Cecil Poynton served Tottenham for fifty years and was a key component of the clubs Double success. Spending most of his adult life with the club, first as a player, then later as trainer and finally physiotherapist.
He represented the FA and later ‘his magic hands’ also saw service for England.
Left - Cecil with Bill Nicholson.
Born in Staffordshire in 1901 he joined us from the Welsh club Ton Pentre, then in the Southern League. He had played in the 1922 Welsh Cup final and it was soon after this Peter McWilliam signed him for Spurs. At first he was a half back but later converted to full back and Cecil made his debut in December 1923 at home to Birmingham.
In 1925 he toured Australia with the FA and suffered an injury that affected the rest of his career. Upon his return to England he did play for the Professionals in the Charity Shield game at White Hart Lane but was unable to play for Spurs that season.
Jimmy Greaves wrote that when he was sent off in Belgrade in 1963 he entered the dressing room and Cecil asked him what he was doing there. I’ve been sent off, I said.
Cecil looked at me and said ‘that’s a disgrace we haven’t had a player sent off since 1928.’ ‘Who was that? Asked Jimmy. ‘Me’ came the reply.
Indeed when he was sent off at Stoke in on 17th April 1928 Cecil became the first Spurs man sent off in a Football League match.
During 1929 he skippered the first team on a number of occasions but injury brought his playing days to an end in 1933 and spent a year coaching the reserves before he was released and for a while was player manager at Ramsgate.
After this he studied and worked as an electrician but continued to do some scouting for Spurs. Then during World War Two he worked for the club in the backroom and on matchdays before in 1946 having studied physiotherapy he became Assistant Trainer and six months later took over when George Hardy died suddenly.
In 1949 he acted as trainer for the England team when they played Italy at Tottenham, as well as doing the same role for the FA XI.
He would often take charge at pitchside while Bill Nicholson would sit in the stands to see the game better. Cecil gave up the trainers job in 1972 when he was already into his seventies but continued to served the club as physio for three more years.
Even then he was still seen regularly at White Hart Lane on matchdays.
Left - With Maurice Norman.
Alan Mullery remembers the training at Spurs " No players trained harder than us.It usually ended with a 5-a-side in the ball court where we used to kick hell out of each other and Cecil used to stand on the side shouting 'Go on my sons'." He was once described as ‘when treating injuries as having magic in his hands.’ This at the time that the physio’s job was patch them up and get them out there.
Cliff Jones remembered him ‘on first acquaintance he seemed a dour fellow who doesn’t smile a lot. But he had a wicked sense of humour and a deep love of the job and the club.’
In his playing days he made 158 appearances and scored three goals for Spurs. Cecil passed away in 1983.
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