Consent Preferences Spurs Odyssey - Norman Giller's Blog (No. 181 - 26.06.17)
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Norman Giller's Spurs Odyssey Blog (No. 181) (26.06.17)

Submitted by Norman Giller

A perfect day that even satisfied Bill Nicholson

The summer transfer window officially opens on Saturday, and then we’ll see how many of the 68 players so far linked with Spurs will actually sign for the club. My guess would be two at the most, with Kyle Walker the only likely top-line departure.

Let’s leave the ill-informed gossips to continue to waste their breath and put our focus on Part Four 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 Wolverhampton with a record in their sights …

Match 11

IT is estimated that at least half the crowd had left Molineux by the time Spurs wrapped up their record eleventh successive First Division victory. The Wolves fans just could not stomach watching their team – League champions in 1957-58 and 1958-59 and narrowly missing the Double in 1959-60 – being ripped apart by rampant Tottenham.

The Wolves goal had survived three close shaves before Cliff Jones gave Spurs the lead in the 32nd minute when he turned in a precision placed cross from Les Allen. A second goal seemed inevitable as the Wolves defence, missing the steadying influence of the recently retired Billy Wright, buckled under an attacking onslaught. Terry Dyson squandered two golden chances before Danny Blanchflower made it 2-0 with a long-range shot in the 44th minute.

John White fashioned goal number three in the 52nd minute, feigning as if to pass before making a sudden dash down the right wing. His cross left Allen with a simple tap-in. The energetic Dyson might have had a hat-trick, but had to settle just for the fourth and final goal in the 79th minute after a scorching shot from Bobby Smith had hit a post.

This was a victory for polished, along-the-ground football in the best Tottenham traditions over the kick-and-rush route-one style that had served Wolves so well over the previous decade. Even the hard-to-please Bill Nicholson acknowledged afterwards that he was delighted with a performance that touched the peaks of perfection. "We have set our standards extremely high," he told an army of Molineux pressmen, who were finding it difficult to believe how easily Spurs had dismantled the team considered one of the strongest in Europe. "The way we played today was extremely satisfying, but we must not waste time praising ourselves because that leads to complacency. There is still a long way to go and I refuse to comment on all the nonsense about the Double."

QUOTE – Stan Cullis, legendary Wolves manager: ”On the evidence of this display, I would have to say that this Tottenham team is even more impressive than the Push-and-Run side of ten years ago. Bill Nicholson is a manager who deserves any success that comes to him. He demands that his teams play in the right spirit and they are always a great advertisement for British football at its best.”

TEAM AND SCORERS: Brown, Baker, Henry; Blanchflower, Nor-man, Mackay; Jones, White, Smith, Allen, Dyson.
Goalscorers: Jones, Blanchflower, Allen, Dyson.

Match 12

TOTTENHAM’s remarkable winning streak finally came to an unsatisfactory end in a crescendo of controversy. The game against Manchester City was postponed until the Monday evening because of the Northern Ireland-England international in Belfast on the Saturday (Bobby Smith scored on his debut playing alongside Chelsea’s young Jimmy Greaves in a 5-2 victory over an outclassed Irish side led valiantly by Danny Blanchflower).

Smith carried on where he left off in Belfast, heading Tottenham into a 27th minute lead against a Manchester City side that unashamedly set out to try to snatch a draw with a defensive formation. They packed in numbers around goalkeeper Bert Trautmann, the former German POW who was the greatest foreign-born goalkeeper ever to play in the League until the arrival decades later of Peter Schmeichel.

It was the most one-sided match witnessed at The Lane for years, with Tottenham unleashing 40 shots to the nine by City. The corner count was 14 to Spurs and two to City.

City’s nine shots included one from winger Clive Colbridge in the second-half that flew beyond Bill Brown’s despairing dive and into the net. Referee Gilbert Pullin appeared to be one of the few people in the ground who did not spot that Colbridge had brought the ball under control with his hand before shooting. There was uproar and to this day veteran Tottenham players and fans claim the goal should have been ruled out.

