NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 339
Submitted by Norman Giller
The spotlight was so switched on the return of prodigal son Gareth Bale that Sergio Reguilon arrived from Real Madrid in a £30-million transfer that almost went under the radar. They came together from Real on the same day, and it is only now beginning to dawn on Tottenham watchers that we have imported a class act.
For me, he was the Tottenham Man of the Match yesterday as Spurs ground out a nerve-jangling victory against West Brom that very briefly took them to the summit of the topsy-turvy Premier League.
It was, almost inevitably, a Harry Kane goal – his 150th in the Premier League – that lifted Tottenham to victory in the 88th minute of an undistinguished match, recorded here by our Spurs Odyssey guru Paul H. Smith.
Reguilon not only looks composed and in control in his left back defensive role, but is also in peak-form Danny Rose class for making fast and incisive supporting attacks down the left wing.
My man in Spain – the one who told me ahead of the field that Gareth was ‘coming home’ – informs me that Sergio was highly rated at Real but allowed to go off on loan to Seville after he had fallen out with manager Zinedine Zidane’s son. A relative disaster.
Reguilon was just a cub player at the Bernabeu when Jose Mourinho was manager, but clearly made an impression on the now Spurs manager. He encouraged Daniel Levy to splash the cash in the middle of his complicated negotiations for Bale.
As for Gareth, he is still a yard off his peak pace and accuracy. But be patient. I am convinced he will reward us with some scintillating football once he is up to full match fitness. The Son-Kane-Bale trio will strike fear into any defence.
What pleased Mourinho most of all yesterday was another blank sheet. That is even more important and satisfying to him than scoring goals, which is why there is a buzz of optimism around the club. He does not mind grinding out victories, so let’s get used to it.
But we should also remember that the victory at the Hawthorns was carved out against an under-strength West Brom side that has been hit by the Covid crisis.
I think we will continue to see the back line of Doherty, Toby, Eric Dier and Reguilon as Jose’s No 1 selection as he juggles with a crazy fixture list that will keep him as occupied as Joe Biden. Jose will enjoy that comparison, because he likes to come across as Presidential. Let’s hope he is making an acceptance of silverware speech at the end of the season. Meanwhile, he is just “Biden” his time (I’ll get my coat).
Judge for yourself how busy Jose (and we watchers) will be. This is the match list taking Spurs up to the end of the year after this week’s international break …
Sat 21 Nov Man City (home, 5.30, Premier League)
Thur 26 Nov Ludogrets (home, 8.00, Europa League)
Sun 29 Nov Chelsea (away, 4.30, Premier League)
Thur 3 Dec Lask (away, 5.55, Europa League)
Sat 5 Dec Arsenal (home, TBD, Premier League)
Thur 10 Dec Antwerp (home, 8.00, Europa League)
Sat 12 Dec C. Palace (home, 3.00, Premier League)
Wed 16 Dec Liverpool (away, 8.00, Premier League)
Sat 19 Dec Leicester (home, 3.00 Premier League)
Wed 23 Dec Stoke (away, 5.30, League Cup quarter-final)
Sat 26 Dec Wolves (away, 3.00, Premier League)
Mon 28 Dec Fulham (home, 3.00, Premier League)
I feel exhausted just typing it. This will take us through the lockdown and beyond.
I wonder if they can come up with a vaccine for Spurs addiction? Please stay safe. COYS!
The tenth week of season seven of the Spurs Odyssey Quiz League challenge, and the question is:
Who won 34 international caps playing at both centre-forward and centre-half, was bought by his old manager David Pleat, and which club did he join from Tottenham?
Please email your answer to me at SOQL10@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: Which Essex-born player appeared in more than 100 League and Cup games for Spurs before being forced to retire at just. 26, and what number shirt did he wear in the 1971 League Cup final?
The answer: Chelmsford-born Peter Collins, who wore the No 5 shirt in the 1971 League Cup final victory over Aston Villa. I was heartbroken for Peter when an horrendous ankle injury ended his career at the age of 26, just as he was being groomed to take over the centre-half role from the Mighty Mike England.
See you back here same time, same place next week. COYS!
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