NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 330
Submitted by Norman Giller
As I was saying before we were so rudely interrupted by Covid … the jury is still out on Jose Mourinho as we go into a surreal new season that MUST be marked with a trophy if he is to be accepted as a ‘Special’ Lilywhite. With a ‘1’ in the year and approaching the Diamond Jubilee of the 60-61 ‘Double’ season, all the stars are aligned for a couple of cups. Just one will do, thank you.
Anybody who has seen the episodes so far of Amazon’s revealing fly-on-the-wall ‘All Or Nothing’ documentary – aka The Jose Mourinho Show – will know that he and ‘The Boss’ Daniel Levy really mean business.
You cannot watch the series without being impressed by the way the club is run from top to bottom and side to side, BUT unless Jose can conjure silverware he will not be considered fit to fill Mauricio Pochettino’s comfy boots.
Two contrasting things I have learned so far from the series are one, how linguist Jose leans on Anglo-Saxon expletives of the most crude kind, and two that he is dedicated to having God on his side. There are continual cutaway shots of him crossing himself and even on his knees praying.
Are the football gods with this charismatic, enigmatic, egotistical manager? We will know in the next few months of a season that we can expect to be full of frustration, fireworks and fury as we all watch from afar.
It all starts against Everton on Sunday and our reliable guru Paul H. Smith will be giving his usual balanced and informative match preview here at Spurs Odyssey later this week. The performances of our players in the international squads will, of course, have a bearing on selections.
Our Harry Kane looked out of sorts in the bore-war with Iceland, but see how you perform with three Icelandic bodyguards tracking your every move. Their tactics were crude but effective, and I was just happy and relieved to see Harry – robbed of an early goal – get to the substitute’s bench still in one piece.
Just to help me through Lockdown, I casually started counting the players with whom Tottenham were linked by online ‘In the Knows’ and presumably informed media pundits. I have so far reached 89 ‘deals’ that have not materialised.
I have to confess that even I got involved in the conjecture game, and passed on gossip from a Real Madrid contact of mine. He told me preliminary talks were under way as to how Gareth Bale might find his way back to Tottenham.
It came from the same source that informed me the Welshman was on his way to Madrid seven years ago, and I took terrible stick on line from Spurs fans shooting the messenger. The same keyboard warriors have been taking aim at me again because I quoted ‘my man in Spain’. I must learn to keep my trap shut.
But, of course, I will be happy to open up here on my Spurs Odyssey soapbox and I look forward to your company over the next eight months. Let’s hope we enjoy it together … at the double.
You can’t beat this for a Double … better than any trophy, armfuls of joy
with twin brothers Felix and Aubrey. A Great Granddad’s delight.
The most exciting and emotional thing that has happened to me since we last chatted here is that I have become a great Granddad to twins, Aubrey and Felix. I promise that beats any silverware. They have been claimed for Liverpool by their mother, Sarah, but their Dad, Alex – my eldest grandson – is plotting to steal their allegiance … for Manchester United! Yes, a failure on my part. Hopefully, good taste will eventually reign.
As we wait for Sunday’s kick-off, I am sure you will all want to support my crime novel writing adventure (three stories in one paperback from www.normangillerbooks.com). Meantime, here at Spurs Odyssey we return to the serialisation of my story of Tottenham’s goal scorers. The book is called Shooting Spurs, with all profits going to the Tottenham Tribute Trust (actually, I’ve passed some of the income on to the NHS, sure nobody will mind). It spotlights every player in Tottenham’s history who has scored more than 50 League and Cup goals since the formation of the club in 1882.
Today we focus on one of our modern goal-grabbing masters …
Born Beckton East London 7 October 1982
Playing career span with Spurs: 2004-08/2009-14
Goals in 383 matches: 143
JERMAIN DEFOE won the admiration of Tottenham supporters with his goals, and the hearts of the nation with the compassion he showed terminally ill Bradley Lowery in a sad episode that transcended the village world of football. He is a great advertisement for his profession and thoroughly deserved the award of the OBE for his charity Foundation’s work for under-privileged children.
