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Norman Giller's Spurs Odyssey Blog (No. 281) (26.08.19)

NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 281
Submitted by Norman Giller

Jan Vertonghen should not sit out the NLD

Only Spurs would bring me crashing from cloud nine to the cellar of despair in the time it takes to change TV channels. I was on a high yesterday after watching Ben Stokes outBotham Ian Botham in the Headingley Test, and then Tottenham brought me down to earth by tripping on the Newcastle United banana skin.

Spurs needed to show the Stokes-style fighting spirit after the Geordies had smartly stolen the lead with a well-taken counter-punching goal, during which the Tottenham defence was absent without leave.

But from then on Spurs played just with their feet and not their heads, and were as predictable as a Donald Trump tweet as they continually ran into mazes of their own making. Our guru Paul H. Smith gives the gory details HERE, and agrees with me that it was one of Tottenham’s most depressingly poor performances in a long while.

VAR raised its ugly head again when what I saw as a clear second-half penalty area foul on Harry Kane was inexplicably ruled as legal by the video referee, but what we will learn over the coming months (and years) is that the controversial system will even out with its verdicts. It’s a waste of time and energy disputing what is now the final final decision.

The fact is that Newcastle looked the better organised team and their disciplined defence was simply too strong and determined for a Tottenham attack that lacked thrusting leadership and imagination.

I wonder and worry about what is going on behind the scenes at the state-of-the-art stadium. Everybody should be walking on air, what with the fantastic new headquarters and last season’s history-making journey through to the Champions’ League final.

But the body language of the usually bright and enthusiastic Mauricio Pochettino continues to concern me, and I hope he can quickly heal what are obviously differences with Christian Eriksen and Jan Vertonghen.

He made it clear after yesterday’s defeat that he will be relieved when the European transfer window closes at the end of this month, and the inference is that he fears Eriksen will be disappearing through it.

The grim-faced Pochettino left it hanging in the air that he would then he concerned about the January transfer deadline. Clearly, he is worried about losing the great Dane, who makes no secret of the fact that he would like to taste a different lifestyle in Spain.

There is also a mystery surrounding Vertonghen, who had what I considered a solid and secure central defensive combination with his international team-mate Toby Alderweireld.

Davinson Sanchez is a player for the future but is not yet as dependable and reliable as Vertonghen. I am sure many agree with me that they would like to see a reunion of the two Belgian buddies for Sunday’s North London Derby showdown at the Emirates.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could do a Ben Stokes and knock them for six!


Spurs Odyssey Quiz League

Question No 4 in this 2019-20 SOQL season:

Who started his career with Leeds United, won 59 caps and from which Midlands club did he join Tottenham in 1979?

Please email your answer to me at SOQL4@normangillerbooks.com. Deadline: midnight this Friday. I will respond to all who take part.

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.

Last week’s third SOQL question of the new season: Which son of a Nigerian father and Irish mother joined Tottenham from Crystal Palace, and against which team did he score a Premier League hat-trick at White Hart Lane in 1998?

The answer: Chris Armstrong, who scored a hat-trick in a 1998 Premier League match against Everton. He was unlucky to follow in the huge boots of the idolised Jurgen Klinsmann, and suffered from comparisons.

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.

See you back here same time, same place next week. COYS!

The "Giller Index" - listing all Norman's articles for Spurs Odyssey

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