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Norman Giller's Spurs Odyssey Blog (No. 347) (04.01.21)

NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 347
Submitted by Norman Giller

Centurion Sonny gives Spurs a winning injection

My New Year’s resolution is ‘No more Grumpy Old Git’ … time to get right behind Tottenham in a season that could easily see the end of the long silverware drought. We must all bite our tongues and give Marmite Man Jose Mourinho full support as he tries to win a trophy HIS way.

It’s unreasonable for us to expect him to change. He has found a successful formula, and it is WE who must adjust our views if we want to have something tangible to show for our support.

On a personal note, I am having my second Covid jab tomorrow, which considerably increases the odds of me being around to celebrate Spurs having – perhaps – a couple of cups. Yes, I have come into ‘2021-the-year-with-a-one’ with the bounce of a cock-eyed optimist. A Spurs cock, naturally.

How can we knock Jose and his safety-first tactics after Saturday’s comfortable 3-0 victory over a Leeds side playing the pressing game that Mauricio Pochettino used to practice and preach?

As our wise guru Paul H. Smith reminds us HERE, Poch was a disciple of the eccentric Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa, whose affectionate nickname at home in Argentina is El Loco – The Madman. Seeing his Gung-ho tactics against the contain-and-counter style of Mourinho made you realise just how reckless football is the Bielsa way. Exciting yes, but too kamikaze for many tastes.

Every time Leeds came forward – which was often – you could see inviting holes to be exploited by sharp footballers of the quality of Kane & Son (or Sons, after Harry and Kate produced their boy Louis last week).

How warming to see Sonny collecting his 100th goal for Spurs in what seems the blinking of an eye. There is no better sight in today’s football than these two combining together as if born to play with each other, and the way Son thanked ‘Haitch and my team-mates’ for his century of goals highlighted the modesty and dignity of the man. What an ambassador for Asia.

The pair of them together make Mourinho purr, because he knows he can get away with his barricade-style football while they are able to pounce like predatory barracudas. Provided they maintain peak form, Jose can continue to pinch rather than plunder vital points.

I can almost hear dear old Bruce Forsyth saying: “Points. And what do points make? Prizes.”

Everything Mourinho does is based on winning pots. He has had 20 on his sideboard, so he clearly knows what he’s doing (but we still won’t forgive him that sterile show against Wolves!).

We should, barring accidents, have a return ticket to Wembley for the League Cup final tomorrow. Brentford are a smart, sophisticated team playing football far above their EFL Championship status, but this is one Spurs should win. Then it’s “just” one of the Manchester teams between Jose and yet another League Cup trophy triumph, his fifth!

Then, surely, we can look forward to being in the draw for the fourth round of the FA Cup after Sunday’s game against Marine of the Northern Premier League. So Mourinho will be chasing trophies and titles on four fronts, the Uefa Cup and Premier League still in his sights.

The January transfer window is now open, and the sooner it is closed to stop the draft(sic) the better. I am not going to bother counting all the rumoured deals. I just know I would be sad to see the exit of Dele Alli when there is so much more for him to give.

The three players who risked spreading Covid with their irresponsible Christmas partying with West Ham mates is being treated as a serious breach of club rules. As punishment let them visit an overcrowded hospital.

Or they can come and watch me giving them two fingers while I am having my second jab tomorrow. It would be the V for Vaccination sign.

Stay safe. Happy 2021. COYS.


Jimmy Greaves with Norman Giller in 2015

Jimmy Greaves with Norman Giller in 2015

I cannot let the award of an MBE to Jimmy Greaves go without adding my congratulations but also commenting in exasperation that it should have been a knighthood.

My mate for more than 60 years should have been made Sir Jimmy yonks ago. For his groundbreaking TV work alongside Ian St John – Saint and Greavsie – he deserved a gong. He managed to bring humour into punditry, making viewers laugh while also treating football seriously.

He inspired hundreds of people to follow his lead by conquering alcoholism. For that, they should have given him an award. We wrote books together in which his main aim was to inspire people to kick the bottle. He and I quit drinking together on February 20 1978, with the toast: “Let’s go and get sober out of our minds.” An MBE? Enough to drive us back to drink.

Then there was the little matter of his football! I have not seen a better British goal scorer, Yes, it should definitely have been ‘Arise, Sir Jim.’

His wonderful wife, Irene, has now made it public that he wants out from a world that has kicked him in the teeth.

So now you know, our great idol is having a miserable extra-time to his life. Like his manager and close pal Terry Baker says: “Spurs should announce they are erecting a statue to him or naming a stand after him while he’s still alive to appreciate it.

My love and support goes out to Greavsie and his sweetheart Irene. It is almost an insult to give him an MBE. The least they should have awarded is a CBE, the highest gong after a knighthood, which Denis Law proudly holds. It is king Scot Denis who says: ‘No doubt about it, it should be Sir Jim.’

It’s a cruel old game.


Many of you comment on how you like to see the upcoming fixtures, so I will list them here every week as we tick off the matches on the way (fingers crossed) to silverware in what is the Centenary of the 1921 FA Cup win, the Platinum celebration of the 1951 Push and Run title, the Diamond Jubilee of the 1961 Double Year, the Ruby anniversary of Ricky’s ‘Goal of the Century’ in the 1981 FA Cup final triumph, and, of course, the Pearl anniversary of the last time Spurs won the FA Cup in 1991.

These are the fixtures facing Spurs to the end of January …


Tue  05 Jan Brentford    (home, 7.45, League Cup semi-final)
Sun  10 Jan Marine    (away, 5.00, FA Cup 3rd round)
Wed  13 Jan Aston Villa (away, 8.15, Premier League)
Sun  17 Jan Sheff United (away, 2.00, Premier League)
Thur 28 Jan Liverpool (home, 8.00, Premier League)


Spurs Odyssey Trivia Quiz League

The 18th week of season seven of the Spurs Odyssey Quiz League challenge, and the question is:

Who won five England caps, collected an FA Cup winners’ medal as a substitute with Spurs and which Tottenham manager bought him from Liverpool?

Please email your answer to me at SOQL18@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 scored a League Cup winning goal for Spurs, won 44 international caps and with which Bundesliga club did he start his career?

The answer: Allan Nielsen, the Dane who kicked off his career as a teenager with Bayern Munich.

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

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