Bailys Goal / Duquemin
Long, long ago in a football stadium far, far away…..when the world was a different place and football a different planet. We unfold for you today the tale of one of the most controversial goals ever scored at White Hart Lane. The goal that many blame for the relegation of one of the teams involved. The fall out from that game even reached into the corridors of the Football League and the Football Association.
The date is 2nd April 1952. Tottenham had won the Division 2 title two seasons earlier and the First Division title the previous season. The day dawns with Tottenham in fourth place and Huddersfield Town the visitors to the Lane are bottom.
Tottenham’s lowest gate of the season (22,396) watch Spurs struggle to break down the visitors. The game enters the last minute and Tottenham win a corner. Eddie Baily, one of the best inside left’s in the country goes across to take it. The ref takes up a position on the goal line between Baily and the posts. Baily’s center hit’s the ref in the back and he is knocked face down. The ball bounces back to Baily who moves the ball away from the corner flag and centers again. This time Len Duquemin our center forward rises at the back post and heads home the winner.
The Huddersfield players appealed that (rightly) it should be their free kick as Baily played the ball twice. The ref consults his linesman and allows the goal to stand. At first the Town actually refused to restart the game but then do so. At the whistle the Town Chairman is seen pushing his way through the reporters saying ‘You can wait I’m seeing him first.’ The media reports claim the air in the refs room then turned blue. The press describe the event as “A most amazing decision.” An eyewitness at the game told me some years later that everyone in the ground saw what happened except the ref and linesman.
Huddersfield appeal to the Football League Management Committee asking that the game be replayed. When their appeal is turned down they take it to FA Board of Appeal who also reject it. The findings being the ref said “he thought” another player had played the ball before it was crossed a second time. The referee’s decision is final.
The matter was so widely discussed that Tottenham actually commented on the game in their next programme. They wrote “The referees decision is final and even if we have been the gainers in this instance there have been previous cases in which we have been the sufferers.”
The season ends with Town one off the bottom and are relegated along with Fulham.
They are three points behind Stoke and eight behind Chelsea, (remember it was two points for a win). With five games to play would it have made a difference ?
That point did prove vital to Tottenham on the other hand who finish the season as runners-up ahead of Ars in third, level on points but with a better goal difference.
Len Duquemin - (top pic) Known as “The Duke” was born on Guernsey in the Channel Islands in 1924. He joined his brothers building firm and played in the local leagues until the German occupation in World War 2 When he lived in a monastery working in their gardens, his father had been a nursery man. After the war he returned to the building trade until December 1945 when he had a trial at Spurs. He signed Amateur forms at the start of 1946 and was loaned to Chelmsford City. He returned to Spurs and his debut in a Football League South game at Fulham. He signed professional forms that summer and was the reserve sides top scorer that season. His League debut came in August 1947 when he scored against Sheffield Wednesday. He was top scorer that season (and again in 52/53) he became our first player to score 20 goals in the FA Cup, including two semi final games. He was a regular in the ‘push and run’ era. He scored the goal that won the 1951 Division one title, (again at home to Wednesday). He is remembered as a hard working player who created as many goals as he scored. Often described as one of the best players never to receive an international cap. He did play for the FA XI.
His final tally for us was 134 goals in 308 League and Cup games. In 1958 he joined Bedford Town. In retirement he lived a few minutes from the Lane and attended most home games until his passing in 2003.
Thanks - Andy Porter, THFC, Bob Goodwin, Hotspur HQ, The Telegraph.
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