NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 405
Submitted by Norman Giller
Thank you Newcastle for dismantling the Gunners at St James's Park last night. It means Spurs go to relegated Norwich for the last game of the season needing just one point to clinch that precious fourth place in the table and a passport to the prestigious and profit-making Champions League. Meantime, I am about to torture those of you competing for the crown of Spurs Odyssey Quiz League champion. More than 100 of you have taken part in the race over the season, and after the final question there are thirty of you level at the top of the table with a maximum 108 points.
Another pack are on the heels of the leaders with nearly a century of points each. It's as tight as the chase for that Champions League place, as reported HERE following Sunday's nail-biting victory over Burnley (It's a Var Var better thing that I do than I've ever done before!).
I have come up with a stinker of a tie break challenge that will have you wanting to hang me from the nearest goalpost as you become a Tottenham selector rather than supporter.
Just to remind you, the previous winners – featured left to right in the heading above – have been:
Graham Eyre (New South Wales, Australia) 2019
David Guthrie (Wokingham) 2015 and 2018
Glenn Scarcliffe (Hampstead) 2016
Edward Benson (New York) 2017
Emily Hadjinicolaou (Reigate) 2020
Peter Lawton (Israel) 2021
The competition continues to have an international flavour, with contestants firing in their occasional answers from far and wide, including the United States, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Holland, South Africa, Singapore, Hungary, Hawaii, Israel, Cyprus and Vietnam!
As regulars will know, this is when we fall out, because it is really only my opinion that matters in this tiebreak decider. You become manager for the day to play the selecting game, and all you have to do is just try to agree with my choices to take the esteemed SOQL title. Easy!
I had computer problems midway through the season and failed to receive some entries, so I am going to allow all those with 90 points or more to start this last test on level terms with the leaders. Please address any complaints to the Ombudsman (also me, and I will ignore you!).
Included among the usual suspects in the running for the title this year are the current champion from Israel Peter Lawton, 2019 king Graham Eyre, two-times winner David Guthrie and – yet again – the only woman in with a chance of the crown, our 2020 champion Emily Hadjinicolaou, BSc FIA, from Reigate in Surrey.
Omniscient Emily, a brain box actuary, has taken over the Tottenham-supporting baton from her father, who used to follow Spurs in the 1950s from his homeland of Cyprus. She has not got a single question wrong in the eight years of the competition, but has only once matched my tie-breaking selection.
Cambridge University educated Peter Lawton, who took over the title from Queen Emily, last year, has a shelf in his Israeli home groaning with the weight of Tottenham history books, which is fitting for somebody who used to stand on the Shelf at the dear old White Hart Lane ground. That is light years away from the new stadium that belongs to tomorrow's world. Daniel Levy deserves praise for getting his architects to come up with a plan that keeps the crowd noise locked in.
Norman Giller at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
This is the view from the press box at the new Tottenham Stadium, taken during last week's North London 'demolition' derby, when the atmosphere was nuclear. Arsenal were definitely intimidated.
Also in the chase for this year's SOQL championship is all-knowing David Guthrie, going for a hat-trick of titles. As David has been the safety net fact-checker on several of my Spurs books you might consider he has a head start, but he says it is easier to guess what Boris Johnson is planning than read my mind.
Spurs Odyssey web master Paul H. Smith and I would like to thank David and all you other grand people who regularly compete in our weekly challenge. Without you, I’d be talking to myself (true, nothing new).
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 (short listed for the Sunday Times Entertainment Sports Book of the Year, I'll have you know).
And I am adding a signed copy of my One and Only Jimmy Greaves biography, although I would much rather you bought it direct from me at www.normangillerbooks.com.
I am making a donation for each book sold to the Tottenham Tribute Trust that quietly looks after our old heroes, who missed the gravy train. Please give us your support, thank you. Back to annoying you …
To try to separate you all and come up with the 2022 champion we arrive at the dreaded tiebreak teaser. Are you sitting comfortably? You soon won't be …
Select your idea of the ten top overseas players in 1-2-3 order who have worn the Lilywhite shirt. The twist is you are allowed only one player each country. (note: the Republic of Ireland counts as overseas). Then name your five top UK-born players, also in 1-2-3 order. They must all have played for Spurs in Premier League matches.
You get three points for every selection that agrees with mine, and a bonus point each time you have the player in the same 1-2-3 position as me. That’s a possible 60 points in total. The contestant with most points takes the crown. If more than one agrees with me – and also choice of managers – then we would have another tie-breaker if their points tally is equal.
Finally, please name your top 3 Spurs managers in 1-2-3 order from the Premier League era – which will only be taken into account if there is a dead heat.
Remember, ALL your selections - overseas and UK - must have played Premier League football.
You have until midnight on Friday to get your choices to me. Email your selections, please, to email@example.com. Give your name, the district where you live and how long you’ve supported Spurs. Good luck!
I am the sole adjudicator, and will not enter into correspondence with anybody who wants to dispute my selection (now I know how Putin feels. Wow, power!).
Enjoy it. This is just for fun, while cementing our shared love and admiration for all things Tottenham.
I am taking this opportunity on behalf of all of us to thank Paul H. Smith for his efforts in keeping this website going. We must never take him for granted. It is a labour of love and I want him to know we appreciate his dedication and endeavour. There is a PayPal button at the top of this page where we can show our appreciation. I am inserting this paragraph without Paul’s permission. Let’s all support him.
I will announce the winner and 2022 champion in my next Spurs Odyssey blog … hopefully when we are celebrating fourth place and another tilt at the Champions League.
Last week’s question, No 36: Which former Spurs player won 57 caps, was born in the same district as Jermain Defoe, and against which team did he score his only World Cup finals goal for England?
Of course, The One and Only Jimmy Greaves, and his one World Cup finals goal was against Argentina in Chile in 1962. He and Jermain Defoe were both born in what is now Newham. Jimmy gave the cap he won for that match against Argentina to my son Michael for his 13th birthday. Jimmy's 57th cap was the same size as his first. He did not have a boastful bone in his body. The Great Entertainer. You can get my signed, official biography on the great man direct from me at www.normangillerbooks.com.
See you back here same time, same place next Monday for the tie breaker results and the crowning of the 2022 SOQL champion (by which time you will all probably have deserted me in disgust :-). Oh, one more thing …AWAH THE LADS! Thank you Eddie Howe's Geordies for setting us up for what should be a celebration match at Norwich on Sunday.
But please don’t let’s take anything for granted. The Canaries may be down and out but they have pride. Still all to do.
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