Consent Preferences Spurs Odyssey - Norman Giller's Blog (No. 428 - 30.01.23)
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Norman Giller's Spurs Odyssey Blog (No. 428) (30.01.23)

Submitted by Norman Giller

Sonny smiles with a Continent on his back

So pleased to see the smile back on Sonny's face after his two storming goals against Preston in the fourth round of the FA Cup. Many are unaware of the enormous pressure on this careering Korean every time he steps on to a football pitch.

In my visits to the impressive Tottenham Hotspur Stadium I am always astonished at the number of Seoul-based journalists who have accreditation to report the Spurs matches, home and away. I share the press box with a squad of Korean journalists focused on just Sonny.

They write about only one man, his performance, his mood, his fitness, his body language, his after-match quotes, his diet, leisure and private time. He cannot go to the toilet without somebody mentioning the event (I have cleaned that last observation up rather than embarrass the more sensitive among you).

Sonny carries the weight of expectation of an entire Continent on his slim shoulders. He is the idol of Asia and everything he does on and off the pitch comes under a billion microscopes.

So when Sonny hits a barren spell – as happens to ALL strikers – the drought is exaggerated to ridiculous proportions. Just last season he shared the Golden Boot with Liverpool goal machine Mohammed Salah, yet to read some of the abuse he was recently taking from the on-line keyboard warriors you would think he had become a bad player overnight.

Let's hope his confidence is restored, particularly now that he no longer has to wear a mask to protect his fractured cheek bone. Sonny's smile warms us all up.

Our guru Paul H. Smith gives an eye witness account of Sonny's resurgence HERE, and also mentions in passing "a notorious former centre-half'" complaining about Spurs fans’ “hurtful abuse" 22 years after he left the club.

Paul, of course, is referring to Sol Campbell, one of the most cultured and dependable British-born defenders I have ever seen, almost in the Bobby Moore class. I have never been a member of that raucous Spurs army of critics who to this day refer to Campbell as a traitor because he chose to play for the Woolwich Wanderers.

My view has always been that anybody should be free to work and play for which ever employer they choose. For goodness sake, I took Lord Beaverbrook's shilling for years without admitting to my hypocrisy. I wonder how many Spurs fans believe entirely in their employer's policies. Yet here we are two decades on and they remain poisonous with their views on Campbell.

He has politely asked for a truce, but the stubborn among the fans (I bet many of his critics did not even see him play) are not willing to accept his version of events.

Just wait until they get to the Pearly Gates and have to answer questions about tolerance and mercy.

I am writing this before the draw for the fifth round of the FA Cup and the arrival (Ed:- hopefully!)from Sporting of right-back Pedro Porro, just 48 hours after newcomer Danjuma made a scoring debut. Fifth in the Premier League table and within shooting distance of a top four place, into the knockout stages of the Champions League, what on earth are the gloom and doom merchants on about?

As for Levy and Lewis – constantly assailed at the grounds and on line – surely better the devil you know?

Next we all hope that Our Harry Kane overtakes the Jimmy Greaves club goal scoring record against Man City on Sunday, as the rumours grow that he will be on his bike to the red side of Manchester in the summer. We have had more than our pound of flesh.

Paul Miles, affable and knowledgeable member of the official Tottenham PR team, kindly allowed me the chance to compare Harry and Jimmy as Aitch drew level with the Greavsie record. You can observe it here:-

Meantime, let's all warm our hands on Sonny's smile and get on with giving our full support to the mighty Spurs. Tolerance and mercy, my friends.


Spurs Odyssey Quiz League 2022-23

Week 22 of our ninth year of Spurs Odyssey Quiz League challenges:

Who won four England caps, followed his father into professional football, helped Tottenham win the 1999 League Cup and which club did he join in 2001?

Please email your answer to me at with Quiz Week 22 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 21: Which defender has 40 caps, plays for a top four Premier League side and from which Lancashire club did he join Tottenham in 2015?

Answer: Kieran Trippier, who joined Spurs from Burnley. Now skipper at Newcastle.

See you back here next Monday. COYS!

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