With the European Championships behind us and the new season still beckoning it provides us the opportunity to consider the Olympic football competition that will shortly be underway in Rio. In this two part article we will look back at some of the Tottenham connections over the last one hundred years. Be it the last Olympiad in our own backyard or the first ever football event, Spurs have been there. We have won Gold’s; at one Games we won the Gold and Silver! There is the Spurs man who carried the flag in the opening ceremony and we recall the matches at White Hart Lane and there is even weightlifting!
We start with one of the true Tottenham legends from recent years; Jurgen Klinsmann scored a hat trick for West Germany V Zambia in the 1998 quarter finals. In the semi-final his team are then knocked out by Brazil in a penalty shootout before Jurgen scored again V Italy in the game Germany won to claim the Bronze medal.
The next Olympiad saw Stefan Freund play two games in the qualifying competition for Germany. At the 2002 finals future Spur Noureddine Naybett played for Morocco. He later played for us from 2004 to 2006.
There have been two Olympic matches played at White Hart Lane. The first was in 1948 when the London games saw eleven grounds used.
The one at WHL witnessed Sweden (who won Gold) beat Austria by 3-0 in front of a crowd of 9,500 on the 2nd August that summer. The GB team would finish in 4th.
Left - Toni Jiménez.
The 1952 games saw the Great Britain side play an England B side at Highbury as part of their preparations. The England side beat the Olympians 3-0. That England B side contained a 19 year old Bobby Smith who would later join Spurs and Tommy Harmer who scored from the penalty spot. The 1952 team included George Robb who was an amateur with Spurs and a schoolteacher. He opened the scoring for GB as they lost to Luxembourg in Helsinki.
Laurie Brown was a member of the GB side in 1960. In the qualifying group they were drawn with Republic of Ireland and Holland. After winning their first three games the fourth was played at White Hart Lane, on 13th April 1960, (again with Brown in the side) as they drew 2-2 to qualify (1).
Right - The magic of the games and the 1948 Olympic Torch is attached to its fuel supply at Wembley.
In the finals they lost to Brazil, drew with Italy and beat Formosa (now Taiwan) to finish third in their group.
Brown played in all three games. Laurie Brown would later turn professional and play for Arsenal before joining Spurs in 1964 where he was not overly successful playing 62 games,
with three goals as he was tried at center forward and center half (where he played for GB and later Arsenal). He moved on to Norwich in 1966.
His daughter would later be an Olympic hockey player.
Left Laurie Brown
Frederico Fazio (top) won a Gold medal when he represented Argentina at the 2008 event in Beijing. Fazio played in two games during the group stage.
That tournament saw two familiar faces in the fourth placed side, Belgium, that of Jan Ventonghen and Moussa Dembele. Moussa scored against China and two V Italy in the quarter final. Belgium lost to Nigeria in the semi and finished fourth. Both players playing in all their games.
Kasey Keller represented USA at the games in both 1996 and 2000 (they finished fourth). Also at the 1996 event was Jose Dominquez of Portugal (who finished in the Bronze medal position).
Jose was featured in Connections, Portugal.
Bill Watson represented GB at Weightlifting (men’s middleweight section) at the London games of ’48, held at Earls Court and he finished 8th. Bill was later recruited by Bill Nicholson after the tour of Russia in 1959 (2) to join the training team and work with the players on their fitness.
Left - Bill puts the team through the paces.
George Skinner came out of the Northfleet Nursery side and played in a War-time game in September 1940 but was then called for military service. He returned to Spurs in 1946 before joining Gillingham. Later he would become the manager of the Finland Olympic side.
In 2002 Spurs gave a Chinese lad, Qu Bo, a full international, (known as Kevin) a trial and wanted to sign him. The Home Office deemed he could not have a work visa. He later played at the Under 20 World Cup and then in the Olympic Games where he broke his leg.
A much more recent Olympic appearance is the one by the current goalkeeping coach, Toni Jiménez. (see above).
He won Gold at Barcelona (his home city) in 1992 playing all six games as part of the Spanish team.
While recent signing Vincent Janssen can proudly claim his mother (right) won three Gold medals in the swimming pool.
In part 2 – We look at how Spurs won Gold and Silver at the same Games, The Tottenham legend that twice took his country to Gold and we come right up to date, and yet another Gold Medal.
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Notes – 1 - some sources give this as a 3-2 home win, but after checking a number of sources I believe it was 2-2.
2 - Tour of Russia link - http://www.indiaspurs.com/blog/hotspur-towers-russia-1959
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