NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 378
Submitted by Norman Giller
Cynics suggested that Harry Kane was auditioning for the new Saudi owners of Newcastle United with his return-to-form performance at an emotion-charged St James’s Park.
I prefer to think this was more a Harry who had come to terms with his aborted Manchester City move – at least temporarily – and he was merely being himself and playing out of his skin for the team.
Everything about Tottenham yesterday made me proud to be a follower of the club. They kept their nerve when Newcastle – buoyed by the fanatical Geordie support – started like an express train and were rewarded with a goal in less than two minutes against a shell-shocked Spurs.
Our guru Paul H. Smith tells HERE how Tottenham gradually took control of the match against an increasingly neurotic Newcastle, who must forget about building for the future and concentrate purely on a one-match-at-a-time policy to dig themselves out of their self-inflicted crisis.
Now it’s MY turn to be cynical. Wouldn’t it be hilarious if the blood-on-their-hands Arab owners found themselves down in the Championship within months of taking over the club. I do not wish it upon their incredibly loyal fans, but I would be quite happy to see the Saudis sucked down before their bottomless-pit riches buys a golden future for the Magpies.
As Callum Wilson scored their instant goal, new chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan celebrated as if he was as Geordie as Gazza and as established as the Angel of the North. But he was quickly given a slap of reality by top-of-his-game Tanguy Ndombele, whose powerfully driven 17th minute equaliser was the highlight of a masterly display.
From then on Spurs were in command against opponents that had no pattern or cohesion. It is going to take lots of that Arab money to dig them out of the relegation hole.
It was Our Harry – his head and heart in the right place – who gave Spurs a deserved lead with a beautifully controlled flick shot for his first Premier League goal of the season to silence all his doubters. A linesman’s offside flag briefly rained on the parade but the VAR verdict correctly ruled that the goal was valid. Never ever write off Harry Kane.
My pride in Tottenham reached Everest heights when – while waiting for a Son Heung-min corner – Reguilon (Reggie) urgently brought to the referee’s notice that a Newcastle fan was in difficulties just off the touchline. It was Eric Dier who was quick witted enough to race towards the dressing-room to summon the use of a defibrillator.
Plenty of players would have turned a blind eye and got on with the game, but these Tottenham boys have tons of character and compassion.
Dear Bill Shankly used to say: ‘Football is more important than life or death.’ The caring Spurs players proved that is not the case (only most of the time).
When play eventually resumed after a 20-minute suspension, the greatest Tottenham double act since the G-Men – Greavsie and Gilzean – was back in action, with Sonny converting a pass from his side-kick Kane after a blistering run by the enterprising Lucas Moura.
Suddenly all the moans and groans of the keyboard warriors were silenced and the pre-match scare that Sonny and a team-mate had been diagnosed with Covid was forgotten (later dismissed as an error).
Dier’s freak 89th minute own goal against a Newcastle side reduced to 10 men gave brief cause for alarm, but this Tottenham team has now got its act together and there was no real risk of Newcastle stealing a point. Saudi money could not buy a victory.
Things are looking much better for fifth-placed Tottenham than second from the bottom Newcastle, even with all their suddenly new-found money. Let’s hope we can continue the winning formula against Vitesse in Holland on Thursday and at West Ham next Sunday.
The spring is back in our steps. COYS.
The tenth week of season eight of the Spurs Odyssey Quiz League challenge, and the question is:
Who has won 15 caps, played in the 2010 World Cup finals and against which club did he score in his Spurs debut in 2009?
Please email your answer to me at email@example.com and make the subject heading Quiz Week 10. 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, the Eighty At Eighty book that I have written in harness with Sir Geoff Hurst, still the only man to score a World Cup final hat-trick.
Answer to question No 9: Which former Spurs player captained a World Cup final side, and what was his Tottenham squad number during 159 league and cup matches?
Luka Modric, who wore the No 14 ‘Cruyff’ shirt with distinction.
See you back here same time, same place next week. COYS!
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