NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 377
Submitted by Norman Giller
Before Harry Kane leads England out against Hungary at Wembley tomorrow, I hope he and his team-mates get to see tonight’s ITV screening of Greavsie, a tribute to the late, very great Jimmy Greaves.
It will be an eye opener for these young millionaires to see the conditions in which the footballers of Jimmy’s generation played in the days when they earned what would be considered pocket money today.
The programme – a BT sports special by brilliant young producer/director Tom Boswell – kicks off just after 11pm. I recommend you record it for evidence that there has never been a British goal scorer in the same class as Jimmy. I admit to bias here, because we were pals for 64 years but let his goals do the talking.
Most of all, have a look at the surfaces on which Jimmy and his peers played. They were more often than not mud heaps, including at White Hart Lane where the laundry bill for kit cleaning was one of the biggest expenses on the Spurs annual accounts.
The documentary is not just about Jimmy’s football but his roller coaster life, during which he touched rock bottom. He then had the character and discipline to reinvent himself as an exceptional television broadcaster and, later, a stand-up comedian who could rival the funniest people in show business.
For all those of you asking me for funeral details, all I can say is that it is a private, invitation-only, friends and family affair, because it must not be allowed to develop into a circus. I just hope Tottenham are planning a special memorial event, just like they did for Bill Nicholson to satisfy the thousands of Jimmy fans who want to pay their respects to the great man.
Harry Kane is well aware of Jimmy’s history and there will be special memorial mention of both he and his old England team-mate and club rival Roger Hunt at tomorrow’s World Cup qualifier.
Then it’s back to club business for Harry and his search for a first Premier League goal of the season in a suddenly magnified match at Newcastle.
Speaking personally, if the takeover by the blood-on-their-hands Saudis had been of Tottenham, I would have immediately walked away from the club I have followed for 70 years. The Premier League should be ashamed to have sanctioned the controversial takeover. That’s my view. Each to his own.
Money has poisoned major football, and when the human rights issue can be kicked into touch for profit then we should all be searching our consciences. The ‘Beautiful Game’ has become very ugly.
Oh for the days of Greavsie, even in the mud.
My latest book came out last week in harness with the unique Sir Geoff Hurst, still the only man ever to score a World Cup final hat-trick. It is called Sir Geoff Hurst: Eighty At Eighty, and to mark his 80th birthday (December 8) he has named the 80 most influential sportsmen of his lifetime. It goes from Ali to Zola, and we are challenging readers to see how many times they say when reading the biographies, “I didn’t know that.”
Here are the answers to last week’s teaser questions, all covered in the book:
Who was the megastar who slept at Wembley through Geoff’s extra-time goals in the 1966 World Cup final? Answer: Muhammad Ali.
Which world-beating batsman was born with 12 fingers? Sir Garfield Sobers.
For which County did Sir Geoff play County cricket? Essex.
Why does Usain Bolt envy Sir Geoff? His dream was to play in a World Cup final.
Who was a 40-fags a day man and a world sporting superstar? French rugby legend Serge Blanco.
Which major sports star boasted that he slept with 20,000 women during his career? Basketball megastar Wilt ‘The Stilt’ Chamberlain.
Who was the world footballing master who got conned out of a fortune? Johan Cruyff.
Why did Roger Bannister regret the time he gave to athletics? He felt he would have served humanity better by studying medicine.
Which future world heavyweight champion had a fight in a Swansea pub? Rocky Marciano.
Why did George Best go missing when out with Greavsie? He went on the razzle with old down and out Leeds star Albert Johanesson (‘I thought he deserved a night out,’ said George).
All these and many more anecdotes are included in Geoff’s book of a lifetime. The perfect Christmas gift and available from any major bookshop or direct from the publishers at https://www.pitchpublishing.co.uk/shop/eighty-eighty
Or you can watch Geoff’s message about the book here:
Thank you. I am sure you will support this hungry writer :-)
The ninth week of season eight of the Spurs Odyssey Quiz League challenge, and the question is:
Which former Spurs player captained a World Cup final side, and what was his Tottenham squad number during 159 league and cup matches?
Please email your answer to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and make the subject heading Quiz Week 9. 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 – 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 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 : Which Yorkshireman joined Tottenham from Leeds, won 41 England caps and against which team did he score his only Premier League goal for Spurs?
Goalkeeper Paul Robinson, who scored with a wind-assisted free-kick against Watford ‘keeper Ben Forster in 2007.
See you back here same time, same place next week. COYS!
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