NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 437
Submitted by Norman Giller
Perhaps it’s something to do with the fact that I am about to hit another of life’s annual hurdles tomorrow (my 83rd birthday), but Saturday’s dramatic last-minute defeat by relegation-threatened Bournemouth has plunged me into a mood of despair.
It was not so much the result that upset me, tough though it was to take, but the attitude and behaviour of a minority of Tottenham’s so-called supporters. This has really flattened me, like a tackle from Dave Mackay.
I have been around for some low moments in the club’s history, never lower than when I stood alongside the great Bill Nicholson reduced to tears in Rotterdam the night Spurs fans rioted when unable to stomach defeat in the 1974 UEFA Cup final against Feyenoord.
I know of few other club followers who actually boo and jeer their own players (ok, Chelsea … Spurs fans are happy to be compared with them?). I remember John Pratt used to get the sad treatment back in the 1970s, now the sons of those morons are giving the same despicable abuse to Davinson Sanchez.
Moussa Sissoko and Kieran Trippier are among those who have also experienced trial by humiliation. What on earth do these Neanderthals think they are achieving by pouring scorn on their own players?
Sanchez came on as emergency substitute for injured Clement Lenglet and, after a couple of clumsy mistakes because of ring rust, he himself had to be substituted as a section of the crowd turned on him in an ugly, unacceptable way. Acting manager Cristian Stellini insisted the substitute-for-a-substitute ploy after he had been on the pitch for just 23 minutes was a tactical move, but that didn't ease poor Davinson's embarrassment as he returned to the bench trying to look invisible as the boos rained down towards him.
It comes to something when club captain Hugo Lloris, who has more brains in his little finger than some of the planks he was aiming at, is forced to say: "I feel really bad for Davinson. I have never seen or heard anything like it in my career, a player being booed by his own fans. It started the moment he came on the pitch. He has been fighting for Spurs for many years now. This is a sad story for the club, the fans and the player. I am extremely disappointed."
If you were one of those who jeered him - as if we would attract such riff raff to Spurs Odyssey - then hang your head in shame.
Anger at Tottenham’s inept performance and the incompetence of Sanchez was understandable, but I know there are plenty like me who will not go along with what amounted to cruelty.
I don’t care how much you have paid for your seat, in my opinion it does not entitle you to humiliate and belittle your own players. While they are wearing the Lilywhite shirt they deserve every ounce of your support. Or is this poor old git out of step with the modern world and the fast-food generation who must have everything NOW?
Our guru Paul H. Smith gives his view of the stumble against Bournemouth HERE, but no matter how you paint it there should be no condoning of Saturday’s behaviour by a noisy, nasty minority.
They then turned the blowtorch of their anger on a morose-looking Daniel Levy and ENIC, but he was not on the pitch and hardly responsible for the mess the Tottenham players were getting themselves into. I will repeat my mantra, ‘better the devil you know …’ All those people who keep screaming at Levy and Co can never give me a satisfactory answer when I ask, 'Who in their place who tick all boxes of acceptability?'
When I put this question on line, I got such replies as Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and ‘the guy who owns Google’. What knowledge is there that any of these even know where N17 is, or have ever seen a game of soccer? People must be realistic with their suggestions, or keep their mouths shut.
With the pending appointment of Australian administrator Scott Munn as No 2 in the Spurs boardroom – in charge of all football matters - Levy is showing that he knows something must be done. It is imperative that they get the right man in as manager, and there seems a shift away from popular choice Mauricio Pochettino towards the relatively inexperienced Vincent Kompany. But it's all gossip, even though the ITKs try to give the impression they actually know what is happening. Daniel is playing this one close to his chest.
My ‘man at Old Trafford’ insists that Harry Kane is on his way to Man United in the summer, which would mean a huge war chest for newcomers. If I had my way, I would sell three players and give all their wages to Harry in return for five more seasons at Tottenham.
It is vital that Spurs bring in a manager who is not - like Stellini - just a clone of Antonio Conte, whose doubts about the fighting qualities of the team have been proved so right since his departure.
Stellini called for ‘eight cup finals’ in the run-in to the end of the rollercoaster season. One down - a disaster - and now just these seven to go, including three six-pointer matches starting at Newcastle on Sunday ….
v. Newcastle (a) Sunday April 23 2pm
v. Man United (h) Thursday April 27 8.15pm
v. Liverpool (a) Sunday April 30 4.30pm
v. Crystal Palace (h) Saturday May 6 3pm
v. Aston Villa (a) Saturday May 13 3pm
v. Brentford (h) Saturday May 20 3pm
v. Leeds United (a) Sunday May 28 4.30pm
If we can’t improve on recent performances, even Thursday night European football next season could be beyond us.
But at least applaud and encourage our players on this last lap. If you cannot support - really support - your own team, what is the point of calling yourself a Tottenham disciple? The jeerers and the boo-boys are the enemy within. Get behind the team, not in its way.
Our resident columnist Norman Giller with the legendary Muhammad Ali in the 1970s
I know you will all be wanting to buy me a birthday present :-) You could give yourself a treat by buying my latest book – The Man Who Put a Curse on Muhammad Ali - knowing that a share of profits go to the Alzheimer's Society to help with research into the terrible disease that affects so many ex-boxers and footballers; everybody from all walks of life, actually.
Just drop in HERE (www.normangillerbooks.com) and make your order direct from me and in return along with the book I will send you an autographed Muhammad Ali photocard that he signed for me on the night of his world title defence against British lionheart Richard Dunn in Munich in 1976. I was publicist for the fight that lost more money than almost any other world heavyweight title fight in history! It is the funniest sports book you will ever read … and will take your mind off the troubles at Tottenham!
Week 31 of our ninth year of Spurs Odyssey Quiz League challenges:
Who played for Scotland, Tottenham and Arsenal, scored a crucial goal for Spurs in an FA Cup final and which 0player was he swapped for when making the controversial move to Highbury?
Please email your answer to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with Quiz Week 31 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 signed copies of my biographies on Jimmy Greaves and Bobby Smith plus – I promise this is a treat – my hilarious boxing book, The Man Who Put A Curse on Muhammad Ali, including a photo card signed for me by Ali on the night of his world title defence against Yorkshire lionheart Richard Dunn.
But most important of all, the prizes will include a framed certificate announcing the winner as 2023 SOQL champion. A word of warning, previous champions David Guthrie (going for a hat-trick of titles), Peter Lawton in Israel, Graham Eyre from Down Under and our only female champion Emily Hadjinicolaou are among an army of you jostling for the lead.
Week 30: Which payer has won 24 caps for Spain, includes Juventus and Napoli among his clubs, and against which team did he score a hat-trick for Tottenham in a fifth round FA Cup tie, a feat he repeated against Tranmere the following season?
Answer: Fernando Llorente, who scored his FA Cup fifth round hat-trick against Rochdale. If he had arrived atTottenham two years earlier he might easily have become a club legend.
See you back here next Monday. COYS!
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