NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 138
Submitted by Norman Giller
Old git moan alert: I am amazed at how many Tottenham fans are making sweeping statements while we are still in the foothills of what is going to be a mountain climb of a season. A little reminder to everybody that the Premier League campaign is just 180 minutes old. Two matches played, a point at Goodison and three points against a Crystal Palace team that came to the Lane with designs on a draw.
Christian Eriksen got it with both barrels from many on-line couch coaches, questioning his commitment to the cause. Even our usually balanced pitch-side eyewitness Paul Smith went over the top, describing the Dane as “bottling” tackles. I can think of few more savage criticisms for a professional footballer, questioning a player’s courage.
Yes, he was off the pace and lacking his usual deadly accuracy with the ball, but this does not in my opinion justify the sort of abuse that should be saved for the opponents. And certainly not after just two games.
It’s been well publicised that Eriksen has been locked in a contractual dispute with Tottenham, but he is not the type to give anything less than his best regardless of what demands his agent is making.
He is a vital cog in the Spurs engine room, and his traditional playmaking role is not the sort of job that suits the more subtle Dele Alli, who relies on improvisation rather than the passing preciseness of the Dane. Like most players, Eriksen wants to be loved and to hear the fans turning against him is hardly likely to motivate him.
I have Olympic Rings under my eyes after living on Brazil time for the last sixteen days. But I was alert enough when the Palace match kicked off to appreciate that Tottenham are still settling to the new tactics Mauricio Pochettino is introducing to accommodate Flying Dutchman Vincent Janssen and Kenyan iron man Victor Wanyama.
The Poch does not have a magic wand, and it is going to take time to get the pace, the precision and the penetration that Tottenham will need in a critical season that includes the Champions’ League challenge.
I have great hope for the Kane-Janssen partnership, and Wanyama and Dier will be like a double bolt in midfield as they ride shotgun together. Just wait until they are joined by the dancing Dembele!
But, please, let’s show a little patience while they get to know each other.
We need the determination and dedication of golden girl Laura Trott, a Tottenham supporter who cycled to Olympic glory in Brazil.
Now let’s peddle our dreams and all get behind Poch and his players as they prepare for Saturday’s showdown with Liverpool and hopefully continue a winning cycle.
We are under way with the third Spurs Odyssey Quiz League. Entries to the first teaser came from far and wide including Tottenham family members across the Pond, in Cyprus over in Hong Kong and Down in Oz. Australian readers can get bonus codes here.
This week’s mystery player:
“I joined Tottenham from Middlesbrough and was an FA Cup winner in 1967. Who am I … and with which Midlands club was my younger brother a prolific goal scorer?”
Email your answers, please, to SOQL2@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. Deadline is midnight on Friday.
Please keep a check on your points tally, because the contestant topping the SOQL table at the end of the season will receive a framed certificate announcing the winner as the 2016-17 Spurs Odyssey Quiz League champion. And the first three in the final table will win an autographed, hardback copy of my Bill Nicholson Revisited tribute book, PLUS a souvenir card signed by Spurs legends Jimmy Greaves and Steve Perryman.
The opening teaser was:
“I captained England three times while making 32 appearances, and won Second and First Division titles with Tottenham. Who am I … and from which south coast club did I join Spurs?”
Nearly every one who took part came up with the right answer to collect three points: Sir Alf Ramsey, ‘The General’ of the Spurs Push and Run champions who arrived at the Lane from Southampton.
First name drawn at random from the correct answers is Roy Davies from West Wales, who has been a Tottenham supporter since back in the 1950s when Cliff Jones, Terry Medwin and Mel Hopkins were bringing the red dragon spirit to the Lane.
As regular contestants will know, the League table is decided on facts up until the final weeks of the season. Then I introduce tie breaks based on opinions, which is when I lose friends and fail to influence people with my views.
But please remember, it is just for fun and helps us all refresh our knowledge on the history and the heroes of our great club.
If you are in the mood to help a hungry writer, I am offering two books for the price of one: July 30 1966 Football’s Longest Day and Headlines Deadlines All My Life my 100th book and the story of my life as a sportswriter. They are now both available post-free and for the price of one at http://www.normangillerbooks.com/july-30-1966/4591562026.
Thanks for your company. See you same time, same place next week. COYS!
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