On the 2nd November we played our rearranged game at home to Cardiff. Not one of our better games and the feeling of many of our fans was we were lucky to win that night. Cardiff took the lead after twenty and Spurs were level in the 35th minute. Medwin took a throw in and found Mackay who in turn found Dyson to head home, cue the Dyson ‘war dance,’ as his goal celebration was dubbed, arms raised as he bounced on the spot.
Cardiff played straight down the middle whilst Spurs seemed to want to over elaborate everything. Then as half time loomed Spurs seemed to get a grip of the game at last and Swansea boy Medwin scored following a run down the right by Allen which saw him go past three defenders.
Tottenham were much improved after the break but Cardiff were never out of it. A Dyson center saw the ref gave a penalty for handball, the Cardiff team protested and when things calmed down Blanchflower coolly slotted home in to the roof of the net. Tottenham missed taking advantage of a number of chances and Cardiff pulled one back before the game ended with them trying everything to win a point and the fans whistling for time, Tottenham edging home 3-2 winners.
The original Cardiff game had been postponed because of international calls, so ironically Jones was missing that night as he was playing for the Football League in Italy. Some of the media suggested that the weight of expectation and the tension was starting to tell on the players and a defeat might even do the club good. A suggestion that was not shared by many fans and has been discounted by several players.
This was the first game played at WHL since the introduction of the plastic sheeting and the pitch was described ‘as in fine trim.’ It was considered that this new idea may completely change the future of winter games in the country, (see part 4).
Left Dave Mackay V Dynamo Tbilisi.
Top - The Dyson war dance, here in action at Birmingham.
Cliff Jones returned from the Football League game having picked up a knock but knowing we played better when he was in the side Nicholson took the risk and picked him for the home game with Fulham on November 5th. The view from the stands was he wasn’t moving as well (or as fast) as normal but he did pick up two goals, both with his head, the first (our second) being a diving header that he was so well known for, in the fifteenth minute. Jones picked up a number of injuries during his career by going in for the ball often where boots were flying, often with his head. Tottenham had to fight for the game in the first half hour but we the better side, Blanchflower and Mackay again giving Tottenham the edge. Dyson also drew praise while the England manager, Walter Winterbottom, was in the stands, one suspects to watch Norman, who the press had again been calling to be in the England team, (1). Our goals came from Les Allen and Cliff Jones 2 each and John White as we won 5-1.
After 16 games, Spurs had won fifteen and dropped just one point and stood seven points clear of Sheffield Wednesday. Other interested spectators at The Lane that night were the management team of the Dynamo Tbilisi side that was touring England and would be playing Tottenham two weeks later.
On Wednesday the 9th Dave Mackay was in the Scottish team that beat Northern Ireland (including Danny Blanchflower who scores) at Hampden Park. Bill Nicholson took the opportunity to travel to Sheffield and watch Wednesday play Dynamo Tbilisi that night.
Left - Blanchflower & Nicholson
Whatever side of the divide you stood about ‘the need to lose.’ that unbeaten run finally ended on November 12th Tottenham, in game 17, as Sheffield Wednesday beat us 1-2 at Hillsborough. Not a ground Spurs enjoyed visiting. Our only league win there had been in 1937. The match was called a ‘rip-roaring tussle of temper, tantrums and tremendous excitement that turned the ground into a searing furnace.’ Nicholson described the Wednesday side as ‘hard and dour.’
Les Allen was denied approaching the break by a world class save after he pounced on a poor back pass. Straight away the Owls swept up field and scored. Just two minutes later with the linesman signaling a Wednesday goal kick the ref awarded Spurs a free lick. Mackay took it and Norman out climbed everyone to make it 1-1. Either side could have snatched the winner. As it was the home side that did. A Wednesday attack saw the ball blocked but it ran loose and was fired home. Blanchflower and Mackay urged the side forward with Norman making surging runs forward. Nearly fifty four thousand saw Tottenham unbeaten run come to an end (2). A run that that saw them set a record of ten successive away victories dating back to the previous season.
The team have been accused of singing on the bus going home. Something that has been strenuously denied by several of the players involved that day.
The opinion of the fans I asked was that sounded like total nonsense. This game pulled Wednesday back to five points behind Spurs.
