NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 167
Submitted by Norman Giller
Our dedicated webmaster Paul Smith wanted to give me a Sunday roasting yesterday for suggesting only a one-eyed Tottenham supporter would dispute that Southampton deserved to salvage a point with their second-half revival movement.
Spurs stretched their winning home run to an impressive 10 games, but as the Duke of Wellington said after Waterloo: “It was a damn close run thing.” Or was that Abba?
The way I saw it, the momentum was with Saints from the moment that a rare Toby Alderweireld error opened the door for a well-taken goal by Ward-Prowse seven minutes into the second-half.
You could have composed a Chuck Berry riff out of the jangling Tottenham nerves as Southampton produced the more polished football in a frantic search for an equaliser that occasionally had Spurs rocking and a-rolling.
Read Paul’s eyewitness account of the 2-1 victory here for the facts rather than my hyperbole, but all I know is that the sigh of relief at the final whistle could have been measured on the Richter Scale.
For me, Saints deserved to go back to the South Coast with a point. But that’s not how one-eyed Paul saw it!
Tottenham had the man of the match in Christian Eriksen, who was particularly prominent in the first-half. The opening goal with his ‘wrong’ foot showed he can be as impressive a scorer as he is a schemer. It was the 13th goal that he has snaffled from outside the penalty area for Spurs, a Premier League long-range record.
Those who question his physical commitment must accept that he is all about artistry, and he sensibly pulls away from crunching tackles rather than risk injuries to those slim, thoroughbred legs. It doesn’t make him a coward, but a pragmatist.
He reminds me of Matchstick Man George Eastham, a creative genius in the 60s with Newcastle, Stoke and that other lot down the road. I have watched Christian since he was a youngster at Ajax, and he has never been – and never will be – a physical player.
I hope eventually Pochettino makes Eriksen and Harry Winks a permanent tandem team. Harry will run through walls and – despite his small stature – has a physical presence that Christian lacks.
There was another fairly useful midfield schemer that shone for Spurs back in the 80s, chap by the name of Glenn Hoddle. He had a hefty build, but could not tackle his way out of a rice pudding.
Before that there was Danny Blanchflower, who rarely tackled but shepherded opponents into cul de sacs, waiting for the mighty Dave Mackay to arrive and snuff out the danger with tackles that made the ground shudder.
Eriksen belongs to that Hoddle/Blanchflower school, which more recently featured that pass master Luka Modric. All skill and style. Enjoy Christian while he is decorating our midfield with his paintbox of passes.
There is now time to catch breath during the international break, then just look at this seven-match April schedule. It takes in the Easter programme and the little matter of the FA Cup semi-final showdown with Chelsea and the fairly crucial North London Derby:
Saturday April 1: Burnley, away 3.00 (PL)
Wednesday, April 5: Swansea City, away 7.45 (PL)
Saturday, April 8: Watford, home 12.30 (PL)
Saturday, April 15: Bournemouth, home 12.30 (PL)
Saturday, April 22: Chelsea, Wembley 5.15 (FA Cup semi-final)
Wednesday, April 26:Crystal Palace, away 20.00 (PL)
Sunday, April 30: Arsenal, home 4.30 (PL)
It will be an interesting month.
You will need to bow the knee to me if you see me at Wembley on Sunday for England’s World Cup qualifier against Lithuania. I am a VIP guest in the Royal Box and this is my posh pass.
The surviving journalists who covered England’s World Cup victory at Wembley in 1966 – back in the Twin Tower days and 39 steps to the Royal Box – are guests of the Football Association.
We are a dwindling band of brothers, and I am sure we will be taking a one-eyed view of a hopeful England victory, with input from at least two Tottenham lads.
Look out for me. I’ll give you a Royal wave.
I have made a first £500 payment to the Tottenham Tribute Trust to help our old heroes who have hit difficult times, following my pledge that all profits from my Spurs ’67 book will go to the Trust.
I have hit a wall of apathy among most Tottenham supporters, but I am sure Spurs Odyssey readers are going to get behind this great cause.
Please order a signed copy here http://www.normangillerbooks.com/spurs-67/4554925859. It is the perfect present for Dads and (definitely) Granddads who remember the days when Spurs were FA Cup kings. And maybe for Spurs-committed Mums on Mother’s Day!
I am building a Wall of Thanks on line, naming every one who buys a copy of the book from me and so makes a donation to the Trust. I hope your name will be there.
The 1967 FA Cup winning survivors gathered at the Lane yesterday and got a great welcome home from the Tottenham faithful.
Now I hope you and they will reach into your Spurs soul (and pocket) and help our old heroes who are facing a reduced quality of life, medical bills and caring costs as they pay the price for all that entertainment they gave us in the summertime of their lives..
Spurs Odyssey Quiz League, week 31
Spurs Odyssey Quiz League, week 31
This week’s mystery player:
“I missed the 1967 FA Cup final because of injury but played in two victorious League Cup final teams and a UEFA Cup winning Spurs side. Who took my place in the FA Cup final?”
Email your answers, please, to SOQL31@normangillerbooks.com. Give your name, the district where you live and how long you’ve supported Spurs. I will respond, and will email a screen version of one of my Tottenham-themed books to the sender of the first all-correct answer drawn at random. Deadline is midnight on Friday.
Please keep a check on your points tally, because the contestant topping the SOQL table at the end of the season will receive a framed certificate announcing the winner as the 2016-17 Spurs Odyssey Quiz League champion. And the first three in the final table will win an autographed, hardback copy of my Bill Nicholson Revisited tribute book, PLUS a souvenir card signed by Spurs legends Jimmy Greaves and Steve Perryman.
The 30th teaser was:
“I am a Yorkshireman who has won 21 international caps, and I was a League Cup final winner at Wembley in 2008. Who am I and which Tottenham manager signed me from Leeds?”
A maximum three points in the SOQL table to those who answered fleet-footed Aaron Lennon, who was signed by affable Martin Jol. On his day, he was one of the most dangerous wingers in the Premier League but his inconsistency irritated a string of managers.
First name drawn at random from the correct answers is Mick Bailey, from Hereford, who has been a Spurs supporter since the 1970s when he lived in Cheshunt, close to the old Spurs training ground I will be emailing Mick a screen version of one of my Tottenham-themed books.
As regular contestants will know, the SOQL League table is decided on facts up until the final weeks of the season. Then I introduce tie breaks based on opinions, which is when I lose friends and fail to influence people with my views.
But please remember, it is just for fun and helps us all refresh our knowledge on the history and the heroes of our great club.
Thanks for your company. See you same time, same place next week. COYS!
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