NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 368
Submitted by Norman Giller
While all attention is on whether Mauricio Pochettino is returning to the manager’s hot seat at Tottenham, a company called CK66 is quietly working away to make sure he will not have Harry Kane waiting to welcome him back.
This is the agency that represents ‘Our Harry’ and is run by his older brother Charlie and father Patrick. It has swish offices in the heart of the City of London’s financial district, and they are geared up to handle what would be a world record £150-million transfer deal. They have only one client: Harry Kane.
Favourites to sign Harry are Manchester City, desperate after their defeat by Chelsea to go one better next season and win that elusive Champions League title. The move took a huge step forward at Wembley when a despondent Harry stood watching his old Spurs team-mate Kyle Walker collecting his seventh medal at the end of the Carabao Cup final.
That was the moment Harry decided he needed to change clubs if he is ever going to have medals as proof to show he is one of the greatest strikers of his generation
Arab-owned City have Harry and Aston Villa entertainer Jack Grealish in their sights as they prepare to make an all-out blitz on the Champions League.
Harry, 28 on July 28, does not want distractions while he is preparing to captain England in the Euros later this month, but that is not stopping brother Charlie from listening to overtures from a small group of elite clubs, led by City and including Man United, Liverpool, Chelsea and the PSG club currently coached by his former manager and close friend, ‘Professor’ Pochettino.
I was one of those who could not see a scenario in which Pochettino would return so soon to the scene of his sacking in November 2019, but he was clearly keen on the idea until suddenly a job he has always coveted – manager of Real Madrid – became available with the walk-out of Zinedine Zidane. Reportedly, Real have a preference for Carlo Ancelotti at Everton.
Now all eyes are on Daniel Levy to see if he can clinch a deal with the idolised Argentine, with former Chelsea, Juventus and Inter coach Antonio Conte also still in the frame. Erik ten Hag’s agent has been in telephone conversations with Tottenham over the future of the highly rated Ajax coach, but it’s Pochettino’s job for the taking if PSG can be persuaded to release him. The new/old boss will have a war chest to spend in the transfer market, boosted by the sale of Our Harry.
Musical chairs at Tottenham. Let’s hope it does not turn out to be to a funeral march.
Our new quiz champion Peter Lawton at the ‘old’ Lane in the company of the warmly remembered Benoit Assou-Ekotto
Meantime, here at Spurs Odyssey, we have been congratulating London-born, Israel-based Peter Lawton on becoming the new Spurs Odyssey Quiz League king, and former champions Graham Eyre (New South Wales), last year’s Queen Emily Hadjinicolaou (Surrey) and two-times winner David Guthrie (Wokingham) have been showering him with deserved praise.
The circumstances in which Peter won the tie break were astounding, making his winning team selection while Israel was under constant bombardment from Hamas rockets. Peter told me on hearing of his victory before the ceasefire:
“What a way to start a Sunday morning (a working day here in Israel) to hear that I was the new champion! I don’t think that I have ever reached 50% previously in the tie-breaker. I must be learning how to read your mind.
“I am not sure what has caused me more anguish, Tottenham’s recent non-performances or the tie-breaker. Add to that the fact that we have two sons in the South of the country, within range of the Hamas rockets (one on reserve duty, right on the border) and it has, to put it mildly, been quite a week.
“You ask for background to my love of Spurs: My connection with Tottenham started on Saturday 11th October 1958, at about 7.15 a.m., enjoying my Saturday morning treat of lying in my parents’ bed. They were listening to the news on the radio, when the preview of that afternoon’s football came on, and I remember hearing something about a new manager at Tottenham Hotspur and I was fascinated by the magical nature of the name. That afternoon, my father, a Chelsea supporter, was watching the football results on TV, when, after lots of 1-1’s 2-0’s and 1-2’s, I heard Tottenham Hotspur 10 Everton 4. Since that moment my love has never died, despite all the ups and downs.
“My first visit to White Hart Lane was on Easter Saturday 1963, not one of Tottenham’s best performances, a mistake by goalkeeper Tony Macedo giving Jimmy Greaves the chance to force a 1-1 draw. With Blanchflower, Haynes and White all out injured, the mid-field was controlled by Fulham’s young right half – a certain Alan Mullery.
“I moved to Israel on 3rd November 1975, on completing my studies at Cambridge University (and foolishly thinking that we had secured first division survival). I was at Trinity Hall at Cambridge, whereas Daniel Levy was at Sidney Sussex, ten years later. I studied Classics for my first two years, until I decided that my future lay in Israel, and then studied Ancient and Modern Hebrew in my third year. After many years in international logistics, I now work as a translator.
Since my uni days, trips to Tottenham have been few and far between. My last visit to the Lane was in December 2013, when my two sons took me to see Tottenham v Liverpool. That was also AVB’s last game at the Lane!
“That was supposed to be a present for my sixtieth birthday – a present not celebrated! I am planning a visit to the new stadium for my seventieth in two years’ time. Hopefully, then we can arrange a win.
“In Israel we get to see most matches on TV, but it is not the same as a live game. Since 1993 we have been living in Haifa, Ronnie Rosenthal’s home town. In October this season, our household was split, as my elder son and my daughter’s boyfriend are both ardent supporters of our local team, Maccabi Haifa, but not even Jose Mourinho could disappoint me that day!
“I look forward to defending my title next season. Thank you for organising the quiz. It always provides a pleasant interlude.”
Note to Peter: I will be organising the postage of your prizes to Israel just as soon as the framing shop is back in business: a Harry Kane 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 you as SOQL champion 2021. PLUS a signed copy of My 70 Years of Spurs book.
I am sure all of you will now want to reward me for all my organising work on the Quiz over the last seven years by ordering a signed copy of the book direct from me at https://normangillerbooks.com/blank-page I am sharing profits with the Tottenham Tribute Trust that quietly looks after our old heroes, who missed the gravy train. Please give us your support, thank you.
Last week’s Trivia Test question was: Which 30-cap Tottenham forward was selected by five different managers for his last five matches with England, all while a Spurs player? Darren ‘Sicknote’ Anderton was selected by Glenn Hoddle, Howard Wilkinson, Kevin Keegan, Peter Taylor and Sven-Goran Eriksson for his last five England caps.
This will be my sign-off Spurs Odyssey blog until August. Thanks for your company. I wonder who will be manager on my return, and whose colours will Our Harry be wearing? And where will Gareth Bale be taking his final shots? Stay safe, and have an enjoyable summer. COYS!
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