The long wait for the new season ended on August 20th as Everton arrived at White Hart Lane. Bill Nicholson sent out a team that day that had never played together in a competitive game and the two well matched sides remained even until the last five minutes of the game although Dunlop in the Everton goal had been the much the busier of the keepers and had kept them in the game.
Then Bobby Smith saw a gap in the blue wall and as he went into the box he was brought down. Before the referee could blow the ball ran loose to Les Allen who slid home the first goal of the season. Two minutes later and with the tension lifted Spurs attacked again, John White centered from the right and Smith stooping headed home for a 2-0 win. More than fifty thousand had seen Tottenham launch their campaign.
The game had ended with Cliff Jones limping on the wing after an x-rated tackle from Alex Parker who had been his team mate in the British Army side. Cliff would miss the next six games.
Various sources suggest that team was still ‘running in’ and took time to settle that day. I’ve also seen it suggested that was the only time that season the crowd became anxious. Speaking to a veteran of those days recently, he remembered it as being a crackling atmosphere that day, we felt we could go better that last year (3rd.) but we did leave it late, I suppose some wondered if they would hold us for a point.
Ironically Everton had been the opposition on Bill Nicholson’s first day in charge at Spurs not quite two years earlier, (1). The visitors since then, in a strange comparison with today’s game, had spent a vast amount of money from their benefactor; John Moores the owner of the Liverpool based Pools companies to improve their squad, being regularly referred to as the Merseyside Millionaires. In contrast to today’s game Terry Dyson recalls having his breakfast at his ‘digs’ that morning and taking the bus to the ground.
The team headed to Blackpool for a Bank Holiday match on a wet Monday evening. The Broomfield Road ground is not far from the seafront and the crowd was boosted by holiday makers. Tottenham brought Terry Medwin in on the wing for Cliff Jones. Terry Dyson opened the scoring in the ninth minute and Medwin increased the lead in the 37th minute. On the hour Dyson got his second and the home side picked up a late goal after having missed a penalty on the half hour mark. White was singled out as the architect in match reports he had spent part of the previous season at outside right, now he looked at home back in the centre of the action and much of the attacking ideas flowed from him. One other game was played that night, West Ham, who lost after winning at the weekend. So Tottenham were top of the table. The Daily Mirror used the heading Super Spurs, a title that would be picked up and used by all throughout the campaign. Blackpool included in their side Stanley Mathews at the age of 45.
The second Saturday saw us travel to Blackburn, for what was expected to be a tough match as they also had four points. Tottenham got off to another fast start and in the second minute Allen set up Smith for the first. Bobby’s second arrived in the eleventh minute heading home a Mackay free kick. Next Dyson laid it on for Allen and 3-0 with just seventeen minutes played. Blackburn tried hard to get back in the game but it was Smith who went closest to scoring before the halftime whistle. Any hopes Rovers held were dashed just after the restart when Blanchflower and Allen found Dyson for the fourth goal. Both sides saw shots cleared off the line, Baker doing it for Spurs, and near the end Allen could have make it five before Rovers scored at the death, 4-1 to Spurs and six points. The Evening News declared Spurs ‘turned on a dazzling display which would have overpowered any team in the country’ and ended with ‘no team in the country can live with Spurs in this form.’
At that time it was common for teams to play reverse fixtures of midweek games so teams met twice in eight days. Blackpool arrived at the Lane on the last day of the month. Tottenham were not at their best but still had little trouble beating the visitors 3-1. Bobby Smith scoring our first hat trick of the season.
The game saw a record fall. Bobby went into the game with 138 League and Cup goals for Spurs which had equaled George Hunt’s club record set in the 1930’s (2). The fans who wondered if they would see the new record fall that night did not have long to wait long as in the third minute Blanchflower crossed from the byline and Smith headed home from around fifteen yards. Blackpool did fight back and pulled level before the break. Nearing the hour mark, Allen had his shot blocked and Dyson teed up Smith for his second. The Blackpool keeper kept his side in the game and it wasn’t until the last ten minutes Spurs turned their control into goals this time Medwin finding Smith who had plenty of time to collect our first hat trick of the season and ensuring both points, (3).
A supporter that day remembered we knew Spurs were good, I think after that match we started to wonder just how good we were, it wasn’t until after the United match (part 3) we really knew. An interesting side note, I was told at the time that the Barcelona team were in London and attended the game, It’s only recently I found a source to confirm that story.
Left - John White
The season was just two weeks and four games old (42 league matches of course in those days) and Tottenham were a point (2 for a win) clear of Sheffield Wednesday and Wolves. I well remember those games I was on holiday and it was agony till we got home and got the eyewitness accounts. The Entrancing Danger, - I remember this term was used to describe the Spurs side at the time, sorry I can’t remember who said it.
In part 3 – 22 Carat Spurs, and what happened in September, including a surprise development.
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Top Picture - Terry Dyson makes a point to Les Allen with Ron Henry following.
Notes – 1 – Hotspur Towers – Prologue – Ten Four, -http://www.indiaspurs.com/blog/hotspur-towers-prologue-1-tenfour
2- See Hotspur Towers – The Reign of Percy Smith, –http://www.indiaspurs.com/blog/hotspur-towers-the-reign-of-percy-smith
3 – Bobby had already broken Ted Harpers record of thirty six goals in a single season, also set in the 1930’s. The record would stand till it was broken by Jimmy Greaves.
See Also - The Double – 1, The Quest, -http://www.indiaspurs.com/blog/the-double-1-the-quest
And – Talking Tottenham – Adventures in N17- http://www.indiaspurs.com/blog/talking-tottenham-adventures-in-n17
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