On May 15th 1963 Tottenham won the European Cup Winners Cup final in Rotterdam and thus become the first British side to win a major European trophy. Blanchflower was still struggling with injury but had returned to play the last three games. Although visibly tiring in each. Both Blanchflower and Nicholson were aware that this would properly be Danny’s last major game of his career and of his influence he had on the side.
Then Tottenham lost Mackay through injury having failed a fitness test on the day of the match. His pure energy and drive would be a major loss. John White also needed a late fitness test. Bill Nicholson was reported as being downbeat as he wrestled with playing the reserve john Smith.
Finally he decided to play his skipper who needed a pain killing injection before the game (1) against the Spaniards who had reached the final by beating Hibernians of Malta, Botev Plovdiv (Bulgaria) and Nuremburg.
Bill Nicholson in his autobiography says Danny believed I showed too much respect in my pre-match talk and tried to put it into perspective ‘if their center half is big and ugly ours is bigger and uglier.’ While Jimmy Greaves reckons Bill was trying to avoid the team becoming complacent but overdid it. Jimmy recalls that Danny’s talk mentioned Cliff Jones was so fast he can catch pigeons. Dyson and Jones were told by the manager before the kickoff to attack the fullbacks and they did. Dyson being rewarded with the Telegraph’s headline “Dyson’s devotion puts Spurs back on top.’
The game started on a heavy pitch with lots of sand, but this was fairly common for this time of the season. Bobby Smith was on the end of several heavy tackles early on, one included a stamp after being felled. The early stages were fairly even and Greaves had several half chances and then hit the woodwork with a header from a left sided corner. The first goal came in the 16th minute. Dyson, Smith and Jones linked well and a cross from the right was met first time by Greaves arriving late and unmarked to fire home. At the restart Danny Blanchflower delayed the kick-off appealing to the referee for the floodlights to be turned on which were a few moments later. Cliff Jones (and his gazelle like runs) had an excellent shot which was turned for a corner as Spurs became more settled. Madrid were still dangerous but our defence stood firm. White forced a save and Dyson shot over. Then it was 2-0. Another cross from the right and Dyson near the back post played it back to White just inside the box and he seemed to have endless time as he shot home off the underside of the crossbar.
Into the second half and early on Ron Henry (who played the whole second half with strained ligaments) handballs on the line with Brown beaten. They scored from the penalty and for the next quarter of an hour Tottenham are put under pressure. Madrid produced several half chances and could well of got back in the game but our back line had a magnificent game.
Norman (described in the Mirror as Storming) looked world class. Jones is taken out with a tackle and Spurs go close from the free kick. It’s still very even then Dyson tips the game well in our favour. Receiving the ball from a throw in he leaves his defender with a superb turn and makes room for himself.
From the corner of the box he attempts to cross the ball it curves and Terry admits thinking “Blimey that’s a bad cross” The keeper was coming out tried going back but only helped it into the net, 3-1. (2) Terry recalls that the goalie had tears in his eyes at that moment and he was certain the trophy was theirs. Still Madrid push forward. Tottenham still defend well and Greaves is seen tackling back on the edge of the box but their challenge slowly fades. Greaves again is just wide with a long distance effort. Dyson is then tumbled over inside the box but nothing is given. The next Tottenham attack sees Smith caught off-side, he hits the ball towards the goalie who thumbles it into his own goal. Spurs won a free kick just outside the box but this comes to nothing. The ball is played out to Dyson on the left his ball to the far post is met by Jimmy Greaves stealing in and another first time strike makes it 4-1.
In the closing minutes and Dyson again collects the ball deep in his own half and starts running. The Madrid defence keeps backing off and Terry arrives just outside their box shifts the ball on to his left and slams it into the top corner, 5-1 and no doubt that he meant that one.
Terry was man of the match and Bill Nicholson said after the game ‘Dyson never played better.’ Whilst teammate Bobby Smith told him to retire ‘as there’s no way on earth you’ll ever play that well again.’ Iron man, Dave Mackay was seen in tears of joy at the end of the game.
Our team that night was- Brown; Baker, Henry; Blanchflower, Norman, Marchi; Jones, White, R. Smith, Greaves (returning in place of the injured Mackay) and Dyson.The team celebrated back at their hotel and flew home the following day. On the Saturday we played a league game away to Nottingham Forest (with several changes) and drew 1-1. Then on the Sunday there was the open topped bus parade before closing the season with another away game at Blackburn on the Monday evening which we lost. Tottenham still finished as league runners-up. Everton had claimed the League title just before the game in Rotterdam.Ensure you don’t miss the last part of this series ‘The Legacy.’
t- Keith 16024542
f- peter shearman (old non de plume)
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Notes – 1 – Bill Nicholson “ Glory Glory.”
2 - Terry writes in his autobiography he did say to the keeper after the game who was in tears that he had meant it as a shot, but only to try and make him feel better.
See also – The First Europeans, Glasgow Rangers, Slovan Bratislava and OFK Belgrade
Thanks – Once again those present at the time and THFC, The Times, Ken Jones, Bob Goodwin, Colin Gibson, Harry Harris, Terry Dyson, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mirror, Cliff Jones, Jimmy Greaves, Bill Nicholson, Tottenham Weekly Herald, Julie Welch, Phil Soar, Evening Standard, BBC, Daily Sketch, Ralph L Finn, Daily Telegraph, Daily Herald, Daily Express, Terry Dyson,
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