NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 386
Submitted by Norman Giller
The prolonged applause Dele Alli received as he was substituted during the humdinger of a match against Liverpool must have been as welcome to his ears as a chorus of Christmas carols.
There were flashes of the old Dele as he competed with heart and energy to help Spurs challenge for supremacy in the midfield engine room. He played a prominent part in an old-fashioned blood and thunder battle that would have made even the Covid virus duck for cover.
With more positive finishing he might have had two goals to underline that this was his best all-round performance since the Pochettino era. Amazingly there have been three managers since then … yet it seems a blink of an eye ago.
The pre-match whisper was that Tottenham would be prepared to let Dele go out on loan during the January transfer window, but I will be surprised if Antonio Conte agrees to release him after this spirited show.
Jose Mourinho messed with Dele’s mind when he complained about him having ‘too many flicks and tricks’, but there were signs in yesterday’s hard-earned draw that he is prepared to roll up his sleeves and give his all for the team.
To get Dele back on song and Our Harry Kane scoring again will give human dynamo Conte a taste of what we enjoyed under the Pochettino baton.
Tanguy Ndombele had some special moments against Liverpool, too, with his paralysing pass to lay on Harry’s goal the high point of his display. If he could just add consistency to his obvious class, Spurs would have a proper playmaker.
Hard-working Harry Winks completed a trio that was industrious and imaginative, and all three of them have had question marks against their names this season. They were more than a match for lively Liverpool, who would claim they were forced to play their second string midfield.
After all the spills and thrills, a 2-2 draw was just about the right result, and Spurs could be sitting pretty after they have played their three games in hand caused by the Covid-forced postponements.
Mind you, listening to the prophets of doom there could be a lot more games called off before we see this surreal season through. I hope Wednesday’s League Cup quarter-final against West Ham survives. Should be another, dare I say it … Christmas cracker.
Our guru Paul H. Smith got his priorities right, putting his grandfather duties first yesterday. He handed the reporting of the classic clash with Liverpool over to Declan Mulcahy and you can find his account of the match HERE.
The major talking points were the red card for Liverpool full-back Andy Robertson and the yellow for Harry Kane that many felt should have been red. Robertson had to go for his reckless challenge on Royal, and I thought Harry very lucky to stay on after showing studs with his tackle against that man Robertson.
Rather than rejoice in the wonderful football match we witnessed, many on social media piled into the Sky reporter who did his job and asked Kane whether he felt his challenge was fair. With a microphone in their hand, do the keyboard warriors honestly think they could not have mentioned it? It would have been unprofessional not to have brought it up with the England skipper.
If that had been a Liverpool player committing the same tackle on a Tottenham defender they would have been demanding he see red. Some people just seem to find it impossible to take an objective, balanced view of a match.
I shall stop moaning. It is after all the season of goodwill.
On behalf of Paul and myself, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and yours as merry a Christmas as you can make it. Please be careful and stay safe.
The 18th week of season eight of the Spurs Odyssey Quiz League challenge, and the question is:
Who started his career with Charlton Athletic, won 18 England caps over 10 years from 2003 and who was the Tottenham manager who bought him from West Ham?
Please email your answer to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and make the subject heading Quiz Week 18. 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 17: Who won 28 Scottish caps, collected League and FA Cup medals with Tottenham and to which country did he emigrate at the end of his League playing career?
Bill Brown, the ‘Double’ hero goalkeeper who emigrated to Canada at the end of his Football League career. Throughout most of his career, Bill ran a printing business in Northampton, the club he joined for a wind-down season before joining Toronto Falcons for a year in 1967. He died of cancer in Ontario in 2004, aged 73.
See you back here same time, same place next week. COYS!
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