Tottenham Hotspur have always had players who can light up a pitch all on their own. Jimmy Dimmock could certainly do that. One of the finest players ever to turn out in a Lilywhite shirt, Dimmock’s story would be dismissed as an unlikely fantasy if it were presented as a movie script. But this story is true.
Today’s fans have fond memories of Gareth Bale flying down the left wing – nearly a century ago Spurs fans had Jimmy Dimmock. He was the first spurs player to score 100 league goals, is the youngest Spurs player ever to appear in an FA Cup final, and scored the goal in the 1921 FA Cup final that brought the trophy back to Spurs after 20 years.
Dimmock was a local lad, born in Edmonton, just north of Tottenham, who fulfilled the dream of playing for, scoring for and earning glory for his local club. Spurs signed him as a professional at the age of just 19, when the 5ft 10in youngster himself was the same age. Within a month he was installed in the outside left position, what would now be the left wing, and he held on to it for the next 12 years.
He was naturally gifted. His game was simple; get the ball, beat the full-back and deliver a cross of pinpoint accuracy from the touchline. Blessed with two good feet, he could cut inside as well as out, dribble mesmerically and shoot venomously. He was an integral part of the great Spurs team under John Cameron that reached greater heights than any Spurs team before, second place in the league.
But after that team broke up and Spurs experienced much leaner times, Dimmock continued to thrill spectators. Just as David Ginola would do years later, Dimmock singlehandedly kept alive the spirit of the Spurs Way. Dimmock loved the responsibility, upping his goalscoring rate and always looking to provide entertainment for the fans who paid to come and watch him.
By 1931, age and the effects of some fearful challenges had begun to take their toll and Dimmock had lost the turn of speed that made his game. After 400 league games, and a total of 493 in all competitions for the club, he was released from his contract.
After playing in the Kent League for a few years, he finally retired from the game in 1936, and went on to work in the road haulage industry. In later life, his health deteriorated and, in a cruel twist for such a gifted athlete, eventually lost both his legs. He died in Edmonton in 1972. He was a true local hero.
About the Author:
Martin Cloake is a writer and editor who lives in London, UK. A Spurs season ticket holder, he has followed the team since 1970, travelling all over the UK and Europe to support them. His latest book, Sound of the crowd, is a look at changing fan culture in England with an emphasis on Spurs supporters. He is a regular contributor to Spurs fansites and podcasts. He also writes more widely on football and the football business for a variety of publications including the New Statesman.
Martin Cloake’s books about Tottenham Hotspur, including ebooks that can be downloaded directly to your computer or mobile device, can be ordered from his bookstore.
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