NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 441
Submitted by Norman Giller
As if Saturday's deflating defeat at Villa Park was not depressing enough, I am now about to pile on the agony for those competing for the crown of Spurs Odyssey Quiz League champion 2023. More than 100 of you have taken part in the race over this extended season, and after last week's final question there are thirty level at the top of the table with a maximum 102 points.
Another pack are on the heels of the leaders with nearly a century of points each. As the World Cup dropped into the middle of our Quiz season, many missed deadlines because of the interruption, so anybody who has gathered more than 80 points is in the running for the title. You all start this decider on level points.
So, friends, I have come up with a stinker of a tie break challenge that will have you wanting to hang me from the nearest goalpost as you become a Tottenham selector rather than supporter. Or even worse, force me to sit through a repeat of the Eurovision Song Contest!
Just to remind you, the previous winners – featured left to right in the heading above – have been:
Graham Eyre (New South Wales, Australia) 2019
David Guthrie (Wokingham) 2015 and 2018
Glenn Scarcliffe (Hampstead) 2016
Edward Benson (New York) 2017
Emily Hadjinicolaou (Reigate) 2020
Peter Lawton (Israel) 2021
David Matthews (Cheshunt) 2022
The competition continues to have an international flavour, with contestants firing in their occasional answers from far and wide, including the United States, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Holland, South Africa, Singapore, Hungary, Hawaii, Israel, Cyprus and Vietnam!
As regulars will know, this is when we fall out, because it is really only my opinion that matters in this tiebreak decider. You become manager for the day to play the selecting game, and all you have to do is just try to agree with my choices to take the renowned SOQL title. Easy!
Please address any complaints or protests to the Spurs Odyssey Ombudsman (also me, and I will ignore you … a bit like Daniel Levy cocking a deaf 'un to the 'Levy Out' chants).
Remember, this is all just for fun while feeding your appetite for all things Tottenham Hotspur. And it gives this old hack the weekly opportunity to bore for Britain. Thanks for listening.
Included among the usual suspects in the running for the title are former champions Peter Lawton, Graham Eyre, two-times winner David Guthrie and – yet again – the only woman in with a chance of the crown, our 2020 champion Emily Hadjinicolaou, BSc FIA, from Reigate in Surrey.
Brain box actuary Emily has taken over the Tottenham-supporting baton from her father, who used to follow Spurs in the 1950s from his homeland of Cyprus. She has not got a single question wrong in the nine years of the competition, but has only once matched my tie-breaking selection. What a pity that Emily cannot bring her actuary problem-solving skills to lift a Tottenham team that has been in sinking sand for much of the season.
Cambridge University educated Peter Lawton, who took over the title from Queen Emily, has a shelf in his Israeli home groaning with the weight of Tottenham history books, which is fitting for somebody who used to stand on the Shelf at the old White Hart Lane ground. That is light years away from the new stadium that belongs to tomorrow's world. Daniel Levy deserves praise for getting his architects to come up with a plan that keeps the crowd noise locked in. Pity they could not find a way of locking into some silverware!
Also in the chase for this year's SOQL championship is all-knowing David Guthrie, going for a hat-trick of titles. As David has been the safety net fact-checker on several of my Spurs books you might consider he has a head start, but claims it is easier to guess who the next Tottenham manager will be than read my mind.
Defending champion David Matthews is a 69-year-old retired City stockmarket trader born into a Spurs-loving family in Shoreditch, and now living in the heart of Spurs territory in Cheshunt. He has written on London history and is a crime novelist but, like all of us, unable to solve the mystery of Tottenham's infuriating inconsistency.
Defending champion David Matthews with his framed 'King David' SOQL certificate
Spurs Odyssey web master Paul H. Smith and I would like to thank the two Davids and all you other grand people who regularly compete in our weekly challenge. Without you, I’d be talking to myself (true, nothing new).
Talking of Paul, I am sure you all realise this is a labour of love for our guru. It would be generous and thoughtful if you could make a small donation in the PayPal collection box at the top of this page as a gesture of thanks for all his efforts to keep us informed and entertained. I just wish some of the players could show his commitment and enthusiasm. Modest Paul has no idea I am dropping in this request to recognise his prodigious input.
