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Norman Giller's Spurs Odyssey Blog (No. 180) (19.06.17)

Submitted by Norman Giller

Walker caught in a world of whispers

You can’t move around the building site that is White Hart Lane for being knee deep in transfer gossip. I have now counted 53 alleged Tottenham targets since the end of the season, but one rumour that won’t go away is that Kyle Walker is on his way out.

The whisper is that Bayern Munich are ready to challenge Manchester City for the England right-back’s signature. Quite rightly, the club are keeping tight-lipped on their buying and selling plans, but it will be a pleasant surprise if Walker is still a Lilywhite when the new season kicks off in Newcastle on August 12.

Before hopefully carrying goals to Newcastle, Tottenham are involved in the International Champions Cup next month in the United States where they will take on Paris Saint-Germain, Roma and Manchester City. I wonder which colour shirt Walker will be wearing?

One Tottenham star sadly missing the tournament is popular South Korean Heung-Min Son, who fractured his right arm during a losing World Cup qualifier against Qatar last week.

This will make Tottenham redouble their efforts to sign a support striking partner for Our Harry Kane. We can only watch and wonder who it will be from the dozens of names being bandied about in the media and on the social network. It is easier to get leaks out of the White House than White Hart Lane.

Before our next item, there are plenty of offers available here, where you can Get The Latest Free Sports Bets. It may prove to be a winning decision!

Eyes down for Part Three of our visit back to the greatest season in Tottenham’s history, the remarkable record-breaking Double year of 1960-61. On the 50th anniversary of the FA Cup victory over Leicester at Wembley, I combined with entrepreneur and life-long Spurs supporter Terry Baker to produce a limited edition book of the Golden Double, that was introduced and autographed by Braveheart Dave Mackay.

Over the next few weeks we will be serialising the book, reliving match by match the historic campaign in which Spurs purred to the League championship and FA Cup double. We rejoin the story as Spurs travel to Bolton for their sixth First Division match of the season …

Match Six

SPURS went a goal behind for the first time in the season against a Bolton side famed and feared for their brutal tackling. The game was just three minutes old when England winger Doug Holden drifted past Peter Baker to create a chance for Billy McAdams, who had the impossible job of trying to fill the boots of Bolton legend Nat Lofthouse. He thrilled the crowd by banging the ball into the Tottenham net Lofty-style.

For a change, Spurs were not monopolising in midfield, where Bolton schemer Freddie Hill was playing a blinder. Ray Parry hit the Tottenham bar, Hill put a shot wide when he was well placed and then Bill Brown was forced to make two excellent saves from McAdams.

Spurs were missing the drive of injured Bobby Smith, even though his 17-year-old stand-in Frank Saul was playing his heart out. The pendulum of play dramatically swayed Tottenham’s way when Bolton full-back Tommy Banks was carried off with a torn thigh muscle. Suddenly the ten-man home side was having to battle to hold on to their slender lead, and when goalkeeper Eddie Hopkinson failed to collect a floated centre from White on the right wing Les Allen was perfectly placed to head the equaliser.

A man short in these pre-substitute days, Bolton were now struggling to hold a suddenly resurgent Spurs and the inevitable winner came when schemer White turned scorer, hooking a Blanchflower centre wide of Hopkinson and into the net in the 80th minute.

QUOTE – Danny Blanchflower: "I feel privileged to be skippering this team. There is a confidence and camaraderie that bodes well. I have been asked to keep my trap shut on the subject of the Double, but let me just state the blindingly obvious by saying that we could not have made a better start to the season."

TEAM AND SCORERS: Brown, Baker, Henry; Blanchflower, Norman, Mackay; Medwin, White, Saul, Allen, Dyson.
Goalscorers: Allen, White.

Match Seven

FIFTY-SIX years on there are veteran Tottenham supporters who still claim that this was the greatest North London derby that they have witnessed. It was a see-sawing game in which the Gunners did their best to shoot down their high-riding neighbours.

