NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 439
Submitted by Norman Giller
Few have gone from hero to zero with such a bump as Lucas Moura, who was being torn apart on line last night as spiteful Spurs fans blamed him for the dramatic 4-3 defeat at Anfield. The man hailed as a footballing God with his Champions League semi-final hat-trick against Ajax is now bottom of the popularity poll with some supporters, who have short memories and little magnanimity.
Yes, his poorly placed pass let Liverpool in for their last-minute winner, but he hardly did it on purpose and he did not deserve the shower of abuse poured on him by "supporters", most of whom "cannot trap a bag of cement" (that was a quote to me from Bill Nicholson when describing people who often made his life hell at White Hart Lane).
Some I noticed were even attacking him for his politics because he has taken a right wing stance on Brazilian social media sites. What on earth has the way he votes got to do with his football?
Lucas leaves Tottenham later this month and will be spoken of a hundred years from now by football historians recalling the great feats of the Beautiful Game. His second-half hat-trick in Amsterdam will rarely - if ever - be repeated. None of those kicking him while he is down will be remembered.
I know we should not live in the past, but as Moura prepares to wind down his career elsewhere I think those armchair critics ripping into him might just give him the send-off he deserves for his service to the club … and THAT triple whammy. It makes him a Tottenham legend.
As against Manchester United last Thursday, Tottenham under the baton of stand-in manager Ryan Mason showed rousing fighting spirit as they battled back after surrendering rapid goals against Liverpool. But they cannot keep building mountains for themselves before they start playing.
Our Spurs Odyssey guru Paul H. Smith must be in danger of running out of lead in his pencil as he notes the goals against Tottenham. His eyewitness report HERE is not for the faint hearted.
I prefer to remember the heads-high recovery that followed them walking into the early storm, and felt for those fans who left in a cloud of disgust after Liverpool had gone three goals clear. Those who stayed behind were rewarded with a magnificent rally and their from-the-boots support played an important part in the revival movement.
Ryan and his No 2 Matt Wells – grandson of Welsh wing wizard Cliff Jones – did a wonderful morale-lifting job at half-time, and if lady luck had not been absent (probably at the snooker) Paul and I might easily have been describing a remarkable victory rather than a heart-breaking defeat.
This was the first time that Liverpool had allowed a three-goal lead to slip away in a home Premier League match, and ex-Evertonian Richarlison was still celebrating his first PL goal for Tottenham when his fellow Brazilian Moura made the reckless pass that gave Liverpool the opening for their winner and turned an old hero into a hate figure.
The goal was scored by Diogo Jota, who many thought should have been sent off earlier for the raised boot that collided with Oliver Skipp's face. But I thought Skippy's dive forward made him an unintended target, and let's not forget he was lucky not to see red himself for his tackle on Liverpool winger Diaz.
It became Carry On territory along the touchline when Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp pulled a hamstring while racing towards the fourth official to protest a decision by referee Paul Tierney.
But nobody from Tottenham was laughing when Liverpool stole victory just as Spurs were celebrating what seemed a brilliantly earned point.
I got perhaps unreasonably angry while watching the Sky coverage of the match when co-commentator Gary Neville made sarcastic remarks about the Spurs players setting up standing-order refunds for their fans. We’ve got enough of our own supporters who can put the boot in.
There were those who attacked me on line, saying that Neville was spot on with his view, but I believe he should be setting higher standards than that. His job is to be balanced and neutral. I grew up with broadcasters who never had to make such contentious comments: Motty, Barry Davies, Brian Moore, David Coleman, Hugh Johns, Ken Wolstenholme, etc. It was unprofessional and in my opinion a disgrace coming from somebody who just a blink of an eye ago was earning his bread and butter as a professional footballer.
Sorry about the Mr. Angry rant, and back to what is left of our disintegrating season. Four more games left, including a home match against the Palace that we hope brings us crowning glory on Coronation Day this Saturday. Then, the final three matches ..:-
v. Aston Villa (a) Saturday May 13 3pm
v. Brentford (h) Saturday May 20 12.30pm
v. Leeds United (a) Sunday May 28 4.30pm
Can Tottenham make it into 'the Thursday' League? To be topical, Spurs just might be snookered.
We wait to see what the final run-in brings. What's the betting on a black ball finish?
Week 33 of our ninth year of Spurs Odyssey Quiz League challenges and approaching the final bend:
Which player scored in an FA Cup final, was a member of the 1986 World Cup final squad and who signed him for Spurs from Brighton?
Please email your answer to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with Quiz Week 33 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 32: Which Nigerian-born footballer plays international matches for a country not of his birth, and what squad number shirt does he wear for Spurs?
Answer: Dutch international Arnaut Danjuma and his shirt number 16.
See you back here next Monday. COYS!
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