Wherever he has taken his boots, Defoe has always been a prolific goal scorer, no more so than in two periods at White Hart Lane during which he became a highly regarded member of Tottenham’s 100 club.
He started his goals collection with his local West Ham club in 1999, and has also scored for Portsmouth, Toronto FC, Sunderland, Bournemouth and Glasgow Rangers. He has plundered 20 goals for England in 57 appearances.
How best to represent him in this book of Spurs centurions? There is one match he played for Tottenham that has gone down among the most memorable games of modern times. It was the day Spurs went one over the eight with a 9-1 whacking of Wigan at The Lane on 22 November 2009.
Defoe scored five goals, including – in just seven minutes – the second-fastest hat-trick in Premier League history. He became only the third player to score five goals in one Premier League match, after Alan Shearer and Andy Cole (Dimitar Berbatov and Sergio Aguero have subsequently equalled the feat).
This is how I reported the devastating Defoe display:
There is something about November 22. People always say they remember exactly what they were doing on that day in November 1963 when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. On a much happier note, Spurs fans will always recall what they were doing on the day that Tottenham walloped Wigan 9-1.
Call it hindsight, but there was something in the air at The Lane on this Sunday afternoon of November 22 2009. Perhaps it was the fact that Aaron Lennon was back on the right wing after a three match lay-off with an ankle injury; whatever it was, there was a definite upbeat mood and a buzz of extreme optimism around the ground packed with what was then a near-capacity 35,650 spectators.
For Spurs fans it was great to have high expectations rather than high anxiety.
Manager Harry Redknapp felt relaxed enough to start with Croatian midfielder Niko Kranjcar on the left, ditching his recent diamond formation and resting Robbie Keane on the bench following his midweek World Cup efforts with the Republic of Ireland in France that ended in Thierry Henry’s ‘L’Hand de God’ breaking Irish hearts.
In the pre-match warm-up it was easy to spot that Jermain Defoe had the two recently dislocated fingers on his left hand cushioned in bandaged tubes. Metaphorically, he would be giving more than two fingers to the Wigan defenders before the afternoon was over.
Jermain Defoe, the goal assassin. Sketch © Art Turner
There was just a hint of what was to come in the very first minute when the jet-paced Lennon left his marker for dead before crossing to Peter Crouch, who flicked the ball just wide. Moments later Wilson Palacios, playing against his old Wigan club, delivered another cross to Crouch for a chance that was squandered.
It could only be a matter of time before a goal came and, sure enough, in the ninth minute Lennon’s cross reached the leaning tower that is Crouch, who stooped to conquer, heading the ball from close range beyond the despairing dive of goalkeeper Chris Kirkland.
Soon afterwards Kirkland smothered a shot from Lennon, and then he stretched to push the ball to safety under the head of Crouch from Niko Kranjcar’s deadly accurate left-wing delivery. The overworked goalkeeper also denied Palacios and the silky-smooth Tom Huddlestone thumped an instant shot inches wide. It seemed all too easy for Spurs, and they suddenly took their foot off the accelerator.
There were warnings that Wigan could get back into the game when a Charles N’Zogbia chip scraped the Spurs crossbar, and the underworked Heurelho Gomes made a fine save to compensate for a poor throw-out.
Defoe had been taking up promising positions without getting the ball played to him. He took matters into his own hands with a speculative dipping shot that bounced off the crossbar, and then just before half time he tested Kirkland with a rasping shot that the ‘keeper tipped off target.
The half time scoreline greatly flattered Wigan. But for Kirkland’s saves it could have been 4-0. Manager Harry Redknapp looked mightily unhappy on his way to the dressing-room.
As we know the final scoreline, it seems crazy that Harry Redknapp gave his players a rollocking that scorched the walls of the Tottenham dressing-room at half time. He felt that Wigan had been let off the hook, and were still in there with a fighting chance when they should have been dead and buried.
Missing the injured Ledley King and Luka Modric, there was satisfaction in the way Michael Dawson had slotted in alongside Jonathan Woodgate and Kranjcar was proving a playmaker of the highest quality. But still Spurs led only 1-0. Jermain Defoe revealed: “Harry and the coaching staff had a go at us at half time. They got us really wound up ready for the second half ...”
