NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 362
Submitted by Norman Giller
There was lots of dancing today on the grave of Jose Mourinho … but also on the soul of football, that is being destroyed on the altar of galloping greed. If the plan for the elitist ‘European Super League’ goes through I for one will turn my back on the once-beautiful game that has held me in its grip across seven decades.
As we reported here on Spurs Odyssey last week, Julian Nagelsmann has been lined up as the next Spurs manager after Marmite Man Mourinho lost the dressing-room and the support of the majority of Tottenham fans. So, it should have come as no surprise to our readers that José was on his way out.
It means Spurs go into Sunday’s League Cup final against Manchester City rudderless, just as a revolution sweeps through the game, wrecking football as we know and love it.
I feel as if the gorgeous woman I have admired – adored even – since I was a football virgin has suddenly proved to be a tart who will give her body to anybody for money. Big, big, big money. This all makes the ‘loads of cash’ era seem almost amateurish.
Sorry to boil this down to such selfish motives, but the news of the breakaway league hit the headlines yesterday to torpedo the little matter of my 81st birthday. I was enjoying myself trying to entice people to buy the book – My Seventy Years of Spurs – because I was looking forward to sharing any profits with the Tottenham Tribute Trust that looks after our old heroes.
Now I am spitting blood and am ready to aim much of it at two men I have constantly defended over the last few months when Spurs followers were screaming for their heads. In the stocks, Joe Lewis and Daniel Levy.
Remember when dear Keith Burkinshaw walked out on Spurs with the parting shot: “There used to be a football club there”? As far as I am concerned, they are now selling the club to the devil, and the L-men can go to ‘ell unless they do an about-turn and walk away from this appalling plan.
These words will cost what hope I have of getting my book on the shelves of the Tottenham super stores, because Lewis and Levy ‘own’ Spurs lock stock and two barrels. Or they THINK they do. The club – the soul and spirit – will always belong to the fans, regardless of what the greed merchants do.
What sickens me down to the sole of my boots and the soul of my Spurs addiction is that during the pandemic – the most dangerously worrying time since the Second World War – Lewis and Levy have been among a small cartel of billionaires plotting to hijack the game of football for their own mercenary means.
While we were being isolated from the deadly covid disease, they were carving up the game with little or no care for those clubs not involved in their evil – yes, evil – plan.
Oh, how I wish I could have hacked into their zoom calls as Lewis and Levy discussed with oil-rich Arabs, dollar-doped American moguls and a rich-beyond-belief Russian tycoon the taking over of our Beautiful Game. I would have put in my pennyworth by speaking up for the supporters who are the true owners of the game.
Just in case you spent yesterday on Mars, let me briefly summarise what is being proposed:
Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham are among 12 clubs who have agreed to join a new European Super League (ESL). They will join AC Milan, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus and Real Madrid.
The ESL said the founding clubs had agreed to establish a "new midweek competition" with teams continuing to "compete in their respective national leagues”. Their selfish plan is for an inaugural season, “intended to commence as soon as practicable" and they "anticipated that a further three clubs" would join the breakaway.
Once they are off the launching pad, they will bring top women’s football under their cosy umbrella.
Two fingers to the rest of the world’s clubs.
There have been rumours of the new League for a long time, but it was when Wall Street bank JPMorgan agreed in October that they were ready to put up £4.6bn – that’s billion – for a new competition we realised the money men were preparing to rape our Beautiful Game.
UEFA were hoping to head them off with a revamped 36-team Champions League, but the greed merchants decided there was not enough in it for them. This is why yesterday they brought forward their plans to try to scupper the UEFA project.
The proposed new League will have 20 teams, the 12 founding members plus three unnamed clubs – pressure is on Bayern Munich and PSG to join – plus five clubs who will be invited to take part based on domestic achievements.
There is a huge Yankee involvement. I wonder how long it will be before they kick out drawn matches?
It intrigued and amused me yesterday to see SKY TV brutally smashing the plans, which I immediately translated as them having lost out for the screening rights of the proposed new competition. Let’s not forget that it was just the day before yesterday that they snatched football away from free-to-air broadcasters, the BBC and ITV. What goes around comes around.
Only a mass boycott by the fans – who own the legacy to the people’s game – can stop the juggernaut in its tracks.
This Spurs Odyssey platform is not the place to take on the high and mighty like Lewis and Levy, but I know our guru Paul H. Smith shares my abhorrence of the breakaway plan at the expense of the traditional football on which we have both been weaned.
Our week was supposed to be about the build up to Sunday’s League Cup final against Manchester City at Wembley, with Wednesday’s match at home to Southampton an irritating distraction. As I understand it, Harry Kane will miss the Saints game and will have a late fitness test before a decision is made about whether he plays against City.
But to be honest, who really cares. The likes of Lewis and Levy have pulled the plug on our season. And they have got rid of the man who clearly could not help them with their selfish ambitions, Jose Mourinho. He has been under an avalanche of attacks on the social media for several months, and it was a question of not if but when he was shown the door.
I said the day he was appointed that it would end in tears. I did not know those tears would be mixed and shaken with even more crying for our Beautiful Game.
Everything has been thrown into the air by the talk and mood of revolution. Please have sympathy for me as I write the final chapter to my book featuring my 70-year journey, with a deadline the day after Sunday’s final. I wonder how it will end?
I hope you will join me on my 70-year march through Tottenham time by ordering the book from me at https://www.normangillerbooks.com/blank-page. A donation for every book sold will be made to the Tottenham Tribute Trust who look after our old heroes who missed the gravy train. In this time of galloping greed, they are the people we should care about.
For the record, there are now just seven matches left for Spurs to turn this season around (but in the current atmosphere, so what?):
Wed 21 Apl Southampton(home, 6.00, Premier League)
Sun 25 Apl Man City (Wembley, 4.30, 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)
Try to keep the faith. COYS!
The 33nd 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 96 points. I will be “sorting you out” next month with my killer tie break challenge. Meantime, this week’s 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: Who won 26 international caps, wore the No 2 Spurs shirt in an FA Cup final and which Tottenham manager sold him to Brighton & Hove Albion?
The answer: Joe ‘the Joker’ Kinnear and ‘Terrible’ Terry Neill, who was far too red blooded for most tastes.
See you back here same time, same place next week. Wonder if we will be celebrating silverware at long last? Don’t hold your breath. COYS!