind him. It’s called support.
Just to reprise that April kicks off with the official opening of the dazzling new ground against Crystal Palace on Wednesday, with a sell-out 62,062 crowd. 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
I watched the live stream of Tottenham’s ground-testing Legends match courtesy of the official Spurs website, and the stadium looks quite stunning. Surely Daniel Levy’s critics – most of whom could not organise a loft conversion – will now concede that he and ENIC have kept their promise and given Tottenham a stadium for tomorrow’s world.
The most emotional moment on Saturday was when Paul Gascoigne, who has conquered all sorts of demons, came on for a cameo appearance. He got the first standing ovation in the super all-seater stadium.
Magical Micky Hazard jokingly claims a place in the record books. He told us on line: “I am the first player to injure an Achilles at the new ground. It means I’m going to have to go into hospital for an op, but it was worth the pain to play at the stadium. It is awesome, and I am looking forward to seeing our wonderful current team performing there.”
Well done, Micky. That’s the TRUE Tottenham spirit. Moaners, please keep you pessimism to yourselves. This is one of the most exciting times in the club’s history. Enjoy!
If you enjoy dipping into Tottenham’s past, you might like to tune into an interview I am giving this week on The Spurs Show (https://play.acast.com/s/the-spurs-show/werehome-stadiumreviewspecial-spursshowlive) in which I revisit the 1967 FA Cup final. It was the first all-Cockney final between Tottenham and Chelsea and I will be sharing some eye-opening anecdotes. I capture the game in SPURS ’67, a £9.99 paperback on sale at the Tottenham super store or direct from me at www.normangillerbooks.com Profits to the Tottenham Tribute Trust to help our old heroes who have hit difficult times. Thank you.
Question No 33 in this 2018-19 SOQL season:
Which East Londoner joined the Tottenham Hotspur academy at the age of eight, has won 13 international caps, and against which club did he score in his senior Spurs debut in a third round FA Cup tie in 2011?
Please email your answer to me at SOQL33@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 has won 25 international caps, joined Spurs from Roma and against which team did he score a Europa League hat-trick for Tottenham?
Yes, Erik ‘Coco’ Lamela, who scored his one and only hat-trick for Spurs against Monaco. Erik has still to consistently show his full potential, but is ready to give his all after beating a hip injury that threatened his career. On his day, a real match winner.
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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