In 1962-63 Tottenham became the first British club to win a European trophy with their success in the European Cup Winners’ Cup. The previous season, Spurs had just failed to reach the Final of the European Cup competition but had qualified for the Cup Winners’ Cup by retaining the FA Cup with a victory over Burnley at Wembley. Tottenham’s 1962-63 success gave Spurs another first to add to their collection.
Tottenham Triumphant in Europe
Atletico Madrid 1 Tottenham Hotspur 5
Tottenham had been disappointed not to have achieved the ultimate prize of lifting the previous season’s European Cup and were rightly aggrieved at the nature of the semi-final dismissal by Benfica. The FA Cup victory over Burnley, however, assured them of another European campaign and another chance of Cup glory. The journey to the Final in Rotterdam took in four countries – Scotland and the former countries of Czechoslavakia and Yugoslavia.
Road to the Final
1st Round (1st Leg) v Glasgow Rangers (h) Won 5 – 2 Norman, Allen, White (2), Opp. o.g.
For the first game which had been built up as the ‘Battle of Britain’ only Bobby Smith was absent from the Tottenham side which had successfully retained the FA Cup a few months earlier. Les Allen was the automatic replacement and he showed his value to the team by scoring Spurs’ third goal. There was great rivalry ahead of this game with Spurs having three Scots in their team – Bill Brown, Dave Mackay and John White who had been so pivotal in Spurs’ success of the previous two seasons.
John White was the star of the night in a hard fought match which was all about pride. He headed Spurs first goal after four minutes from a Jimmy Greaves corner but Rangers equalised five minutes later. Another Greaves corner enabled White to head his second before Les Allen made it three. The Rangers defence were under pressure and conceded an own goal for 4-1 but almost immediately Rangers managed to score a second. Ten minutes from time another Greaves’ corner saw Maurice Norman score the fifth and final goal. This result gave Spurs a comfortable lead to take to the second leg at Ibrox Park.
1st Round (2nd Leg) v Glasgow Rangers (a) Won 3 – 2 Smith (2), Greaves (Agg. Won 8 – 4)
Bobby Smith returned for this game and contributed two goals as Tottenham progressed to the next round and silenced the partisan Rangers fans in the 80,000 crowd packed in to Ibrox. Jimmy Greaves started the misery for them after eight minutes when he scored Tottenham’s first to give them an unassailable four goal aggregate advantage. Bobby Smith, returning to the team for the first time since August, started the move which gave Spurs a lead they held until half-time. Two minutes after the interval, however, Rangers levelled but three minutes later Spurs regained the lead through Smith who scored from White’s cross. With fifteen minutes remaining, Rangers again equalised but four minutes from time Smith completed the scoring and justified Bill Nicholson’s decision to drop Allen.
2nd Round (1st Leg) v Slovan Bratislava (a) Lost 0 – 2
Tottenham were fortunate to get off so lightly in a game where they were out-classed and out-played. Only two goals behind, they still had a chance to progress but it could have been so much worse. Tony Marchi replaced the injured Danny Blanchflower who had been missing since the win in Glasgow. Frank Saul replaced Terry Medwin on the right with instructions to work back in defence if it wasn’t going well for Spurs. On a heavy, muddy pitch Spurs found themselves a goal down after half an hour and two behind ten minutes into the second half. Fortunately, the home side were satisfied with that scoreline and failed to take the extra goals that were there for the taking as Bill Brown made a number of important saves to keep Spurs in the tie.
2nd Round (2nd Leg) v Slovan Bratislava (h) Won 6 – 0 Mackay, White, Smith, Greaves (2), Jones (Agg. Won 6 – 2)
Tottenham opened determined to put the visitors under intense pressure from the outset but it wasn’t until a nine minute spell after half an hour that saw them regain the initiative in this tie at White Hart Lane. They had taken the visitors by storm with Mackay leading from the front but the goalkeeper had kept Smith and Jones at bay. Mackay pulled one goal back from near the by-line after thirty one minutes, then Greaves levelled the score and Smith put them ahead, ten minutes before half-time. White Hart Lane which had been in a frenzy was now rocking. In the second half, Mel Hopkins who was playing in place of Peter Baker, hit the cross bar. Twenty minutes in Greaves scored his second and with fifteen minutes remaining Cliff Jones and White both scored within a minute. Spurs were in the semi-finals.
