Consent Preferences Spurs Odyssey - Norman Giller's Blog (No. 128 - 13.06.16)
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Norman Giller's Spurs Odyssey Blog (No. 128) (13.06.16)

Submitted by Norman Giller

The Managing Game (4)

Norman Giller writes for Spurs Odyssey We must be determined not to let the 5% mindless minority wreck our enjoyment of the football festival in France, but I am deeply concerned that the consequences of the madness in Marseille could scar the Beautiful Game for a long time.

But let’s not waste space talking about hooligans (who are a waste of space). Let’s instead concentrate on the football and the prospect of a humdinger of a match between Wales and England in the Stade Bollaert-Delelis in Lens on Thursday.

The question is about to be answered that has been on the lips of Tottenham fans for many months: Who is the quicker, Kyle Walker or his former Spurs team-mate Gareth Bale?

Both are lightning fast from a standing start, and I am reliably informed that Gareth used to inch ahead of Kyle in sprinting duels back in the days before he became a megastar with Real Madrid.

Danny Rose let slip during a recent press conference the confirmation that Gareth is the faster, but this is judging them on training workouts.

It literally becomes another ball game when they come together in the cauldron of a competitive match, and it will be fascinating to see how Walker reacts when Bale goes into overdrive.

The Euros are doubly fascinating for we Tottenham disciples because of the Famous Five (Walker, Rose, Dier, Alli, Kane) representing England, and I thought Ben Davies was man of the match for Wales in their triumphant opener against Slovakia on Saturday.

Then there’s our ‘other’ team, Belgium, anchored by Tottenham players who could surely win the title if they can mould their individual talents into a collective effort; and, of course, not forgetting Hugo ‘Boss’ Lloris, who is leading France from the back. Possibly somebody will be showing off European championship gold at White Hart Lane next season!

There were two baffling things for we Spurs supporters on Saturday against a Russian team that was generally about as pedestrian as a zebra crossing.

Why on earth was Our Harry Kane continually taking the corner-kicks when, as a renowned finisher, he should have been in the penalty area getting on the end of them? Secondly, how was it Eric Dier got to take the free-kick after a perfect dummy run by Kane? I was still asking the question as the ball hit the back of the net! So that put me in my place.

In my opinion, Dier riding shotgun for the deep-lying Wayne Rooney worked perfectly against Russia and I would like to see it repeated when Wales provide the opposition on Thursday.

Let’s hope come Friday we will be talking about the football and not peripheral problems presented by Neanderthals causing permanent damage to the face of the Beautiful Game.

Poet Sir Henry Newbolt put it much better than I ever could: “Play up! Play up! And play the game.”

Euro 2016 is only in its fourth day, so there is plenty of time for you to consider thatsagoal's Euro 2016 tournament predictions.

Ok, if you’re sitting comfortably, come with me back into our proud past. During the Premier League’s summer lull I am dipping into the pages of one of my early Tottenham books (The Managing Game), and will spotlight a different White Hart Lane boss each week. Today, it’s the turn of a man who was manager only in name:

Spurs' fourth manager - Arthur Turner

Born circa 1874. Died: 1949
First appointed 27 July 1908. Reverted to secretary December 1912

TOTAL MATCHES (including caretaker spells)

P231 W99 D49 L83 F410 A343 Win%53.46

ARTHUR TURNER was Tottenham’s Mr. Reliable over a span of 43 years, mainly in the administrative role of club secretary but always ready to play the part of caretaker manager in emergency. Following the departure of ‘Feeble Fred’ Kirkham the directors turned to Arthur to fill the manager’s role on a temporary basis as they faced the challenge for the first time of Football League action.

An unfussy, affable man – the complete opposite to Kirkham – he did the job so well that he remained in charge until 1912, managing by committee. The official club records show that chairman Charles Roberts and the directors considered themselves in charge, and Arthur would take on board their opinions plus the views of the training staff and the senior players before naming his team. Turner and Roberts worked in unison for more than 40 years, with the chairman’s entrepreneurial skills dovetailing perfectly with Turner’s ability to organise.

This was the team Turner named for the historic first match in the Second Divison of the Football League on 1 September 1908:

Coquet, Burton
Morris, Danny Steel, Darnell
Walton, Woodward, Macfarlane, Bobby Steel, Middlemiss

Danny and Bobby Steel were brothers from Newmilns in Scotland, Danny a centre- half and Bobby an inside-forward who scored 41 goals in 226 League matches.

FA Cup holders Wolves were the opposition for Tottenham’s long-awaited League debut, and a crowd of 20,000 gathered at White Hart Lane to see the start of the great adventure. Within six minutes they were celebrating a goal by amateur Vivian Woodward, one of the golden giants of his generation, who the following month scored the victory-clinching goal for Great Britain against Denmark in the Olympic football final at the White City. He was rewarded with an honorary place on the Tottenham board.

Woodward, all gliding style and skill, added a second goal against Wolves soon after half-time and Tom Morris wrapped it up with a 30-yard drive to give Tottenham an impressive 3-0 send-off to their new life in the League. It was fitting that Morris scored in this history-making match, because he was the lone survivor from the 1901 FA Cup winning team, and one of the longest-serving of all players. He went on to make 523 appearances for the Lilywhites, and it was Morris and Woodward that Turner often leaned on for expert advice on tactics and selections.

