NORMAN GILLERíS SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 375
Submitted by Norman Giller
It was hard to decide who got their tactics most wrong at the weekend, Anthony Joshua at the splendid Tottenham Stadium or Spurs against Arsenal at the unwelcoming Emirates.
Easy to judge from my armchair, but AJ surrendered the title by melting down to 17 stone and turning it into a boxing match rather than a fight. Suddenly boxing master Usyk felt he was in his own back yard. Tottenham Stadium was our only winner. Tyson Fury would come in at 20 stone against the Ukrainian and bully and intimidate him.
Thatís my boxing judgement, based on many years earning my living in the fight game as a ringside reporter and then publicist.
What to do about Spurs? Pass.
Three successive 3-goal defeats brings the club to the brink of a crisis, and it is going to need a concerted team effort to stop the nose-dive before it becomes a full-blown crash.
Too many players, including our once unstoppable Harry Kane, are not playing with their heads or their hearts.
If there is anything positive to take from yesterdayís painful defeat itís that Tottenham were much improved after their humiliating first-half hiding, brought to you here in all its gory detail by our long-suffering Spurs Odyssey guru Paul H. Smith.
But giving a three goal start to the opposition before finding motivation is, I humbly suggest, not a wise tactic and certainly not one that sits comfortably with Spurs fans.
Next up is a home Europa Conference League game against Slovenian side NS Mura on Thursday, followed by a Premier League date against Aston Villa at the new Lane on Sunday. Anything less than victory in both matches will pile pressure on Nuno EspŪrito Santo, who is suddenly looking like a man with a gun at his back.
Nuno said in his after-match interviews that Tottenham went to the Emirates with a game plan. They did?
I suggest that AJ and Nuno need to go back to the drawing board. Both must come up with new tactics.
Just a word on the big winner of the weekend, the Spurs Stadium which will soon have naming rights bringing in £25m a year to the club coffers. It looked magnificent for the big fight night and everybody was commenting on what a great venue it is.
There are ENIC-hating people out there who clearly have no idea of football finances. Throughout my 60 years covering the football beat clubs have been crippled by overheads because of grounds that stand empty and non-productive on most days. Spurs shrewdly find a way to bring in revenue and they are set upon by critics who have never run a major operation in their lives.
Tottenhamís first long-serving chairman, Charles Robert, understood this and introduced baseball to White Hart Lane in the 1920s. At Derby they went the whole hog and built the Baseball Ground. In the 1940s Spurs turned to boxing to bring in extra cash (I am sure you can all recite the Woodcock-London and Harvey-Mills fight details and later the sad Eubank-Watson and then Bruno-Bugner fight results).
There are plans for live concerts and a full programme of NFL matches, all giving Tottenham the highest possible profile and bringing much needed employment to the area.
But the armchair experts will continue to pick holes purely because they detest Levy, Lewis and ENIC. Fair enough, but who will you bring in to take over? Porn barons? Blood-on-their-hands Arabs? Avaricious Americans? Russian oligarchs? Better the devil we know, methinks.
Meantime, letís get behind Nuno in his efforts to bring cohesion to the menís football team. The Tottenham women are showing the way and getting growing support.
Stop moaning and groaning everybody and get behind the club not in its way. COYS!
The seventh week of season eight of the Spurs Odyssey Quiz League challenge, and the question is:
Who was an FA Cup winner with Tottenham after joining them from Coventry, and with which Midlands club did he finish his playing career?.
Please email your answer to me at email@example.com and make the subject heading Quiz Week 7. Deadline: midnight this Friday. I will do my best to respond to all who take part.
The rules are the same as in the previous seven seasons. I ask a two-pronged question with three points at stake Ė 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. Thatís when I become as popular as Sol Campbell in an Arsenal shirt.
This yearís prizes for the champion: A rare out-of-print book from my now very special Greavsie collection with autographs from the late, great Jimmy Greaves, Dave Mackay and Steve Perryman, and, most important of all, a framed certificate announcing the win-ner 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.
Answer to question 6: Who won an FA Cup, two League Cups and a Uefa Cup with Spurs, 22 international caps spread between two clubs, and with which team did he start his senior career?
Alan Gilzean, who joined Spurs from Dundee and formed a dynamic duo with the one and only Jimmy Greaves. I could not resist bringing the G-men together in our Quiz in a silent tribute to the memory of both of them.
See you back here same time, same place next week. COYS!
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