QUOTE – Danny Blanchflower: ”All good things come to an end, but it was exasperating to lose our unbeaten record to a goal that should not have been allowed. The fact is, though, that we missed too many chance, and so we got our just desserts.”

TEAM AND SCORER: Brown, Baker, Henry; Blanchflower, Norman, Mackay; Medwin, White, Smith, Allen, Dyson.
Goalscorer: Smith.

Match 13

FOR the only time in the season, Bill Nicholson was missing from the sidelines because of a heavy cold. His team gave him the best possible tonic with what many good judges considered their finest performance of the season. Ralph Finn, Sunday People reporter and a football statistician specialising in the history of Spurs, gave every player a perfect 10 out of 10 in his team ratings, the only time this had ever been achieved.

Tottenham purred to a 3-0 lead in the opening 24 minutes. Les Allen and Terry Dyson exchanged passes in the seventh minute before bringing John White into their ploy, and he neatly steered the ball into the net with the Forest defenders waiting for him to return the ball to Dyson. The second goal came in the 12th minute when under-pressure centre-half Bob McKinlay turned a Dave Mackay cross into his own net. Cliff Jones added a third in the 24th minute after Smith had won the ball with an aerial challenge. The second-half developed into almost an exhibition match, with the Forest defenders chasing shadows. The only surprise is that all of Tottenham’s pressure produced only one more goal when Jones ran on to a chipped pass from Mackay’s educated left foot and scored his second goal to mark a successful return after injury.

Tottenham goalkeeper Bill Brown had only one shot to save throughout the 90 minutes.

QUOTE – Bob McKinlay, Forest skipper: ”We felt lucky to get off the pitch without conceding double figures. They might as well have given Tottenham the League championship there and then. I couldn’t see how any team was gong to stop them. There was not a single weakness in the side.”

TEAM AND SCORERS: Brown, Baker, Henry; Blanchflower, Nor-man, Mackay; Jones, White, Smith, Allen, Dyson.
Goalscorers: White, McKinlay (og), Jones (2).

Match 14

A seven-goal thriller – following a week off because of an international weekend – was riddled with mistakes and filled with breathtaking attacking football from both sides. The two Whites on the pitch – Len for Newcastle and John for Spurs – were both prominent as the teams went at each other like heavyweight boxers determined to score a knockout while leaving their chins exposed.

It was Len White who gave the Geordies the lead in the 33rd minute, tricking his way past two defenders to score after accepting a pass from the gifted Welsh international Ivor Allchurch.

Two minutes later goalkeeper Bryan Harvey missed a cross from Terry Dyson and Maurice Norman was on hand to head an equalizer. Just sixty seconds later, hero Norman became villain when he miscued an attempted clearance and White slotted the loose ball home.

QUOTE: – Maurice Norman: ”For the first time in the season we went into the dressing-room trailing at the interval, and we expected a rollocking from the Boss. But Bill Nick surprised us by saying that we were playing well and to keep doing what we were doing and it would come right in the second-half.”

Spurs pulled level almost immediately after the interval when goalkeeper Harvey pushed the ball into John White’s path, and then in the 58th minute Cliff Jones – looking a yard off-side – made it 3-2, much to the anger of the Newcastle players and fans.

Four minutes later Gordon Hughes sent over a hopeful cross, and was as shocked as everybody else when the usually so reliable Bill Brown missed it completely and watched it drop into his net. Bobby Smith saved Bill’s blushes when he converted a Les Allen cross in the 86th minute.

TEAM AND SCORERS: Brown, Baker, Henry; Blanchflower, Nor-man, Mackay; Jones, White, Smith, Allen, Dyson.
Goalscorers: Nor-man, White, Jones, Smith.

