Hotspur Towers - Newcastle 1950
When Tottenham beat Newcastle 7-0 on the way to the league title it wasn’t so much the score it was the magnificent performance that had the fans and the wider soccer world sitting up and taking notice.
When Newcastle arrived at WHL on November 18th they were second in the table and the visitors would go on to win the FA Cup that season.
They had lost just one of their nine previous away games, conceding eight goals.
Tottenham however swept them aside that day.
A seventy thousand crowd came to see the lilywhites that afternoon. Newly promoted Spurs were fourth in the table and had won their previous seven games, scoring 21 in the process. The last two home games had been 6-1 (Stoke) and 5-1 (Portsmouth). Still the fans that day were not expecting the total destruction of Newcastle. Arthur Rowe had introduced his ‘push and run’ style of play and despite the sensational run they were experiencing this was seen as the big test of the system. The Guardian wrote before the game “Spurs have played splendid football during the last two months and it seems unlikely that’s its talented forward line will fail to ensure victory.” Push and Run has been described as requiring clever positioning, split second thinking and perfect accuracy. This day showed it at its best.
The first goal came when Len Duquemin slipped his marker and sent Baily free on the left.
Les Medley stormed forward collected returned it to “the effervescent” Eddie Baily whose center and was headed home by Les Bennett, who “glided around the pitch.”
Left - Eddie Baily.
The second came when Baily dispossessed the visiting skipper and slid home. The Guardian describing Baily thus, he ‘created the blue print on which his other forwards built the superstructure.’
Tottenham then turned on the skill and left Newcastle shell shocked. Les Medley fired home two in a couple of minutes and 4-0 at half time was kind to the visitors.
Much of Tottenham’s play started at the back with Ditchburn throwing the ball to the backs this helped retain procession and moved the ball faster. Besides as Ted said ‘I couldn’t kick for toffees.’ Ditchburn was a suburb keeper and went five years without missing a game, this included this championship winning season. The backs oozed confidence and you rarely saw a rushed clearance, the backs just played their way out of trouble.
Left - Ramsey added the seventh.
Tottenham simply rang rings around the Magpies and Sonny Walters on the right wing made it five with a shot from distance. It was six when Medley completed his hat trick.
A good week for Les at 30 years of age he had made his England debut just three days earlier, see top picture. The seventh was a penalty converted by Alf Ramsey.
Eddie Baily claimed that period was the best in his personal career saying “I have been in the right place at the right time to give me a lifetime of football satisfaction but this was something else again.’
Ramsey and Baily had been part of the England World Cup side in Brazil the previous summer and Ditchburn a non-playing member of the squad.
Left Colin Britton making just his third start for Spurs in for captain Ron Burgess.
The press poured praise on the Spurs, that day played ‘the complete team performance’ and it ‘was men against boys.’ An eyewitness told me ‘that’s why you watch your team week in week out, you don't forget days like that it was a thing of beauty.’
All this without regular captain Ron Burgess who watched the game from the stands. He later said ‘I knew we were good but it was only that day watching from high I realized just how good we were.’
When Tottenham beat Arsenal in December they went top of the table and never lost the lead. Winning promotion in April and securing the clubs first Championship the following month.
As Arthur Rowe later said “We won the ball by positional sense. You played them out of the game, we did it with style.’
The team that day was - Ditchburn, Ramsey, Willis, Nicholson, Clarke, Brittan, Walters, Bennett,
Duquemin, Baily and Medley.
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