Tottenham put aside the League campaign that first weekend of the New Year and welcomed Charlton Athletic to The Lane for the FA Cup Third Round tie. Charlton were in the Second Division but took Spurs all the way.
Tottenham took the lead after six minutes Blanchflower being at the root of everything move as he split the Athletic defence for Les Allen to open the scoring. We moved further ahead just before the half hour Blanchflower again for Allen. Just as the Spurs fans relaxed Charlton struck back to make it 2-1.
They visitors joy only lasted three minutes as Tottenham hit a third. It was Blanchflower again and this time Dyson scored. The South Londoners kept fighting and scored again just after the restart. That was the end of the scoring. Tottenham not at their best moved onto the Fourth Round. Over at Stamford Bridge Crewe beat Chelsea (with Jimmy Greaves). Crewe will travel to Tottenham for the second year running again in the 4th Round (1).
The next weekend there was heavy fog and the Spurs game at Manchester United is postponed, going ahead on the Monday evening. Baker (who would of played but was injured on the Sunday), Medwin and Jones were all missing, replaced by Ken Barton on his debut, Tony Marchi and John Smith as Spurs lose 0-2 and fail to score for the first time in the season. Tottenham seem to have lost their rhythm the reports claim we spent too much time going sideward’s rather that our usual direct style of play.
The home side took the lead after 13 minutes. Just after this the United goalie Grieg seemed to slip and fall landing badly on his shoulder. For some reason none of the press could explain the ref gave a free kick.
Smith then had a goal disallowed just after the break. One of their outfield players went in goal and Grieg finished the game playing as a forward. United scored their second goal with a quarter of an hour to play.
Left - Peter Baker
I have to rely on press accounts for this game; no family member attended the game as the Tottenham faithful traveled only to turn around and come back at the weekend. Upon arrival back in London they find the game was being played Monday night. It could have been worse I’ve been told the fans who went by coach in those pre-motorway days had to leave Friday night and didn’t get home till sometime Sunday morning.
The biggest threat to Tottenham’s charge at this time actually came away from the pitch. As talks between the FA and the Players Union about ending the maximum wage had come to a standstill and all the talk for several weeks seemed to be around should the players go on strike. This seemed impossible to me at the time and a couple of days before the next game the strike was called off but the talks rumbled on (2).
Right - Bill Nicholson
The League even considered moving the following weekend’s games to the Friday so as to miss the start of the strike planned for the weekend.
What a game we might have missed. “Wearing the air of conscious superiority which is now their accustomed strip Tottenham brushed aside some strenuous tackling to beat Arsenal with time and breathe to spare.” That’s how the Observer (3) saw the North London Derby the following weekend. Tottenham seemed a different team back at The Lane. Baker and Jones (at his very best) returned to the side, as the players around him again found their sparkle and Spurs played some of their best football of the season in the first half. Julian Holland describing their play as ‘peacocks preening themselves before the adorning fans.’ It was however Arsenal that took the lead. Blanchflower inspired Spurs, John White centered and Les Allen put Spurs on level terms. Terry Neil who would later be Tottenham manager, before walking out on Spurs, to take over at Arsenal fouled Dyson and Blanchflower put Spurs in front from the spot.
Left - Feb 1961 and Terry Dyson and Les Allen 'jump to it'
watched by Cyril Poynton and Bill Watson.
The next goal saw Mackay play a ball towards Baker without looking to check he was there. Mackay then set off at full speed the Spurs players struggled to keep up with him and Arsenal shirts scattered to all sides trying to get close to a white shirt. Baker placed a forty yard ball back to Mackay who slots it on to Jones and then Smith only just has to roll the ball home.
Blanchflower is the master of midfield and Spurs ‘wove their tapestry of attack in designs of quick surprise,’ The Observer again. ‘Norman controlled the Arsenal forward line and White judged his passing with the icy precision of a matador.’
Into the second half and White’s curling shot was pushed out only to Allen and he made it 4-1. Arsenal did score again with a defected effort but the visitors quickly seemed to run out of energy and Tottenham sat back (with Smith hobbling) and played the game out in front of 65,251 (some having paid well over face value for tickets) as they won 4-2.
Another tale from that day, one of the Tottenham stewards opened a door after the gates have been locked when someone banging on the door claims to be the police. As he opens it about dozens of fans rush past him before he can get it closed again, some reports claim it could have been over a hundred).
The fans celebrate the first league double over the neigbours since 1955/56. January’s league programme ends with Spurs having played 27 games and 48 points, (the goal difference was now +53). Wolves were eight points back and Wednesday another four, who in turn were two ahead of Burnley
It was back to Cup action and Crewe arrived at The Lane with thoughts of their previous visit, in mind the season before when Tottenham won 13-2.
Their worst fears must have been in their minds as Tottenham started skillfully dissecting the defence. The Crewe side to knock the Spurs team out of their rhythm that was always unlikely to work with Smith and co in the side. The Crewe goalie seemed to manage to get in the way of many of the Spurs shots on target but kept his side in the game, with some saves that the press claimed should have earned him entry into the Magic Circle. Tottenham not looking at their best squander a number of chances.
Dyson headed the first after Smith had earlier missed an open goal. Smith got the second after Allen back heeled him free. Crewe got their goal approaching the break only to see Mackay head in from a corner before the half time whistle. In the second half Crewe posed little threat and Spurs scored again Jones after a cross from Dyson and Baker providing the ball for Allen to finish off the scoring, 5-1.
The month ends with the players being criticized by the FA and the press that there is ‘too much kissing and cuddling’ when a goal is scored.
Right - Maurice Norman
Top- Jones, Smith and Mackay
t- Keith 16024542
f - https://www.facebook.com/keith.harrison.9659
You can my full archive and Bio at - View Full Bio
Notes 1 – platform 13 - http://www.indiaspurs.com/blog/platform-13
2 – The matter ended up in the courts a couple of year s later. ‘As I understood it’ the main sticking point was that clubs could retain the player’s registration at the end of the contract if they offered you a new one. At least the players could now be paid ‘what they were worth.’
3 – The Observers reporter was John Arlott, more famous for his writings and broadcasting on cricket.
The rest of this series can be found at - http://www.indiaspurs.com/blog/the-double-chronicles
See also – Talking Tottenham, Adventure in N17 - http://www.indiaspurs.com/blog/talking-tottenham-adventures-in-n17
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