NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 122
Submitted by Norman Giller
My fingers are trembling on the keyboard as I write this within an hour of the final kick, tackle and punch of the wildest game of the season at Stamford Bridge. Who were these Tottenham players who turned up against Chelsea? I did not recognise them. We have been purring for months at the pure football of Pochettino’s Pups, and here wearing the Lilywhite shirts were a team of Rottweilers.
Nine players booked, at least three who risked red cards and every ball battled for as if it was the Holy Grail. That team of artists we have been watching all season suddenly transformed into warriors. It was like Barack Obama morphing into Donald Trump.
They scrapped for every ball like an army not prepared to take prisoners. This is not the Spurs way and I would hate to see us playing like this every week, but I will confess that there’s a little bit of me that was secretly happy to see this angry face of Tottenham. They went headlong into a cauldron of hatred stirred up by ridiculous pre-match comments by Chelsea management and players.
There was the further aggravation – vile and vicious in its delivery – of Chelsea fans screaming the most obscene chants you will hear outside a neo-Nazi gathering. It made me feel sick to the pit of my stomach, and I worry and wonder about the future of football if this sort of poisonous behaviour cannot be controlled.
Now, before I type another word about Tottenham, let me do the decent thing and heartily congratulate Leicester City on their magnificent ‘mission impossible’ Premier League championship triumph. It gives hope to underdogs in all sports and in every walk of life. I know all fair-minded Spurs Odyssey followers will be delighted for Leicester and their likeable, avuncular manager Claudio Ranieri.
How ironic that he was booted out of Chelsea because he tinkered with the team too much. He now lifts the title with a side that has been settled all season, often winning ugly but winning consistently. It is one of the greatest football tales of all time, and 2016 will go down as a benchmark year … “when 5000-1 outsiders Leicester won the Premier League.” I still cannot believe that I have just typed that sentence.
Back to Spurs and the stark fact that Pochettino must pick up his bruised and battered squad ready for two more virtual cup finals. It is imperative that they win their last two games against Southampton and Newcastle to keep at bay that other side domiciled in North London. (Ed:- One win should do it with our superior goal difference)
I am sure there will be an FA inquest into the squabbles that broke out during the Battle of Stamford Bridge, and I will be surprised if Dembele does not join Dele Alli on the banned wagon after his cobbles fighting tactics against Diego Costa. Close-up television replays appeared to show him trying to gouge the Chelsea striker’s eye. Sorry, that is not how we do things at Spurs … and it is unacceptable on any sporting stage. Dembele is a marvellous footballer, but there is no room for that sort of thuggish behaviour in our football.
What a season Spurs have given us, and what a great reward for anybody with Tottenham connections that Mauricio Pochettino has tied himself to the club until at least 2021. There are exciting times ahead in a grand new home, and I am confident we will look back on this season as the launch pad for eventually winning silverware.
It was obvious – as against West Brom last week – that Spurs need an experienced player who can put his foot on the ball and control the run of play when the going gets tough – or rough, as against Chelsea. I am sure Poch will be making this his priority during the summer, with the challenge of Champions’ League football around the corner.
So much to look forward to, but first Pochettino will want to pocket three points against his old Southampton club on Sunday before the curtain comes down on a memorable season at Newcastle, who just might be fighting for their Premier League lives.
The title has gone, but second place still needs to be clinched. There’s still all to play for.
Yes, what a season.
SPURS ODYSSEY QUIZ LEAGUE, Week 39
Week THIRTY-NINE of our Spurs Odyssey Quiz League, and we arrive at the last question before the dreaded tie breaker, when your answers have to be based as much on opinion as fact, and when I lose the friends I have among you. Last week’s answer: “Capped 13 times by England, I joined Tottenham from Charlton and scored 18 Premier League goals for Spurs before moving on to Sunderland. Who am I and with which cub did I start my Football League career?”
Yes, you clever lot all got it right: Darren Bent, who started his League career with the Tractor Boys of Ipswich and will always be remembered for the glaring miss that had Harry Redknapp cruelly saying: “My wife Sandra could have scored that.” We all laughed but it made a dent in Bent’s confidence.
This week’s final teaser before the tie-breaker: “I came through the Tottenham Academy and played in a League Cup final, wearing the No 42 Spurs shirt. Who am I and for which country have I won 17 caps? It is not the country of my birth.”
You get two points for identifying the player, and a bonus point for naming the country for which he plays international football.
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. There are a whole bunch of you sharing top place on 114 points. Please confirm with me if you think you are one of them.
Email your answers, please, to SOQL39@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 Jim Gaughan, of Chichester. I will email a screen version of one of my Tottenham-themed books to Jim, who has been a Spurs supporter since the early 1970s – “when that great servant Steve Perryman was my idol.”
Thanks for your company. See you same time, same place next week. COYS!
The "Giller Index" - listing all Norman's articles for Spurs Odyssey
Top of page | Spurs Odyssey Home Page