NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 278
Submitted by Norman Giller
Just five days to go to the new season (get your Betfair codes here!) and everybody at Spurs should be buzzing after the incredible Champions’ League runners-up achievement of 2018-19. A shiny, state-of-the-art new stadium, a club record signing and a promising summer build-up, despite yesterday’s penalty shoot-out defeat by Inter Milan.
So why is our hugely popular and omniscient manager Mauricio Pochettino walking around with a face that looks as if it’s been slapped by Ann Widdecombe?
There is cause for us all to be concerned by Mauricio’s body language. He was pumping positivity all last season, but suddenly he gives the impression he is not enjoying life at the new Lane.
Have a look at this press conference interview and see if you agree with my assessment that he is far from a happy bunny approaching what should be a fascinating season …
My eyebrows shot up when he said, "I am not in charge, I know nothing about the situation of my players. I am only coaching them, trying to get the best from them. These types of things, what will happen, what will not happen, selling and buying of players, extending contracts, not extending contracts, I think it is not in my hands. It is in the club hands, and Daniel Levy. At the moment I am managing the team in the best way possible. Maybe the club need to change my title description, because my job now is to coach the team. It is not a question for me, it is a question for the club. Maybe the club are going to change my title description. Of course I am the boss, deciding the strategy to play, training, mentality, philosophy in my area, but in another area, I think I am the coach.”
It was an astonishing declaration by a man who had been promised that he would be in full control. He remains on the radar of Real Madrid, PSG and Manchester United, and so is in a position of power to make a stand against what we can only assume is interference from the direction of chairman Daniel Levy.
Let’s wait and see what the mood is like following Saturday’s season opener against Aston Villa and then challenges against Manchester City, Newcastle and the Gooners.
Mauricio’s mood has dropped a cloud on the club but did not stop a near 59,000 crowd turning up for the fairly meaningless match against Inter-Milan. The game is recorded for posterity HERE by our guru Paul Smith, who is revved up to bring us a running commentary of the season at the premier website for those who like Tottenham facts rather than fake news.
It will be interesting to see if Spurs make another late raid on the transfer market before Thursday’s deadline. I have a good contact at Fulham who has been telling me for weeks that Ryan Sessegnon is heading for the new Lane, and Argentina and Real Betis midfielder Giovani Lo Celso continues to be linked with a move to Spurs, seemingly to allow the out-of-sorts Christian Eriksen to move on.
I wonder if Mauricio Pochettino knows anything about it.
Here we go with season six of the Spurs Odyssey Quiz League challenge, and the champion you are all looking to topple is Broxbourne-born, New South Wales-based Tottenham disciple Graham Eyre.
Graham describes himself as the No 1 Pom, which is fitting with the Ashes in progress. I wonder if he knows how to stop the Steve Smith run machine? He is a recently retired, 67-year-old former boilermaker and elevator engineer, “a Spurs fanatic” since his season-ticket holding father used to take him to White Hart Lane in the late 1950s.
After emigrating to Australia from Hoddesdon in 1970, he has continued to studiously follow Spurs and makes pilgrimages to watch his heroes. He is a walking record book on the club’s history, as his facts-bombarded partner, Kerry, will confirm.
Kerry took the pictures below, front and back and under the White Hart Lane sign that features in their house in North Nowra, NSW, to where they moved from Sydney two years ago.
Graham followed as champion two-times winner David Guthrie (Wokingham), New York-based, Southgate-raised lawyer Edward Benson and his fellow legal eagle Glen Scarcliffe, from Hampstead.
The rules are the same as in previous seasons. I ask a two-pronged question with three points at stake. In the closing weeks of the competition I break the logjam of all-knowing Spurs-history experts with a tie-breaking poser that is based on opinion rather than fact. That’s when I become as popular as Daniel Levy with his hands in his pockets.
This year’s prizes for the champion: a Harry Kane framed and signed photo two books from my Spurs collection with autographs from Jimmy Greaves, Steve Perryman and Dave Mackay, and, most important of all, a framed certificate announcing the winner as SOQL champion.
You will be better informed if you buy my SHOOTING SPURS book that features every player who has scored 50 or more goals for Tottenham since the club was formed in 1882, with special in-depth features on Jimmy Greaves and Harry Kane, plus focus on exceptional managers John Cameron, Arthur Rowe, Bill Nicholson and current master, Mauricio Pochettino.
Cliff ‘159 goals’ Jones has provided the introduction, and profits go to the Tottenham Tribute Trust to help our old heroes who missed the gravy train and now have to pay medical and care bills.
It costs just £9.99 and I will send a signed copy to anybody buying direct from me at www.normangillerbooks.com. There is also a screen version for £4.99.
I hope you will support this great cause. The answer to the following question is in the Shooting Spurs book …
Who was born in the same E6 London postal code area as Jimmy Greaves, and against which Premier League team did he score a hat-trick for Tottenham in seven minutes in 2009?
Please email your answer to me at SOQL1@normangillerbooks.com . Deadline: midnight this Friday. I will respond to all who take part.
See you back here same time, same place next week. COYS!
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