Consent Preferences Spurs Odyssey - Norman Giller's Blog (No. 474 - 08.04.24)
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Norman Giller's Spurs Odyssey Blog (No. 474) (08.04.24)

Submitted by Norman Giller

Thanks for the laughs, Joker Joe

Pedro Porro had just fired Tottenham into a comforting 3-1 lead against Forest yesterday when I got a call from Steve 'Skip' Perryman to tell me that our old mate Joe Kinnear had lost his long fight with dementia.

Even while celebrating Tottenham's vital victory, a million memories queued in my mind of the laughs and lunacy that I enjoyed with Joe in the summertime of our lives. He passed on at the age of 77, but sadly with no knowledge of all that he had achieved in the game he played with style and distinction.

From the moment he broke into the 1966-67 Spurs squad as a baby-faced 20-year-old he was always the king of the pranksters. People could never relax near him because he was continually plotting his next caper. He once spirited my portable typewriter away while I was interviewing manager Bill Nicholson and I later found it balanced on the bar of a goal at Tottenham's Cheshunt training ground.

Joe, Phil Beal and John Pratt were the three Tottenham Musketeers, who were a mad handful long before Kinnear created the Crazy Gang when he became manager of Wimbledon.

I recall a young girl reporter interviewing Dublin-born Joe after he played in the 1967 FA Cup final when first-choice Beal had broken a wrist. She went away with a notebook full of stories of how Joe had been brought up by a blind mother along with ten brothers and sisters and living in total poverty. He had made it all up, and it signalled to be wary of anything Joe told you. He had sharp, biting Irish wit all delivered in a Cockney accent.

It got to the stage where manager Bill Nicholson had to call main accomplices Kinnear and Bealy on one side and warn them to control their appetite for crazy pranks (mind you, they were amateurs compared to Paul Gascoigne when he arrived to bring chaos to many training sessions, including once riding in on an ostrich, hiding dead fish in the boots of team-mates' car ... and firing airgun pellets at the golden cockerel on top of the main stand. Yes, daft as a brush).

Out of respect, I should mention that Joe (original name Joe Reddy) was a polished right-back, extremely quick and creative. He and Cyril Knowles - another loveable rascal - formed one of Tottenham's best ever full-back partnerships, before both going into coaching and then management.

The indomitable Dave Mackay took Joe under his wing and taught him the art of management in the Middle-East. But Dave could not control Joe on the touchline, and he was continually in trouble with referees for his verbal volleys that were usually decorated with the 'f' word.

'Swearing is my release,' he used to tell me with his Irish logic. 'If I didn't eff and blind I'd have to learn another language ... and I haven't got time for that.' He was too busy buying up property in his adopted hometown of Watford, where he shrewdly built up a small empire.

Joseph - as I used to call him - was capped 26 times by the Republic of Ireland and later managed India. Nepal, Doncaster Rovers, Wimbledon, Luton, Nottingham Forest and Newcastle United.

His passing yesterday left the world with a little less laughter. He took his football seriously but knew humour should be used as a release valve. Thanks for the fun times, Joseph.

My concentration was overtaken by memories of Joe just as Spurs took control of their must-win match against Forest, a patchy but ultimately pleasing performance, reported HERE by my Spurs Odyssey team-mate Declan Mulcahy.

Now all the calculators and slide rules will be out as Tottenham go into the business end of the season. The pessimists are out in force saying that we will fall at most hurdles on the run-in. We face the three top clubs – including Arsenal in the NLD – in matches that could decide who wins the Premier League championship.

But I prefer to take the positivity high road and believe that the tough climax will bring out the best in Spurs, and I'm confident they will hang on to fourth place, guaranteeing a seat back in the Champions' League next season. Have faith in Ange's Angels...

These are the final fixtures ...

Newcastle (a) April 13 12.30
Arsenal (h) April 28 2.00
Chelsea (a) May 2, 7.30
Liverpool (a) May 5, 4.30
Man City (h) To be decided
Burnley (h) May 11) 3.00
Sheffield Utd (a) May 19 4.00

Dear old Joe Kinnear would expect Spurs to have the last laugh.


Spurs Odyssey Quiz League 2023-24

Week 31 of season nine of the Spurs Odyssey Quiz League challenge, and the question is:

Who has won 10 international caps, has played for Barcelona and what number Tottenham squad shirt does he wear?

Please email your answer to me at and make the subject heading Quiz Week 31. 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 Tottenham-themed books. We have retired the omniscient David Guthrie after his three victories.

Last week's question:

Which defender won seven England caps, was in Bobby Robson's 1986 World Cup squad and from which team did he join Spurs after playing in an FA Cup final?

Answer: Gary Stevens/Brighton

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

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