The European Championships will be played out in France this summer. The connections between that country and Spurs stretch from Hugh Lloris back to the clubs earliest days.
They include a rather surprising (and another first for Spurs) transfer. Some meetings in European competition and a friendly held in secret.
We also discover why David Ginola is unique and there is a game that ‘Lit up the Lane.’
We have encountered French sides in European competition on four occasions. The first was in 1967-68 when we met Olympique Lyonnais in The European Cup Winners Cup. The Second Round game saw us play the first leg away in what can best be best described as a bad tempered match. Alan Mullery was sent off in the first half. Tottenham had been the better team but the scores remained level until the last quarter of an hour when they got the only goal.
The return saw us take a two goal lead. They pulled one back in the second half before we made it 3-1 a few moments later they scored again, 3-2. Tottenham increased the lead to two goals again. Then ten minutes from time they scored, 4-3 and went through on the newly introduced away goals rule.
Below - Cliff Jones on floor heads home in the second leg
David Ginola, (top with Lloris) played for several clubs including PSG before joining Newcastle and moving to Spurs in 1997 where he spent three years. The talented player won both the PFA and FWA’s Player of the Year awards in 1999 (thus becoming the only player to win the Player of the Year in both countries). He was a member of the side that won the League Cup the same year. He was capable of sublime genesis, once being described by Johann Cruyff as the best player on the planet. He joined the THFC Hall of Fame in 2008. Sadly he was not capped for his country whilst a Spur he did play seventeen times and scored three times for them. Glenn Hoddle during his spell with Monaco did win the best Foreign player award.
We have played a number of friendlies against French clubs, the most frequent of these has been six meetings with Racing Club de Paris. The most famous of those being when they visited Tottenham for the first time on 29th September 1953 the night Tottenham officially turned their floodlights on in a game we won 5-3. This game is discussed in Hotspur Towers - Under the Lights (1).
The first three of those meetings all came in France. The first arriving in May 1951 when goals from Medley, Baily, Duquemin and McCellen gave us a 4-2 win. The following May saw us again win 2-1, this time Ramsey and Bennett got the goals. Duquemin again scored in our third visit this time in a 1-1 draw in 1953.
Their second trip to The Lane came just six months after the first, but this time we won 6-0. Brooks with two, Blanchflower, Marchi, Dulin and Duquemin on the score sheet.
Right - Spurs in stripes in that first floodlight game.
Our last meeting came in September 1956 and a 2-0 win, Marchi and Medwin getting the goals.
On the international front there has been a number of connections involving the English national side. These include 1927 which saw Joe Hulme play for England as England won 6-0. Joe then an Arsenal player would later become Tottenham manger. The 1951 meeting saw Spurs as the reigning Champions provide Alf Ramsey and Les Medley to the side that drew 2-2 at Highbury. The next time a Spur was in an English side was in the European Championships game at Hillsbourgh with Maurice Norman and Greaves playing. The return game was Alf Ramsey’s first game in charge of the England side with Ron Henry, Bobby Smith and Jimmy Greaves in the team as England lost. These games are discussed in Spurs and the Euros part 1, (2).
For the story of the ‘strangest’ transfer we start in the 1920’s as the first French teams turned professional, their professional league was launched in1932. One of the earliest professional sides was FC Sochaux who led the way by having an English coach and the financial support of the then bicycle and car maker, Peugeot.
The French clubs started signing up English players, mostly from the lower and non league sides. Many of these players broke their contracts to go to France and as England wasn’t a member of FIFA at that point there were powerless to stop the migration and received no fees.
Left - A rare picture of Les Miller in the center, here on a set of cigarette cards.
Whilst many struggled in the new country one Englishman who moved and was a success was Les Miller. He had played for Barking and Northampton. Starting as an amateur he quickly turned professional and scored the winning goal for Sochaux in the French Cup Final.
In the 1935-36 season he scored 60 goals for his French club. Later in 1936 he returned to England when his father died.
Tottenham’s manager Jack Tresadern who had tried to sign him when he was at Northampton and recommended him to Sochaux, picked him up for Spurs. Les became the first man who had played professional football in France to sign for an English club. The left winger played 62 games for Tottenham and scored 26 times. He moved on to Chesterfield in 1939.
France has hosted the World Cup twice in 1938 and 1998 (16).
In part 2 - we discover the international player who went on strike, that secret friendly, another European encounter and there is a mystery, if not two to solve.
t- Keith 16024542
f- peter shearman (old non de plume)
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Notes -1 - Hotspur Towers - Under The Lights - http://www.indiaspurs.com/blog/hotspur-towers-under-the-lights
2 - Spurs and the Euros , Part 1 - http://www.indiaspurs.com/blog/hotspur-towers-spurs-and-the-euros-part1
16 - See Flying Down to Rio, - http://www.indiaspurs.com/blog/hotspur-towers-the-international-index
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The Road to Turin
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