The Euro’s take place this summer and in this short series we will attempt to uncover the various Tottenham links to the European Championships or the European Nations Cup as it was originally called until 1968. The idea of a competition was first floated in 1927, three years before the first World Cup but it wasn’t until 1960 the first competition was held. In the earlier competitions the Tottenham links are concentrated on the four British sides but as foreign players became more common in the English game then the links spread across the continent. In this first article we look back at competitions in 1960 & 64.
The first competition was held in 1960. Just seventeen countries entered and a straight knock out competition was held. The last four teams traveling to France for the finals where the Soviet Union beat Yugoslavia in the final 2-1 after extra time. None of the British nations, along with West Germany and Italy entered. Although England supplied the referee for the final. Spain later withdrew as they refused to play the Soviet Union. The Republic of Ireland did take part and were knocked out by Czechoslovakia in the first round but they had no Tottenham connections. Meanwhile back in N17 Tottenham were finishing 3rd in the table.
1964 saw the British nations, except Scotland, take part as the number of entries grew to 29. Although Greece withdrew after being drawn with Albania who they were then fighting a war with. The competition was a two legged knockout style to the last four reached the finals. The first ever Tottenham connection came in England’s first game at Hillsborough in Sheffield. A 1-1 draw with France saw Jimmy Greaves and Maurice Norman play. Norman was booed throughout the game as the local fans felt their own player Peter Swann should have been chosen instead. Swann was later sent to prison for match fixing. The second leg was Alf Ramsey’s first game in charge and he selected Ron Henry, Bobby Smith and Greaves. France won 5-2 and eliminated England. Bobby Smith did score for the visitors with a second half header. This was Ron Henry’s only England cap.
left - Ron Henry and Jimmy Greaves on England Duty.
Top - Terry Medwin, here seen in 1958.
A week after England’s first game Northern Ireland won in Poland, with Danny Blanchflower in the side. At that time clubs and countries made their own arrangements and there was no blocked dates for various competitions. Blanchflower then repeated a 2-0 win in the second leg. In the next round they played Spain. At this time the host nation still had to qualify for the finals. The first leg in Bilabo ended in a 1-1 draw and the return game finished with Spain wining by the only goal. Blanchflower missed both games, the second as the following evening he was playing for Tottenham in their European Cup Winners Cup game with Glasgow Rangers.
The first Tottenham goal in the European Championships was scored by Terry Medwin, just as he had scored our first goal in the World Cup finals (1) when Wales lost to Hungary away 1-3. Mel Hopkins was also in the Welsh team that night. The Welsh were unable to turn the tie around in the return game. Although Cliff Jones our only player involved opened the scoring Hungary pulled level. The team that night did include future Tottenham star and Wales manager, Mike England. Spain did qualify and won the trophy beating the Soviet Union 2-1 in the final. Meanwhile back in N17 Spurs were finished 4th in the table.
t- Keith 16024542
f- peter shearman (old non de plume)
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