Alan Mullery wiil be inducted into the National Hall of Fame this week everyone here at India Spurs sends him our heartiest congratulations.
Alan our former trophy winning captain had an outstanding career and here we present a brief look back at some of the moments contained within it. Signed in 1964 to take the place of Danny Blanchflower he had to work hard to win the fans over as the two men could not be more different in style. He certainly managed it and I well remember signing his name around the country in the years that followed. Here then are a few things you might or possibly not know about him.
Before becoming a professional footballer Alan considered entering the priesthood. He was only put off when his dad told him he swore too much.
As a lad he was a good all-rounder at sport. Playing for Middlesex and London Schools, he played his first game at White Hart Lane for London Schools V Manchester. He played cricket at Lords and for his local rugby team. He also had four fights at the local boxing club, winning two of them.
He moved to Spurs when he was 22, Fulham did not want to sell him. Their manager Frank Osbourne who had played for Spurs was over ruled by the Fulham chairman saying he could go if Spurs would pay £72,500 a record for a wing half as they needed the money for ground improvements. We would sell him back eight years later for 65,000
Having made his Spurs debut at home to Manchester United in the March Alan was selected for the England Tour to South America in 1964 however on the morning the team flew out he twisted around in the bathroom whilst shaving and injured his back. He would have to wait till the December to finally win his first England cap. He would win 35 English caps, captaining the side once in a win away to Malta. His only goal for the country came in the World Cup game in 1970 with West Germany, a lovely move with Keith Newton. He also won England Under 23 cap’s and played for the Football League. He became the first Englishman sent off for his country in a European Championship game V Yugoslavia. Although manager Alf Ramsey paid his fine his wife wasn’t impressed telling him he had disgraced the family.
He nearly missed Tottenham’s 1967 FA Cup final when he pulled a thigh muscle the week before in the last league game. The pictures of the press photo shoot all show him sitting down. It was only on the Friday he was passed fit. When the team visited Wembley before the Final he admitted he felt the nerves bite. Writing in his autobiography he said ‘I felt terrible, my knees were knocking, I was shivering and I thought I would collapse.’
He would go on to have an excellent game and have a hand in one of the goals. On the Sunday he wondered if people would turn out for the open topped bus parade.
As he said later, ‘it was an amazing sight, and a moving one. I saw men crying. Babies were being held up to see the lads and the Cup. I’m not ashamed to say that it brought tears to my eyes.’
He later became Tottenham captain and led the team to their 1971 League Cup triumph. In total he played 429 games for Tottenham and scored 40 times, his first goal coming in the game at Liverpool.
Then in October 1971 he was injured and was out for six months. He was then loaned to Fulham in an attempt to regain match fitness. After a month he was recalled and went straight into the team to play AC Milan in the semi-final of the UEFA Cup and scored in Italy with a shot from 30 yards. Then in the final it was his header that won the game. He didn’t know much about it at first having hit his head in a collision with the goalie. (image above Alan heads home).
At the end of the match fans streamed onto the pitch and Alan found himself doing a lap of honour by himself as the other players dashed to the dressing room. An amazing way to end his spurs career especially when you remember the fans at first were critical of his arrival but Alan’s endless running, working hard and driving the team forward by example would won the supporters over.
Since leaving Spurs he has been voted FWA player of the year in 1974-75. In 1976 Alan was the subject of TV’s ‘This is your life’. He has been honoured with an MBE for services to football. After his playing days he managed Brighton, winning promotion twice, taking them from the Third Division to the First. In 2005 Alan was inducted into the Tottenham Hall of Fame.
Congratulations on joining the National Hall of Fame Alan, an honour long overdue, from one shelfie to a true Legend of the Lane.
t- Keith 16024542
f- peter shearman (old non de plume)
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