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The Double Years

FIFTY YEARS AFTER

The Double Series was written by the eminent Brian Judson

This article (first published in 2000)discusses the various members of the squad that made up the Spurs 1960-61 squad. Latest edit - 15.07.2010

The first choice team was Bill Brown, Peter Baker, Ron Henry, Danny Blanchflower, Maurice Norman, Dave Mackay, Cliff Jones, John White, Bobby Smith, Les Allen and Terry Dyson. Occasionally, some of the squad were injured and the following players appeared in their places : John Hollowbread, Ken Barton, Tony Marchi, Terry Medwin, John Smith and Frank Saul.

THE FIRST CHOICE TEAM

Bill Brown was a very unflashy goalkeeper who just got on with the business of playing football instead of playing to the gallery like some goalkeepers do. Born in 1931, Brown played his first football for junior teams in Scotland before joining Dundee. In 1959, Nicholson signed Brown from Dundee for what seems a paltry sum of money these days but was then an enormous amount. Brown brought confidence to the defence for the first time since the heyday of Ted Ditchburn. Brown was rarely absent from the team until he left for Northampton Town in 1966 but in his last two seasons with Tottenham, he was encouraging the very young Pat Jennings, who had been signed from Watford. Brown only missed two games during 1960-61. After ending his career at Northampton, Brown emigrated to Canada. (Spurs Odyssey heard of the death of Bill Brown on 1st December, 2004. Thus Bill became the third player to join the great double team in the sky (preceded by John White and Danny Blanchflower) , joining their much loved and much missed manager, Bill Nicholson.)

Peter Baker was first spotted playing for Enfield Town in the Athenian League and turned professional with Spurs in 1952. He had to wait for the departure of Alf Ramsey before he got his chance to play for the first team. He was a very underrated player and was unlucky to have contemporaries who were much better than he was as he was one of three players (Allen and Dyson were the other two) who never received a full international cap. Baker only missed one game during 1960-61, through injury. At the end of 1964-65, he emigrated to South Africa. Peter has returned on several occasions in recent years for events such as the Spurs Hall of Fame, and Bill Nicholson's memorial service

Ron Henry was signed by Spurs in 1955 and figured regularly in the Reserves until Mel Hopkins broke his nose whilst playing for Wales in 1959. Henry took his chance so well that Hopkins could not regain his place. He played in all 49 League and Cup matches and was one of the few Spurs players to play as well as he normally did in the Cup Final against Leicester City. Henry retired at the end of the 1965-66 season and helped to coach the Spurs Juniors for two decades afterwards before retiring.

Danny Blanchflower is so well known that he should scarcely require an introduction. He was born in Belfast in 1926 and played his first football for Glentoran. In 1949, he signed for Barnsley and made the further move to Aston Villa in 1951. He signed for Spurs after a protracted transfer auction between Spurs and Arsenal. Arthur Rowe intended to rebuild his side around Blanchflower but was taken ill and resigned as manager. Blanchflower never saw eye to eye with his successor Jimmy Anderson and fell out with Bill Nicholson in the early days of Nicholson's stewardship. But by March 1959, Blanchflower was restored to the team and appointed captain. Blanchflower was thereafter only absent through injury until he retired during the 1963-64 season. In the Double season of 1960-61, Blanchflower did not miss a single game, scoring 6 goals in the Football League. In all, Blanchflower made 337 League appearances for Tottenham. He was briefly manager of Northern Ireland and Chelsea later in his life but suffered from Alzheimers Disease towards the end of his life. He died in December 1993.

Maurice Norman was spotted playing for Norwich City and signed for Spurs in November 1955. His early games were played at right back but eventually he converted to centre-half where he went on to win international honours. It was Tottenham who first started to send a tall centre half upfield to help at corner kicks. In fact it was Danny Blanchflower's idea which cost him the captaincy under manager Anderson. It is a common sight today but was regarded as a risk in the 1950s. Norman was the first choice for club and country until he broke his leg in a friendly against the Hungarian International team at Tottenham in November 1965. He tried to regain fitness but was forced to call it a day in 1967 without ever playing again.

