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 - 2016
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. We learnt the sad news of the passing of Peter Baker, aged 84 on 27th January, 2016
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. Ron Henry passed away in Deceember, 2014.
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. Maurice Norman passed away on November 27th, 2022, aged 88.
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. Dave Mackay passed away in March 2015.
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
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 was often seen at Spurs Lodge as recently as the "noughties" , working for the FA, as he assessed referees.
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. Tony Marchi passed away, aged 89, on 15th March, 2022.
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
Thus these are the 17 players who represented Tottenham during
1960-61. Further articles will follow
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