NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 31
Submitted by Norman Giller
ASK 100 Tottenham supporters to name their starting line-up for Saturday’s season opener at West Ham and you will get 100 different teams. In all my years (decades even) watching Spurs I have never known it harder to forecast which side will be selected for the first game of a new campaign.
Only one man does (or should) know the line-up. I wonder if with a gun – or a Hammer – to his head new boss Mauricio Pochettino could name his best team?
Even as I write there is talk of possibly two newcomers arriving at The Lane in the shape of Seattle Sounders right back DeAndre Yedlin and Villareal’s Mateo Musacchio, plus Southampton’s holding midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin would still like a reunion with his former manager.
It prompts the old saying about not being able to see the wood for the trees. There are so many players at Tottenham that it is difficult to fathom which may make the squad for the West Ham match.
You do not have to be Mystic Meg to predict a huge clear-out coming, and Poch (for the want of a better nickname) has made no secret that he thinks his ideal playing staff should be 25. That means at least ten players could soon be on their bikes.
The one certainty is that Hugo Lloris will be in goal against West Ham. I feel as confident seeing him between the posts as back in the golden days of Ted Ditchburn and Pat Jennings. He is a true master of his art, but I worry that he may be carrying too much responsibility coming into the new campaign.
Pochettino’s bold high back line tactics lean heavily on Hugo’s sweeper-keeper abilities, and until Poch gets a settled pairing at the heart of the defence I fear that whippet-quick players could cause mayhem in swift counter attacks. Eric Dier looks the business, but it takes ages to get a proper understanding with new team-mates.
It’s going to be a season in which we will be on the edge of our seats worrying and wondering about that high line, but it should make for exciting entertainment in the best possible Tottenham traditions. Pass the pills, Nurse Gladys.
I leave the minute-by-minute minutia of Saturday’s friendly against Schalke to the balanced reporting of Paul Smith here on Spurs Odyssey, where we believe in taking a considered and constructive view of events.
But allow me to get a mention in for the performance of Danny Rose, whose place is under threat from newcomer Ben Davies. He took terrible stick from supporters when handed a confidence-boosting long-term contract, and he silenced all his critics with an outstanding display of attacking full-back play. To my old eyes he looked superior to Davies, who came on as his second-half replacement.
Rose or Davies against the Hammers? Yet another dilemma for Señor Pochettino.
It’s going to be a nerve-shredding season, amigos.
FAR be it for me to play the rascal, but I was fascinated to see that my dear old mate Harry Redknapp is bringing Glenn Hoddle back into the footballing family as coach at Queen’s Park Rangers.
I understand that before Tim Sherwood was handed the poisoned chalice as Spurs manager, our esteemed chairman Daniel Levy flirted with the idea of giving Glenn his old job back.
Hoddle was desperate to return to his favourite hunting ground, but was left disappointed and with the poor consolation of a place in ITV’s World Cup team of pundits.
He talked a lot of sense throughout the World Cup, and clearly still has a huge appetite for the game he played better than almost any Englishman in the last 40 years.
Now then, just suppose things do not work out for Señor Pochettino (and I sincerely hope they do). Who would be perfectly placed to take over in emergency? Just look down the road to Shepherd’s Bush and there is a knowledgeable man who has Spurs stamped all the way through him. And I am not talking Harry Redknapp!
Naughty Norman. I shall put all those thoughts away and wish Mauricio Pochettino and his huge army a season of success and satisfaction.
And to Spurs Odyssey followers, relax and enjoy!
THE GILLER TEASER
Each week here in my Spurs Odyssey home I test your knowledge of Tottenham. Last week I asked: Who was the Russian-speaking Irish international who won back-to-back FA Cup winners’ medals with Spurs?
Most of the scores of you who responded got it right, although quite a few jumped in with Danny Blanchflower. The man in question played twenty years later, and was, of course, Tony Galvin. I used to love his drifting, deceiving runs down the left wing, and we will never forget that it was his pass that set Ricky Villa off on his run for THAT goal in the 1981 FA Cup final replay.
The first name chosen at random from the correct entries: Tom Bryant, of Colchester, who wins an autographed copy of Lane of Dreams.
You can get a copy of Lane of Dreams, Bill Nicholson Revisited, Tottenham The Managing Game or Danny Blanchflower This WAS His Life delivered right now to your screen. Send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will reply with a file. If you like it, all I ask in return is a £5 donation to the Tottenham Tribute Trust to help our old heroes who have hit difficult times. If you have Spurs in your soul, you will want to support this great cause. Thank you.
My thanks to Tottenham supporter and Spurs Odyssey regular John Cummins for his generous £20 donation to the Tottenham Tribute Trust in return for two books sent direct to his computer screen. Why not try it? The modern way of reading books.
This week’s teaser features another player from that 1980s era: Who started his career with Port Vale, joined Spurs from Luton, won an FA Cup winners’ medal and once had his jaw broken by Joe Jordan?
I have another copy of my best-selling Lane of Dreams book – including the autographs of Jimmy Greaves and Steve Perryman – for the sender of the correct answer whose name is randomly drawn first. Email your answer please to email@example.com
If you would like a paperback copy of Bill Nicholson Revisited or a hard-back version of Danny Blanchflower This WAS His Life, please go to www.normangillerbooks.com. A donation goes to the Tottenham Tribute Trust for every copy sold.
Thanks for your company. Fasten your safety belts. A new season is about to begin. COYS!
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