A Lifetime Of Supporting Tottenham – Earliest Memory

That Penalty - Blanchflower In 1962 FA Cup Final - my earliest memory. [Photo: Logan Holmes]

That Penalty – Blanchflower In 1962 FA Cup Final – my earliest memory. [Photo: Logan Holmes]

This is a personal diary of 49 years of supporting Tottenham. As I wrote yesterday, the win over Forest on 28th December 1964 marked the start of my lifetime of following Spurs but strangely it’s not my earliest memory of Tottenham, that came a few years earlier.


Related Article:

A Lifetime of Supporting Tottenham – In The Beginning: Read more

I became hooked on Tottenham that day in 1964 and have never been released. I missed the glory, glory years of Bill Nicholson’s ‘Double’ team but my first memory of Spurs goes back to just over two years earlier and the 1962 FA Cup Final.

Tottenham The Glory Glory Game by Spurs Writers Club

Tottenham The Glory Glory Game by Spurs Writers Club

As I recounted in the book, Tottenham The Glory, Glory Game by the Spurs’ Writers’ Club produced under the editorship of the esteemed writer and former Chief Football writer with the Daily Express, Norman Giller, I can remember watching Tottenham triumph over Burnley at Wembley to retain the trophy they’d won as part of the ‘double’ success the previous year.

5th May, 1962

It was in a furniture store in Belfast as my parents selected a dining room suite that I watched part of the game on a black and white television set along with a couple of the shop assistants. Coming from Northern Ireland the presence of Danny Blanchflower in the Spurs team and Jimmy McIlroy for Burnley gave the game added local interest.

My recollection of Danny Blanchflower calmly scoring the third goal from the penalty spot to secure Tottenham’s victory may come more from the photograph I have of the goal rather than from actually watching it that day but it’s there locked in my mind while many other things from that time as a nine-year old are long gone.

Taking the extract from Glory, Glory Tottenham Hotspur, I wrote,

‘Tottenham won the Cup, the dining room suite was purchased and I went home with no more interest in football than I’d had when I’d wakened that morning. Unbeknown to me, however, a tiny ‘seed’ of Tottenham Hotspur had been sown deep in the dark recesses of my mind but it would be like a very slow growing plant which would need nourishment and take some considerable time to develop.

The ‘seed’ lay dormant for over two years and so I missed out on the European campaign which culminated in that wonderful evening in Rotterdam in May, 1963 when Spurs became the first British club to win a European trophy as they demolished Atletico Madrid by five goals to one in the final of the European Cup Winners‘ Cup

That Photograph - Spurs in the summer of 1964. [Photo: Logan Holmes]

That Photograph – Spurs in the summer of 1964. [Photo: Logan Holmes]

In the summer of 1964, the Tottenham ‘seed’ received a little nurturing. While on holiday in the south of England, for some unaccountable reason, I tore a photograph of the Spurs squad from my uncle’s copy of the Daily Express and took it home with me. The article which accompanied the picture detailed how Spurs’ fortunes had changed in the previous couple of years. 

Harry Langton wrote, ‘The club was on top of the world two years ago as F.A. Cup winners for the second successive year and European Cup semi-finalists. They were still top fourteen months ago when they won the European Cup Winners’ Cup. Since then there have been few joys for Spurs.‘  

He went on to detail the injuries to Terry Medwin and Dave Mackay, the retirement of Danny Blanchflower, the departure of Bobby Smith and the tragic loss of the late John White but despite those set-backs, he reported that Spurs were looking forward to the new season with optimism.

My collection of Tottenham memorabilia had started but that was it – a photograph. The following December when the BBC news showed the goals from the Christmas fixtures it was Tottenham’s win over Nottingham Forest at White Hart Lane which stirred my interest again.’

I was hooked and have never been released. As I noted yesterday, following Tottenham affects your whole life – mood swings related to the club’s success or failure, arranging outings and family events around Spurs games and now that I’m retired taking hoiidays and short breaks during the internationals so as not to miss a Tottenham game. Even yesterday, I was able to take my wife on a post-Christmas treat of afternoon tea in a Belfast hotel as the Spurs game had been re-arranged for this afternoon – we’ll have to go out early for today’s walk, weather permitting.