Semi-Final (1st Leg) v OFK Belgrade (a) Won 2 – 1 White, Dyson
Spurs returned to London with a goal advantage from the first game thanks to a goal from Terry Dyson, twenty minutes from time. By then Spurs had been playing with ten men for fifteen minutes after the shock of having had Jimmy Greaves dismissed for the first time in his career. He was dismissed for kicking out at a Belgrade defender and became the first Tottenham player to be sent off in a competitive match for nearly forty years. Spurs with ten men, however, were even more accomplished and deservedly took a lead into the second leg match.
John Smith played in midfield in place of Cliff Jones and Terry Dyson returned on the left wing. John White had put Tottenham ahead after twenty six minutes of the first half only for OFK to level from a penalty nine minutes before the break. Tottenham had one foot in the Final with the home leg to come.
Semi-Final (2nd Leg) v OFK Belgrade (h) Won 3 – 1 Mackay, Smith, Jones (Agg. Won 5 – 2)
Danny Blanchflower had returned to fitness and captained a side without the suspended Greaves. Marchi retained his place with Mackay moving forward and scoring the first goal. Jones returned on the right wing with John Smith dropping out. While the scoreline suggests comfortable progress to the Final, it was far from it with the Spurs defence putting in an heroic performance. Mackay was everywhere – stopping OFK one moment, then creating and scoring the next. Spurs took the lead after half an hour, only for the visitors to level six minutes later. In the midst of all the Totenham anxiety Blanchflower remained calm and from his controlled pass Mackay set up Dyson to score two minutes before half-time. Spurs survived an early second half onslaught from OFK before Smith headed the third which secured the passage to the Final in Rotterdam.
Final v Atletico Madrid (Rotterdam) Won 5 – 1 Greaves (2), White, Dyson (2)
Tottenham went into the Final without Dave Mackay due to injury. Tony Marchi replaced him but it was a player who rarely received recognition who stepped up and made himself a hero – Terry Dyson. It is said that Bill Nicholson was too profuse in his praise of the Atletico players before the game but Blanchflower spoke up to remind everyone of the talent and achievements of Spurs in previous three seasons. Tottenham survived the nervous opening minutes and were two goals ahead by the interval through Greaves and White. They conceded an early penalty in the second half but then Dyson came to the rescue, inspiring all around him. Spurs weathered the expected storm and when Dyson scored the third after an hour, Spurs were on course once again. Greaves quickly added a fourth following Dyson’s cross and the left winger completed a wonderful evening for himself and Spurs by scoring the fifth. Dyson had scored twice and created two other goals as Spurs became the first British team to win a European trophy – a great night to remember for the 4,000 who had travelled over for the game.
The Unsung Hero – Terry Dyson
Terry Dyson was the unexpected hero on a great night for Spurs. At the end of the game Bobby Smith jokingly suggested he should retire immediately as he’d never play as well again. Dyson, a left winger, had joined Spurs in December, 1954 and made his League debut the following March against Sheffield United at White Hart Lane. For the next six seasons, however, he made only 37 appearances being understudy to George Robb, Terry Medwin and Cliff Jones.
It was only at the start of the 1960 – 61 season that he managed to become a regular in the team, making 40 League and 7 Cup appearances, scoring 17 goals including the second goal of the Final against Leicester City, having created the first for Bobby Smith, as Spurs clinched the ‘Double’. He then lost his place in the team to Terry Medwin for the 1962 Final but regained it towards the end of the 1962 – 63 season. In the semi-final and Final (three games) of the European Cup Winners’ Cup competition Dyson scored three goals and created four. It was a tremendous night for Tottenham and Terry Dyson and as he admits himself, it was the best game he ever played for Spurs.
Dyson remained at Tottenham until joining Fulham in the summer of 1965 for £5,000. He made 209 League and Cup appearances for Spurs, scoring 55 goals. He also holds the distinction of being the only Tottenham player to score a hat-trick against Arsenal. He achieved that in August, 1962 in a 4 – 3 win at White Hart Lane.