NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 394
Submitted by Norman Giller
By any standards, that was a remarkable performance by Tottenham (Harry Kane in particular) at the Etihad on Saturday. I have yet to be scraped off the ceiling after leaping up like Cliff Jones at the far post to celebrate Harry's 95th minute winner against the Premier League leaders.
Hands up, I honestly thought we would be mourning a fourth successive defeat after watching Man City's five goal barrage in the Champions League match in Lisbon last week. They are without doubt one of the greatest club teams in the world.
I can call on more than 70 years of watching Spurs, so please respect my view that there has rarely been an away from home individual performance to match that of Our Harry. Cynics will say that he turned it on to show City why they should continue to want to sign him, but I honestly sensed it was the Cockerel on his chest driving him to a display that I have not often seen equalled.
He was like Glenn Hoddle (scheming) and Jimmy Greaves (scoring) rolled into one, and I would have selected him man of the match even if he had not scored two goals that might easily have been another hat-trick.
Where Harry's future lies is with the gods and the bank managers, but while we've got him let's treat him like the football royalty that he is.
Declan Mulcahy was our Spurs Odyssey observer of the match. You can read Declan's report here. Lucky boy! Our usual reporter Paul Smith was present and this was definitely a match about which to boast, 'I was there.'
There was one sour note. I was saddened and appalled to see many keyboard warriors piling in on Hugo Lloris after his latest fumble gifted City an equaliser. Some of the comments made were scandalous and were probably actionable in a court of law. I am sure that Hugo, from a family of lawyers, would know better than anybody. He has ten times the intelligence of some of those morons attacking him.
What is it with many of today's generation of "supporters" that they feel they can insult OUR players. They dropped flaming barrels of dung on Lloris at 1-1, and then meekly acknowledged that two of his saves in the second half were world class and helped turn the game. By then the damage had been done and those calling for the skipper to be dropped were looking very foolish.
Hugo is a class act and one of the greatest goalkeepers of his generation. Just look at his international record and bow the knee in respect. Yes, he has recently become error prone, but any mistake is magnified and I have seen few custodians to match his reflexes and courage. Pat Jennings insists he was better than he had been in his glorious career, a rating that I would strongly contest. But it came from Pat's own lips to me, so show Hugo the reverence he deserves.
Antonio Conte, whose celebration of Harry's winner matched anything seen from our curling gold medalists out in Beijing, had been saying some strange, contradictory things on the way to the Etihad. It was almost as if he was preparing an early exit.
He managed to get his feet back on the ground to remind us that there had been three successive losses and he still wants the squad strengthened. I just hope he and the Board can start singing from the same song sheet. The harmony seems off key.
A main talking point after the victory over City was the reaction of fourth official Craig Pawson following Harry’s late winner.
Pawson was standing alongside City manager Pep Guardiola as the ball hit the net, and he looked as sickened as a man who had just been told his house had been robbed.
Questions must be asked at the highest level because he just happens to be the referee in charge of this weekend’s League Cup final between City and Liverpool.
It made Spurs fans think how relieved they were that Pawson was not refereeing Saturday’s match. Officials should be seen as neutered, sorry, I meant neutral.
Now it's off to Burnley on Wednesday where a win would get us right back in the hunt for a top four place. If Harry has recovered from the knocks he took in a punishing game, he could decorate Turf Moor with Beijing-style curlers.
Our hero Jimmy Greaves would have been 82 yesterday, and I saw the Tottenham victory at the Etihad as a present for the great man. This gives me the opportunity to again remind you that I have written the official, authorised biography of The One and Only Jimmy Greaves. I am now taking orders for the in-depth book I have written on my pal of 64 years, including personal glimpses never revealed before. You will find full details at www.normangillerbooks.com.
I hope you will support me, knowing that for every book I sell a donation will go to the Tottenham Tribute Trust, to help our old heroes. I would appreciate you pre-ordering direct from me. You get the book post-free and with a special, exclusive souvenir photo card featuring the autographs of Jimmy and Steve 'Skip' Perryman.
For the first time, Irene Greaves has lent her name to a book on her late husband and gave me permission to write it "provided it is warts 'n' all and does not give Jim the treacle treatment. He would want it to be the truth about his remarkable life."
I have done my best. Now I ask you to do me the privilege of buying it. Thank you.
The 26th week of season eight of the Spurs Odyssey Quiz League challenge, and the question is:
Who won 30 caps, was in the Double squad, scored two goals in his Tottenham debut and which number shirt did he wear when Spurs retained the FA Cup?
Please email your answer to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and make the subject heading Quiz Week 26. 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 seven 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 prizes for the champion: A rare out-of-print book from my now very special Greavsie collection with autographs from the late, great Jimmy Greaves, Dave Mackay and Steve Perryman, and, most important of all, a framed certificate announcing the winner as SOQL champion 2022. Plus a signed copy of My 70 Years of Spurs book AND a special bonus prize, the Eighty At Eighty book that I have written in harness with Sir Geoff Hurst, still the only man to score a World Cup final hat-trick.
Answer to question No 25: Who played in the 2018 World Cup finals while with an Italian club, has won 47 international caps and which number squad shirt does he wear with Spurs?
Yes, one of our newcomers Rodrigo Bentancur, the Uruguayan who wears the No 30 shirt. He played a crucial role in the build up to the winning goal yesterday.
See you back here same time, same place on Monday. COYS!
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