Consent Preferences Spurs Odyssey - Norman Giller's Blog (No. 457 - 07.11.23)
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Norman Giller's Spurs Odyssey Blog (No. 457) (07.11.23)

Submitted by Norman Giller

Now Ange must count the cost of his first defeat

Phew! In 70-plus years watching Spurs I cannot remember a game quite like it. This was the night grown men cried with a mix of elation, ecstasy and, in the end, fury and frustration. Many more matches like this and I will be writing from the heart hospital.

If only that brilliantly volleyed goal by the much-maligned Eric Dier had been allowed to stand, if only ... if only Sonny had not been two inches offside ... if only Romero and Udogie had been more controlled. Yes, if only...

To call it a full-blooded derby would be one of the underestimates of the season, and mightily relieved Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino was like a lottery winner trying hard not to dance on the grave of his old club.

It was difficult for this old hack to take it all in. Five disallowed goals, two red cards, a disputed penalty, ages of VAR verdicts and a fight of Alamo proportions summed up the night in which nine-man Tottenham fell to their first Premier League defeat of Ange Postecoglou's reign. And it had to be against former boss Pochettino on his first return to Spurs since his 2019 departure. You couldn't make it up.

I did not envy our Spurs Odyssey guru Paul H Smith trying to catalogue everything in certainly the most dramatic game witnessed at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. And there were not many - if any - games to match it at dear old White Hart Lane for incident and drama. You can read Paul's eyewitness account HERE, but I advise you to take a deep breath first. Give it a miss if you are of a nervous disposition.

In years to come, people will see the result in black and white that Chelsea won 4-1. It will not convey a hint of the emotion and excitement of the night when the nine men of Tottenham came off at the end of a marathon match to a standing ovation from their disappointed but never dispirited fans.

Now it's all eyes on the medical bulletins as Ange Postecoglou counts the cost of his first Premier League defeat by a Chelsea side that looked like being run off its feet until a rash Destiny Udogie tackle put them in battling mood and landed him with an unnecessary yellow card from a referee who seemed to ignore equally strong challenges from the boys in blue.

We can take it as certain that Micky van de Ven will be out of action for at least a month, and James Maddison had his ankle in an ice pack as he limped away from Tottenham Stadium. Cristian Romero and Udogie will have to sit out games because of their red cards. I am not in the mood to make any Destiny jokes. Frankly, they let the side and themselves down with their indiscipline. When the going gets tough, the tough must get going accompanied by common sense.

Goalkeeping hero Guglielmo Vicario will be on the treatment table this morning after his gallant stream of saves as the nine men of Tottenham tried to salvage a point from a game that boiled over with fury and incident.

The question is who will be fit for Saturday's visit to Wolves? I am assuming Eric Dier will be recalled to the heart of the defence, and it will challenge Ange's tactical know-how as he is forced to shuffle his cards.

But let's look on the positive side. Spurs go to Molineux within a point of League leaders Man City, and all of us were lucky to have seen a game that will live long in the memory. Sadly, it will sit happier in the minds of Poch and his Chelsea pirates.

Economic report (continued). Number of The G-Men books sold to Spurs Odyssey readers after my unashamed sales pitch last week: Uh, three more, which is five 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 ... and never played in a game quite like last night's Battle of Tottenham Stadium. If only ...


Spurs Odyssey Quiz League 2023-24

Week 14 of season nine of the Spurs Odyssey Quiz League challenge, and the question is:

Who has won 16 caps for his country, was an African Nations Cup winner in 2021 and from which Ligue 1 side did he join Tottenham?

Please email your answer to me at and make the subject heading Quiz Week 14 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 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?

Answer: Stephen Carr/Bobby Robson.

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

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