October would see Spurs start with a trip to Wolves. The team they had defeated at the end of the previous season to prevent them winning the Double and one of the top sides in the recent past. Few if any expected Tottenham to win with ease, even given their amazing start to the season but this day’s display was even better than the one the week before. As they cut open the home defence with intricate passing. Spurs showed new invention and flexibility as White (left) was described as the best player in the British Isles covered every inch of the pitch, a Goliath in David’s cloak.
Tony Marchi came in for Mackay for this game. Just after the half hour Allen centered and Jones unchallenged gave us the lead. The second came just before the break arrived when Blanchflower picked up a loose ball looking around and seeing nobody free fired in a shot from 30 yards which left the goalie stranded to give us a two goal lead. This goal left everyone in the ground stunned and looking at a picture of it does appear to bisect about ten players on route to the net.
Seven minutes later and White set up Allen for a tap in for the third and Dyson made it four with just over ten minutes to play and with most of the home fans already out of the ground. If 4-0 wasn’t enough Smith hit the woodwork and a number of other chances went missing. Although Wolves did manage a couple of attempts and Brown (below) produced one excellent save, (1).
Stan Cullis the Wolves manager was moved to describe the Spurs performance that day as “Spurs are the finest club team I've ever seen in the Football League. The present lot is better than the great side of ten years ago." (2).
When a reporter phoned Danny Blanchflower to ask for a response to Cullis’s words he was out but his wife said ‘Oh yes, Danny would agree with that.'
A number of papers at this time were advocating the introduction of a European Super League made up of teams such as Spurs, Real Madrid, Barcelona Juventus etc.
It was also at this time that a reporter phoned the Nicholson’s and Bill’s wife, Darky asked him for a report on the game, as she explained ‘I’m not allowed anywhere near a Spurs match, I saw them once when they were on a good run and they lost. They said I was a jinx on the team and said I wouldn’t let me in.’ A point not so commonly known is that she use to attend games before she met her future husband.
The first week of the month also saw the Club’s AGM. When Bill Nicholson reported ‘I’m in a very satisfactory position to address this meeting.’ During the meeting there was a suggestion that the club hold a banquet in case the club should win either the League or the Cup. There was a passing mention of the Double, but the Chairman quickly pointed out to those present that ‘chickens should not be counted until hatched.’
right - Peter Baker.
The club made a profit of just twenty three thousand pounds despite being one of the best supported teams in the country. This was partly due to the fact at that time the away team was entitled to a share of the gate money.
The following weekend saw several games postponed including our home game V Manchester City because of international games. Danny Blanchflower and Bobby Smith were on duty in Belfast as Smith on his England debut opened the scoring in a 5-2 win. Chelsea’s Greaves scored twice.
The City game was rearranged Monday evening, the 10th, with Dave Mackay returning to the side. A handful short of fifty nine thousand were inside the ground when the gates were locked. The traffic in north London for the 7.30 kick off was reported as being affected up to seven miles away. The City team who had spent the weekend at Eastbourne on the south coast arrived in London at 5pm for the ten mile ride from Victoria. Their coach finally arriving at 7.20, that after stopping at a police station and asking for an escort. They did actually get on the pitch with moments to spare. In a very entertaining game Tottenham played well and the crowd felt another victory was on the cards. Smith with a header gave us the lead in the 27th minute. The Tottenham play in the first half was described by the News Chronicle as ‘magnificent, Spurs scaled the very peaks of Soccer perfection.’
Then after the break maybe City recovered from the journey and came into the game and pulled level against the run of play after what Spurs felt was a handball in the buildup. Tottenham laid siege to the City goal but Trautmann was in inspired form (3) and Spurs showed signs of frustration towards the end. Statistics have come a long way since those days but one report gave the figures as Spurs having 39 shots against City’s 9, with a corner count of 14-2.
The only one that mattered however was the 1-1 score line and Tottenham 100% run was finished but they remained unbeaten. One report read after the defeat ‘some of the magic has departed from the league campaign for this season. If there is a note of sorrow in North London, we can at least rejoice at the superb quality which cannot be surpassed in Brazil, Spain or any other land.’
Bill Nicholson however still demanded perfection and when asked if Tottenham had relied too much ball in from the wings against City he said ‘Third Division play’ and demanded more play through the middle.
A number of people have suggested over the years that when Arthur Rowe resigned with ill health he never returned to White Hart Lane. This would seem strange as Edmonton born Arthur loved the club. I well remember being told he was seen in the stands several times in the Nicholson era. I also had a relative who claims he talked to him during the Double season, but wouldn’t ‘swear’ which game. So I delighted to find a reference to Arthur Rowe attending this game.
