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Norman Giller's Spurs Odyssey Blog (No. 359) (29.03.21)

NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 359
Submitted by Norman Giller

Hugo's rant is a message to the boss

Jose Mourinho will wait anxiously on Thursday to check in all his Tottenham players who have been away on international duty. He needs everybody fully fit in mind and spirit ready for a run-in to the end of the season that will define his management of the team.

The jury remains out on Jose, and to silence the lynch mob he must bring down mighty Manchester City in the League Cup final on April 25 and/or clinch a Champions League place with a top-four finish.

My regular readers (okay, reader) will know we have been ticking off the matches hopefully on the way 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.

There are just ten matches left for Spurs to turn this season around …


Sun  04 Apl Newcastle  (away, 2.05, Premier League)
Sun  11 Apl Man United (home, 4.30, Premier League)
Sat  17 Apl Everton    (away, TBA, Premier League)
Sun  25 Apl Man City   (Wembley, 4.00, League Cup final)
Sat  01 May Sheffield United (home, TBA, Premier League)
Sat  08 May Leeds United (away, TBA, Premier League)
Wed  12 May Wolves     (home, TBA, Premier League)
Sat  15 May Aston Villa(home, TBA, Premier League)
Sun  23 May Leicester City (away, 4.00, Premier League)
TBA         Southampton(home, Premier League)

It’s vital that Mourinho has all his squad in the right frame of mind for these final games, and that all signs of Spurs having a split camp are buried. Let me remind you of what skipper Hugo Lloris said in a blistering television rant after the humiliation in Zagreb:

"This was disgraceful. I hope everyone in the changing room feels responsible. The taste of defeat is more than painful. We are full of ambition, but I just think at the moment it is a reflection of what is going on in the club. We have a lack of basics, fundamentals, our performances are just in relation of that. Mentally we should be stronger, more competitive. When you are not ready at this level, you pay. There is quality everywhere and if you don’t respect the opponent they can punish you, that’s what happened.

"The way we play is just not enough, not enough. It's one thing to come in front of the camera to say we're ambitious, the other is to show it every day in training sessions, to show it every time on the pitch. You cannot let it down, if you play or don't play. To behave as a team is the most difficult thing in football, whatever is the decision of the manager you have to follow the way of the team. If you follow the team only when you are in the starting XI, that causes big problems for the team because you pay in one moment and you're going to pay in your season."

It was like a scene from Les Miserables to hear Lloris digging into his soul and to team-mates like this. I have never known a Spurs club captain need be so outspoken for public consumption. It was completely out of character for the intellectual Frenchman, and his remarks were translated by many that Hugo was sending an ‘act now’ message to Mourinho. The ‘Special One’ being held to account. José talked of several players ‘hiding’ on the pitch, and it now becomes crystal clear that he is in charge of a divided camp.

In my opinion, much of the disharmony in the Tottenham dressing-room has been caused by stirring, avaricious agents, who feed the press with disinformation. The emergence of self-interested agents has been the worst development in the game in my 70 year Spurs watch, and them coming out of the woodwork like vermin was a major reason why, for example, Bill Nicholson quit the manager’s chair at Tottenham back in 1975. They take, take, take without putting anything back. Many are just parasites, feeding off the Beautiful Game.

Now we are at crunch time and it will take 100 per cent effort from everybody to salvage something positive from this surreal season. This includes Gareth Bale, who bruised his legend at the club with his remarks about using his return to Spurs to get fit for skippering Wales in their European campaign. The social media almost went into meltdown with criticism of the Welshman’s comments.

We will watch Harry Kane nervously on Wednesday as he leads England in their crucial World Cup qualifier with Poland. It’s vital that he comes through without injury and fully revved up for Tottenham’s final charge.

Otherwise we could be in for a full version of Les Mis before too many more shots of the season have been fired. Zut alors!

Keep the faith. COYS!


Spurs Odyssey Trivia Quiz League

The 30th week of season seven of the Spurs Odyssey Quiz League challenge. A quick call-over: There are still 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 87 points. I will be “sorting you out” in May with my killer tie break challenge. Meantime, this week’s question is:

Who played in FA Cup finals in 1967 and 1975, won 35 caps and against which team did he captain Tottenham in a Uefa Cup final?

Please email your answer to me at SOQL30@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 53 England caps, started his career with his local Yorkshire club and which of his team-mates was signed along with him by Tottenham on the same day?

The answer: The pair of Kyles, Walker and Naughton, who joined Tottenham together from Sheffield United in the summer of 2009.

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

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