NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 356
Submitted by Norman Giller
Graeme Souness, who knows more about the ins and outs of football than any of us, can’t fathom why Gareth Bale has not been battering down José Mourinho’s door to demand regular first-team football.
The ex-player/manager-turned-Sky-pundit has been blowing a gasket over what he sees as Bale’s lack of desire and Mourinho’s reluctance to parade the Welsh wizard for the full 90 minutes.
For a man of Graeme’s vast experience, I am surprised he cannot take on board that Bale has played only a handful of full games over the past two years and has been handicapped by injuries and absence of match fitness.
He, of all people, should know that José has had to treat Bale as carefully as a thoroughbred racehorse, and now – at the business end of the season – is the time to give him full rein.
I will be amazed if Gareth does not start in the next three crucial games, the home and away Europa League matches against Dinamo Zagreb and, on Sunday, the ginormous North London Derby at the Emirates (incidentally, on the day before the Ides of March, so beware).
Our Granddad guru Paul H Smith (congratulations on the arrival of your grandson, Linden) gives his account of the match against Palace HERE and pinpoints the deadly duo performances of Bale and ‘Our Harry’ Kane.
The superbly headed equaliser in first-half injury time by Christian Benteke for outplayed Palace brought out the worst of Spurs supporters, many of whom turned viciously on the team in on-line onslaughts.
They were quickly silenced by the brilliance of Bale and Kane in the second half, and I would further like to shut them up by pointing out that Tottenham’s 100th goal of the season makes them the second highest scoring team in the major European leagues behind mighty Bayern Munich.
As Mourinho says behind a sarcastic smile: “Not bad for a defensive team.”
Most Tottenham fans appreciate that Spurs are putting together a fantastic run in towards the end of the season after a dodgy spell, but there are a minority – the Mourinho and Levy lynch mob – who keep coming out of the woodwork.
Let’s not sink to their level and make sure we give Spurs the support they need as they continue the bid for two trophies and a place in the Premier League top four. COYS!
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 March, which takes in an international break. Added to the minefield of the North London Derby are the home and away Europa League matches against Dinamo Zagreb. …
Thur 11 Mar Dinamo Zagreb (home, 8.00 Europa League, 1st leg)
Sun 14 Mar Arsenal (away, 4.30, Premier League)
Thur 18 Mar Dinamo Zagreb (away, 5.55 Europea League, 2nd leg)
Sun 21 Mar Aston Villa (away, 7.30, Premier League)
I wonder what mood we will all be in going into April and the League Cup final at Wembley on the 25th?
I feel much more confident now that the real deal Bale is opening his box of tricks. COYS!
The 27th week of season seven of the Spurs Odyssey Quiz League challenge. A quick call-over: There are more than 40 of you jostling for first place, including two-times champion David Guthrie, 2019 title holder from Down Under Graham Eyre and reigning Quiz Queen Emily Hadjinicolaou. All of you have got every question right and have each amassed a maximum 78 points. I will be “sorting you out” in May with my killer tie break challenge. Meantime, this week’s question is:
Who was born the year Tottenham won the Double, played twice for England, joined Spurs from Coventry and against which team did he help Spurs win the Uefa Cup?
Please email your answer to me at SOQL27@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 has won 87 international caps, wears the same shirt number as Bobby Smith and Martin Chivers, and against which club was he sent off for the first time in his career playing for Spurs in 2008?
The answer: Man of the moment Gareth Bale and Stoke City. Didn’t fool any of you :-)
See you back here same time, same place next week. COYS!
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