Stoke Next

As I wrote in the preview for the West Brom game, a win for Tottenham is essential to keep them in touch with the other top teams. Having failed to achieve that on Boxing Day, it is even more important this afternoon or the Spurs season is going to be over especially with a trip to Old Trafford on New Year’s Day. United are now 3 points ahead of us and we’re 5 behind Liverpool in 4th place. There’s no room for anymore slip ups from Tim Sherwood’s team.

My biggest concern about Stoke’s visit today is their 5 – 1 thrashing at Newcastle on Thursday. You just know that Mark Hughes will have read the riot act to his players and demanded a response and that they ‘ll battle and defend as if their lives depended on it. It’s happened so often before but will Spurs manage to overcome their dogged determination?

Let’s hope so.


Make this your personal diary: What is your earliest memory of Spurs?


Tags: Danny Blanchflower Earliest Memory FA Cup Final Soccer Tottenham Hotspur

  • Gary Fox

    Me too…..the Spurs v Burnley Final when I was 6 started the obsession of a small boy from a small yorkshire town. It wasnt the win…..it was the name. In a world of uniteds and citys and towns and rovers there was only one hotspur. And it was the name of my favourite comic too! So when everyone at my school supported Leeds and their brand of thuggish anti-football I had Greaves and Gilzean as my heroes. They had Norman Hunter……I had Danny Blanchflower. Its that difference…..that romanticism. …..that subtlety that keeps me watching and supporting to this day. We Spurs fans are the keepers of the flame…..which is why we are endlessly disappointed, like Russian emigrees waiting for the Tsar to return. Our history defines and limits us……we have to win the Spurs way otherwise it doesnt count. We prefer Alfie Conn to Johnny Pratt; Berbatov to Bent; we wrap our history around ourselves like a security blanket against the taunts of those arrivistas Chelsea and Arsenal. Tottenham till we die.

    • Logan Holmes

      Thanks for that, Gary.

      I always enjoyed the Hotspur comic too and I was given an old copy of the Hotspur annual which contained a potted history of Spurs – that added to my interest in the past glories of the club. i still have that section of the annual amongst my other Tottenham memorabilia.

      We’ve always appreciated the exciting, flair players at Spurs – Cliff Jones, Glen Hoddle, David Ginola. COYS!

  • superspur

    My earliest memory was Billy Nick’s first game as manager in 1958. We beat Everton 10-4. Enough said!

    • Logan Holmes

      What a way to start! And many more good years to follow. Did you see the ‘double’ team in action?

    • John M

      I was at that game and Evertons goalkeeper whom I think was Albert Dunlop had a really sore back at the end of the game. It was a fantastic win for us.

  • norman pelling

    My memory goes back even further than most of you. My first memory is of the
    fa cup semi final against blackpool when we were winning 1-0 and alf ramsey
    attempted a back pass to ted ditchburn which was intercepted and we eventually
    lost 4-1! But my father took me to many games when I was a small boy and loved
    every minute. Another memory was when we play Sunderland in the fa cup.
    Cant remember the year but they were top of the old Division one and we were top of division two. In those days there was no segregation of supporters so all
    visitors were spread around the ground. We thrashed them 5-1 and some
    sunderland supporters near us said they had never seen football like it. Arthur
    Rowe was manager at the time and we played the old push and run system which was very good to watch and also very effective.
    I have always enjoyed our philosophy of playing attacking football even though it
    probably has cost us the pleasure of winning more trophies than we did.
    My disappointments have followed false dawns so many I have lost count! But
    am always optimistic. Come on you Spurs!!

    • Logan Holmes

      Thanks Norman. We were so close to the final in that cup game against Blackpool and so unusual for Ramsey to be the player to make a mistake.

      We beat Sunderland in 1949-50 as spurs made their way to the 2nd Division title and promotion. There was over 66,000 in WHL for that game.

      There have been so many false dawns where unfortunately we’ve quiet often been the cause of our own downfall.


