Another look back at Tottenham’s involvement in another competition and its a brief look that finds us checking out The London five –a– side competition which was first held in 1954 and continued for the next 29 years, with breaks.
Sadly there is little detail available. Even the Evening Standard that sponsored the event failed to provide any information. Here however is what I’ve uncovered including our victory in the tournament.
The inaugural tournament was held at the “Empress Hall” Earls Court, and in that first year Spurs overcame Arsenal in the semi-final before losing to Charlton in the Final.
The Spurs team that night was Derek King, Colin Brittan, George Robb, Sid McCellen, Dickie Dowsett with reserves Eddie Gibbons and Brian Farley. As you will see it included some first teamers and reserves.
The competition then moved to the Harringay Arena in 1955 when we reached the semi’s. 1957 and we beat Arsenal but lost in the early rounds. 1959 saw the competition move to Wembley where it stayed until its demise in 1995. With breaks from 1961 -66 and between 1986 -92.
The competition was usually held towards the end of the season and maybe with a clue to of what was to come 1960 saw Tottenham win the trophy.
They overcame Millwall (coming from behind) and Charlton both by 3-1. Cliff Jones scoring a hat trick in the semi. This followed on from two in the first round and Medwin scoring once, see below.
Then we played West Ham in the final and won 4-3. Medwin and Rhyden scoring two apiece.
Bernard Joy one of the top sports writers of the time did the reporting. As the golden boys confirmed their supremacy of London. His report does say we won the competition for a second time. Sorry I haven't traced down that other victory as yet!
Our team in that final along side Jones was John Hollowbread, John Ryden, Ron Henry and Terry Medwin.
The next Spurs info I could uncover isn’t until 1970 when we were runners up. Jimmy Pearce opened the scoring before we lost 1-2 to West Ham in the final. Other Spurs players on duty that night was Ken Hancock in goal, Tony Want, Phil Beal and Martin Chivers. The following year we went out in the quarter finals.
Its 1975 before the next reference I could find. I can’t tell you how far Tottenham went but they did beat West Ham 3-1 in the early rounds, Jimmy Neighbour scoring two of our goals.
The picture above on the left shows a young Alan Mullery in the Fulham side.
That sadly is that. Apart from 1977 saw the size of the goals increased to 22 feet wide as teh competition attempted to retain teh fans interest. In later years teams from outside London took part, possibly to make up numbers as the bigger clubs felt less inclined to risk top players and reserves did not sell tickets for the event. Some years it was shown on TV late in the evening.
The last winners in 1995 were Wycombe Wanderers.
If you can shed any light on Tottenham’s involvement in the competition then please contact me.
t- Keith 16024542
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