Harry got everything off his chest in quick time, and sent his players out for the restart five minutes early with his instructions echoing in their ears: “Press from the first whistle ...”
Tottenham, the club that brought us Push and Run, were now playing Press and Run. Watch out Wigan, here they come!
At top level in world football, there has rarely if ever been a second-half quite like this one. The Lane of Dreams has been the stage for some remarkable spells of football down the years, but even the most veteran of supporters could not remember anything to match this. For the record, let me catalogue the goals:
· 51 minutes: Defoe smacks home Lennon’s centre from close range with combination work that must make England manager Capello lick his lips with South Africa and the 2010 World Cup in mind. Spurs 2, Wigan 0.
· 54 minutes: Defoe nips in like an Artful Dodger pickpocket for his second goal, sweeping in a pass from Wilson Palacios after Wigan’s bemused and confused Emmerson Boyce had missed his tackle. Spurs 3, Wigan 0.
· 57 minutes: Paul Scharner interrupts Defoe’s stunning one-man show with a controversial goal that virtually everybody in the ground except the referee Peter Walton and his assistants know should have been disallowed. Wigan’s Austrian midfielder blatantly controls the ball with his hand before steering it past Gomes. The Tottenham choir, in good humour, light up the Lane with chants of: “Are
you Henry in disguise ...?” Spurs 3, Wigan 1
· 58 minutes: It is quickly back to the Defoe demolition work. The lethal Lennon is again the provider, collecting a fine pass from Vedran Corluka before sliding it into the path of Defoe, who shoots it home with the coldness of a wild west gunman for a hurricane hat-trick in just seven minutes of merciless mayhem (officially, 6m 59s). Statisicians dive for the record books to discover that it is the second quickest Premier League hat-trick behind the whirlwind strike by Liverpool’s Robbie Fowler against Arsenal in 1994. Spurs 4, Wigan 1
· 64 minutes: Corluka and Crouch combine with some neat passing to create the opening for a well deserved goal for the exceptional Lennon, a deliberately aimed drive into the bottom corner of the net that gives Kirkland no chance. The brave goalkeeper had stopped almost everything coming at him in the first-half, but now he can only wave to the ball as it thumps into the net. Spurs 5, Wigan 1
· 69 minutes: It’s that man Defoe again back to haunt the Wigan defence, sprinting on to a beautifully weighted through ball from Corluka and smashing it in off the near post for his fourth goal. If this had been a boxing match the referee would now be stepping in to stop the fight. Spurs 6, Wigan 1
· 87 minutes: Goal number five for Defoe, and this time it’s all his own doing as he dispossesses the shell-shocked Erik Edman on the edge of the box and beats the oncoming Kirkland with a shot of exquisite accuracy. Spurs 7, Wigan 1
· 88 minutes: David Bentley, on as a substitute for the splendid Aaron Lennon, joins the goal spree with a crashing free-kick from 25 yards that hammers high against the goal frame with Kirkland beaten all ends up. The ball hits the goalkeeper on the back of the neck and rebounds into the net. Officially it goes down as an ‘own goal’, but all those who witness it know that by rights that goal belongs to Bentley. Spurs 8, Wigan 1
· 90 minutes: With the Spurs fans hardly believing they are chanting ‘We want nine’, Kranjcar – having his best game by a mile in a Tottenham shirt – obliges, hooking the ball into the top of the net after being allowed acres of space by Wigan defenders desperate for the final whistle.
We should not be greedy, but it would have been perfection if Tottenham could have become the first ever Premier team to hit double figures. It might easily have been. A close study of film of the match reveals that Tottenham would not have been flattered by a 14-1 scoreline, but Wigan would have been flattened. No wonder their humbled and humiliated players offered to refund the ticket money to their travelling fans.
