NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 293
Submitted by Norman Giller
As Harry Winks bulged the net for England for the first time in Kosovo yesterday you could almost hear Spurs supporters thinking aloud: “This is what we want from you in a Tottenham shirt.”
If he can start coming through to collect goals for Spurs he will develop into the complete midfielder, and help lift the storm clouds gathering over the new White Hart Lane and, in particular, manager Mauricio Pochettino.
Rumours are growing in strength by the hour that Jose Mourinho is being lined up to take over the managerial reins from Pochettino. To me, it’s a sign that the lunatics are taking over the asylum.
Tottenham are slipping into a self-inflicted crisis, caused by a combination of some players not pulling their weight and moaning and groaning supporters talking the club towards a nervous breakdown.
Suddenly, Saturday’s game at West Ham takes on the status of a crunch confrontation. A defeat will bring the whispers of a Mauricio departure to a roar. It’s serious enough to even make Prince Andrew sweat.
Tottenham are currently tottering at 14th in the Premier League, and if Spurs drop three points against the Hammers it is unlikely that Mauricio will survive to a January transfer window, when he would hope to bring in reinforcements.
He is being closely linked with Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho, but would chairman Daniel Levy allow him to dip into the treasure chest if there is a hint of relegation in the wind? Tottenham dropping into the Championship with all their new stadium bills to be paid does not bear thinking about.
It would, of course, cost Levy a small fortune to get rid of Pochettino and his backroom team. This to me all adds up to madness, when it was only a few months ago we were hailing Poch for his genius in guiding Tottenham to the Champions League final.
My hope is that everybody keeps their nerve. It is tin hats time at Tottenham, and with Our Harrys in form let us hope we can discover the England winning way at West Ham.
I’ll say it yet again: For goodness sake, stop spreading gloom and doom and get behind the team not in its way.
Hope you don’t mind me making you feel envious, but I was among a small group of VIP guests given Royal Box treatment at Wembley for Thursday’s 1000th match against Montenegro.
The Football Association thoughtfully invited our dwindling band of brothers who reported the 1966 World Cup final, and we joined a parade of old footballing heroes at a pre-match banquet.
Among the Spurs veterans I met up with were Alan Mullery, Martin Chivers, former manager Gerry Francis and the one and only Paul Gascoigne, who got the biggest reception of the evening. He sat at the same table as ex-Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman, who still does not know that Gazza beat him with a rocket-shot free-kick in the 1991 FA Cup semi-final (joke).
I behaved myself alongside Sir Trevor Brooking in the Royal Box and confined myself to polite applause as Our Harry Kane helped himself to the easiest hat-trick he will ever score.
His goal scoring rate for England is just phenomenal and second only to the Lane Legend Greavsie.
Please, please Aitch, keep finding the net for Tottenham.
One jarring note about my trip to Wembley was that on the way I had a run-in with some loud-mouth, thirty-something England supporters. I was dozing on the tube train when a small mob stood over me, bravely shouting: “The old git is dead …. The old git is dead.”
I opened my eyes and they switched the chant to: “He’s come back from the dead … he’s come back from the dead …”
It was, to say the least, intimidating. I’m coming up to the big 8-0 and, as I told them, I have earned my shut eye. I managed to hide my anxiety and drew them into conversation, and was saddened to discover they were all Spurs supporters.
I bombarded them with facts about the club that left them in awe and as we got off the train at Wembley they had changed their chants to: “He’s a legend … he’s a legend …”
They meant no real harm, I know that. But I challenged them to think how their granddads might have reacted to their daunting behaviour. It could easily have got out of hand if I had responded in a physical way, which with my old boxing background was quite likely. I am afraid they typified today’s fast-food generation, who show little respect and tolerance.
I have been to many hundreds of football matches in my long life time. Sadly, I will think twice about going again.
It’s not worth the aggravation. I will content myself with watching Spurs from behind the sofa.
Question No 16 in this 2019-20 SOQL season:
Who has won 35 international caps, collected an Olympic silver medal and which number Tottenham shirt was he given in 2018?
Please email your answer to me at SOQL16@normangillerbooks.com. Deadline: midnight this Friday. I will respond to all who take part.
The rules are the same as in previous seasons. I ask a two-pronged question with three points at stake. 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.
Last week’s SOQL question: Who won four England caps, played 312 times for Spurs, and which club did he join from Tottenham two years after being in a winning League Cup final team against them?
The answer: Goalkeeper Ian Walker, who moved from Tottenham to Leicester two years after helping beat them in the League Cup final at Wembley.
This year’s prizes for the champion: a Harry Kane framed and signed photo, two books from my Spurs collection with autographs from Jimmy Greaves, Steve Perryman and Dave Mackay, and, most important of all, a framed certificate announcing the winner as SOQL champion.
You will be better informed if you buy my SHOOTING SPURS book that features every player who has scored 50 or more goals for Tottenham since the club was formed in 1882, with special in-depth features on Jimmy Greaves and Harry Kane, plus focus on exceptional managers John Cameron, Arthur Rowe, Bill Nicholson and current master, Mauricio Pochettino.
Cliff ‘159 goals’ Jones has provided the introduction, and profits go to the Tottenham Tribute Trust to help our old heroes who missed the gravy train and now have to pay medical and care bills.
It costs just £9.99 and I will send a signed copy to anybody buying direct from me at www.normangillerbooks.com. There is also a screen version for £4.99.
I hope you will support this great cause.
See you back here same time, same place next week. COYS!
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