There was a break from the League campaign that week as Tottenham entertained Dynamo Tbilisi at White Hart Lane. More than 38,000 were at the Lane for the game, more than some clubs were pulling in for their league games. Tottenham (wearing Blue) won the friendly encounter by 5-2. Medwin opened the accounts after 15 minutes, after Spurs had missed several chances. They scored but Mackay restored the lead before the break after Medwin centered. At the start of the second half Mackay scored again after Smith nodded a Dyson cross into his path (3). Medwin and Dyson added goals but they scored a late goal to finish the scoring. Tbilisi (runners up in the Russian Cup) had already drawn with Wolves and lost to Wednesday on their tour. (4).
We stayed at White Hart Lane for the weekend’s game with Birmingham. The News of the World led with ‘White Hot Spurs’ In what was described to me as Les Allen’s best game for Spurs as they put aside the defeat of the previous week and restored their seven point lead, (Wednesday lost at Leicester). Allen did not score but set up three of Tottenham’s goals. Spurs could of have double figures but settled for half a dozen after racking up three in 17 minutes. It was just the second minute when Smith and Jones combined before White fired home from an acute angle. The second saw Allen go past three defenders and lay on a perfect ball for Dyson to score. Then it was Allen again and Smith for Jones to finish off the move. Late on Tottenham added goals when a Jones header was saved and Dyson scored from close range. Allen was brought down for a penalty (by a Birmingham player called Allen).
Danny Blanchflower the usual penalty showed his management skills as he waved someone else forward. At first the crowd thought it was Dyson to claim a hat trick but it was Bobby Smith (right) who had not scored for four games to smash the ball home.
Jones added the sixth. The game was summed up as their best display since the destruction of Forest and contained flawless passing. It was Tottenham’s biggest win of the season.
The Monday saw new visitors to Chestnut when England turned up as part of their preparations for the Wednesday game with Wales. They played a 40 minute game and Spurs won 4-2, including a hat trick from Dyson. Spurs played several reserves in their side and lent John Smith to England after Bobby Charlton failed to arrive who proceeded to score against the club. The other England goal came from Chelsea’s Jimmy Greaves (was this he first goal at our training ground?)
With league games on each Saturday, the Wednesday in-between saw England beat Wales 5-1. Jimmy Greaves scored in the second minute to register England’s 1000th goal while Bobby Smith added another international goal.
The Welsh included Terry Medwin and Cliff Jones, (left).
That month would end at West Bromwich. In a game where the home side made it hard for Spurs to get into their rhythm, Tottenham were caught off-side fifteen times. They broke the trap in the 21st minute as Jones back heeled Smith clear although many thought him offside to give us the lead, (5). This was followed by a move involving half the side before Allen dummied a cross, flat footing the defence before placing the ball on Smith’s head for the second.
The third came when a move swept the length of the field and finished with Dyson giving Allen the simplest of chances to finish off. The home side pulled one back at the end of the first half and for much of the second laboured to break down our defence without any further goals.
With Everton and Wednesday both losing the gap suddenly became nine points and there was talk that the race was over, but with only nineteen games played (Wednesday had a game in hand) there was a long way to go still as the teams entered December. Incidentally a tie on points would go to goal average (6) but modern readers might prefer to know at that point Tottenham’s difference was +42. They were followed by three team’s nine points back, Everton +17, Wednesday +14, Wolves +11. Burnley a point behind +20 and Villa another point back +3.
The title comes from the News Chronicle
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Notes -1 – Norman would finally win his first of 23 England caps V Peru during the 1962 World Cup. One suspects he would have been a major player in the 1966 World Cup before his career was cut short by a broken leg. Certainly Alf Ramsey has indicated he would have been chosen for the squad.
In fact the only Spurs man to play for England that season was Bobby Smith. Terry Dyson never won an England cap, much to the surprise of many, including from most of the foreign opposition that Tottenham encountered.
2 – Various sources give varying figures for the attendance.
3 – Some sources I read said Dyson scored but this comes from the Daily Mirror report,
4 – connections -Russia - http://www.indiaspurs.com/blog/connections-russia
5 – Off-side traps aside, Bill Nicholson said during the Double season that his team were often unfairly penalized as many offside’s were given against them purely because their movement and vision was such the linesman couldn’t understand the player had moved from on-side to receive the ball in the time it took him to turn his head back to look across the field.
6 – Goal Average - means the number of goals scored divided by the number of goals conceded.
Thanks - Thanks to England Stats, Logan Holmes.
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