Maurice Norman playing against Man Utd, a month before his injury. [Photo: Logan Holmes]

Tottenham On This Day (3): Injury In Friendly Ends Defender’s Career


Tottenham On This Day

18th November, 1965

Tottenham Hotspur 4 Hungarian Select XI 0 (Friendly)

Scorers: Gilzean (3), Mackay (pen)

Photo: by Karl footysphere from flickr.com

Photo: by Karl footysphere from flickr.com

Spurs had a comfortable win in this friendly against a Hungarian Select XI at White Hart Lane but it came at a cost. ‘Double’ winning centre half, Maurice Norman broke his leg in five places and eventually had to retire from football following a two year battle to regain full fitness.

Spurs goals were scored by Dave Mackay with a penalty and a hat-trick from Alan Gilzean.

Maurice Norman

Maurice Norman had joined Tottenham from Norwich City in November, 1955 for a fee of £28,000 with winger Johnny Gavin moving to Carrow Road. He had played at centre half for Norwich but on joining Spurs he played at right back through the remainder of that season. The following season he was injured and was out for six months returning initially at left back. Before the season ended, however, he took over in central defence. It was in October, 1957 that he eventually claimed the centre-half position for his own.

Norman remained the central pivot of the Tottenham defence for the next seven seasons as Spurs won the ‘Double’, a second FA Cup and the ECWC. He missed only one game in the 1960-61 season and was rarely missing from the team through those successful years.

Maurice Norman being carried off WHL pitch. [Photo: Logan Holmes]

Maurice Norman being carried off WHL pitch. [Photo: Logan Holmes]

At the start of the 1965-66 season Norman returned to right back and was an ever-present through the opening 16 games. The injury in the friendly brought his career to a sudden and unexpected end. It was so severe that Norman never recovered and despite his gallant efforts to make a come-back he was forced to announce his retirement from the game in the summer of 1967.

Norman made over 400 League and Cup appearances for Spurs and scored 19 goals. He was one of the first defenders to go forward for corners and set-pieces and Spurs benefited greatly from the crucial goals he scored. He played for England, winning a total of 23 caps.

Maurice Norman was an excellent centre-half and will always be remembered for his contribution to Spurs success in the early 1960s and the cruel way his career was brought to an end.

Tags: Friendly Match Injury Maurice Norman Soccer Tottenham Hotspur

  • Util

    I was at that game as a kid and you could hear the crack as his leg broke all around the ground. Everyone knew it was really bad and the crowd went silent, quite eerie. He was in good form and being tipped for an England return at the time I recall.

    “Gilzean got a hat trick” oh for another centre forward like Gillie. He’d have worked well with Soldado

    • Logan Holmes

      An injury like that is one of those moments you’d have preferred not to have been present for. There’s always such an eerie silence, Was a very disappointing way for such a distinguished career to come to a premature end especially as he was playing so well at right back.

      We could do with a player like Gilzean for his goals and assists to create for scoring opportunities for Soldado.