NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 351
Submitted by Norman Giller
As I may have mentioned before, this is my 70th year of being a Spurs watcher and I am writing a book about it called (drum roll): My Seventy Years of Spurs. A lot of thought went into that. I have left the final chapter open for the story of this surreal season, hoping I can feature an end to the silverware drought. After last night’s defeat at Brighton, I am tempted to go to press now rather than wait until May.
Let’s say it exactly as it was: the Seagulls of Brighton pooped on Spurs (I have cleaned that up). There is more passion in Dot Cotton’s bedroom than in that Tottenham performance.
My Facebook and Twitter timelines were throbbing with angry Spurs fans calling for the head of José Mourinho, but I won’t join the lynch mob. We must remember that he has them in the final of the League Cup (against Man City, ouch) and still fighting on the Europa League and FA Cup fronts. So let’s stop calling for an execution and instead give the team the support it needs to get its old mojo back (Mo as in Mauricio :-)
Our Spurs Odyssey guru Paul H. Smith gives the grim, details of the defeat at Brighton HERE. I didn’t envy him having to report a match in which Tottenham lacked energy and ideas against a low-confidence team that had not won a single home League match this season.
The saddest sight was seeing Gareth Bale playing as if those once golden boots of his had turned to lead. Will we ever see the old Gareth pace and flair again? I somehow doubt it, while desperately hoping that he proves me completely wrong. It’s like seeing a once gleaming Rolls Royce turn into an old banger.
Mourinho is caught in a Catch-22 situation with Bale. He clearly needs pitch time to get his touch and match fitness back, but his output does not warrant his place in the team. And it must irritate some of his team-mates that his presence – mostly on the bench – is costing Tottenham the little matter of £300k a week! Is it time for Bale to bail out and concede that his return to Spurs has been a flop, or fight on and make know-alls like me eat my words?
Perhaps he should listen to ex-Spur Graeme Souness and kick up a fuss and insist that he is given a regular first-team place, so that he can prove he has still got the magic that made him one of the greatest footballers ever to come out of Britain.
But I’m not sure that passion still burns in Gareth, who has made enough money out of the game never to worry again about where the next pound (or Euro) is coming from.
I got several calls yesterday from contacts assuring me that Dele Alli was on his way to Paris to be reunited with Pochettino, but I understand Daniel Levy put a block on the move when a bid to bring back Christian Eriksen from Inter-Milan fell through. Wouldn't it be great if he and Mourinho could bury their differences and the old Dele start strutting his stuff again for Spurs.
José is back to his old tricks of playing mind games wih players, Serge Aurier joins Dele in not knowing where he stands with the supercilious Portuguese, who is a serial trophy winner with his methods.
The pressure persists for Mourinho, who on Thursday faces a home match against the Chelsea club where he will always be a legend. They are under the new management of Thomas Tuchel, considered by some the ‘new Special One.’ We shall see.
We continue to 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 this month (try not to feel too exhausted reading them!) …
Thur 04 Feb Chelsea (home, 8.00, Premier League)
Sun 07 Feb West Brom (home, 12.00, Premier League)
Wed 10 Feb Everton (away, 8.15, FA Cup 5th round)
Sat 13 Feb Man City (away, 5,30), Premier League)
Thu 18 Feb Wolfsberger(away, 5.55, Europa League, 1st leg)
Sun 21 Feb West Ham (away, 12.00, Premier League)
Wed 24 Feb Wolfsberger(home, 5.00, Europa League, 2nd leg)
Sun 28 Feb Burnley (home, 2.00, Premier League)
The 22nd week of season seven of the Spurs Odyssey Quiz League challenge, and the question is:
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 Swedish-born former Spurs skipper won 61 caps and in which country did he play his early football before joining Charlton as an apprentice in 1978?
The answer: Richard Gough, who was born in Sweden and grew up in South Africa. He was the son of a Scottish professional footballer and after skippering Spurs in the 1987 FA Cup final ‘went home’ to Rangers, where he became captain and led them to nine League championships.
See you back here same time, same place next week. COYS!