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Norman Giller's Spurs Odyssey Blog (No. 370) (23.08.21)

NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 370
Submitted by Norman Giller

Hugo the boss as Spurs ride their luck

I was discussing the visit to Wolves before the match with our Spurs Odyssey guru Paul H. Smith and said, ‘This is the game that will define our season. I feel in my bones that it will signpost what to expect under the management of Nuno Espirito Santo.’

Well, now we know. Nuno is going to have the footballing gods with him and I sense a successful nine months ahead. By any barometer, Wolves could and should have taken all three points, but it was written in the stars that Spurs came away with a victory that was laced with luck.

The filleted Match of the Day version last night gave no indication of the Wolves supremacy. They created 25 goal scoring chances to just eight from Spurs. Imagine if you were a Wolves supporter. They had much the better of the game but were frustrated by a mix of feeble finishing and determined defending by a Tottenham rearguard that has yet to be pierced in 180 minutes of Premier League action.

Skipper Hugo Lloris has come into the season in peak form, and hopefully that has silenced his critics who were voicing doubts about this magnificent goalkeeper. He is comfortably the finest last line of defence Spurs have had since the Premier League was launched, and I can never understand how many on social media have questioned his right to wear the No 1 jersey. He marked his 300th Spurs Premier League appearance with his usual competent and confident performance, as reported HERE by Paul Smith.

I wonder how young Japhet Tanganga is feeling after his chasing by that clever, jet-paced Adama Traore? Following his man of the match performance against Man City last week, he was brought down to earth with a bump by the wizardry of the Wolves flier who hardly deserved to be on the losing side. Don’t worry, Japhet. Traore will give plenty of more experienced defenders the same treatment. If I could hand pick a player to join Spurs he would be one of my top choices.

I also wonder what was going through Dele Alli’s mind as he stepped up to take the ninth minute penalty that he had earned when Sergio Reguillon opened the path to goal for him. He was unceremoniously toppled by goalkeeper Jose Sa before getting up to take the vital spot-kick.

Dele knew that this would automatically have been the responsibility of ‘Our Harry’ Kane, who was looking on from the substitute’s bench. He held his nerve, and slotted home a penalty that eventually proved the winning goal. It was further proof of the growing maturity of Dele, despite the mind games that Mourinho played with him that could have crushed his confidence.

He is playing a deeper role in the Santo formation, and it clearly suits him as he searches for the form that made him one of the outstanding prospects in the land under Pochettino until Mourinho neutered him.

Now we watch and wait to see if Harry Kane’s late appearance as a substitute will be the last we see of him in a Spurs shirt. I have had to take an avalanche of criticism from Spurs fans who cannot believe that I have reported that Harry WANTS to leave.

Daniel Levy’s stubborn stance against the Arab owners of Man City will be put to the test and we will know by this time next week whether he has got his £150m transfer fee or ‘One Of Our Own’ has to remain a reluctant Lilywhite – when he will have to mend more fences than a Texas cowboy.

An interesting week ahead, including I am sure a thumping victory over Pacos de Ferreira on Thursday to silence those fickle fans who went way over the top with their bashing of Nuno and his squad for their 1-0 defeat in the first leg of the Euro Conference League qualifying round.

I’m predicting something similar to when Crewe held Tottenham to a draw in the FA Cup back in 1960. People up on their Spurs history will know what happened in the return match at the Lane.

Meantime, spare a thought for that other North London team … no points, no goals.

Yes, the footballing gods are smiling down on London N.17.


Spurs Odyssey Quiz League 2021-22

We are off and running with the eighth season of our 2021-22 Odyssey Quiz League competition, and we have many newcomers challenging for the title held by Israeli-based Peter Lawton. I wonder how many will last the course along with the usual suspects? We have contenders from all points of the compass including Australia, Hawaii, Singapore, Hungary, Denmark, Norway and the United States, plus former champions David Guthrie (aiming for a hat-trick), Graham Eyre and the redoubtable Emily Hadjinicolaou.

The rules are the same as in the previous seven 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. That’s when I become as popular as Sol Campbell in an Arsenal shirt.

This year’s prizes for the champion: A rare out-of-print book 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 2022. Plus a signed copy of My 70 Years of Spurs book and a special bonus prize that I will announce later in the season.

Question 2 in our 2021-22 season:

Which FA Cup-winning Belgian-born player won 13 international caps, signed for Spurs from Everton and which London team did he join in 1993?

Answer to question 1: “Who wore the No 25 Spurs shirt in a Wembley final, played 21 times for England and from which club did he join Tottenham in 2005?”

Yes, as many of you responded: Aaron Lennon, who signed for Spurs from Leeds United.

Please email your answer to me at soqleague@gmail.com and make the subject heading Quiz Week 2. Deadline: midnight this Friday. I will do my best to respond to all who take part.

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

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