When Bill Nicholson was asked who was the best player he ever played with he said Ron Burgess.
Ron was the inspirational skipper of the side that won back to back Second and First Division Championships, the first Welshman to play for the Football League side and he also featured for Great Britain V Europe in 1947. That's in addition to 32 full International caps, the majority as captain. In total he played over five hundred games for the club.
And it nearly didn't happen. When he was first approached by the club his mother did not want him to move to London. Ron then playing as a forward didn't impress at Spurs and they were due to release him. A few days before he was to return to Wales he was at WHL and was asked to step in and make up the numbers in a junior game playing at half back, where he had never played before. The following day he was called to the office and asked to stay on, from then on he matured into one of the finest half backs in the game.
He was offered a place at the Northfleet nursery side where he won a double the Kent Senior Cup and league titles. That season also saw his debuts in the 'A' team in September and two months later for the reserves before turning professional in the summer of 1938.
A gentle man off the pitch on it he was an inspiration and leader on it, remember in his time as captain he led Bill Nicholson and Alf Ramsey.
Described as being in perpetual motion and having irrepressible enthusiasm that shouldn't distract from his excellent ball control and distribution. A skilful player with great positional sense he was quick on the ground and good in the air.
His League debut came in February 1939 before the war intervened. During this time he worked as a policeman and in a factory before joining the RAF ad becoming a Physical Fitness Instructor. He also turned out for Spurs and played in 8 war time internationals (the first V England in 1939) as well as guesting for other clubs. The first senior goal for Spurs came in the league the following month in a win over Swansea.
I mentioned he started as a forward, scoring 59 goals in the season he was spotted by Spurs. In October 1944 he scored four goals in twelve minutes in a 9-1 win over Luton. When he first moved to Spurs he lodged with Ben Ives (who had also signed Bill Nicholson) and worked in a local metal works during the day training at night.
After sixteen years at Tottenham, aged 37, he returned home to join Swansea Town, quickly becoming player-manager and then manager. During this spell he groomed and sold to Spurs Terry Medwin and Cliff Jones. He later managed Watford (and sold us Pat Jennings). He later managed non-league Hendon and won the FA Amateur Cup in 1965.
Left - V Millwall 1938
He applied for the Welsh national post but was turned down but he did act as caretaker manager for one game when the regular man wasn't available. He played three hundred league games for Spurs and with Cup and war time competitions the total goes beyond five hundred with sixty three goals.
Ron, an inductee to the Spurs Hall of Fame, passed away in 2005.
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