1962 Match report - FA Cup semi-final [Photo: Logan Holmes]

Tottenham Defeat Manchester United in 1962 FA Cup Semi-Final

As the month of March came to an end in 1962 Tottenham were still battling for trophies on three fronts. They defeated Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough on the last day of the month to set up an exciting final six weeks of what had been a hectic season in the FA Cup, European Cup and 1st Division.

As we approach the final weeks of another season, it seems an appropriate time to revive the #knowyourtottenhamhistory feature which looks at what happened to Spurs on a particular day in their glorious past. The months of April and May are the time when many crucial matches are played which determine the success or failure of a season and over the next few weeks I hope to revive some memorable occasions in Tottenham’s history.

It Happened On This Day: 31st March, 1962

Tottenham were attempting to retain the FA Cup which they had won in completing the previous season’s ‘Double’. This time around they had seen off the challenges of Birmingham City, after a 3rd Round replay, Plymouth Argyle, West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa. Now Manchester United stood in the way as they looked to make a second visit to Wembley.

United were in the lower half of the League but it would be a difficult game as the teams had drawn 2-2 at White Hart Lane and Spurs had lost by the only goal of the game earlier in the season at Old Trafford.

The following day’s match report written by Alan Hoby had the following opening paragraph under the headline:


Wonder move outclasses
Manchester United

Spurs have reached Wembley for the second successive year. In yet another big-match display of arrogant and regal elegance, they crushed those ex-kings of Soccer, Manchester United, before 65,000 fans at Hillsborough yesterday.’

Jimmy Greaves’ opening goal after 3 minutes in 1962 FA Cup semi-final. [Photo: Logan Holmes]

The goals from Jimmy Greaves, Terry Medwin and Cliff Jones ensured that Spurs won comfortably and returned to Wembley to meet Burnley, the team they defeated in the previous year’s semi-final. Greaves and Jones gave Spurs a two goal half-time lead. The opening goal came after three minutes from Greaves with Jones adding the second on 24 minutes, rising high above the defenders to head home a perfect cross from the right delivered by John White.

A battling United scored with seven minutes remaining but Medwin ensured Spurs’ victory, scoring three minutes later. It was a goal of perfection which Hoby described, ‘Moving the ball at strolling pace, time wasting with nonchalance, they mounted a leisurely yet breathtaking attack down the right wing.’

The move involved Cliff Jones, White and resulted in Medwin heading the third, ‘like the ferocious stab of a bayonet – a killer goal, and it heralded the end for this slow-thinking and unimaginative United side.’

Team: Brown; Baker, Henry; Blanchflower, Norman, Mackay; Medwin, White, Smith, Greaves, Jones

I love the descriptive powers of old reports when the reporters had to provide precise detail for their readers, as only a very small percentage of their readers had been fortunate enough to be at the game. They were great times for Tottenham, outclassing Manchester United – how we would all love a return to the success that Spurs enjoyed in the early 1960s. Could it happen this year? Here’s hoping!

Over To You (For older readers):

Where you there that day in 1962? What are your memories of that game?


Tags: 1962 FA Cup Semi-final Knowyourtottenhamhistory Manchester United Soccer Tottenham Hotspur

  • http://www.facebook.com/beverly.newman.31 Beverly Newman

    I was at the game and my biggest memory was all the seat cushions coming out of the main stand when Terry Medwin scored the third goal. Spurs at that time was the best team I have ever seen, they were irristable. I was 18 years of age at the time.
    Mike Newman

    • Logan Holmes

      Thanks for that – always love to hear comments from fans who were fortunate enough to be at these big games in Spurs history. It must have been a fantastic time to support Tottenham. Unfortunately I just missed the ‘glory, glory year’ starting to follow Spurs in 1964-65.

  • barry shotter

    i was also at the game fantastic game,fantastic team,great players(not like the over payed cry babies of today)that play for the top teams in the world.the football we played in those years was so simple and sublime that it was beyond belief.i was one of the lucky ones to be around in those days of GLORY GLORY
    i am still a season ticket holder and live in cornwall go to as many games as i can

    • Logan Holmes

      Good to hear that – reading the match report of the third goal – the superlatives are flowing from the reporters pen just like the Tottenham football. That period in the early 60s there were so many outstanding performances – it was an amazing team that Bill Nicholson brought together.

      Are you going on Thursday?


  • Azman

    I was just a 9 yr old boy then in this far away land in South East Asia. But 4 yrs later in 1966 I watched the highlights of the 1962 final against Burnley before the main feature was shown on the Sat Movie night at my Boarding School. We had no TV back then. We only had the sports reports in the local newspapers to know what was happening in the English Football league. I was a Liverpool supporter since they appeared most in the papers that I read. But from that night onwards I have been a Spurs man till now and probably will be for the rest of my life. Brown took over Yashin’s place as the goalkeeper in my team !

    • Logan Holmes

      The 1962 FA Cup final was my first introduction to Tottenham but didn’t start taking an interest until 1964-65 season. Shame I missed such a successful period but I’ve been with them ever since.