NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 119
Submitted by Norman Giller
Happy Birthday Dele Alli!
Yes, a happy birthday to our Boy Wonder Dele Alli,who today becomes a young man of twenty, with the football world at his educated feet. He got an early birthday present yesterday from team-mate Christian Eriksen, who handed him the first goal on a plate as Spurs buried once-mighty Manchester United in a blissful blitz of three goals in under six minutes.
Our guru Paul Smith gives a blow-by-blow account of the destruction here, a knock out performance that was every bit as conclusive and concussive as Anthony Joshua’s two round destruction of Charles Martin. But at least Man U tried to land a few punches of their own!
There will be readers of these joyous words who have never had the experience of celebrating a victory over United at White Hart Lane. We have waited 15 long years since we last mastered the team then known as Fergie’s Fliers, and young Alli would just have been out of his nappies.
Earlier in the day we had fretted through the Sunderland/Leicester showdown, won by the Foxes with their usual sweat and passion. Their victory lifted them a daunting ten points clear at the top of the Premier League, but this Tottenham team refuses to bow the knee to them and are still in the chase. Just.
The afternoon at the Lane started with Man U parking the bus … on the North Circular, but when the game finally got under way the football made a mockery of the very ordinary fare we had witnessed at the Stadium of Light.
The difference in the quality of the match at Tottenham and the slog between Sunderland and Leicester was like Rule the World compared to the milkman's horse.
Apart from Alli’s day-early birthday goal, the highlights were the man-of-the-match performance from Erik Lamela, and the smooth return of Jan Vertonghen as he picked up his partnership with his countryman Toby Alderweireld as if he had never been away.
(A touch of the cap here to Kevin Wimmer for his flawless stand-in work that spotlights him as one to watch for the future).
England manager Roy Hodgson was among the privileged spectators at the Lane, and must have been purring as he watched Kyle Walker, Danny Rose, Eric Dier, Dele Alli and Harry Kane on parade in their Lilywhite shirts, with Ryan Mason giving a reminder that he is still in international form. Five of them can look forward to a summer in France for the European finals.
It is very simple what Spurs have to do between now and the end of the season if they want to have any hope of snatching the title. They just have to win every one of their remaining five games:
April 18: Stoke City away
April 25: West Bromwich Albion home
May 2: Chelsea away
May 7: Southampton home
May 15: Newcastle away
We all know that the title is almost certainly going to fairytale team Leicester. But what a magnificent challenge Tottenham are making, and we supporters are so lucky to be watching the best football in the land.
What a pity Alex Ferguson was not at the Lane yesterday to see his old team taken to the cleaners and put in the spin dryer. He preferred instead to go to watch the Masters golf at Augusta, where miracle worker Danny Willett showed Spurs that a title is never won until it’s won.
If Fergie had gone to the Lane he would have seen Mauricio Pochettino’s young football masters at work, and it would have been nice to show him how we have come on since all those hidings.
How lucky we were to get Mauricio as our manager instead of Louis van Gaal, who sniffily turned us down in favour of Man United. Bet Daniel Levy would second that.
We can’t give Mauricio a Masters jacket, but there’s no doubt that against van Gaal yesterday he was wearing the trousers.
SPURS ODYSSEY QUIZ LEAGUE, Week 36
Week THIRTY-SIX of our Spurs Odyssey Quiz League, and most of you were on the ball last week: “I played 292 League games for Spurs and collected an FA Cup winners’ medal against the Arsenal. Who am I, and which club did I join from Spurs in 1993?”
Of course, the energetic Paul Allen, who became a Saint at Southampton after his service to Spurs. He won his FA Cup winners’ medal at 17, with West Ham. Spurs should have a special Allen Family Appreciation Day.
This week’s teaser: “I was born in Peterborough, made my League debut for the other North London club and have won seven international caps. Who am I, and from which Lancashire club did I join Tottenham? ”
You get two points for identifying the player, and a bonus point for naming the Lancashire club from which he joined Spurs.
Keep a check on your points tally, because the contestant topping the SOQL table at the end of the season will receive a huge, personally autographed photograph of Spurs legend Jimmy Greaves, plus a signed, framed certificate announcing the winner as the 2015-16 Spurs Odyssey Quiz League champion.
Email your answers, please, to SOQL36@normangillerbooks.com Give your name, the district where you live and how long you’ve supported Spurs. I will respond, and will email a screen version of one of my Tottenham-themed books to the sender of the first all-correct answer drawn at random. Closing date for entries: midnight this Friday.
First name drawn at random from the correct answers last week is Peter Lawton, of Haifa, Israel. I will email a screen version of one of my Tottenham-themed books to London-born Peter who has supported Spurs since the Bill Nicholson debut manager year of 1958.
Thanks for your company. See you same time, same place next week. COYS!
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