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Norman Giller's Spurs Odyssey Blog (No. 290) (28.10.19)

NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 290
Submitted by Norman Giller

Gazza saves Spurs from drowning in a Liverpool red sea

Let’s think positively about the defeat at Anfield: Spurs completely dominated the first minute. Sadly, they drowned in the red sea of Liverpool aggression and if it had not been for goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga the scoreline might easily have been a humiliating 5-1.

Our guru Paul H. Smith, who features his report of the match HERE, must have needed a second notebook to record the Gazzaniga saves, particularly in the first-half when he stood alone between Liverpool and a cricket score.

Spurs got the perfect start with that headed goal by Harry Kane after just 47 seconds, which is the quickest the Kop choir has ever been (temporarily) silenced. The goal took Our Harry level with Big Martin Chivers in the all-time Spurs scoring list.

I basked in the dreamworld of a well known liquid refreshment TV advert: If Carlsberg did weekends, England would conquer the All Blacks and Spurs beat Liverpool at Anfield.

But this is a cracking Liverpool team, and it was only a question of time before they equalised as Spurs buckled and bent under an avalanche of attacking football. Gazzaniga continually came to the rescue with saves that reminded me of the great Pat Jennings (who I saw make two penalty stops in a morning match at Anfield in a Grand National Day game in 1973 …. when Red Rum won the first of his three Aintree crowns in the afternoon).

I have been watching teams from the red side of the Mersey since the 1940s and rate this as good as any of them, including the Keegan and then Dalglish driven combinations.

Before this season started I would have put this Pochettino-coached Tottenham squad up there with the best that Spurs have produced since the golden days of the 1960s, but somehow they have managed to lose their mojo (or their MoPo).

But they will struggle to regain it if the Tottenham fans turn on them. I could not believe the on-line spite against several of the players in general and Mauricio Pochettino in particular.

All these so-called Spurs supporters think they know better than a manager who spends nearly 24/7 with his players, knows their fitness – both mental and physical – understands their domestic issues and desires and weaknesses, and their personalities. Yet people who have never met a single one of the players consider themselves superior judges of what they can or cannot do.

I’m sure a lot of fans wish Pochettino could still select Kieran Trippier at right-back, but just recall his last year in a Spurs shirt. He was given awful stick by couch coaches who had no idea he was carrying a groin injury from back in the World Cup campaign. Their constant criticism helped drive him away to Spain.

The unfortunate Serge Aurier is suffering even worse condemnation, particularly after his clumsy defending triggered yesterday’s match-clinching penalty. He is getting the Sissoko treatment, and we all now know how misjudged that was.

Let’s all agree to give our full support and encouragement to Pochettino and his players in next week’s return to Merseyside at Goodison. Tottenham are desperate for a Premier League victory away from home. We should play our part.

Here comes my well-worn mantra …

Get behind the team, not in its way.


Spurs Odyssey Quiz League

Question No 13 in this 2019-20 SOQL season:

Who won 63 international caps, scored in the 1982 World Cup finals and which Tottenham manager sold him to Watford?

Please email your answer to me at SOQL13@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 SOQL question: Who has won 23 international caps, joined Spurs from Ajax and against which team did he score his only Premier League goal for Tottenham in 2019?

The answer: Davinson Sanchez, who scored his only Premier League goal to date against Leicester City. Only a handful of you got it wrong and there are more than 60 of your haring first place in the SOQL table!

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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