Spurs had two narrow escapes as Arsenal opened with an all-out assault, and it was against the run of play when fledgling Frank Saul came of age with his first goal. He pounced on a loose ball in the 12th minute and lashed it into the net. Ten minutes later he played a part in goal number two, nodding on a Dave Mackay throw-in for Terry Dyson to head past goalkeeper Jack Kelsey.

Just when Tottenham appeared to be coasting to a record seventh straight victory, Arsenal pulled level soon after the hour with two goals in four minutes. David Herd deceived Bill Brown with a dipping shot following a Danny Clapton corner, and then Gerry Ward equalised with a speculative shot from 35 yards that sneaked past Brown through a forest of legs and into the net.

The near 60,000 crowd, with many locked out, were dismayed (Arsenal) or delighted (Spurs) when Blanchflower sliced open the Gunners defence with an exquisite through ball for Les Allen to steer in the winning goal in the 71st minute.

QUOTE – Frank Saul: "I will never forget my first goal for Spurs. To score it at Highbury was a bonus. It has made all my daily journeys to and from my home on Canvey Island worthwhile."

Blackpool lost 1-0 to Bolton in an experimental first live TV broadcast of a League match. What a pity the cameras were not at Highbury to capture this classic.

TEAM AND SCORERS: Brown, Baker, Henry; Blanchflower, Norman, Mackay; Medwin, White, Saul, Allen, Dyson.
Goalscorers: Saul, Dyson and Allen.

Match Eight

FOR the second time, Spurs had to come from behind to maintain their sensational start to the season. Bolton shocked them with a seventh minute goal by Billy McAdams under the White Hart Lane lights in a match that developed into an ill-tempered affair.

Fit-again Bobby Smith equalised after 24 minutes following creative approach work by Blanchflower and Cliff Jones.

Most neutral fans thought the referee was harsh to award Spurs a penalty in the 65th minute after Terry Dyson had gone over in the penalty area. Was he pushed or did he fall? The Bolton defenders were fuming as Blanchflower coolly slotted home the spot-kick.

Bolton, perhaps understandably, became sulky and spiteful as they tried to get back into the game. Right winger Brian Birch was twice booked by the referee in an era when you almost had to commit grievous bodily harm to get sent off. Goalkeeper Eddie Hopkinson came close to getting his marching orders when he twice refused to take a goal-kick because of the abuse he was getting from the Tottenham fans baying at him from behind his net.

With the Bolton players losing their tempers, Tottenham kept focused and composed and clinched their eighth successive victory when Bobby Smith forced the ball home during a goalmouth scramble in the 85th minute.

QUOTE: – Terry Dyson: "I did not dive. Anybody who knows me will tell you that is not my way. Somebody pushed me from behind and I went flying. The referee had a good view of it and decided to award a penalty. Bolton were upset, but that’s football. The only thing that mattered to us was keeping up our winning streak."

TEAM AND SCORERS: Brown, Baker, Henry; Blanchflower, Norman, Mackay; Jones, White, Smith, Allen, Dyson. Goalscorers: Smith (2), Blanchflower (pen).

Match Nine

AS well as Frank Saul did in his stand-in role, it was a huge boost to Tottenham’s hopes of maintaining their blistering start to the season when Bobby Smith proved he was back to full fitness. He was playing better than at any time in his career, and his alliance with Les Allen was developing into the most potent partnership in the First Division. Both had arrived at White Hart Lane from Stamford Bridge, where they had been considered surplus to requirements. It gave each of them an extra desire to prove Chelsea wrong.

It was Smith who gave Tottenham the lead against Leicester at Filbert Street with a typical wham-bang-no-nonsense goal in the 18th minute, but Howard Riley quickly equalised with a snap shot that caught the unsighted Brown unawares.

The Smith-Allen tandem team was proving a handful for the Leicester defence and they caved in under a two-pronged assault in the 54th minute that finished with Smith slotting in his second goal. From then on Tottenham shut up shop, keeping the ball away from Leicester with precise passing movements instigated by Blanchflower and White.

