Consent Preferences Spurs Odyssey - Norman Giller's Blog (No. 462 - 18.12.23)
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Norman Giller's Spurs Odyssey Blog (No. 462) (18.12.23)

Submitted by Norman Giller

The Phantom of the Opera strikes again

So, there I was sitting at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden on Friday watching the clown Pagliacci murdering his wife and her lover, while my mind was in Nottingham wondering how Spurs were getting on against Forest. Could there be a fat lady singing at the City ground?

I had booked the seats for me and my Good Companion, Joyce, yonks ago, surely safe there would not be Friday night football. Doh!

All I had to do was avoid hearing the result on the way home to Essex, actually feigning deafness on the train like a scene from The Likely Lads. I had recorded the match and so, after midnight, sat all alone watching a replay of the game ... and it was like being back at the Opera!

There was the masked Dejan Kulusevski - still recovering from his facial injury and looking like the Phantom of the Opera - playing a blinder, creating the first goal for Richarlison and then scoring a beauty himself with his right foot that he usually uses to stand on. Bravo.

Continuing my Pagliacci theme, the clowns masquerading as supporters were again silenced as their spiteful keyboard comments were made redundant. We need to be a chorus singing from the same song sheet as Ange's Angels prepare to go into the Christmas holiday period challenging strongly for a top four place.

Not that all the Tottenham players can be classed as angels. Our Spurs Odyssey guru Paul H. Smith gives the match facts HERE, and he shares my concerns about too much recklessness. We want Spurs to play and win with style but not at all costs. Rash tackles do not belong in Angeball, and both Udogie and Bissouma know they let down the side with their indiscipline.

A word of praise for the performance at the heart of the defence of battling Ben Davies, who was magnificent in the best traditions of a whole line of great post-war, Welsh-born servants to Spurs. I am thinking particularly of the likes of Ron Burgess, Mel Hopkins, Mike England, Terry Yorath, Paul Price, Simon Davies and, of course, arguably the greatest of them all, Gareth Bale (Please note that this is not an exhaustive list).

I have deliberately left out two master wingers for special mention: the Welsh Wizard Cliff Jones and the neat, methodical Terry Medwin.

Terry's proud son, Barry, reminds us that these two Swansea stars first played together as schoolboys EIGHTY years ago and are still mates and disciples of Tottenham. Here is a photo that Barry posted on Roy Beck's excellent History of Tottenham Hotspur Facebook page of the two octogenarians enjoying watching a recent Spurs match on television. Iechyd da (Welsh for Good Health).

Terry Medwin and Cliff Jones

Saturday's home match against Everton will hopefully put us in the mood to enjoy a good Christmas, and I take this opportunity on behalf of Paul Smith and myself to wish you and yours only good times over the holiday and into a New Year filled with peace, productivity and prosperity.

My next Spurs Odyssey blog here will be on Monday week, January 1 2024. See you then, hopefully celebrating nine points from our matches against Everton (home, Saturday), Brighton (away, Thursday December 28) and Bournemouth (home, Sunday December 31).

COYS! Or as Pagliacci said, Vesti La Giubba.

One more plug, if I may: My Jumbo Prize Crossword goes in The Times over the Christmas period for the 39th successive year. The challenge of 100+ clues may appeal to you, particularly as there are a couple with Spurs links. COYS!

Economic report (continued). Number of The G-Men books sold to Spurs Odyssey readers after my unashamed sales pitch last week: Uh, one more, which is 14 altogether! It is a must-read for Spurs fans of a certain age who will tingle at memories of Jimmy Greaves and Alan Gilzean playing together. 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. Go on, treat yourself to a Christmas present. But hurry!

Spurs Odyssey Quiz League 2023-24

Week 19 of season nine of the Spurs Odyssey Quiz League challenge, and the question is:

Who joined Spurs in 2007, won 111 international caps, and against which team did he score a Boxing Day hat-trick for Tottenham in an away Premier League match?

Please email your answer to me at and make the subject heading Quiz Week 19. 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 former Tottenham captain played in the 2008 League Cup final, won five international caps and which club bought him and sold him back to Spurs?

Answer: Younes Kaboul/Portsmouth

See you back here ... on Monday week. Merry Christmas. COYS!

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