Consent Preferences Spurs Odyssey - Norman Giller's Blog (No. 453 - 09.10.23)
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Norman Giller's Spurs Odyssey Blog (No. 453) (09.10.23)

Submitted by Norman Giller

Romero and VDV get the Wells treatment

Top of the table for at least two weeks, a fraction ahead of that other club from North London! There's a long, long way to go, but supporting Spurs has not felt this good since the peak Pochettino years.

There's a heart-warming link with Tottenham's Glory Glory past running through the high-flying Ange's Angels, and it bubbled to the surface during the battling second-half performance at Luton, when Cristian Romero and Micky van de Ven emerged as a redoubtable double act.

Those of a certain age will recall that Cliff Jones was a flying winger in the history-making Double side, equally devastating on either flank and one of the bravest footballers ever to pull on a Lilywhite shirt. He comes from a famous Welsh footballing family and the latest off the conveyor belt is playing a vital role in the current Tottenham revival.

His name is Matt Wells, grandson of the legendary Cliff and he works with Mile Jedinak as Tottenham's defensive coach. He and Ryan Mason are as close as brothers and were ready to take their double act to new pastures until falling under the spell of Ange Postecoglou, who persuaded them their future was at Spurs in his backroom team.

'I'm so proud of Matt,' Cliff told me recently, as - at 88 - he continues his fight to hold off the advance of dementia. 'Football can be traced back more than 100 years in our family and Matt is carrying on the tradition. I'm so pleased it's with Spurs.'

Our resident blogger Norman Giller with Welsh Wizard Cliff Jones

Our resident blogger Norman Giller with Welsh Wizard Cliff Jones

It is at the futuristic training ground at Hotspur Way that 35-year-old Matt works tirelessly on forging an understanding between central defenders Cristian Romero and young Dutchman Micky van de Ven. All his hard graft paid off at revamped Kenilworth Road as Tottenham fought like Trojans to compensate for the loss of the - rightly - red-carded Bissouma.

Ange has to take Yves on one side (sounds like a Romcom script) and quietly tell him that cheating has never been the Spurs way. The great teams I have been proud to watch - the Push and Run and Double sides in particular - always played with dignity, hard but fair. When I posted this view on social media I found many people arguing 'that everybody else cheats why not us?' Well, it is not part of the Tottenham DNA and I am confident Ange shares my moral stand. He wants to win but not at all costs.

The team spirit that Ange has revived at Spurs was shown in the way Romero celebrated a clearance in the closing moments against Luton, almost matching the delight at Micky's debut goal after some magical ground work by king playmaker James Maddison.

Our Spurs Odyssey guru Paul H. Smith gives his view HERE of a bizarre game that could easily have ended at 7-3 in Tottenham's favour. It was the second-half in which 10-man Spurs showed that Ange-ball includes digging in as well as front-foot, flowing football.

This was when Romero came into his own and showed just why no less a person than Lionel Messi considers his countryman the greatest defender in the world. He shepherded 22-year-old van de Ven alongside him, and played with a maturity and consistency that was sometimes missing before he cured his impulse to dive in with reckless challenges.

Nicknamed Cuti by his sister when he was a toddler, Romero is enormously popular with all his team-mates and is thriving on being made vice-captain by Ange.

It was the likeable Micky van de Ven who got the man of the match honours against Luton, but it was Romero who stood out head and shoulders above the rest. VDV was sporting enough to point out: 'Cuti was amazing. He is always encouraging me, and I owe him a lot.'

Now it's breath-holding time as we hope Romero and all our players emerge from the international break without injury.

Meantime, let's enjoy being TOP OF THE TABLE.


Spurs Odyssey Quiz League 2023-24

Week ten (already!) of season nine of the Spurs Odyssey Quiz League challenge, and the question is:

Who won 108 caps, scored 30 League goals in two periods with Spurs and who is captain of the national team he currently manages?

Please email your answer to me at and make the subject heading Quiz Week 10. Deadline: midnight this Friday. I will do my best to respond to all who take part.

The rules are the same as in the previous eight 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 become as popular as Sol Campbell in an Arsenal shirt.

This year's main prize will be a framed certificate announcing the winner as SOQL champion 2024, plus three signed books to be revealed at a later date. We have retired the omniscient David Guthrie after his three victories.

Last week's question:

Who while with Spurs scored 13 goals in 15 appearances for England, and which club did he help shoot to the Fourth Division title after leaving Tottenham?

Answer: Bobby Smith/Brighton and Hove Albion

See you back here same time, same place on Monday. COYS!

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