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Testing Time for Tottenham

Submitted by Norman Giller(30.01.14)

Norman Giller joins Spurs Odyssey

So it looks as if Dimitar Berbatov is choosing the millionaire's playground of Monaco ahead of a return to his old hunting ground of Tottenham. Perhaps he felt that too many fans would welcome him back to Spurs soil as a returning traitor rather than a prodigal son

A lot of Spurs supporters did not hide their disgust when he took the Fergie florins to go to Old Trafford.

Berbatov is one of my favourite Tottenham forwards of modern times, and I personally would have been delighted to see him back in a Lilywhite shirt. But so much would have depended on which Berbatov we would have got.

The Bulgarian master is an enigma wrapped in a riddle, and Monaco cannot be sure which Berbatov will turn up as he heads into the autumn of his career.

Meantime, we will all wish Lewis Holtby luck as he moves to Fulham on loan. He always played for us with enthusiasm and energy, and there will be many who would prefer to have seen him in our squad rather than helping out with the Fulham relegation battle.

Itís now not so much Timmy Time as Testing Time for Tottenham. For you, for me, definitely for Tim Sherwood and, most of all, for the players who are still climbing out of the wreckage of another tanking from the mighty Manchester City machine.

Our entire season depends on how we all react to that 5-1 shellacking.

For a start, itís pointless we fans moaning and groaning because a dubious refereeing decision cost us a penalty that should not have been. The realistic among us will concede that even before then we were into damage limitation against a vastly superior side.

If you cannot accept that then donít bother reading the rest of this article, because we are not on the same wavelength. City would not have been flattered had they been leading 4-0 by the time of the dodgy penalty.

Hopefully youíre still with me, because that means you are not allowing Spurs bias to blind you to the fact that we were taken apart by as good a Premier League side as I have seen since Fergieís Treble-winning team of 1998-99.

I was disappointed (but not surprised) to find Tim Sherwood being battered in the Tottenham forums by the sort of spiteful know-alls who helped hurry Harry out of the exit door.

Forgotten was the fact that this was his first Premier League defeat in seven starts. He was getting vile abuse for his lack of managerial experience and naÔve tactics.

I was delighted to hear him say in the after-match press conference (I nearly typed inquest): ďIíve seen other teams put everyone behind the ball and still get hammered. Itís not the way I want to go and do it, especially with the players weíve got. A club like Tottenham should not ever go with that mentality.Ē

Parking the Bus has never ever been the Spurs way, and I hope it never will be. One definite fact is that Tim must remind his midfield players that they have a duty to defend as well as attack. Too many City forwards were allowed the freedom of White Hart Lane.

By all means have an attacking attitude, but midfielders not tackling back against a team of Cityís skill and speed leads to headless chickens syndrome.

The rest of the season starts at Hull on Saturday. Everything depends on how the players react to the hiding they got last night.

Letís be honest, none of us are familiar enough with this Spurs squad to know if they have the pride and the passion fit for the Lilywhite shirt.

We will find out at the KC Stadium, where our season can be put back on track with the right attitude and desire. There is still a Champions League place up for grabs.

It could be a case of to Hull and back.

Let me drag you out of your misery and talk about a player whose name should put a smile on the face of anybody with Spurs in their soul: Danny Blanchflower.

Even if you never saw him kick a ball, you will know that Danny boy lights up Tottenham history like an eternal flame.

I am writing a Danny Blanchflower tribute book, with profits going to the Tottenham Tribute Trust, the organisation that quietly and without fanfare helps our old heroes who have hit troubled times.

Danny passed on in 1993 suffering from Alzheimerís and with no knowledge of his shining achievements as a footballer and writer. The Trust helps those ex-players who are today lost in the sort of fog of dementia that claimed the memory of the most articulate and artistic footballer I ever knew.

I would like YOU to share any memories you may have of Danny. Or perhaps you want to just acknowledge what he achieved for the club. I will publish as many of your contributions as I can in my book that will be published this spring.

Please email any memories or words on behalf of older generation supporters to I will respond to all who get in touch.

Thank you, and thanks also to all those fans who have kindly welcomed me here to Spurs Odyssey, the website for discerning followers of all things Tottenham.


Each week here in my new Spurs Odyssey home I will be testing your knowledge of Spurs. Last week I challenged you to name the team that beat Leicester City 2-0 in the 1961 FA Cup final to clinch the Double. It is of course: Brown; Baker, Henry; Blanchflower, Norman, Mackay; Jones, White, Smith, Allen, Dyson.

There is a signed Bill Nicholson Revisited book for the sender of the first correct answer picked at random to the following question, which is a reminder of better days against Manchester City:

Who played in goal for Tottenham when they won the FA Cup in 1981?

Email your answer please to

If you are among those unlucky not to win the Bill Nicholson Revisited book, perhaps you will consider ordering a copy from A fiver for every book sold goes to the Tottenham Tribute Trust

Thank you for joining me.


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