NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 158
Submitted by Norman Giller
My memory bank on Spurs goes back, gulp, 65 years to the Push and Run championship season of 1950-51. During Saturday’s first-half against West Brom I can honestly say there have been few times when I have felt so excited by the potential of a Tottenham team.
I am living in the past at the moment as I write my book celebrating the 50th anniversary of Tottenham’s victory in the ‘Cockney Cup final ‘ at Wembley in 1967, but it was special to return to the present to watch the destruction of a Tony Pulis team that usually proves to be a pain in the grass.
‘Big Daddy’ Harry Kane, of course, stole the headlines with his hat-trick, but the beauty of Pochettino’s Pups is that they are barking up the right tree in every department.
Some of the sweeping passing movements, particularly in that one-sided first-half, could have been set to music – the White Hart Lane Waltz, or perhaps more fitting the Pochettino Tango. You can read our conductor-in-chief Paul Smith’s factual rather than fanciful account of how Tottenham led West Brom a dance here.
The only surprise to me is that Paul was not reporting an eight-goal bashing for the debagged Baggies. With a little steadier finishing, Our Harry would have fathered a hat-trick in each half. He was as quick on the trigger as Donald Trump’s twitter finger.
Now we all need to catch our breath and lean on the oldest cliché in football: ‘Take one game at a time.’
Spurs are hunting silverware on three fronts, and MoPo must juggle his squad with miserly concentration. It looks as if Jan Vertonghen – a diamond of a defender – could be side-lined for several games, and this might challenge his desire to stick with a bold three-at-the-back formation. But as it has worked close to perfection I am sure he will try to continue with the pattern of play.
The first match for total focus is at the Etihad on Saturday evening when Spurs will be trying to stretch their impressive winning streak in the Premier League to seven matches.
City will be desperate to get their act back together following yesterday’s shock 4-0 spanking by Everton at Goodison. I am sure Pochettino will have his Pups properly prepared for arguably the most vital game to date in Tottenham’s invigorating season.
One last word about Saturday’s four-goal fiesta. The most breath-taking moment for me was Dele Alli’s chipped pass to lay on Our Harry’s hat-trick goal. Rory McIlroy could not have matched the accuracy with a 9-iron. It was impudent and inventive and would have been hailed as a masterpiece if conjured by a Brazilian or an Argentinian.
It makes this old hack wonder what is waiting for us down the road. Remember, this team is still a work in progress. We are in for a treat.
Now excuse me, I have to go back to 1967. It’s nice there in the company of the G-Men. Greavsie and Gilzean would have fitted perfectly into the Pochettino Plan.
Spurs Odyssey Quiz League, week 22
This week’s mystery player:
“Capped 23 times, I played in the 1962 World Cup finals and won a League championship medal with Spurs and also a couple of FA Cup winners’ medals. Who am I, and what number shirt did I wear in my two FA Cup final appearances?”
Email your answers, please, to SOQL22@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 week.
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 21st teaser was:
“I am one of only nine players to have scored Premier League goals for six different clubs, including Tottenham. I played 23 times for England. Which North-East club did I join from Spurs in 1995?”
Yes, it was Nick Barmby who took his all-round skills to Middlesbrough when it was reported that his wife was home-sick. It left Spurs fans feeling even sicker, because it broke up “Ossie’s Famous Five” when optimism was high that good times were around the corner. Nick, lucky to have Teddy Sheringham as a side-kick at Tottenham, later scored Premier League goals for Everton, Liverpool, Leeds and Hull City.
First name drawn at random from the correct answers is Ray Saunders, an Ascot-based Tottenham supporter since the late 50s and who describes himself as “Spurs mad.” I will be emailing Ray a screen version of one of my Tottenham-themed books.
As regular contestants will know, the SOQL 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.
Thanks for your company. See you same time, same place next week. COYS!
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