When Tottenham bought Dave Mackay, they bought the best possible insurance. Mackay played in 40 Cup Finals during his career and was never once on the losing side. He was first spotted playing for Hearts. Spurs were looking to strengthen their team. Nicholson was widely expected to sign Mel Charles but Nicholson struck in Edinburgh and persuaded Mackay to come to Tottenham. Whilst Mackay performed great deeds for Tottenham, Charles flopped at Arsenal. It was Mackay who adjusted the balance. Whilst he enjoyed rampaging forward, he was careful to defend when Blanchflower went forward so there were never great chunks in the defence as had happened with Jim Iley. Mackay twice broke his left leg, the second time during a come-back game in the Reserves at Tottenham. As he left in the ambulance, his first thoughts were for Nicholson. "Don't tell him until they've finished playing at Upton Park!" he barked. After leaving Tottenham, played for Derby County and won further honours for them. He then became a manager and won further honours. His last managerial appointment was at Birmingham City in 1991.

Cliff Jones was the fastest winger of his day, very courageous and often broke bones simply because he flung himself into areas that others would not dare to venture. Cliff came from a well-known footballing family. His father, Ivor, had been a Welsh international between the wars. His brother, Bryn, plied his trade in the lower echelons of the Football League, and an uncle, also Bryn, had played for Arsenal before WW2. Spurs had Cliff under survey for quite a long time before they signed him in February 1958. He broke a leg during pre-season training during the summer and did not return until the turn of the year. Cliff played for Tottenham for 10 years, breaking practically every bone in his body throughout that time. The dentist was kept busy repairing his teeth after most games because he insisted on risking being kicked in the mouth to head home a goal. In 1960-61, injury restricted his League appearances to 29 games, from which he scored 15 goals. After leaving Spurs in October 1968, he played for Fulham for a while and wound down his career at King's Lynn and Wealdstone. He played rugby union until he was past 45. He can be seen at Tottenham on most match days entertaining guests in the Legends Suite.

John White's death was a tragedy. Terry Medwin bitterly regrets that he did not go with him to the Crews Hill Golf Course as he believes he might have prevented White's tragic death sheltering under a tree during a thunderstorm on 21 July 1964. White was first spotted playing for Alloa Athletic before transferring to Falkirk. The scouts flocked to Brockville but had their doubts about whether White could cope with First Division football. Bill Nicholson talked to the Army and discovered he regularly won cross-country races. When Blanchflower and Mackay returned from an international in 1959 raving about White, Nicholson did not hesitate and signed him. White took a while to settle down but his value to Tottenham is best illustrated by the fact they only won one of the 15 games he missed whilst playing for Tottenham.

Bobby Smith was first spotted plying his trade for Chelsea in the early 1950s. He was much slimmer in those days but two years of National Service added inches to his waistline and he languished in the reserves until Tottenham signed him in December 1955. Smith was a battering ram of a player. He terrified goalkeepers, particularly continental ones, with his shoulder charges. Smith broke George Hunt's goalscoring record early in the 1960-61 season and only Greaves (who else?) has scored more for Tottenham. Smith put on a lot of weight in his declining seasons and eventually fell out with manager Nicholson, who promptly sacked him less than six months after playing his final game for England. He left for Brighton in May 1964 but only stayed there for a season before slipping into the non-League game. Bobby Smith passed away on Saturday 18th September, 2010.

Les Allen was born in Dagenham and was one of a legion of players from the East End who joined Chelsea in the early 1950s as their Youth Team won practically every honour available to them. Allen made only 44 League appearances for Chelsea, scoring 11 goals, before Bill Nicholson swapped him for the erratic Johnny Brooks. Allen was a shy, diffident man and had frequent bouts of loss of confidence in his ability. But in 1960-61, he played in every match, scoring 23 goals in the League and 4 in the FA Cup. He later moved to Queen's Park Rangers before making a brief managerial career and then quit the football world.

