NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 173
Submitted by Norman Giller
Okay, most of us have accepted that Chelsea are not going to slip up and let Tottenham in for the Premier League title, but let’s celebrate the fact that Spurs have given us one of the best seasons of modern times. Yesterday’s victory over Arsenal in the last North London Derby at the old Lane was as good as it gets.
There were times in the second-half when it was like watching Klitschko on the ropes against Anthony Joshua and you felt the referee could have stopped the fight. It coulda, shoulda been five or six nil. That would have been a rather splendid way to mark the first time this century that Spurs have finished above the Nomads in the Premier League.
As our webmaster Paul Smith reports here, Tottenham’s monopoly of the match – particularly in the second-half – was the sort of supremacy we have recently only dreamt about against our bitter rivals.
I was delighted to see the suave and stylish Jan Vertonghen pick up the Man of the Match award. His central defensive partnership this season with fellow Belgian Toby Alderweireld has time and again been a feature of the Tottenham victories, but overshadowed by the performances of the likes of Alli, Kane, Eriksen and Dembele.
Jan might easily have had a couple of goals to go with his input as a solid tackler and his desire to turn defence into attack with precisely placed passes with that cultured left foot.
Others I noted on line were plumping for Kenyan iron man Victor Wanyama as worthy of the MotM award. I would not have argued, and it’s indicative of Tottenham’s all-round power that there could have been any one of half a dozen players who might have taken the honour. It underlines that this is a team’s team, with nobody playing for individual glory, and Vertonghen epitomises the all-for-one-and-one-for-all philosophy. The Arse on the other hand were carrying several passengers and had nothing like Tottenham’s esprit de corps.
Now the focus is on the last four matches, with victory vital in each of them if Chelsea are to be caught, and the boys in blue would still have to stumble on the final furlong. A fourth London derby in a row (if you count the FA Cup semi-final against Chelski) beckons on Friday, when West Ham are hardly likely to lay down at their new home in Stratford. Let’s hope they find the game too taxing.
The final run-in …
Friday, May 5: West Ham, away 8.00
Sunday, May 14: Man United, home 4.30
Thursday, May 18: Leicester, away 7.45
Sunday, May 21: Hull City, away 3.00
Oh yes, and the FA Cup final is set for Wembley on Saturday May 27. The fact that Arsenal are there against Chelsea is even harder to take after the way Spurs thumped them yesterday. It’s like being hit by an Anthony Joshua uppercut. May Day! May Day!
Spurs are thoughtfully turning the White Hart Lane finale into a bonanza for the Tottenham Tribute Trust. I have the permission from the Trust to quote from this article they have posted on the official club website:
“The Club has designated the Tottenham Tribute Trust, a charity that serves the needs of its former players, to benefit from activity during The Finale of our historic White Hart Lane stadium.
“The Club is set to play its last ever match at the 118-year-old venue against Manchester United on Sunday, May 14, before it is demolished to make way for a new 61,000-seat world class stadium.
“The Tottenham Tribute Trust is the first of its kind, established by the Club in 2002 and run by a board of independent and voluntary trustees, dedicated to serving the needs of former players who find themselves in a situation that compromises their quality of life.
“It is an organisation that reaches out to members of the Spurs family who are facing difficulty either financially, medically or both.
“Many of the greats that the charity has aided over the years have been involved in some of White Hart Lane’s most memorable moments that are being highlighted and celebrated during its Finale.
“Beneficiaries have included members of the Club’s famous 1961 Double-winning side such as Les Allen and the late Bobby Smith, the captain of the Club’s 1971 League Cup and 1972 UEFA Cup successes Alan Mullery and, most recently, Jimmy Greaves – the Club’s all-time leading goalscorer.
“Daniel Levy, Chairman, Tottenham Hotspur, said: ‘The Club decided that there could not be a more appropriate organisation to benefit from the celebrations around The Finale of White Hart Lane than the Tottenham Tribute Trust.
‘Given the role it has played in serving the needs of former players that have created so many special memories at the Lane over the years, we feel that this is the right time at which to raise awareness of the charity’s fantastic work.
‘Caring for the wider Spurs family has always been an integral part of what our Club is about.’
“Jonathan Adelman, Chair of the Tottenham Tribute Trust, said: ‘It is fan-tastic to receive the support of the Club and will be a fitting way of celebrating the achievements of the Tottenham Tribute Trust to date. The funds raised will enable us to continue to help those who helped make White Hart Lane such a special place for Spurs fans.
‘The Club had the foresight to establish the Tottenham Tribute Trust so that there is a very clear facility through which to provide care to its for-mer players.
‘Tottenham Hotspur is unique as a Club in doing this and the Tottenham Tribute Trust is something that all fans should be extremely proud of.’
“Jean Harmer, the widow of Tommy Harmer, who made 222 appearances between 1951-60, said: “Tom and I were of an era that was loathe to ask for help – our generation just didn't do that. When Tom's dementia was worsening, I had also suffered a traumatic colon cancer operation and ini-tially refused any help because I was lost in a daily routine of worry; about Tom, and for our future. I can't speak highly enough of the Trust’s kindness and professionalism, and how they guided me through Tom's final days. I don't know what I'd have done without their timely interven-tion.’
“Proceeds to the Tottenham Tribute Trust will come from several sources during The Finale of White Hart Lane, including the sale of highly valuable memorabilia.
“Shirts worn by the team during the Manchester United match will be signed by the players and auctioned for the charity.
“Fans attending the game will be able to purchase a special edition A4 commemorative matchday programme for £10 with proceeds going to the Tottenham Tribute Trust.
“The Club has produced a limited-edition pin badge that is now available for pre-order before becoming available to buy in all Club retail stores and online for a minimum donation of £3 to the Tottenham Tribute Trust.”
Regular readers of Spurs Odyssey will also know that all profits from my SPURS ’67 book are going to the Tottenham Tribute Trust.
The book tells the story of Tottenham’s victory over Chelsea in the first Cockney FA Cup Final at Wembley in 1967. You can order a signed copy here http://www.normangillerbooks.com/spurs-67/4554925859. It is the perfect present for Dads and (definitely) Granddads, who remember the days when Spurs were FA Cup kings.
Please reach into your Spurs soul (and pocket) and help our old heroes. Thank you.
Spurs Odyssey Quiz League, week 37
Spurs Odyssey Quiz League, week 37
This week’s mystery player:
“I started my career with FC Metz in France and played for Monaco, Arsenal and Manchester City before joining Tottenham. Who am I and for which country have I scored 30 goals in 75 appearances?”
Email your answers, please, to SOQL37@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 36th teaser was:
“I won 24 international caps and David Pleat signed me for Spurs from Aston Villa. Who am I and against which team did I score two goals for Tottenham in an FA Cup semi-final?”
A maximum three points in the SOQL table to those who answered Steve Hodge, who scored twice against Watford in the 1987 FA Cup semi-final.
First name drawn at random from the correct answers is Malcolm Goldstein, from East Finchley, who has been a Spurs supporter for coming up 60 years. I will be emailing Malcolm 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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