NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 400
Submitted by Norman Giller
This, dear friends, is the 400th time that I have prognosticated and preached to you from this Spurs Odyssey pulpit, and rarely as optimistically as today. Hallelujah!
Saturday's 4-0 victory over Villa confirmed that Antonio Conte has already managed to build a team in the best Tottenham footballing traditions, with simplicity and style at the heart of it all. You could warm your hands on the Spurs' team spirit, and everybody has clearly bought into the Conte creed of 'all for one and one for all.'
It was a 'togetherness' theory that worked perfectly for Arthur Rowe, Bill Nicholson, Keith Burkinshaw and more recently Mauricio Pochettino. Now Conte has got everybody singing from the same hymn sheet. Yes, glory, glory hallelujah.
If I had said earlier in this rollercoaster season that Spurs would be favourites to finish fourth – even third, with a few freak results – you would have considered me a candidate for the funny farm.
I have not felt so positive about Tottenham's prospects since the peak of the Pochettino reign, and with these seven matches to the finishing line I think we can replace our usual pessimism with great expectations:
Brighton (home, Saturday April 16, 12.30)
Brentford (away, Saturday April 23, 5.30) TBC
Leicester (home, Saturday April 30, 3.00) TBC
Liverpool (away, Saturday May 7, 7.45)
Arsenal (home, Thursday May 12, 7.45)
Burnley (home, Sunday May 15, 12.00)
Norwich City (away, Sunday May 22, 4.00).
Son Heung-Min, the Careering Korean with goal dust in his boots, quite rightly got the man of the match honours with his beautifully struck hat-trick, but Hugo Lloris was only a fingertip behind him.
Spurs might easily have been three goals down at half-time but for Hugo's heroics. I have never been a fan of goalkeepers being given the skipper's armband, but there is no doubt that he inspired his team-mates with his true captain's display.
Praise be, too, for the performance of the on-loan Swede Dejan Kulusevski. It is difficult to take on board that he is only just 21. The young man with the Macedonian heritage plays with a maturity and tactical understanding beyond his years and we will all be hoping that his transfer from Juventus becomes permanent.
I have actually managed to get through my sermon without mentioning Harry Kane, but as our guru Paul H. Smith reports HERE he had a vital touch in three of the goals.
The busiest place today will be the Tottenham medical treatment room. Some of Villa’s roughhouse tactics went beyond the boundary of fair and reasonable and Ashley Young deserved to be sent to the Tower for one reckless challenge on Our Harry. We need everybody fit for the final run-in.
Happy Easter everybody. COYS!
My official biography of The One and Only Jimmy Greaves is now available direct from me at www.normangillerbooks.com, signed and with the bonus of a photo card featuring the signatures of Jimmy and Steve Perryman. I will be making donations to the Tottenham Tribute Trust to help our old heroes. Your support will be appreciated. The book is the remarkable story of what happened to this little urchin, who grew up to be the greatest ever British goal scorer. Oh, yes, and he managed to live four lives in one.
Stay safe and sane.
The 32nd week of season eight of the Spurs Odyssey Quiz League challenge, and the question is:
Which defender won 30 international caps, played 92 times for Tottenham until a broken leg ended his top-flight career, and from which team did he join Spurs?
Please email your answer to me at email@example.com and make the subject heading Quiz Week 32. 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 (which has been long listed for the Football Book of the Year) 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 31: Who came on as a late substitute for David Ginola in a League Cup final victory, and against which team did he win his 12th and last cap for England in a 7-1 victory?
Andy Sinton, who won his 12th and final England cap in the 7-1 thrashing of the minnows of San Marino, best remembered by England going a goal down in the first minute!
See you back here same time, same place next Monday. COYS!
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