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.
To try to separate you all and come up with the 2023 champion we arrive at the dreaded tiebreak teaser. Are you sitting comfortably? You soon won't be …
Select just one player from each of these 15 famous Tottenham teams for a 4-4-2 formation, plus five substitutes. I give you Pat Jennings in goal, Ray Clemence as his substitute, and then you must pick just one player per team, including the five to sit on the bench. I list only the starting XIs. Good luck!
1951 Push and Run champions
Ditchburn, Ramsey, Willis, Nicholson, Clarke, Burgess, Walters, Bennett, Duquemin, Baily, Medley
1961 The Double team
Brown, Baker, Henry, Blanchflower, Norman, Mackay, Jones, White, Smith, Allen, Dyson
1962 FA Cup winners
Brown, Baker, Henry, Blanchflower, Norman, Mackay, Medwin, White, Smith, Greaves, Jones
1963 European Cup Winners Cup
Brown, Baker, Henry, Blanchflower, Norman, Marchi, Jones, White, Smith, Greaves, Dyson
1967 FA Cup winners
Jennings, Kinnear, Knowles, Mullery, England, Mackay, Robertson, Greaves, Gilzean, Venables, Saul
1971 League Cup winners
Jennings, Kinnear, Knowles, Mullery, Collins, Beal, Gilzean, Perryman, Chivers, Peters, Neighbour
1972 Uefa Cup winners
Jennings, Kinnear, Knowles, Mullery, England, Beal, Gilzean, Perryman, Chivers, Peters, Coates.
1973 League Cup winners
Jennings, Kinnear, Knowles, Pratt, England, Beal, Gilzean, Perryman, Chivers, Peters, Pearce
1981 FA Cup winners
Aleksic, Hughton, Miller, Roberts, Villa, Perryman, Ardiles, Archibald, Galvin, Hoddle, Crooks
1982: FA Cup winners
Clemence, Hughton, Miller, Price, Hazard, Perryman, Roberts, Archibald, Galvin, Hoddle, Crooks
1984 Uefa Cup winners
Parks, Thomas, Roberts, Miller, Hughton, Stevens, Mabbutt, Hazard, Galvin, Falco, Archibald
1991 FA Cup winners
Thorstvedt, Edinburgh, Van Den Hauwe, Sedgley, Howells, Mabbutt, Stewart, Gascoigne, Samways, Lineker, Paul Allen
1999 League Cup winners
Walker, Carr, Campbell, Vega, Edinburgh, Anderton, Freund, Nielsen, Ginola, Ferdinand, Iversen
2008 League Cup winners
Robinson, Hutton, Woodgate, King, Chimbonda, Lennon, Jenas, Zokora, Malbranque, Keane, Berbatov
2019 Champions League finalists
Lloris, Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose, Sissoko, Winks, Alli, Eriksen, Heung-min Son, Kane
You get three points for every selection that agrees with mine, and a bonus point for naming the same team captain as me. That’s a possible 46 points in total. The contestant with most points takes the crown. If more than one agrees with me – and also choice of skipper – then we would have another tie-breaker if their points tally is equal.
The strict deadline for your entry is midnight on Friday. Email your selections, please, to email@example.com. Give your name, your occupation, the district where you live and how long you’ve supported Spurs.
I am the sole adjudicator, and will not enter into correspondence with anybody who wants to dispute my selection (megalomaniac, moi?).
I will announce the winner and 2023 champion in my next Spurs Odyssey blog … hopefully when we are celebrating a victory in our final home match against much-improved Brentford before the final crunch match at relegation-threatened Leeds United.
Brighton – who play a front-foot game the way Spurs have traditionally played – beached both North London clubs yesterday with their dismantling of the Gunners. As Greavsie used to say, it's a funny old game.
Last week’s question, No 34: Who won 28 international caps, collected an FA Cup winners' medal with Tottenham, later managed Newcastle United and with which club did he wind down his playing career?
Yes, lovely old Joe Kinnear, who finished his playing career at Brighton. Sadly, Joe – and his 1967 FA Cup final team-mate, Terry Venables – are both victims of the ex-sportsmen's nightmare of dementia. We wish them both as well as possible.
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