NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 434
Submitted by Norman Giller
I have always had a high (literally) opinion of towering Peter Crouch, respecting him as a player and in his current role as a pundit. But I caught him talking nonsense in the wake of Tottenham's Champions' League exit at the choking hands of AC Milan – all this, of course, before the Lineker Affair became a storm in a football cup.
Asked on BT Sport if he thought Tottenham could pick themselves up and finish fourth in the Premier League, Crouchie shrugged and said: 'What's the point …?' This revealed surprising naivety about the economics of football and the pride of the fans,
Of course Spurs must go flat out for that fourth place, and they showed their good intent with the emphatic 3-1 victory over Nottingham Forest on Saturday (reported HERE by our guru Paul H. Smith).
Fourth place is worth millions in the bank and huge prestige for the players and supporters. For Peter to say 'what's the point?' indicates an ignorance of just what it all means to the coffers of a club like Tottenham, with its colossal wage bill and plans for expansion in so many areas.
There is a blinkered faction that is totally opposed to the ENIC way of dipping into other earning opportunities. If nothing else, they should think of the employment and hope Tottenham have brought to one of the poorest and most deprived districts of the country.
Across the many decades that I have been reporting football, clubs have been trying to find ways to make their grounds work for them more than once a week. Daniel Levy, Joe Lewis, aka ENIC, come up with a plan and are ridiculed for it by people who just have no grasp of the economics of modern football.
Provided the Beautiful Game remains the main thrust of the club, I cannot see what is wrong with welcoming the likes of Beyonce, Tyson Fury, car racing and the giants of NFL to help pull in the profits. It would be easy for me to glow in memories of the past, but I recall too easily how the club very nearly went under in the Scholar days and how we had to sell the likes of Gazza and Chris Waddle to pay the bills.
So, Peter Crouch, I can definitely see the point of finishing fourth.
A date for your diary: Sunday April 23. (Ed:- Note that this date remains variable, due to other teams potential involvement in Cup competitions) That's when Spurs visit Newcastle, whose 2-1 win against Wolves yesterday lifted them to fifth place with two games in hand on Tottenham. Leading up to that crucial match Spurs face Southampton (a), Everton (h), Brighton (h) and Bournemouth (h). Oh yes, Peter, we all know what finishing fourth means.
Just for the record, my Old Trafford contacts insist that Harry Kane will be signing for them in the summer … and Antonio Conte is being romanced by his old Inter Milan club. Back in the Champions' League in fourth (or even third place) just might persuade Harry the Goalman to stay.
Our webmaster Paul H. Smith prefers me not to use this blog as a political platform, so I will just suffice with saying that the Gary Lineker Affair is, for me, all about just one issue: Freedom of Speech. Without that, well what's the point …?
Week 28 of our ninth year of Spurs Odyssey Quiz League challenges:
Which Yorkshireman played just one match for England, won back-to-back Second and First Division winners' medals and what number shirt did he generally wear throughout his playing career with Tottenham?
Please email your answer to me at email@example.com with Quiz Week 28 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.
Week 27: Who won 54 caps for his country, five League titles, three European Cups and four League Cups after serving his apprenticeship at Tottenham, and against which club did he make his only appearance for the Lilywhites?
Answer: Graeme Souness, who made his only Tottenham senior appearance as a substitute against Keflavik in Iceland in a UEFA Cup tie in 1971. Even Bill Nicholson considered him 'the one that got away.'
See you back here next Monday. COYS!
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