Consent Preferences Spurs Odyssey - Norman Giller's Blog (No. 442 - 22.05.23)
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Norman Giller's Spurs Odyssey Blog (No. 442) (22.05.23)

Submitted by Norman Giller

The writing's on the wall as we go to penalties

It had to happen. After eight years of always finding an outright winner at the first attempt, the 2023 Spurs Odyssey Quiz League is going to penalties. Not one of you agreed exactly with my line-up in last week’s tantalising tie breaker.

I have considered seeking a witness protection identity after the test that I set you. Yes, it bordered on cruelty, and I am just amazed that so many of you took on the complicated challenge and submitted your selections. Thank you.

Virtually every one of you commented on the degree of difficulty, and - in most cases - kindly refrained from insulting me. To put you out of your misery, this was my choice:

                         Pat Jennings

     Alf Ramsey   Mike England   Ledley King    Cyril Knowles
        1951         1973           2008            1971

Danny Blanchflower     Alan Mullery     Glenn Hoddle   Dave Mackay
   (1962, capt.)         (1972)            (1982)        (1961)

          Jimmy Greaves                      Harry Kane
            (1967)                             (2019)

Subs: Ray Clemence (automatic), Cliff Jones (1963), Steve Perryman (1981), Gary Mabbutt (1984), Paul Gascoigne (1991), Sol Campbell (1999)

I feel I need comment on only one of my choices, and that is Alf Ramsey at right-back. I sense I am one of the few of us ancient enough to have seen him at his peak with the Push and Run Spurs. He was an immaculate player, with superb distribution and an earthquaking tackle that was a necessary part of a defender’s armoury in those days when football was an all-out physical contact game.

I have seen only one better player in the No 2 Tottenham shirt – the extraordinarily athletic Kyle Walker, who never won a trophy with Spurs but has made up for it in spades with Man City. Alf, the original 'General', was capped 32 times in the days when international games were rationed, and he lifted Second and First Division championship medals in back to back seasons with Tottenham. This was despite surrendering his best years to the war, making up for a loss of pace with perfect positioning and clever jockeying of flying wingers. Those were the days, my friends.

Sir Alf, of course, became a footballing legend as manager of England’s 1966 World Cup 'Wingless Wonders'. I learnt much of what I know about the Beautiful Game at the feet of Alf and his old Tottenham team-mate and, later, fierce rival, Bill Nicholson. What a lucky boy I was to be able to drink from their well of knowledge.

But a lot of you will think it has not helped me as a team selector. You will be spitting blood at my choice from 15 trophy-challenging Tottenham teams. Each of the following contestants got ‘close but no cigar.’ …

Robert Rockett, Naushad Ali, Gerard Laverty, Austen Merritt, Michael Mcdowell, Paul Hartles, Jim Logan, Andy Tyzzer, Jonathan Fellows, Graeme Chandler, Roger Turner, Jim Sherring, Leslie Sullivan, James Pearce, Tony Nightingill, Carson Heatley, Mark Edwards, Avirup Chaudhuri, Trevor Dawson, Roy Davies, David Rushton, John Saunders, Richard Baldwin, Bob Reilly, Ian Banfield, Alex Gaffarena, David Pope, Clifton Melvin and former champions David Guthrie, Peter Lawton, Graham Eyre, David Matthews and, our only female contender, Emily Hadjinicolaou.

You are all eligible to take part in the following penalty shoot out, and my apologies to those unnamed contestants who were three or more players out and so eliminated from the competition. Please stick with us and take part next season when I will try to be kinder, but will probably frustrate you as much as the Spurs team.

This is the penalty shoot-out challenge …

Name five Tottenham players to take the penalties and five Tottenham goalkeepers to save them. All must have played Premier League football for Spurs. Then add one Tottenham player from any post-war era to take the sixth penalty.

Put them in 1-2-3-4-5 order of preference from retired or active players and add the extra penalty taker. Remember, all but the added man must have played in the Premier League and you have to match my selection. Easy!

The strict deadline for your entry is midnight on Friday. Email your selections, please, to Give your name, your occupation, the district where you live and how long you’ve supported Spurs.

I am the sole adjudicator, and will not enter into correspondence with anybody who wants to dispute my selection (anybody objecting will be locked in a cage with Chopper Harris). The contestant with a selection closest to mine will win the coveted framed SOQL Quiz League champion certificate, plus signed copies of my latest books on Jimmy Greaves, Bobby Smith and Muhammad Ali. Of course, if you are not the lucky winner you can always buy them direct from me at

I have deliberately avoided any comment on Saturday's dismal defeat by Brentford, leaving our long-suffering guru Paul H. Smith to delight you with his thoughts HERE. Have we seen Harry Kane's final home game in a Tottenham shirt? I've been told for months by a well-connected Old Trafford contact that he is on his way to United. We shall see. The writing's on the wall along with the striking Harry-signed street mural just off Tottenham High Road.

It was against these very walls where a young Tottenham-born Arthur Rowe used to kick the ball and dreamed up the wall-pass that was at the foundation to his Push and Run team. It's a remarkable story told in depth and with feeling by authoritative Norman Turpin in an engrossing biography on quiet genius Arthur that is available here:

Now, all concentration on those penalties. COYS!

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