Joe Hulme was appointed Tottenham manager in January 1946. It was the last season of the Wartime League. Spurs with one eye on the post war return of the Football League decided the side needed a full time manager. Arthur Turner the club secretary had done an excellent job since taking over when Peter McWilliam who had resigned on health grounds in 1942. Hulme who had already joined Spurs in 1944 working as Turners assistant and as a scout, was given the post originally just till the end of that season.
Hulme inherited a Spurs side that was struggling that season but he lifted them to 9th in the table. Winning nine of the last ten games and introducing players as they returned from active service. That season was when we played the only two legged FA Cup tie (V Brentford) in our history.
His first full season in charge (46/47) saw the reintroduction of the Football League and Spurs set out hoping to rejoin the first division. At the start of the season the press said rather than going up the way Spurs were playing they were more likely to go down. However they climbed to finish 6th. From September to the end of the year they lost twice. In the new year the weather was so bad the season was extended ending in June and Hulme had started to build the side that would find great success a few years later with Ditchburn, Baily, Bennett and Medley all making their debuts. The season had opened with Ron Burgess being made club captain.
The following year and Spurs reached the FA Cup semi-final and were only a few minutes from reaching the final before Blackpool scored and won it in extra time, (1). The League form stuttered as we didn't score for four games and finished 8th having been 4th at one point. Julian Holland in his history says 'Their paws buttered they slipped helpless down the rungs of the ladder.'
Tottenham players were fed up with being told 'maybe next year' and the fans wondered when promotion would come. The next season (48/49) saw Spurs lose twice up to the end of October and go top of the table. It didn't last and Spurs ended the year in 5th place.
In the December Joe had been taken into hospital not returning to the club until March. Upon his return the Board asked if he was fit enough to continue he said he was but at the end of the month he was sacked.
His assistant Jimmy Anderson took over until Arthur Rowe was appointed in the May. Anderson would later take over again when Rowe stepped down in 1955 (2).
Hulme had not tasted success himself but he had helped lay the foundations for the great side of the early ‘50’s which followed.
A point he would make to his friend Arthur Rowe regularly. After Tottenham Hulme didn’t work in football again but became a journalist.
In which role he watched the great Double side a few years later break a number of records he had set as a player in the thirties with Arsenal. Something he said which gave him mixed emotions.
Left - In his playing days training with British Tennis player Fred Perry.
Hulme who has been described as too nice to be in management reflected on his Tottenham days in latter life saying ”I was never fully accepted at Tottenham. The supporters could never think of me without seeing Arsenal red. I thought I could overcome that but our League results were just not good enough.”
Hulme Trivia - Hulme was also a first class cricketer turning out for Middlesex as an-all rounder.
- During the war he doubled his football commitments with being a policeman (top picture).
- When he played for Huddersfield in the 1938 Cup final he became the first man to have appeared in five finals.
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Notes - 1 - http://www.indiaspurs.com/blog/hotspur-towers-31
2 - Mini series starting @
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