Match 15

THIS was a scrambled victory for Tottenham against a Cardiff City side that played with spirit and high energy. Leading the First Division table by four points from Sheffield Wednesday, there was a tension in Tottenham’s usually smooth play that suggested they were feeling the pressure of trying to maintain their unbeaten run.

Cardiff became only the second team of the season to score first against them when centre-forward Peter Donnelly escaped the attentions of Maurice Norman to beat the oncoming Bill Brown with a well-placed shot in the 20th minute. Terry Dyson celebrated as if he had won the FA Cup when he nodded in an equaliser from a Dave Mackay centre after 35 minutes. Just before half-time Terry Medwin thumped the ball into the net after a scintillating run by Les Allen, but Spurs were flattered by their 2-1 half-time lead.

Tottenham got their act together in the second-half and peppered the Cardiff goal with shots, but they lacked their usual accuracy. In the end Tottenham got a breathing-room two-goal lead when they were awarded a controversial penalty. The referee ruled that Steve Gammon had handled the ball when it was obvious that it was purely accidental. The Cardiff players were still complaining when Danny Blanchflower fired the ball high into the net from the spot.

Donnelly headed his and Cardiff’s second goal from a Derek Tapscott centre in the 85th minute but Spurs held on for an untidy victory.

QUOTE – Bill Nicholson: ”We have set standards for ourselves that mean we cannot be satisfied with this performance. We lacked our usual fluency in midfield, and our finishing was at times woeful. I admit we were fortunate with the penalty, but that's the way the game goes. Sometimes the decisions go against us. It usually evens out over a season.”

TEAM AND SCORERS: Brown, Baker, Henry; Blanchflower, Nor-man, Mackay; Medwin, White, Smith, Allen, Dyson.
Scorers: Medwin, Dyson, Blanchflower (pen).

Match 16

GUY FAWKES Day, and it was Tottenham who provided the fireworks as they rocketed to a comfortable victory over Fulham. This stretched the Spurs lead over their nearest rivals Sheffield Wednesday to a commanding seven points, and there was a widespread view that even this early in the season the First Division championship was already destined for White Hart Lane for the first time since the Push and Run triumph of 1950-51.

Bill Nicholson took a calculated gamble in playing Cliff Jones, who had collected yet another niggling injury when taking part in a prestige inter-League match against Italy three days earlier. The flying winger came through the match in one piece, and scored with two typical diving headers that revealed both his class and his courage.

Les Allen also chipped in with two goals and John White got on the scoresheet against a Fulham side for whom Johnny Haynes was magnificent in midfield, but with team-mates who could not match his perfection. It could have been a much closer contest if bearded Jimmy Hill had accepted two golden chances created by Haynes, and if goalkeeper Tony Macedo had not gifted Tottenham two of their goals with elementary errors that had Haynes almost tearing his Brylcreemed hair out in frustration.

QUOTE – Johnny Haynes, Fulham and England skipper: “As I was born in Edmonton I always had a soft spot for Tottenham, and Bill Nicholson made a couple of attempts to sign me, which would have been interesting. There is not a pro in the country who would not liked to have been part of that Double team. They played beautifully all season and thoroughly deserved their success. We were not in the same class. Very few teams were.”

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

Join us next week as Spurs go into the Christmas programme with the League and FA Cup Double on their minds.


Each week during the close season, I am setting 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 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?

Yes, most of you were correct in naming Mark Falco, the Bethnal Green boy who flourished alongside the combination of Steve Archibald and Garth Crooks. He was a member of the outstanding 1984 UEFA Cup-winning team, successfully converting his penalty as Spurs overcame Anderlecht in a memorable shootout.

First name drawn from the correct answers was Howard (Harry) Sanders, who saw his first Spurs game in 1958 and has been a north stand season ticket holder since 1980 . He used to live 10 doors up from Billy Nick in Creighton Avenue as a kid and is now in Harlow. I will send Harry 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 Surrey-born player started his career with Wimbledon in 1988, won 13 of his 28 Scottish international caps while with Tottenham and later played for Chelsea and Leeds?

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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