NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 388
Submitted by Norman Giller
Calling Daniel Levy (and Joe Lewis on your luxury yacht over there in the tax haven of the Bahamas). As we step tentatively into the New Year it is time for you to come to the party with bundles of cash to splash. Antonio Conte has steadied the good ship Tottenham Hotspur. Now you must support him so that he can go full steam ahead.
I don't want to wish 2022 away but we will know by the end of January the season Tottenham can expect. Just look at the next five matches that can make or break the team spirit that has started to soar under Conte's confident management …
• Wednesday: Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the first leg of the League Cup semi-final
• Sunday: Morecambe at home in the third round of the FA Cup
• Wednesday week: Chelsea at home in the second leg of the League Cup semi-final
• Sunday week: Arsenal at home in the Premier League
• Sunday, January 23: Chelsea at the Bridge in the Premier League
And by the time the transfer window closes on January 31 we will know whether Levy and Lewis have put money where their mouths are. Conte and Director of Football Fabio Paratici are convinced they have boardroom blessing to bring in at least two major signings, with a controlling midfielder at the top of their wanted list.
This will probably mean two players being shipped out to bring down the wage bill, and Dele Alli and Tanguy Ndombele could both be moving to pastures new.
The unconvincing draw at Southampton and the snatched victory at Watford were performances that proved Spurs are still a long way short of the standard that Conte has set for them.
Rumours strengthen that Harry Kane is considering signing a new contract, so ending any chance of him making the move to Manchester City (who have shown they can run away with the League title without his input). We have still not got our old Harry back, and this crowded month of January is going to be a particular challenge for the out-of-sorts England skipper.
I have three New Year football wishes:
1. That Harry Kane stays at Spurs, with his old shooting boots back on.
2. That they get VAR sorted out or kick it out. There are far too many mistakes being made.
3. That you dear readers (okay, reader) have a fabulously enjoyable and healthy 2022.
One more wish, that you buy my tribute book to the One and Only Jimmy Greaves when it goes on sale in May. It is the official, authorised story, with an introduction by Jimmy's wife Irene, who gave me permission to write it only on the understanding that it was 'warts 'n' all.'
"Jim," Irene said, "would not not want the treacle treatment. You must tell the truth. Too many things have been written about Jim by people who did not really know him, and some who did not even see him play. He was a wonderful but complicated man and I am trusting you to paint a true portrait."
Jimmy and I were pals for 64 years so I think I am justified in claiming this will be the definitive biography. If you are interested in having a book put on one side, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you, and have a fabulous 2022 (I wonder what sort of moods we will be in come February?!).
The 20th week of season eight of the Spurs Odyssey Quiz League challenge, and the question is:
Which Tynesider won 34 England caps, was in the Word Cup squads of 2006 and 2010, and with which club did he start his career before joining Tottenham in 2004?
Please email your answer to me at email@example.com and make the subject heading Quiz Week 20. 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 19: Who collected 64 caps and, while wearing the No 6 Spurs shirt, came on as a 75th minute substitute to help win a League Cup final?
Teemu Tainio, who won his 64 caps with Finland and helped Spurs win the League Cup final against Chelsea in 2008. It was Tottenham's first trophy in nine years, and there has not been one since.
See you back here same time, same place next week. COYS!
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