NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 192
Submitted by Norman Giller
As we bask in the warm glow of that purring Spurs performance at Goodison, let me suggest a new nickname for Tottenham’s imaginative and innovative young manager Mauricio Pochettino: The Professor.
It was Professor Pochettino who came up with the tactics that took the wind out of the Everton sails to the point where labouring Wayne Rooney looked in need of a drink.
I wonder if you shared with me a moment of doubt when the Tottenham team was announced with three central defenders, including newcomer Davinson Sanchez.
Surely, I thought, Sanchez has not had time to settle in? It would, I considered, be risky to interfere with the tried and trusted partnership of Alderweireld and Vertonghen.
But what do I know! The new three-man combination worked as smoothly as a well-oiled machine, and Sanchez looked as if he had been the centre piece of Tottenham’s defence for years.
Professor Pochettino completely outfoxed and outthought Everton mastermind Ronald Koeman with his three-at-the back strategy. It allowed full backs Kieran Trippier and Ben Davies to play like withdrawn wingers, giving Spurs the sort of width that was a Tottenham trademark back in the Glory Glory days.
Davies was awarded the freedom of Goodison as he attacked down the left like Welsh wizards before him, Gareth Bale and the old master Cliff Jones.
He rivalled the cultured Christian Eriksen and two-goal Harry Kane for man of the match honours, and must have made Danny Rose wonder how he is going to re-claim his left-back berth when he has recovered from injury.
It was not so much the emphatic victory that excited me as the way it was executed, with Spurs-style football that will please the ghosts of Spurs past.
I was watching a live feed on line of the Tottenham team arriving at Goodison for the match. The players came off the coach in single file, looking straight ahead as they listened to their chosen music on their must-have state-of-the-art earphones.
Last off was Our Harry. He saw a young, lone autograph hunter standing meekly in the background, ignored by all the squad.
Not Harry. He went out of his way to walk across to the boy and autograph his book.
What a class act this young man is, a wonderful advertisement for his generation, for himself and for Tottenham,
He then proceeded to write his signature on the match with his 100th and 101st goals for Spurs, and – of course – he was honest enough to admit that the first one was a freak effort, as reported here by our Spurs Odyssey guru Paul H. Smith.
Now then, I wonder what startling plans Professor Pochettino has got up his sleeve for Wednesday’s European Champions’ League challenge against Borussia Dortmund.
More of the Wembley wobbles? Not if the Professor has anything to do with it. He will be working on a winning formula.
In the Professor we trust.
Congratulations to Mr and Mrs Jimmy Greaves on re-tying the knot last week. They renewed their vows 59 years on from their marriage in his Chelsea days that was briefly interrupted by a hiccup during Jim’s well-publicised alcoholic period. It was a strictly family affair, and as they have 13 grandchildren and great grandkids that’s a lot of family! Our Jim is not at all well, but he is battling on and in his beloved Irene he could not have better support. I know the kindest thoughts of all Odyssey readers will be with them.
WEEK 5 of the Sports Odyssey Quiz League 2017-18. The rules are simple: I ask one Tottenham-related question for which a right answer earns you two points, and then a related teaser that can bring you an extra point.
The questions are always easy, provided you know the answers!
The winner this season will get a framed certificate proclaiming him (or her) the Spurs Odyssey Quiz Champion, plus a no-longer-in-print autographed GOALS book by Spurs idol Jimmy Greaves and another collectors’ item from my Greavsie collection: Football’s Greatest Entertainers, signed by Jimmy and Tottenham’s Mr Loyalty, Steve Perryman.
Now here comes the fifth question of the new SOQL season:
Who captained Spurs and his country, and was the first Tottenham player to collect the League championship trophy? What number shirt did he usually wear when leading out the Spurs team?
Please email your answers by Friday’s midnight deadline to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep a check on your points score, because I can never rely on my server that often loses emails in the ether. Ah for the good old days of: “Answers on a postcard, please.”
I test you with Spurs questions until the last few weeks of the season, when I introduce the dreaded tiebreaker teasers that call for your opinion as much as your knowledge.
That’s when I fall out with good friends. In the final count I am the sole judge, and you just have to accept that I am right. Arrogant, moi?
Seriously, we are all in this just for fun, with the common bond of admiring all things Tottenham. Hope we all have a great season.
Answer to question No 4 was the great Viking goalkeeper Erik Thorstvedt, who was in the winning FA Cup quarter-final Tottenham team against Notts County on its way to glory at Wembley in 1991.
First name drawn from the correct answers was George Masters, from Majorca via Cheshunt, who has followed Spurs since 1960. He is one of many overseas Spurs fans who occasionally drop in on our SOQL quiz. At the last count there were Lilywhites from eight countries across the world showing their Spurs knowledge. I will send George a screen version of my Spurs ’67 book (you might consider buying a signed hardback copy from me at http://www.normangillerbooks.com … all profits to the Tottenham Tribute Trust to help our old heroes).
Thanks for your company. See you same time, same place next week. COYS!
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