NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 335
Submitted by Norman Giller
I have searched through my lexicon of suitable phrases and come up with the exact summary of how we are all feeling after yesterday’s numbing 3-3 draw with West Ham: SHELL SHOCKED.
As Manuel Lanzini’s screaming last-minute shot hit the back of the Tottenham net I actually found myself morphing into Victor Meldrew and saying, ‘I don’t believe it.’ Only I inserted an expletive which I will spare your sensitive ears.
While back-from-the-dead West Ham were blowing bubbles of triumph, the Tottenham Covid bubble was burst by a Lazarus-style comeback. I had been all ready to write a hymn of praise about Tottenham having a squad of players to match the in-depth strength of any in their history. This was at 82 minutes with the score at 3-0 and the three points seemingly in the bag.
I leave it to our guru Paul H. Smith to chronicle those final frantic minutes HERE, and spare a thought for our webmaster trying to keep his sense and sanity while recording the goals for posterity (wish it was for prosperity as well, Paul!).
How wonderful the world seemed when homecoming hero Gareth Bale was welcomed back into a Spurs team at 72 minutes of this magnificently fought London derby. Everything seemed set for a fairytale comeback.
Tottenham had a free-kick 30 yards out, to the right of centre, and the ball was sitting there apparently waiting to welcome Bale back with an instant goal from his favourite deadball position. But the football gods were not prepared to grant such a magical moment and things soon started to go pear shaped after Gareth’s free-kick bounced tamely into goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski’s arms.
Let’s look at the positives: up until those crazy final minutes this was registering as an exceptional Tottenham performance, with Our Harry Kane playing as if he had come from another planet.
I was prompted to ask on Twitter if there was such an animal as a midfield striker, because Harry was passing from his withdrawn role like Luka Modric and shooting like Bobby Smith (one for our golden oldie readers). And a goal-saving tackle he made in his own penalty area just before half-time suggested he could also be a sweeper.
None other than Rodney Marsh, a master of ball control in his playing days, agreed on line with my assessment and suggested Harry was playing like a modern Matt Le Tissier.
Many Spurs fans also compare Harry with the old maestro Teddy Sheringham, but he was all elegance and smoothness while Kane is about power and precision. Both are all-time Tottenham greats ... and at 198 goals for Spurs there is still more to come in the Legend of Harry Kane.
Kane’s pulsating performance in the first-half was so remarkable that Jose Mourinho came on to the pitch and shook his hand in a gesture of admiration.
It was more West Ham upping their game than Tottenham losing control that changed the tide in the second-half. But it was still odds-on a Spurs victory when Bale joined the party.
Once he is completely match fit, I just cannot wait for him to team up with Kane and Son. We got just a tantalising glimpse of the Gareth magic when he created a chance for himself but put his shot inches wide. It was a taste of what’s to come, but with the ball hopefully going the correct side of the post.
A philosophical Mourinho summed it up with one word:: “football” This is why the game has such a hold on millions of people. It is never ever predictable, and at 3-0 and with eight minutes to go of normal time even Mystic Meg would not have forecast it would end 3-3.
I refuse to get too downhearted by the loss of two points. This is a Tottenham squad brimming with talent and I am confident that eventually Mourinho will find the right combination to win games consistently and – have faith – capture silverware.
The year 20-21 – centenary of the FA Cup win in 1921, platinum anniversary of the 1950-51 Push and Run title triumph and diamond jubilee of the Double in 1960-61 – demands it! Have faith, friends … once you have recovered from yesterday’s shell shock. Don’t let an old Victor Meldrew soundalike drag you down. Believe! COYS.
The seventh week of season seven of the Spurs Odyssey Quiz League challenge, and the question is:
Who has been runner-up in two European Champion League finals, has won 102 international caps and against which team did he score his first League goal for Spurs in a 4-1 victory at the Lane in 2015?
Please email your answer to me at SOQL7@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.
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 81 international caps, signed for Tottenham from Portsmouth, and which club did he join in 2012?
The answer: Niko Kranjcar, who joined Dynamo Kiev from Tottenham. He was an out-standing talent but failed to reach his full potential at White Hart Lane.
See you back here same time, same place next week. COYS!
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