Chairman Charles Roberts stated:-

”We will make a weekly assessment of our requirements, and at the moment we are very confident that by using the combined knowledge of the directors, the players and our training staff we can make satisfactory progress. If not, we will make any changes deemed necessary. We face the challenge of League football with optimism and ambition, particularly knowing we have the best supporters in the land behind us.”

With Turner’s steady hand on the tiller, Spurs sailed to promotion to the First Division at the first time of asking, but it was a desperately close run thing. They drew their last match at Derby, and then had to wait two days for West Bromwich – level on points – to go to the Baseball Ground. Derby beat the Baggies 2-1, which meant that Tottenham went up in second place with a 2.93 goal average to Albion’s 2.74. Spurs did not concede a goal in sixteen of their 38 matches; just one more goal against them would have meant they stayed down. It was the start of a long tradition of Spurs supporters being given fingernail-chewing finales to their seasons.

A year later they suffered another tense climax, this time to their debut season in the First Division and at the wrong end of the table. They struggled throughout the season, and needed to beat Chelsea in their final match to avoid relegation. Spurs won 2-1, the winner coming from Percy Humphreys a forward Turner had signed from Chelsea a few months earlier. His goal meant that it was Chelsea who went down, and Tottenham who stayed up. Suffice to say that Humphrey was not the flavour of the month at Stamford Bridge but the toast of Tottenham.

Now owners of the White Hart Lane ground, Spurs set about building a home fit for footballing kings, with Arthur Turner playing a planning role in events off as well as on the pitch. As with the appointment of John Over as their groundsman, they went for the very best and appointed renowned architect Archibald Leitch as the man to design the new White Hart Lane.

He had literally built a reputation for himself as the master builder of football stadiums, kicking off with the Rangers headquarters at Ibrox in his native Glasgow. In all he designed stands for more than twenty major football stadiums in the Scottish and English Leagues.

His first job at White Hart Lane was to plan for a new stand, which seated 3,500 and with a paddock area for more than 6,000 in front. It was constructed and ready in time for the visit of Manchester United on September 11 1909, the first home game as a First Division club. The game ended in a 2-2 draw, with all four goals coming in the second-half.

Arthur Turner declared:

“We now have a ground worthy of our status. Our dedicated chairman Mr. Roberts and the directors are determined to give our supporters the facilities and comfort they deserve. These are early days, but this is a club with ambition and resolve. I am very happy to be managing the team but am prepared to stand down at a moment’s notice in the best interests of the club. I am not a one-man band and have many wise people on the playing staff and in the boardroom who give me sound advice. My one objective is to always do what is right for Tottenham Hotspur.”

Before the season was over, a huge, nine-foot tall cockerel – perched on a giant old- style leather football – had been mounted at the apex of the mock-Tudor gable above the main stand. It was made of bronze and sculpted by former Spurs player William James Scott. The cockerel was adopted as the official Tottenham emblem because of the link with Harry Hotspur and the fact that he wore spurs going into battle, hence a fighting cockerel suitably fitted with Spurs. It was to become one of the most famous and unique emblems in world football, appearing on Spurs shirts from 1921.

The entire East Stand was also covered during 1909 and enlarged two years later, with concrete terracing replacing the old wooden tiers. It brought the ground capacity up to 50,000.

Tottenham finished the 1911-12 season in an unsatisfactory twelfth place in the First Division, and it was unanimously decided by chairman Roberts and the directors – with the support and agreement of Arthur Turner – that ‘a proper’ manager was needed if the club was going to take a step up in class and consistency.

Turner returned happily to his secretarial duties, and would later willingly and loyally steer the club through two world wars in a caretaker manager capacity.

He was replaced in the hot seat by a man whose team-building plans were to be interrupted by the obscenely named Great War. Enter, Peter the Great. That’s next week’s instalment. See you then.


As we patiently wait for the third Spurs Odyssey Quiz League to kick off at the start of next season, I am challenging you each week to a teaser test of your knowledge of Tottenham players, ancient and modern. Last week’s challenge

“I was born in Enfield, and made my international debut against Italy in the 2014-15 season. Who am I and for which team did I score a hat-trick in a League One match in 2013-14?

Most of you knew your local players and came up with the correct answer, Ryan Mason, who scored his hat-trick while on loan to Swindon Town.

First name drawn: Bobbie Osborn, a Tottenham supporter for more than 50 years who lives in Hampton, Middlesex. I will be sending Bobbie a screen version of one of my Tottenham-themed books.

This week’s teaser: “I have won four England caps, played more than 230 games for Spurs and and am a former club captain. Who am I and from which club did I join Tottenham in 2005?

Please email your answer by midnight on Friday to You will receive an automated acknowledgement.

Don’t forget to add your name, the district where you live and how long you’ve supported Spurs.

You can purchase any of my books from me at, including No 101 out this week: July 30 1966, Football’s Longest Day, the full inside story of the day England won the World Cup. I was there, and was the only journalist to get into the dressing-room after the final. All profits from my Tottenham-themed books go to the Tottenham Tribute Trust to help any of our old heroes who have hit difficult times.

Thanks for your company. See you same time, same place next week. COYS!

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