Looking back at one of the best left backs to play for Spurs, Cyril Knowles, he joined us from Middlesborough in May 1964 having played just 39 games for them.
He would go on to be an England international and be part of the team that won four major trophies as well as being immortalised by a TV advert and pop song. He won four major trophies with Spurs and is fondly remembered by all who saw him play.
Having started out as a left winger he was rejected earlier by Manchester United, Wolves and Blackpool before joining Middlesborough. When he first arrived at Spurs we played him at right back before moving him to the left side.
He played for England under 23’s six times, Young England and the Football League as well as winning four full international caps, two playing on the left and two on the right.
A clever player full of confidence he loved to roar forward and send crosses into the box. A tough tackler and fully committed to the defence he was also skilful and would often dribble away from his goal, sometimes ignoring the urges from the crowd to clear it. He always seemed to enjoy the game and would stop and chat to fans off the pitch.
His first honour came in the 1967 FA Cup final and this was followed by the League Cup in 71 & 73 with the UEFA Cup in between in 1972.
It was in the final of the UEFA Cup that to give the defence a break in play he kicked the ball away to stop a free kick being taken. The ref wasn’t impressed and made him go and get the ball.
The TV advert with the catch phrase ‘Nice One Cyril’ was quickly taken up by the Spurs fans and sung often after one of his telling crosses. This later became a pop song (1).
In 1973 he suffered an injury that kept him out but maybe his finest hour in a Spurs shirt was to come, when on the last day of the 1975 season against Leeds the new champions he scored twice in a 4-2 win to ensure we stayed up. The first was a free kick that seemed to bend around the wall and the second a real pressure kick from the penalty spot. Cyril was forced to stop playing the following year and was awarded a testimonial. For that game his brother Peter formally a forward with Wolves who had retired due to his religious beliefs as a Jehovah’s witness played.
Cyril became the clubs scout for the north east before managing at Darlington,winning promotion, Torquay and later Hartlepool. He brought both of these last two sides to Spurs in the League Cup and received a wonderful welcome each time.
Left - In action V Leeds United.
Tragedy however followed, in February 1991 he was diagnosed with a brain tumour and despite surgery he passed away at 47 years of age within a few months. This after his son had been killed in a freak car accident in 1974.
In 1995 Hartlepool named their new stand after him. Cyril played over 500 games for Spurs, 401 in the league and scored seventeen times for Tottenham.
Nice One Cyril, Nice one son, nice one Cyril, let’s have another one.
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notes - 1 - see, http://www.indiaspurs.com/blog/talking-tottenham-the-juke-box
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