Harry Redknapp called it a match in a million. Spurs 9, Wigan 1
After the shooting and shouting was over, Defoe said: “Once the fifth goal went in, I started thinking about the double hat-trick. As I went to the touchline our coach Joe Jordan shouted, ‘Go for it ... go for the sixth.’ I looked up and saw there were a few minutes left, so I knew it was on. That’s how it is when you’re a goalscorer. You always want the NEXT one. It was a like a dream, brilliant. I am so lucky to be playing with some fantastic footballers. There is always going to be a chance for me to score when surrounded by players of this quality. I’ve got the match ball and the five goals, but this was an all-round team effort. Just before the kick-off I got involved in some banter with Clive Allen, another of our coaches. My sponsors had given me a pair of green boots to wear, but Clive pulled a face and so I settled for a silvery, pink pair. I guess I will now look on them as my lucky boots. The goal I will remember most is the one that brought the hat-trick. Aaron gave me a perfect ball and I got across the defender, a move I practise all the time in training. It was so satisfying for it to come off at such a vital time.”
The Defoe blitz brought record books under close scrutiny:
· Defoe joined Alan Shearer and Andy Cole as the only players to net five
goals in a Premier League game.
· He is only the fourth Spurs player to notch five goals in a single game,
following Ted Harper, Alfie Stokes and Les Allen.
· It was the biggest win in the Premier League since Manchester United beat
Ipswich Town 9-0 in 1995, and Tottenham’s biggest winning margin in a top-table
League match since joining the Football League in 1908.
· Debutant Colin Lee scored four goals and Ian Moores a hat-trick when
Spurs last scored nine goals in a Second Division match against Bristol Rovers
· Tottenham have netted nine or more goals in five League matches, all at
the ‘old’ Lane: 10-4 (Everton Div. 1, Bill Nicholson’s first match as manager
1958), 9-0 (Bristol Rovers, Div. 2 1977), 9-1 (Wigan, Premier League 2009), 9-2
(Nottm. Forest, Div. 1 1962), 9-3 (Port Vale, Div. 2 1931).
· Spurs have scored nine or more goals in four major Cup matches: 13-2
(Crewe, FA Cup 4th round replay 1960), 9-0 (Worksop, FA Cup 1st round replay
1923), 9-0 (Keflavik, UEFA Cup 1st round 1971), 9-1 (Tranmere, FA Cup 3rd
round replay 1953).
TOTTENHAM (4-4-2): Gomes; Corluka, Dawson, Woodgate, Assou-Ekotto (Bassong 82min);
Lennon (Bentley 79), Huddlestone, Palacios (Jenas 84), Kranjcar; Crouch, Defoe.
WIGAN ATHLETIC (4-4-1-1): Kirkland; Melchiot (Cho 86), Bramble, Boyce, Edman;
N’Zogbia, Thomas (Gomez 68), Diame, Rodallega; Scharner; Scotland.
Defoe’s career at Tottenham was, of course, about much more than one special
match, but his performance that day against Wigan gave a perfect picture of his
gift for poaching and turning a half-chance into a goal.
The 5ft 7in striker – born in the same E6 postal code area as Jimmy Greaves
before him – will always stand tall in N.17 football folklore.
Next week: This Is Your Life, Harry Kane!
Here we go with season seven of the Spurs Odyssey Quiz League challenge, and the champion you are all looking to topple is our first SOQL Queen, the omniscient Emily Hadjinicolaou.
A brain box of an actuary based in Surrey, Emily follows two-times winner David Guthrie (Wokingham), New York-based, Southgate-raised lawyer Edward Benson, his fellow legal eagle Glen Scarcliffe, from Hampstead, and Australia-based, Hertfordshire-born Graham Eyre.
Emily, the SOQl Quiz Queen
The rules are the same as in previous seasons. I ask a two-pronged question with three points at stake – two for identifying the player and one for the supplementary question. 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. That’s when I become as popular as Donald Trump at a war vets’ gathering.
This year’s prizes for the champion: a Harry Kane framed and signed photo two, books from my Greavsie 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.
Question 1 in our 2020-21 season:
Who in the 1960-61 Double season wore the No 9 Tottenham shirt six times, and what number shirt did he wear when scoring an FA Cup final goal at Wembley?
Please email your answer to me at SOQL1@normangillerbooks.com . Deadline: midnight this Friday. I will respond to all who take part.
See you back here same time, same place next week. COYS!
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