Consent Preferences Spurs Odyssey - Norman Giller's Blog (No. 456 - 30.10.23)
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Norman Giller's Spurs Odyssey Blog (No. 456) (30.10.23)

Submitted by Norman Giller

A lesson from Shanks for Spurs fans

Come with me back to an autumn day in the 1960s. Liverpool had just gone top of the old First Division and I went to Anfield to interview the legendary Bill Shankly for the Daily Express (in the days when it had muscle and sold 4.2m copies a day).

I naively asked Shanks if he thought Liverpool could go on to win the title. 'Och, son.' said Bill, dropping his words like hand grenades and in a burr as Scottish as haggis, 'you just don't know what you're talking about. The League championship is a marathon not a sprint.'

I now borrow that exact phrase when I hear cock-a-hoop Spurs fans indulging in title talk. We only have to go back to last season for evidence that the wheels can come off. Remember when our North London neighbours were running away with the Premier League championship but lost their way in the run-in and were overtaken by Pepped-up Man City?

Now there is a North London blanket over the title race, with Ange's new Super Spurs a step ahead of the Arse after taking 26 points from a possible 30. Yes, it's champion-like form BUT remember that mantra from Shanks: 'A marathon not a sprint.'

Let's enjoy the time at the top but with a brake on our optimism. There's a long, long way to go. Nobody is more aware of it than our larger-than-life manager Ange Postecoglou, whose Treble at Celtic last season means he has rarely experienced defeat in recent years. He is taking it all in his Aussie stride and creating a Shankly-like image for himself as a go-to quotes man.

Our Spurs Odyssey guru Paul H. Smith gives his account HERE of Friday's victory at Palace, carved out despite the stifling tactics of the old war horse Woy Hodgson. He was just starting out on his career in football as a Crystal Palace apprentice when Shanks was ruling the football roost and has since managed no fewer than 22 clubs as well as England. His career in the Beautiful Game has been a marathon, not a sprint.

Did you see that Harry Kane goal from his own half for Bayern Munich, adding to his legend as one of the all-time greats? It baffles me how so many myopic, ungrateful Spurs fans have turned on him since he moved to Germany. He gave us the best years of his career and I personally feel privileged to have seen him at his peak and want him to be a herr-raising success in the Bundesliga.

A little bit of trivia I like to share: Which three future England captains were born in the same maternity wing at Whipps Cross Hospital in Leytonstone? Most can come up with Harry Kane and David Beckham. Others guess at Bobby Moore (who was born in Barking, six miles away). The answer: Graham Gooch, born in Whipps Cross in 1953. He, of course, went on to captain England's cricket team. ('Norm, kindly leave the page - Ed').

See you next Tuesday, when we will be dwelling on Mauricio Pochettino's Monday evening return to Tottenham with his wounded Chelsea side.

Meantime let's enjoy being TOP OF THE TABLE.

Economic report (continued). Number of The G-Men books sold to Spurs Odyssey readers after my unashamed sales pitch last week: Uh, two more, which is three altogether! I am sure you will want it, if not for yourself, then for a Spurs fan of a certain age. Please order direct from me at I am making a donation for every book sold through me to the Tottenham Tribute Trust to help our old heroes who missed the gravy train.


Spurs Odyssey Quiz League 2023-24

Week 13 of season nine of the Spurs Odyssey Quiz League challenge, and the question is:

Who won 44 caps, was in a winning Tottenham team in a Wembley cup final, and which former England manager signed him when he joined Newcastle from Spurs?

Please email your answer to me at and make the subject heading Quiz Week 13 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:

Which Tottenham player has scored 20 goals in 48 appearances for his country, and with which club did he start his Premier League career before moving to Goodison?

Answer: Richarlison/Watford

See you back here ... next Tuesday. COYS!

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