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Norman Giller's Spurs Odyssey Blog (No. 333) (28.09.20)

NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 333
Submitted by Norman Giller

THE VARMINTS - Stop the football world, I want to get off

So what are we going to do about it? VAR! It’s wrecking the Beautiful Game, and this was my view long before yesterday’s injury-time farce that brought Newcastle a match-saving penalty.

It was masked robbery … and the VARmints were the Fifa officials who dreamt up the law that has turned handball into a game of Russian roulette.

In the pre-Covid days when we went to the ground, we could vote with our feet and walk away in protest at the nonsensical rule that is in danger of killing the Beautiful Game. That’s the quickest way to shake up the Establishment – hit them below the money belt.

I am mature and balanced enough not to be making this a Spurs issue. In a way, the team almost wished the draw on themselves after making and missing a bucketful of goal-scoring chances. But football belongs to the people, and we must not allow the invisible gods at Fifa to wreck our great sport.

I do not have the energy to organise it, but there must be plenty of people ready to petition Fifa to change the law.

Right now, not wait until the end of the season.

And I must underline that I would be making the same suggestion if Newcastle had been on the receiving end of the farcical decision. Magpies manager Steve Bruce was honest enough to say the rule made no sense.

Another point of attack could come from the players and managers. We have all nationalities in the Premier League, and they should combine to make their multi-lingual voices heard at Fifa headquarters in Zurich. It is obvious the handball law is ‘foreign’ to all of them. Force Fifa to change it.

Deliberate handball is what must be outlawed, not the ball accidentally hitting the hand or arm. Hands up if you agree with me!

I reckon that if there had been the likely capacity attendance yesterday, the Dier incident might easily have provoked a crowd riot. The same can be said of Saturday’s decision that went against Crystal Palace and reduced that reasonable man Roy Hodgson to pleading for the sanity of the game to be restored.

Short of amputating Eric Dier’s arms, how on earth was he supposed to have avoided the ball against a Geordie team that had only one shot on target … the crazily awarded penalty. Stop the football world. I want to get off.

I have argued from day one of VAR’s introduction that they MUST restore the word ‘intentional’ to the handball law. If not, managers and coaches could soon be introducing a training routine in which players deliberately kick the ball at opponents in the penalty area … or ‘the box’ as Jose Mourinho prefers to call it.

Our Spurs Odyssey guru Paul H. Smith gives his screen view of the match here, and along with all other witnesses he was dumbfounded by the climax of a game in which Spurs played some of their best football of this surreal season. How they got only the one goal from Lucas Moura was beyond belief. Their first-half performance was almost faultless, while in the second-half Spurs fans would have liked them to put their foot down harder on the accelerator to try to get a match-clinching goal.

Tight-lipped Mourinho refused to be drawn on the handball moment. ‘I prefer to give my money to charity rather than to the FA in fines,’ he said, leaving us to translate all the anger that lay between the lines. He was rightly delighted by the overall team performance, with Our Harry denied a hat-trick by great goalkeeping and the woodwork depriving Sonny of another brace of goals.

VIP spectator Gareth Bale must have been buzzing at the prospect of teaming up with Sonny and Harry, but even he would not be able to – pun intended – handle VAR, which has become an Orwellian Big Brother rather than the background guardian of the game.

VAR can be good for football but only if used with common sense. There have been too many instances when it has spoiled rather than enhanced the peoples’ game.

I for one will consider turning my back on the game if they cannot sort it out quickly. I do not have the time to spare to have it wasted by moments that belong to the fantasy of something scripted by Lewis Carroll … or even Andy Carroll.

As we move on to tomorrow’s League Cup fourth round showdown with Chelsea I will say again to the VARmints at Fifa … please can we have our game back.


Spurs Odyssey Trivia Quiz League

The fourth week of season seven of the Spurs Odyssey Quiz League challenge, and the question is:

Who captains his national team, started his senior career with Hamburg, and against which side did he score his first hat-trick for Spurs in an FA Cup tie?

Please email your answer to me at SOQL4@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 – 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.

Last week’s SOQL question: Who won 61 international caps, played for Spurs against his former club in a League Cup final and with which club did he start his League playing career in 1965?

The answer: Ray Clemence, master goalkeeper who started his career with Scunthorpe before becoming a magnificent last line of defence with Liverpool.

See you back here same time, same place next week. COYS!

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