NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 301
Submitted by Norman Giller
Topically and typically, Harry is on our minds but nothing to do with the Royal showdown at Sandringham. This is not Prince Harry but our King Harry Kane, who is recovering from surgery on his torn hamstring and must kick his heels on the sidelines until April.
Spirited Spurs gave the splendid Liverpool team a scare without Harry on Saturday. Just imagine if he had been there to provide shape, balance and finishing power to the attack.
Harry Kane’s enforced absence has stepped up Tottenham’s need to do business in this January transfer window, and we wait anxiously to see if they can clinch any of the deals with which they have been linked.
As I write (some would say, waffle) there are strong indications they could buy the highly regarded Polish striker Krzysztof Piatek from AC Milan. Those of us of a certain age will recall with warm nostalgia when Spurs did business with AC that resulted in the arrival of a certain Mr Greaves … those were the days, my friends.
Also on the rumour radar is a move for Sporting Lisbon midfielder Bruno Fernandes, a transfer story strengthened by the long-term injury to Moussa Sissoko. Manchester United are also interested, so perhaps we should not hold our breath. And just to confuse everybody, there is another Portuguese-based Fernandes who could be on his way to Tottenham … Gedson, who is a versatile midfield player with Benfica. Tottenham have been trying to steal him from under the noses of West Ham.
Meantime, in the out tray, we have probably seen the last Premier League performance from the recently disenchanted Christian Eriksen. His theatrical departure from the pitch after the Liverpool match looked every step a final exit. There must also be doubts about the future of Jan Vertonghen after his demotion behind debutant Japhet Tanganga.
Many Tottenham supporters observing the polished performance from Japhet would have shared my view that it was like watching a young Ledley King, who came from a similar East London background. There can be no higher praise than to be compared with the legendary Ledley.
I don’t want to be too dramatic, but Tuesday’s FA Cup replay against Middlesbrough suddenly becomes the most vital match in the new era of Mourinho. Lose that and the season will be deemed a disaster, with just the outside prospect of progress in the Champions’ League to keep alive dim hopes of silverware.
It will be fascinating to see the team that Mourinho selects against Jonathan Woodgate’s improving side. The match against Liverpool – captured here by our guru Paul H. Smith – was the first time we had clearly seen José the crafty tactician at work. He almost stole a point with his safety-first system, but will need to be much more attack minded in what is now a sudden-death encounter with ‘Boro.
Will he be as bold with his promotion of Tanganga by giving the inexperienced Troy Parrott the central striker’s role?
Oh, how we could do with a fit and fiery Harry. The King, not the Prince. I somehow doubt that will be on the agenda at the Royal summit meeting in Sandringham. COYS!
Question No 24 in this 2019-20 SOQL season:
Who won five England caps, was an FA Cup winner with Spurs, played for Liverpool and Man City, and with which London club did he start his career?
Please email your answer to me at SOQL24@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 scored in his Tottenham debut against Liverpool, played in the 2010 World Cup finals but not for the country of his birth, and which former Tottenham player signed him for Norwich City?
The answer: Sébastien Bassong, French-born Cameroon international who was signed by our old friend Chris Hughton for Norwich. I’m still not catching many of you out, and there are a crowd of 50+ contestants sharing first place in the League table. I look forward to breaking the logjam with one of my end of the season stinkers :-)
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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