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Norman Giller's Spurs Odyssey Blog (No. 288) (14.10.19)

NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 288
Submitted by Norman Giller

Pressurised Poch must avoid the Watford Gap

Even Mystic Meg could not have predicted that after just eight Premier League games Tottenham would this Saturday be facing bottom-of-the-table Watford in what can be fairly described as a crunch match.

The international break has given us all time to catch our breath and ruminate on the self-inflicted black dog mood suddenly barking on Tottenham’s doorstep.

Sorry to remind you that Spurs before the break were suffering jitters after the seven-goal bashing by Bayern, the collapse at Colchester and then a 3-0 humiliation at Brighton.

Worse than the results was the defeatist body language of many of the players and manager Mauricio Pochettino, who looked like a man with his mind elsewhere.

Those of us who watch Spurs closely week in and week out will know that something has gone wrong at the heart of the club. Before this season we could warm our hands on the team spirit generated by Pochettino and his squad.

Suddenly the flame of self belief has been replaced by the icicles of doubt and rumours – and they are only rumours – persist that Poch is about to be replaced. We have the farce of the omniscient (not) Lord Sugar calling for Gooners legend Arsene Wenger to take over, and there are plenty of Spurs supporters calling on line for unemployed Jose Mourinho to bring his “special” services to the new Lane.

Just a minor point: it would cost Daniel Levy a fortune to get rid of Pochettino and his backroom team. All have signed recent long-term contracts and were brought in by Mauricio as top men in their roles. This is the same manager that everybody was lauding after he led Tottenham to the Champions League final just last June following a fourth successive top four place in the Premier League.

Now there is a chorus of criticism on line, including several ‘Poch Must Go’ threads supported by many ‘fans’ with short memories, who have already forgotten they were praising him to the skies when he was motivating the team to play positive football the traditional Spurs way.

Better the devil we know than bring in a manager who could take us back to the dark days when top four finishes were the stuff of dreams.

My advice is that we all calm down. We must all pull together and get behind the team, not in its way.

If there are players giving less than their best, Pochettino should sideline them and only select those who want to give blood, sweat and tears for Spurs. He will surely have a clear-out in the January transfer window and let go those who are not totally committed to bringing much-needed silverware to Tottenham.

But first there is Saturday’s crucial game against Watford. Anything less than three points will pile the pressure on Pochettino and his players.

Defeat, and there could be a crisis growing much bigger than the Watford Gap.


Spurs Odyssey Quiz League

Question No 11 in this 2019-20 SOQL season:

Which former Tottenham captain won four England caps, was in the 2010 World Cup finals squad, and which of his former clubs did he return to in 2018?

Please email your answer to me at SOQL11@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 tenth SOQL question: Who won 34 international caps, joined Spurs from Luton and against which team did he score an FA Cup semi-final goal for Tottenham before moving on to Norwich?

The answer: Gary Doherty, who scored the semi-final goal against Arsenal (we will not dwell on the fact that Tottenham lost 2-1). Irishman Gary would have made a greater impact at old White Hart Lane but for the cruel blow of a broken leg.

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!

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