Between 1961 and 63 Tottenham were the first team in the twentieth century to have won the FA Cup and League Championship Double. They retained the FA Cup, only the second team that century to achieve back to back victories and then were the first British side to win a major
This success has set a benchmark for the Tottenham teams since and for other clubs to follow. Both Manchester United and Liverpool have publicly credited Tottenham with their role in their own successes in later years. We will look at why that glorious period ended so quickly in a moment but first as a finale to our review of the 1963 European Cup Winners Cup triumph lets reflect on that unique and groundbreaking achievement.
Top - Tony Marchi brings the Cup home.
Tottenham’s first two seasons (until the end of 1962-63) in European competition consisted of just 15 games. 7 home and away and one on neutral ground. In that time they became the second English team to reach a European Semi-final. The first British team to reach consecutive semi-finals in a major European trophy. They were the first British side to reach a European final and the first to win one. Their 5-1 defeat of Athletio Madrid still remains the highest win by a British side in a one game European final.
At home they scored 29 times and conceded seven in winning all their games apart from the draw with Feynoord. In all they won ten of the fifteen games and lost four. Away from home they won three times the first coming at Feynoord. To be followed by Glasgow Rangers and OFK Belgrade. In the process they scored 11 and conceded 14.
Our first European goal was scored by Cliff Jones at Gornik, he also scored the first at home from open play. Danny Blanchflower’s penalty being the first in the return leg. Whilst Terry Dyson scored in our first four games then only once more before striking twice in the ECWC final triumph. We failed to score in two games, away to Dulka Prague and at Slovan, both Czech sides. We overturned a first leg deficit on three occasions (the two Czech sides and Gornik). Twice we won both legs of a tie, Rangers and OFK. While Slovan at home was our only clean sheet.
We played clubs from seven different counties in six different lands, playing in Holland and Czechoslovakia twice. Our four trips behind the iron curtain resulted in just one win.
A total of 838,535 watched the 15 games, 418,816 at WHL. Where we topped sixty thousand three times and the lowest figure was 55,388.
The biggest crowd was at Rangers (80,000) We also attracted 70,000 on our visits to Gornik and Benfica. Only 40,000 were at the ECWC final although the stadium known as the ’tub’ could hold 69,000.
Our top Euro scorer was Bobby Smith with ten, (seven coming at home). Terry Dyson hit seven in seven games, only failing to score in one, Cliff Jones and John White had six each. Mackay and Greaves five each. Greaves did not score in the European Cup games. Frank Saul and Danny Blanchflower two each, Danny’s were both penalties. Maurice Norman and Les Allen managed one each and there was one own goal. With 21 coming in the European Cup and 24 in the Cup Winners Cup.
Of the 18 players used, Brown, Henry, Norman and White played in all 15 games and were the only ever presents in the trophy winning season. Whilst Baker and Jones managed 14 games, Mackay 13, Blanchflower and Smith 12, Tony Marchi 10, Greaves 8, Dyson 7, Terry Medwin 5, Frank Saul 4, Les Allen 3, Eddie Clayton, Mel Hopkins and John Smith one each. Seven players were ever present in the European Cup games.
There are several reasons why that glorious period ended so quickly. The first is that only the winners of the two major competitions entered into Europe combat (1). Based on current qualification rules Spurs would have entered the Champions League, if it had existed, for the next three seasons after winning the Championship and then again in 1966/67 when they also won the FA Cup. Another factor was that the side were aging and that combined with a series of injuries devastated the team. Danny Blanchflower never fully recovered from his injuries and played his last game in November ‘63 before retiring at the end of the next season. The following month Dave Mackay had his leg broken for the first time. An injury that saw us exit the competition early the following season.
Few clubs could afford to lose two such inspiration figures, both were captains of their nations.In the weeks following that triumph Spurs had toured South Africa and Terry Medwin had suffered a broken leg which ended his career. Bobby Smith struggled with fitness and injury and just a year after Rotterdam was sold to Brighton. Then in July 1964 John White was tragically killed. November 1965 and Maurice Norman had his career ended when he also broke his leg a year later. Bill Nicholson would rebuild his side and they would re-enter the European fray after the Cup victory of 1967. That team from the Glory days have set a standard that Tottenham still look for winning and doing it in style. The team were inducted when Tottenham opened its own Hall of Fame. The fact they are not in the National Hall of Fame is a disgrace and India Spurs have written calling for this to be corrected. They will forever live in the memories and hearts of us who lived through those days and all Tottenham supporters in the generations to come.
t- Keith 16024542
f- peter shearman (old non de plume)
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Notes - 1 - see the The First Europeans, Glasgow Rangers, Slovan Bratislava, OFK Belgrade and Athletio Madrid, Gornik, The First Adventure, Benfica and White Hot Lane
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