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Norman Giller's Spurs Odyssey Blog (No. 380) (01.11.21)

NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 380
Submitted by Norman Giller

No no to Nuno as Levy wields his axe again

So Nuno Espirito Santo has been booted out at Tottenham just four months after taking the poisoned chalice. A classic example of the wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Nuno did not have a hope the moment the Spurs crowd exploded with boos as he substituted the industrious Lucas Moura in the 54th minute of their surrender to Manchester United on Saturday.

The crowd reaction convinced chairman Daniel Levy that everybody was saying No-no to Nuno. Sacking him was just another notch on the Levy belt. The Butcher of Tottenham has now been the executioner of 11 managers since ENIC took control of Tottenham in December 2000.

I am up to my ankles in choice of metaphors to describe that abysmal defeat by Man United. The Last Post still haunts my ears and could capture the situation surrounding Nuno Espirito Santo. Then there’s the Walking Dead Halloween analogy that paints the picture of his team’s shot-shy performance in what was supposed to be a ‘must win’ game.

Steve ‘Captain Spurs' Perryman told me in our recent on-line chat (you can catch it here: https://www.facebook.com/steveperrymanofficial/videos/622290702473677) that he always tried to look into manager Bill Nicholson’s eyes to see if he could read his reaction. With Nuno, I’m afraid it had become the vacant look of a drowning man out of his depth.

There were the usual calls for the head of Daniel Levy, but he has built an extra level of protection by appointing Fabio Paratici as the Head of Football. If Fabio and Nuno found the same wavelength it did not show on the pitch.

The jury was out and in hanging mood. He was being whispered in the back all day yesterday, with the rumours strongly suggesting that former Inter and Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is back on the wanted list that was at least ten names long before the ex-Wolves coach got the continually delayed nod.

Nuno lasted just until yesterday’s emergency board meeting and the coup de grace was delivered this morning, and within hours Conte was reported to be on a plane to London to clinch his take over of a Tottenham team in need of the kiss (or kick) of life. He had been top of the wanted list when eighth-choice Nuno was eventually appointed, but the Italian was hanging on for Ole's Man United job. It's a cruel old game.

The sneering criticism in the past few seasons has been that Tottenham are a one-man team in Harry Kane. It is incomprehensible that he (along with the team) has gone so many games without a single shot on target. Does this make us a no-man team?

If Harry is not unleashing at least four shots a match something is seriously wrong. It is going to take a Sigmund Freud rather than Fabio or Conte to sort out his head. On current form, Man City would be overpaying at £10m for his signature, let alone £100m.

But he has not become a bad player overnight. It is going to take tenderness, tact and understanding to get him back on track. Perhaps the new manager’s first job will be to shift him on in the January transfer window to the Etihad, where it seems his heart now lies.

A startling stat that caught my eye: Since the 2015-16 season Robert Lewandowski has an average of 41.1 club goals per season Lionel Messi has 37.5, Cristiano Ronaldo 35 and Harry Kane – wait for it – 39. We just want our old Harry back, and for supporters to be treating him with such venom is both disappointing and disrespectful. What poor memories they have.

Harry will certainly not be helped by the jeering that continually hit his ears on Saturday, and I cannot remember more unanimous booing than greeted Nuno’s decision to replace the popular Moura, as recorded HERE by our hugely suffering guru Paul H. Smith. There was no way back for the Portuguese coach, a decent, likeable chap but never the right cut for Spurs.

I look forward to his memoirs when I am sure he will have some choice things to say about the lack of effort and support from some Tottenham players, particularly the suddenly anchored Kane.

If this was a computer game, we would hit the reset button and start again. Nobody can tell me we have a stronger squad since losing the likes of Eriksen, Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Dembele, Lamela and – above all – Pochettino. Where oh where is the midfield man who can whack a ball forwards into the path of a striker? Dear Eddie Baily will be spinning and it must be torture for the likes of Glenn Hoddle to watch.

I have had to take stick, ridicule even, on line because of my ‘let’s-get-behind-the-team’ positivity, but if we don’t all pull together and push for improvement I can see a huge crisis developing. The new manager is going to have to earn his corn (or golden coin).

Thankfully, there are some appalling teams below Tottenham. As I have stated before, I would find it hilarious if the new Saudi owners at Newcastle found that even with their bottomless pit of money they could not keep the Geordies in the Premier League. Sorry, for me their record on human rights is beyond acceptance.

But rather than scoffing at the mediocrity of others, our attention must be on encouraging Spurs to show some grit and fight. The Steve Perryman way. It just might have saved poor old Nuno.

Spurs have plenty of talent in their squad. Now we must help them show belief by trying to get behind the players and new manager, very suitable for the upcoming Panto season. I know, I am whistling in the dark again, and could get spooked by the walking dead. But I mean well. COYS!


Spurs Odyssey Quiz League 2021-22

The 12th week of season eight of the Spurs Odyssey Quiz League challenge, and the question is:

Which Lancashire-born, former Spurs player has been awarded 35 caps and with which club has he won a LaLiga title?

Please email your answer to me at soqleague@gmail.com and make the subject heading Quiz Week 12. 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 winner 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 11: Which East Ender won two FA Cup winners’ medals with Tottenham and in which country did he play on loan before later joining Charlton Athletic?

Paul ‘Maxie’ Miller, the big-hearted Cockney defender who played on loan with Skeid Oslo in Norway. How Spurs could do with his fighting spirit right now!

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

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