NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 294
Submitted by Norman Giller
“Come on José Mourinho’s Tottenham Army …” Just a few weeks back the men in white coats would have dragged me screaming to an asylum for writing that first sentence. Now it is in the realms of reality, and all those who have been savaging “the Special One” for years have to reassess their judgement.
I am keeping my powder dry on the “‘Umble One“, because I fear it will all end in tears. Sorry to be a jaundiced old git, but I consider a partnership between polar opposites Mourinho and Daniel Levy a marriage made in hell.
But so far, so good! We, of course, need to measure Tottenham’s 3-2 victory on Saturday against the fact that it was arguably versus one of the poorest West Ham teams for many years.
In a previous life, I was sports editor of West Ham’s local (late and lamented) Stratford Express in the days of Bobby, Geoff and Martin. They used to have classic encounters with Bill Nick’s Spurs. So my memories are all based on a golden age for both clubs.
Our guru Paul H. Smith gives his view of the match HERE, and confirms that West Ham were flattered by the narrow margin of their defeat. If the game had ended after 65 minutes it could have been described as a performance close to perfection, but those old away blues came to the surface as the Hammers tried to save face.
I have rarely seen Our Harry Kane so aggressive, putting me more in mind of Bobby Smith than the more subtle Teddy Sheringham that his style usually resembles. He took such a buffeting that I hope he is fit for the CL match against Olympiakos tomorrow, particularly when you consider he was knocked out when he crazily took a free-kick in the face. Not only talented but brave beyond duty.
Dele Alli was cleverly wound up by Mourinho, who asked him if he was Dele’s brother. “Of course not,” said Dele. “I”m me.” Jose then challenged him to prove it by playing like the old Dele Alli, and he duly obliged for the first hour. We have a new manager who is a master at playing the mind games.
Despite Mourinho’s instant impact, everything for me was overshadowed by the sudden departure of Mauricio Pochettino. I know I will always have a smile on my face when recalling his five and a half year tenure at Tottenham. Okay, he did not win any silverware but he did win many friends with his football philosophy and his personality. What a wonderful advertisement he has always been for Tottenham Hotspur and for his country. Muchos gracias, Poch. It’s a lucky club that will soon be unveiling you as their new boss.
So here we are in the Mourinho Era! I am sure he is always going to be generous in giving Pochettino credit for leaving him a great foundation on which to build. Mauricio had clearly lost the dressing-room as players let their thoughts drift to how much more money they could earn elsewhere. Several of them should have sleepless nights when they consider the part they played in Poch’s demise.
What will happen when José demands that Levy pays the market price for the major players Spurs will need if they are to maintain the standards set by Pochettino? (four successive top four finishes and a Champions League Final).
Twenty-five trophies are evidence that there have been few more successful managers in the history of the game than Mourinho, who we all know can be a Jekyll and Hyde, charming one minute and then harming the next.
He is saying all the right things so far, but he will be judged purely on results. I am convinced it will be more good news tomorrow evening with a Champions League victory over Olympiakos.
Then it’s home to Bournemouth, followed by a fairly interesting visit to Old Trafford. Now there’s a test for the ‘Umble One.
Come On José Mourinho’s Tottenham Army!
Question No 17 in this 2019-20 SOQL season:
Which son of an Olympic basketball player won 26 international caps, helped his country win the Copa America in 1995, later played for Spurs and to which Tottenham boss was he assistant manager?
Please email your answer to me at SOQL17@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 35 international caps, collected an Olympic silver medal and which number Tottenham shirt was he given in 2018?
The answer: Lively Lucas Moura, who wears the No 27 shirt with distinction. He collected his silver medal when Brazil finished runners-up to Mexico in the 2012 London Olympics final at Wembley.
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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