NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 418
Submitted by Norman Giller
Health warning: only read this if you are feeling good. I start today with advice from 'Dr Norman' … if you are suffering from virulent influenza, don't switch on your television to watch Tottenham play. Peering out from my 'flu bed, I did this yesterday and at the end of the depressing defeat by Newcastle was even sicker than the Tottenham team.
It was almost as if I had morphed into dear old Sick Note Darren Anderton, whose verve and versatility would certainly have been welcome as Spurs ran out of ideas and imagination against an exciting, hugely improved Newcastle side.
The plan was that I would be at the ground for a pre-match debate on Jimmy Greaves v Harry Kane with the illustrious Henry Winter of The Times. Sadly, I didn't make it because of a bug I picked up last week at the splendid British Library.
I was researching a book I am bringing out for Christmas on a Forgotten Tottenham Hero, when a young Japanese student sat opposite me in the microfilm department and spent the next hour sneezing in my direction. Arigatou (thank you).
So there I was yesterday in my bedroom sneezing all the way through a game in which the Geordie Arabs continued to look fresh and enterprising under the baton of inspirational Eddie Howe. The match action is captured HERE by our perfectly healthy Spurs Odyssey guru, Paul H. Smith.
As I battle for recovery (I had a 'flu jab last month!) I want to try to encourage positive thinking. Spurs are still third in the Premier League, they might have been three goals clear with a Sonny hat-trick in the first half-hour against Newcastle, and there was some fabulous football from Our Harry, who did not deserve to be on the losing side.
His headed goal, the 259th as he chases down Greavsie's club record of 266, survived a VAR inquest that could have been conducted by Quincy. It seemed to go on for ever. I know that Quincy metaphor shows my age, but make allowances for the fact I am running a fever. (For our younger readers, Quincy was a medical examiner played by Jack Klugman in a 1970s/80s TV series).
The VAR observer David Coote took far less time to rubber stamp referee Jarrad Gillett's disputed decision to award a goal after a collision between Hugo Lloris and the industrious Callum Wilson, who kept his head and lofted the ball into the empty net. Hugo, in his canary-yellow jersey, lay on his back like a big banana.
Shortly after the excellent Miguel Almiron gave Newcastle a 40th minute 2-0 lead with the sort of superb solo goal we used to see regularly from Jimmy Greaves, Tottenham Stadium got hit by lightning and claps of thunder.
In my delirious condition, I thought the football gods had come for me.
I have no idea what I have written and look forward to reading it on the Spurs Odyssey website. It is probably my usual rubbish and nobody will realise that I have compiled it in a feverish state, the sort Tottenham's defenders were often in against the lively Newcastle attack.
Hope both I and Spurs are wide awake for the Champions' League match against Sporting Lisbon on Wednesday. We all desperately need a confidence booster.
Now is the time for everybody connected with the club – players, Antonio Conte and his coaches, and supporters – to show iron nerve and not talk and moan ourselves into a crisis that does not exist (yet)..
More tablets, please Nurse.
Week twelve (somebody please hold back the clock) of our ninth year of Spurs Odyssey Quiz League challenges:
Which former Spurs defender grew up in Watford, won 26 international caps, later managed Newcastle and against which team did he collect an FA Cup winners' medal?
Please email your answer to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with Quiz Week 12 as the subject heading. Deadline midnight this Friday. I will respond to all who take part.
The rules are the same as in previous 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 lose the few friends that I have. But, hey, it's fun. Please join in.
This year’s prizes for the champion will be announced later in the season, but most important of all, they will include a framed certificate announcing the winner as 2023 SOQL champion.
Last week … Week 11: Which Spurs player has won 75 international caps, and for which London club did he score seven goals in 22 appearances?
Yes, of course, Our Harry Kane, who shone on loan with Millwall. A local press pal of mine at the New Den told me, 'Tottenham must be well off for strikers if they can loan us Harry Kane. He is a brilliant finisher.' From then on I kept a close watch on Harry and it has been a thrill to see him cement himself into the goal-scoring record books. But Greavsie still leads!
See you back here next Monday, same time, same place. COYS!
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