Spurs had now equalled Hull City’s all-time League record of nine successive victories set under the baton of Raich Carter back in 1948.

QUOTE – Les Allen: "Bobby and I had a sort of instinctive understanding of knowing where to be to get the best out of each other. We could do no wrong in that Double season, and our confidence was sky-high. Both of us considered ourselves lucky to be getting such great service from our marvellous midfield players and from either wing. Bobby and I scored most of the goals, but it was very much a team effort."

TEAM AND SCORERS: Brown, Baker, Henry; Blanchflower, Norman, Mackay; Medwin, White, Smith, Allen, Dyson.
Goalscorers: Smith (2).

Match Ten

FRANK McGHEE, highly respected football writer on the Daily Mirror, had dubbed Tottenham "Super Spurs", a nickname that caught on with the supporters and the newspaper headline writers. They were more like supersonic in this 6-2 thrashing of Aston Villa in front of a euphoric, jam-packed 61,000-plus crowd that was shoehorned into white hot White Hart Lane.

John White started the rout in the sixth minute when he put the finishing touch to a sweeping four-man passing movement launched deep in Tottenham territory by Peter Baker. By the time the match was 30 minutes old Spurs were virtually home and dry, taking their lead to 4-0. White added a second, Bobby Smith was on hand to net number three after harassed goalkeeper Nigel Sims had dropped a whiplash left-foot shot from Dave Mackay and Dyson scored a neat goal after being put clear by the hyperactive White.

The fifth goal came early in the second-half when Dyson and White combined to create an opening for the bang-in-form Les Allen. Much to the annoyance of Bill Nicholson, Spurs took their foot off the accelerator and allowed Villa a brief respite during which they saved a little face with goals from Jimmy MacEwan and Gerry Hitchens.

Spurs saved the best for last. The ball moved on a 40-yard conveyor belt of passes in the 85th minute from Ron Henry, to Dave Mackay, on to Les Allen, out to Terry Dyson and then back to Mackay, who blasted in a full bloodied left-foot volley; a reminder that Dave was a stunning striker of the ball as well as a thunderous tackler.

QUOTE – Nigel Sims, Villa goalkeeper: "This is as good an attacking team as I have faced. No wonder they have notched up ten wins on the trot. It is going to take a very special side to stop them."

TEAM AND SCORERS: Brown, Baker, Henry; Blanchflower, Norman, Mackay; Medwin, White, Smith, Allen, Dyson.
Scorers: White 2, Mackay, Smith, Allen, Dyson.

Join us here next Monday for the next thrilling instalment as Super Spurs try to set an all-time winning start to a First Division season. Do you think they can do it? So do I!


Each week while waiting for the kick-off to the new season in August, I will set a weekly Tottenham teaser, just for fun and to keep you thinking about the club’s great history.

Last week I asked: Which London-born defender won 44 of his 53 international caps while playing for Spurs and later appeared in the 1990s for West Ham and Brentford?

Yes, most of you were spot-on by naming Chris Hughton, the popular former Tottenham full-back who was for many seasons a fixture in Ireland’s defence. ‘Gentleman’ Chris is certain to get a warm welcome when he brings his Brighton team to play Spurs at Wembley next season after leading them to promotion from the First Division.

First name drawn from the correct answers was Suffolk-based, Edmonton-born Eric Masters, a Spurs fan since the early 1970s. I will send Eric a screen version of my Spurs ’67 book (you might consider buying a signed copy from me at … all profits to the Tottenham Tribute Trust to help our old heroes.

This week’s teaser: Which London-born striker returned to Spurs after a short loan term at Chelsea in 1982 and later became top Tottenham scorer for two successive seasons in the 1980s?

Email your answer please to Closing date: midnight this Friday. I will send a screen version of Spurs ‘67 to the first name drawn from the correct answers.

Thanks for your company. See you same time, same place next week. COYS!

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