Unbelievable as it may seem, there were those who predicted that Tottenham would now fold and fall away but this Tottenham side had a tough center to back up they stylish play and the following weekend they traveled to Nottingham Forest and won 4-0. Bill Nicholson wasn’t well and missed the trip to Nottingham but the team clearly had listened to him in the buildup as they only played three long passes in the whole game. As they left Forest in a daze as (the immaculate) White opened the scoring after seven minutes following Dyson and Allen setting him up. Quarter of an hour later and Mackay made it two as the keeper couldn’t hold the (a true honey) of a shot. Then with 24 minutes on the clock White centered, the goalie and Smith went for the ball which ran loose to Jones and 3-0.
The fourth after the break came when Forest was described as chasing shadows and Spurs played exhibition football. Mackay whose movement had the whole Forest team going in the wrong direction, had all the time he needed to measure the ball on to Cliff Jones’s forehead, who had time to take a walk before picking his spot. Tottenham had answered the critics in the best manner with Brown making one save in the whole match. The People said Spurs that day ‘they were perfect every man jack of them.’ (5).
With international games again calling a halt to the domestic programme Monday 24th saw Tottenham play an Army XI at White Hart Lane. With half the team given a rest the six thousand in attendance watched the Army win 3-5.
Their team was made up mostly of young professional players then doing their national service. The Spurs goals coming from Les Allen, Aitchison and an own goal. Barry Aitchison, a right winger played in the trial game that season but never for the first team.
Right - The pitch under plastic sheeting, see below.
That Wednesday saw England travel to Luxembourg and win 9-0. Bobby Smith scoring twice and future Spur Jimmy Greaves a hat trick. The following Saturday the team put their feet up as international calls for the Wales / Scotland game meant the game with Cardiff was called off. Wales beat Scotland in Cardiff 2-0. Cliff Jones scoring the first goal playing alongside Medwin and against Mackay and White (his only Scottish appearance in the Double season). Bill Brown played for Scotland the season before and the season after but not during that season.
The following Wednesday England were back in action at Wembley V Spain in a friendly. Smith scored twice more and Greaves one in a 4-2 win. Blanchflower captains Northern Ireland who lost 3-4 at home to West Germany.
Tottenham’s month came to a close and Tottenham laid on a grandstand ending at Newcastle, a crowd of 51,000 were in St James’s that’s 17,000 than the next biggest gate at the ground that season, such was Tottenham’s drawing power. One report starts such was Spurs efficiency that it isn’t fair to single out individuals but Blanchflower and White paved the way for Tottenham’ s success The home side took the lead after the half hour but we equalized shortly after when Maurice Norman headed home a Dyson floated cross. Hero became villain as then a rare Norman error allowed them to score a minute later and lead at half time. Nicholson’s half talk according to Dave Mackay was ‘well played, go on playing as you are and we will win.’ We were level again when a defensive error allowed White in to score. Just on the hour we took the lead for the first time Jones scoring while the defenders stood waiting for an offside decision that did not come. Within a few minutes it was 3-3 as another error this time from Brown let them draw level. Still the game was not finished as with four minutes to go Allen found Smith and Spurs took the points wining 4-3.
October also saw Tommy Harmer move on from Spurs to join Watford. Their manager was his old team mate Ronnie Burgess. Tommy Harmer had 51 goals for Spurs in 222 games and is considered one of the most skillful players ever to represent Tottenham. Harmer was sold for six thousand and that the club then spent one thousand on large plastic sheeting to protect the pitch as Bill Nicholson was concerned that the bad weather would affect the pitch and could derail the team’s ambitions.
The month ended with Tottenham holding a four point lead over Wednesday who led a chasing pack of Everton, a point behind them with Burnley and Wolves two points further back.
The title - Comes from Tom Finney, one of England’s greatest players writing in the News of the World about the Wolves games – his report said ‘soccer magic was on show and Spurs provided it. And, so the sorcerers of White Hart Lane go striding on. ‘
t- Keith 16024542
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You can my full archive and Bio at - View Full Bio
You can find the rest of the series at - http://www.indiaspurs.com/blog/the-double-chronicles
See also – Talking Tottenham, Adventure in N17
Notes – 1 – Wolves were taking part in the first ECWC that season and defeated FC Austria to reach the semi final where they were knocked out by Glasgow Rangers.
2 - Tottenham’s 1950-51 Championship winning side. Stan Cullis was in the Army with Bill Nicholson during WW2.
3 – Bert Trautmann a former Prisoner of War had won the Nazi Iron Cross, twice, before being captured.
5 – For the first time in the papers history they awarded a 10 out of ten to every player in the Tottenham for this performance.
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Tribute to Bill Nicholson
The Road to Turin
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The 100 Year War
Interview with Marina Sirtis
A Long Dark Shadow
By Royal Appointment
School Report: An Insight into the Younger Eric Dier
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Passage to India: Rohan Rickets
Thanks For The Memories
Our Tommy Carroll
The AVB Files: Part1
You The Jury
The Hand Of Hugo
Connection - Argentina
Creating a Reputation