NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 354
Submitted by Norman Giller
Call me a cockeyed optimist (©Rodgers & Hammerstein, South Pacific) but I am determined to find positive things to say about Tottenham’s defeat by West Ham in yesterday’s High Noon showdown at the London Stadium.
Take away the sloppy goal Spurs conceded in the fifth minute and the smart net-finding shot from the born-again Jesse Lingard and I think it fair to say Spurs had the best of the game.
There were moments, particularly in the second-half, when Spurs moved with their old clockwork precision, and the sight of Gareth Bale in full flow sent a signal to Jose Mourinho that he MUST become a regular starter. He has tricks in his locker that are waiting to be revealed.
Continuing my theme of optimism, I think the best is to come from Spurs in this last third of the season with Son, Kane and Bale causing concern to the tightest defences. It would not surprise me to see the team complete a double of League Cup and Europa Cup.
Okay, before the men in white coats arrive to take me away, let me confess that I am deliberately talking Spurs up to try to reverse the suicidal talk of so many Tottenham supporters. Steve ‘Skip’ Perryman (with me above) will confirm that I am of sound mind, and he will be introducing My Seventy Years of Spurs book, out in May (ends plug).
I am stubbornly – some would say, stupidly – campaigning against the white-flag attitude of those supporters in danger of talking Tottenham into an even bigger crisis than the one that exists after six defeats in the last eight matches.
What is surprising and a cause for concern is the way Tottenham’s defence has lost its confidence and authority. But if there is one man who can get defenders playing it’s Jose Mourinho, as he has continually proved on the way to lifting 25 trophies. The alarming slump since Spurs briefly topped the Premier League has shaken the club to its foundations, but supporters moaning and groaning just adds to the pressure on the players.
The keyboard warriors and worriers were out in force yesterday before, during and after a match in which the Hammers showed commendable character, but no way were they the better team. Our guru Paul H. Smith reports the facts HERE, revealing that Tottenham had twenty shots to West Ham’s four.
Yes, the finishing lacked accuracy, but the stats prove beyond argument that Tottenham were the superior side. A top four finish is still not totally out of sight, we are in the final of the League Cup at Wembley on April 25 (only Man City to beat!) and Jose loves winning that Europa League.
Defeatist talk is contagious, and there are even those on line who actually admit they want Spurs to lose so that Mourinho is forced to leave. That is a disgraceful way to “support” your team.
Meantime, I am going to continue with my ‘cockeyed’ optimism. Maybe it’s something to do with the two Jabs that I’ve had. Or perhaps talking to my dear old mate Jimmy Greaves on his 81st birthday on Saturday gave me a surge of confidence.
He continues to battle for a better quality of life from his wheelchair. His determined spirit is a lesson to all of us.
Don’t give up. COYS!
We continue to tick off the matches on the way (fingers crossed) to silverware in what is the Centenary of the 1921 FA Cup win, the Platinum celebration of the 1951 Push and Run title, the Diamond Jubilee of the 1961 Double Year, the Ruby anniversary of Ricky’s ‘Goal of the Century’ in the 1981 FA Cup final triumph, and, of course, the Pearl anniversary of the last time Spurs won the FA Cup in 1991.
These are the fixtures facing Spurs to the end of March. There do not appear to be too many minefields, unless you count the North London Derby! …
Wed 24 Feb Wolfsberger (home, 5.00, Europa League, 2nd leg)
Sun 28 Feb Burnley (home, 2.00, Premier League)
Thur 4 Mar Fulham (away, 6.00, Premier League)
Sun 7 Mar C. Palace (home, 7.15 Premier League)
Sun 14 Mar Arsenal (away, 4.30, Premier League)
Sun 21 Mar Aston Villa (away, 7.30, Premier League)
I wonder what the keyboard assassins will be saying if we can win all these, and then go and conquer Man City in the League Cup final at Wembley on April 25?
Yes, a ‘cockeyed’ optimist. COYS!
The 25th week of season seven of the Spurs Odyssey Quiz League challenge, and the question is:
The rules are the same as in previous 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.
This year’s prizes for the champion: a Harry Kane framed and signed photo two, books from my Greavsie 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.
Last week’s SOQL question: Who has scored seven goals in 12 international matches, and which manager signed him for Spurs from Valencia?
The answer: Roberto Soldado, who was signed by Andre Villas-Boas. Both left Spurs without fulfilling their potential and their promise.
See you back here same time, same place next week. COYS!