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Norman Giller's Spurs Odyssey Blog (No. 287) (07.10.19)

NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 287
Submitted by Norman Giller

Mourinho instead of Poch? You must be joking!

We will have to wait for the inevitable book memoirs to discover just exactly what has brought Spurs to the brink of a crisis this season, but whatever it is the club is suffering public humiliation that affects everybody with a passing interest in the Lilywhites.

There are wild, unfounded rumours of players fighting each other over alleged sexual affairs involving their partners. It got to the point where Jan Vertonghen and Christian Eriksen had to go on Twitter to rubbish the stories as ‘fake news.’

As somebody who has been around the village world of football for longer than most, let me give my theory. I think the mood and form change at the club is mostly down to that old devil called money.

As well paid as they are, there are several senior players who think they could do much, much better. They see old team-mates like Kyle Walker, Luka Modric and Gareth Bale raking in more than twice as much as them, and Moussa Dembele and Paulinho commanding fortunes in China.

This all follows the Bosman Ruling of 1995 that allows players the same freedom of movement that you or I may have at the end of a contract. It was a right fought for and won in the European law courts by former Belgian footballer Jean-Marc Bosman, to whom all hugely paid players should bend the knee.

Now we have key players such as Eriksen, Vertonghen and Alderweireld at that stage in their careers when they are looking to make a last big cash killing. Before condemning them, just ask yourself if it was your son you were advising what would you say?

I know my advice would be to go for the money in a football world in which loyalty no longer pays. I personally hate it, but we have to accept that it is all about money, money, money. The Beautiful Game has become the Greed Game.

We are watching mostly foreign players performing for what are now largely foreign-owned clubs, and the clubs dictated to by television companies who put the needs of their schedules before those of the paying spectators. Football as we knew it has sold its soul.

Dissatisfaction has come to the surface, and Mauricio Pochettino is finding it harder to motivate players who have their minds on pastures greener. This I believe is the root cause of the problems at Tottenham that have been evident for several months.

The players (galvanised by avaricious agents) cannot shout too loudly because they know they will be crucified by fans who are earning much less in a year than what they are picking up for a week’s work. The world has gone mad.

On top of the player discontent, we have a brilliant young manager whose head has been turned by being continually linked to major-major clubs in the Real Madrid, Manchester United bracket.

But the slump in Tottenham’s form – particularly the seven-goal humbling by Bayern, the collapse at Colchester and Saturday’s 3-0 embarrassment at Brighton – have suddenly made him damaged goods.

The Pocchetino gravediggers are now out in force, and I was saddened and shocked to see our usually balanced guru Paul H. Smith among the leaders of the ‘Poch out’ movement during the surrender to the Seagulls. You can get his take on things HERE, in a match report in which he takes no prisoners. (Ed: I disagree with Norman's description of my comments, which you can read in full in the Brighton match report)

I would like to see everybody cool down and reserve judgement until after Christmas. We are only nine weeks into the season, and with a manager at the helm who has led Spurs to four successive top four finishes and, just last June, the final of the Champions League.

It amuses and amazes me to see many people calling for Jose Mourinho to replace Pochettino. You honestly see Jose and Daniel Levy hitting it off? That would be a marriage made in hell. Even more of a joke is ex-Spurs chairman Alan Sugar proposing that Arsene Wenger should take over from Poch. You’re tired, Lord Sugar. Yes, tired.

Get off Pochettino’s back and let him concentrate on regaining the dressing-room unity that has been such an important part of the Spurs success story under the Argentinian’s baton.

We must give him time to steady the suddenly stricken ship. All hands on deck!


Spurs Odyssey Quiz League

Question No 10 in this 2019-20 SOQL season:

Who won 34 international caps, joined Spurs from Luton and against which team did he score an FA Cup semi-final goal for Tottenham before moving on to Norwich?

Please email your answer to me at SOQL10@normangillerbooks.com. Deadline: midnight this Friday. I will respond to all who take part.

The rules are the same as in previous seasons. I ask a two-pronged question with three points at stake. In the closing weeks of the competition I break the logjam of all-knowing Spurs-history experts with a tie-breaking poser that is based on opinion rather than fact.

Last week’s ninth SOQL question of the season: Who played in the World Cup finals of 2014 and 2018, won the domestic ‘double' in Spain, and against which team did he back heel a last-minute winner for Spurs in an away 2013 Premier League match?

The answer: Paulinho, the Brazilian who back-heeled that last-minute winning goal at Cardiff City. He is now one of the wealthiest footballers in the world after two moves to China sandwiching his brief but successful spell at Barcelona.

This year’s prizes for the champion: a Harry Kane framed and signed photo, two books from my Spurs collection with autographs from Jimmy Greaves, Steve Perryman and Dave Mackay, and, most important of all, a framed certificate announcing the winner as SOQL champion.

You will be better informed if you buy my SHOOTING SPURS book that features every player who has scored 50 or more goals for Tottenham since the club was formed in 1882, with special in-depth features on Jimmy Greaves and Harry Kane, plus focus on exceptional managers John Cameron, Arthur Rowe, Bill Nicholson and current master, Mauricio Pochettino.

Cliff ‘159 goals’ Jones has provided the introduction, and profits go to the Tottenham Tribute Trust to help our old heroes who missed the gravy train and now have to pay medical and care bills.

It costs just £9.99 and I will send a signed copy to anybody buying direct from me at www.normangillerbooks.com. There is also a screen version for £4.99.

I hope you will support this great cause.

See you back here same time, same place next week. COYS!

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