This visit to the archives at Hotspur Towers is the usual blend from various eras. This visit we discover that it was 1955 that our players first took part in European Cup competition in the Inter Cities Fairs Cup.
We also look back at one of our legends currently on the training staff. As well as a quick look into the little gems tray.
It may surprise some of you that the first involvement Tottenham players had in European club competition was as early as 1955. With the clamor for European competition, three men all who would go on to hold senior posts with FIFA devised the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. The competition would run in conjunction with international trade fairs as Europe recovered from the Second World War. The first competition was announced in 1955, just two weeks after UEFA announced the setting up of the European Cup. Little surprise then that UEFA did not recognize it as a major tournament, but FIFA did.
The first was our reserve goalie Ron Reynolds in the opener away to Basel. Four months later and the second game saw Ted Ditchburn replace him in goal and Danny Blanchflower play. This game at Wembley V Frankfurt was the first competitive game in England under floodlights. Frankfurt using just three clubs led 2-0 before London came back to win.
White Hart Lane saw the third game and Blanchflower and George Robb played. Robb scoring the only goal. The last group game and Spurs had Reynolds who was joined by Tony Marchi and Terry Medwin. Into the semi-finals Ted Ditchburn played in the first leg the return being the only game we did not have a representative. Although a young Jimmy Greaves from Chelsea played and scored. The Final, first leg, was at Stamford Bridge. Blanchflower and Robb returned and were joined by fellow Spurs Maurice Norman and Bobby Smith as well as Greaves who scored again in a 2-2 draw. The second leg in Barcelona was won by the home team as Blanchflower, Medwin and Smith all played.
In future competitions one club represented the capital and Tottenham were not involved. In 1971 the competition came under UEFA’s umbrella and developed into the UEFA Cup.
Steffen Freund joined Tottenham in1998 from Borussia Dortmund and featured in 131 games for the club. Including the League Cup winning side of 1999. He returned to Germany in 2003 joining Kaiserslautern before a loan spell back with Leicester City the following year. He was inducted into the Tottenham Hall of Fame in 2004.
Steffan was a great favourite with the fans for his whole hearted commitment to the clubs cause. His debut was against Sheffield Wednesday. In the next month he played Wimbledon five times in three different competitions. Steffen tells the story that during this time when he phoned home his family asked who he was playing next, when he said Wimbledon, he was asked, ‘again, how many teams are there in England’? Steffen is famous for not scoring for Tottenham. Again he tells the story that talking to a friend he was asked why is it when you get the ball your fans boo you, Steffen explained, they are not booing they are shouting shoooot.
He earned International honours for East Germany at youth levels and was part of their Olympic team in 1992. He won 21 full caps for Germany which saw him play at Euro ‘96 and the World Cup two years later. He won the German league with Dortmund. He has since coached the German youth teams and had a spell with Nigeria.
Thanks - THFC, THOS, FIFA, UEFA, BBC, The Times, Daily Mail. Sportsinformation. Phil Soar, Bob Goodwin.
About the author:
Keith Harrison, Nilgiris, TN
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