NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 426
Submitted by Norman Giller
As if being humiliated by Arsenal on the pitch was not bad enough, a pea-brained, Neanderthal Tottenham 'supporter' had to go and make it worse by attempting to kick Gunners goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale in a disgraceful finale to yesterday's North London Derby.
Yes, Ramsdale – a brilliant last line of defence in a hugely impressive Arsenal team – wound up the Tottenham crowd with his arrogant, over-the-top victory celebrations. But there is no excuse in the world for the sort of violent reaction that brought shame to Spurs in particular and football in general.
This unacceptable behaviour has been growing in intensity for several seasons, and must be stamped out before the Beautiful Game is permanently scarred. It comes hard on the heels of Everton directors being told to stay away from their own ground because of threats of violence, and on Tottenham social networks there have been mindless threats of physical harm to Spurs owners Joe Lewis and Daniel Levy.
It was not that long ago that rioting fans embarrassed the nation during the European championship final at Wembley as they attempted to break into the ground. We are back to the hooligan mentality of the 1970s and then 1980s that turned England into the pariah of football.
I for one ("who cares, Norm") will walk away from the game if this kind of mindless conduct continues. There was a time when Tottenham fans were gracious in defeat. The old club song has the line sung to the tune of McNamara's Band, "Cheer the victors and the gallant losers, too", but there is growing dissent and some of the vicious insults on line definitely come into the slanderous category. You can hear all the words here, with apologies for the delivery: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knImSogkXrA
Who can blame Joe Lewis wanting to sell the club when he faces a barrage of hate messages from irate fans who cross the boundary of balanced criticism into the territory of intimidation and sheer ignorance. My line has always been 'better the devil you know.'
Just wait until fresh owners are found. Today's moaners and groaners will quickly come out of the woodwork again complaining about the new holders of power the instant any defeat is suffered. They just cannot handle set-backs, a sign of immaturity.
Arsenal had the last laugh yesterday by moving eight points clear at the top of the Premier League, and looked like champions elect to this old hack, who was immensely impressed by their all-round strength and skill. Spurs by contrast were mediocre and lacking in ideas and invention. Oh, how they miss the creative passes of a Modric or an Eriksen.
Our Spurs Odyssey guru Paul H. Smith gives the match facts and figures HERE, including how Hugo Lloris continues to suffer a crisis of confidence. He looks to me like a man desperate for a break from the pressures of football. He has not had enough time to recover from the World Cup defeat by Argentina while carrying the responsibility of captaining France.
This is an occasion when you simply have to hold your hands up and admit the better side won. Eric Dier was man enough to admit, 'That's the way it goes' and was jumped on as if he was some sort of traitor. He meant it in the context that this is the way football goes, sometimes you come up against a better team. People who probably never even heard him say it decided to interpret it as defeatism. Anybody who has met Eric will tell you that he does not know the meaning of surrendering. It's a family trait. His Granddad, Ted Croker, former chief executive of the Football Association, once crawled half a mile with broken ankles to get help for crew mates after his RAF bomber plane had been shot down.
I was in wrist-slitting mood on the way back from Tottenham yesterday when I met a Spurs-addicted couple on the train, who had come all the way from Mississippi just for the North London Derby.
Suddenly my self-pitying subsided as I sympathised with husband and wife Raymond and Emily, who travelled the little matter of a round trip of 9,000 miles for the disappointment of seeing Tottenham not just defeated but humbled by a superior Arsenal side.
Ah, the pain of supporting Spurs, but I like to think most of us do it with a modicum of sportsmanship. But there's always at least one idiot to spoil the party.
My apologies to Raymond and Emily that they had to come all the way from the USA to witness the worst of English behaviour. It's enough to give you the Mississippi Blues.
I sent them on their homeward journey with the parting shot: 'Things can only get better. Next, Spurs play Manchester City at the Etihad on Thursday …' I wonder if Our Harry Kane could then get to equal the Jimmy Greaves club goal scoring record? We can but hope.
Week 20 of our ninth year of Spurs Odyssey Quiz League challenges:
Which Edmonton-born right-back spent nearly ten years with Spurs including his apprenticeship, and against which team did he play in both legs of a Uefa Cup Final before joining Millwall?
Please email your answer to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with Quiz Week 20 as the subject heading. Deadline midnight this Friday. I will respond to all who participate, taking time off from writing my next book: The G-Men, an intimate close-up of Greavsie and Gilzean.
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 19: Which former Spurs club captain played four times for England, was a League Cup winner although injured for the final and which team did he join from Tottenham in 2014?
Answer: Michael Dawson who moved to Hull City, but remains a fine ambassador for Tottenham and for football.
See you back here next Monday. COYS!
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