Terry Dyson was the smallest player in the squad but made up for it with a tremendous amount of enthusiasm. Dyson was signed by Spurs in 1955 and had made occasional first team appearances. But the Double season was his first full season in the team. He made 40 appearances, scoring 12 goals, in the League and played in all 7 Cup games, scoring 5 goals, including the second Cup Final goal. Undoubtedly, his finest moment came in the 1963 European Cup Winners' Cup Final against Atletico Madrid, which Spurs won, 5-1. Dyson later played for Fulham and Colchester after leaving Spurs in 1965 before becoming involved as a coach for different non-League teams. Terry Dyson is often seen at Spurs Lodge, working for the FA, as he assesses referees.

THE RESERVES

John Hollowbread was unlucky to be contemporary with Ted Ditchburn and Bill Brown. He spent most of his career at Tottenham in the Reserves or the 'A' Team. His best season was during 1958-59 when Ditchburn and Reynolds both broke fingers and missed the whole of the season. Hollowbread played in the last 40 matches of that season and was not blamed for the relegation struggles. Like Peter Baker, he was spotted playing for Enfield. His role after 1959 was purely as a reserve goalkeeper, destined to play only when the first choice was injured. He left for Southampton in the summer of 1964 as Spurs signed Pat Jennings but injury curtailed his career. John Hollowbread retired to Spain in 1994, and passed away in 2007.

Ken Barton had a trial with Tottenham in January 1954, signed amateur forms in May 1955 and professional forms in October 1956. Barton never stood a chance because Baker was too consistent and Barton only played when Baker was injured. He left Spurs in September 1964 for Millwall but never played for them and made the further move to Luton in December 1964 but retired soon after. He died on 6th September 1982, only 45.

Tony Marchi was a schoolboy with Tottenham and made his debut for the reserves whilst still only 15. He made his League debut in April 1950 as a 17 year old and when Ronnie Burgess left for Swansea in 1954 he became his replacement. In 1957, Marchi left for Lanerossi Vicenza and made the further move to Torino before he returned to Tottenham in 1959. However, by then, Spurs had signed Mackay which condemned Marchi to the position of 13th man in a squad or life in the reserves. It was only when Blanchflower and Mackay were both injured during the 1962-63 season that Marchi began to play again for the first team. When Mackay broke a leg during the 1963-64 season, Marchi became captain again for a while before Ron Henry took over the role. He left Tottenham in 1965 to be manager of Cambridge City in the Southern League and was briefly manager of Northampton.

Terry Medwin came to prominence playing for Swansea Town and transferred to Tottenham in April 1956. He would have been an automatic choice for most clubs but Nicholson felt he lacked the devil that made good players great. So once Dyson became the first choice left winger with a role to harry the opposition's defenders, Medwin had to be content with the odd game or two. His career ended on a club tour of South Africa during the summer of 1963 when he sustained a broken leg. He then worked with different clubs in non-League and Football League circles before ill-health forced his premature retirement in 1983.

John Smith was originally signed from West Ham to replace Danny Blanchflower in 1959. Smith looked a promising prospect as he had kept the young Bobby Moore in the reserves at West Ham. But Smith only made 21 appearance during his 4-year spell at Tottenham and had left the club before Blanchflower retired as a player. He played for a number of other clubs but undoubtedly the highlight of his career was playing for Swindon Town when they beat Arsenal at Wembley in the 1969 League Cup Final.

Frank Saul made his debut as a 15 year old in the Spurs Reserve side and was still only 17 when he made his debut for the first team at Highbury in September 1960. Great things were expected of Saul but somewhere along the line he lost confidence and became an ordinary player. His main claim to fame at Tottenham was in scoring vital goals during the 1967 FA Cup run. He was the makeweight in the deal that bought Martin Chivers to Tottenham in January 1968. He wound down his career with QPR and Millwall.

Thus these are the 17 players who represented Tottenham during 1960-61. Further articles will follow

Cheers, Brian

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