      • norman pelling

        thanks for the info re sunderland match – I was there but couldnt
        remember the year! As spurs supporters we all know what its
        like. If only we could get things right for once we could have a great future. At least TS has made a reasonable start with 7 points from first three games. The next week will be interesting
        playing Man U in league and Arsenal in cup. If we can get
        something from both games that would be fantastic! Going back
        to the past I remember being at whl against Southampton when
        there were 72,000 (in the second division!) Boy that was packed!! I attended every home game in the double year and
        if you didnt get to the ground an hour before kick off there wasnt much chance of getting in. We definitely need a new
        stadium with 60,000 plus capacity as we have a massive fan base. The next few weeks will define our season I think. The last few weeks, the games have come thick and fast and there hasnt been much time for the new manager to have extensive time
        with the squad letting them know exactly what he wants from them and also the injured players coming back to play will also make a big difference. How we miss Vertonghen Kaboul Sandro.

        • Logan Holmes

          We really do need a new stadium but it’s taking so long to get there – I sometimes wonder if they really intend to build it!

  • george

    Mine goes back to 1935, then I am 82 and still think that Spurs are the best team around. I lost my leg due to a football accident in 1950 bt I have been able to go to many games both home and aboard and I have been to every cup final during that time. During ww2 my brother and I went to evry game in th wartime London league. I was also fortunate to have been employed part-time in the old Chanticleer club. I now look forward to the club being EPL Champions in my 80th year of supporting Spurs. (Before would br nice)

    • Logan Holmes

      Thanks George. We all keep hoping that’s going to happen – can never give up in case this’ll be the year.

      You’ll have some great memories from the late 30s and into the Push and Run team – watching the development of that team with the arrival of so many good young players at WHL at the same time – Ted Ditchburn, Bill Nicholson, Ron Burgess, Len Duquemin, Sonny Walters, Eddie Baily – a great team which Arthur Rowe brought together so well. if it hadn’t been for the outbreak of war, that Spurs team could have been wining trophies through the 1940s and think how many appearances they’d have made for Spurs.


  • george

    Logan, I think those lads would have been a bit too young at the outbreak of war they were around during the 50′s. We had the likes of Willie and Albert Hall (I don’t think they were related) the two players that stand out in my mind were a goalkeeper called Percy Hooper and a right back ???? Butcher. As you say some of the great players were the Ditchburns, the Blanchflowers, and Bobby Smith and many many more. Tottenham Hotspur are a great club and have given me so many good memories (& a few heartache’s)

  • Logan Holmes

    From Eddie Wright on Facebook:

    I have been going to the Lane since 1945, but my earliest big memory was
    Jan 28th 1950, when we beat the mighty Sunderland in the FA Cup
    5-1….They were the in the 1st division, & the richest team
    then….They came to the Lane expecting to thrash the 2nd division team
    easily….They scored first….But the Mighty Spurs then scored 5 ( Les
    Bennett (2), Sonny Walters (2) & Les Medley….Crowd was over 66,
    000 I stood in the boys enclosure, on the corner of Park Lane….The
    old push & run team were a joy to watch….COYS!!….

  • Logan Holmes

    From Alex Gaffarena on Facebook:

    Martin Chivers on ‘The Big Match’ on a Sunday afternoon & deciding
    Tottenham were the team for me. They’ve been stuck with me ever since !

  • John M

    I saw my first game 58 years ago when Ted Ditchburn, George Robb, Len Duquemin and I am not sure if Tommy Harmer was playing then. He was king of the penalty takers usually bottom left hand corner. I saw some great games in my teens and always enjoyed the European evening games. Then on to the double team who were fantastic to watch and Dave Mackay was one of my favourite players along with Bobby Smith and then Jimmy Greaves who was a fantastic goal poacher. Great memories.

    • Logan Holmes

      You’ll have great memories of some fantastic players and some amazing matches, especially the European nights in the 60s with WHL packed to the rafters.

      Thanks for your contribution, John. COYS!

  • spurs62

    My Spurs debut was on 22 December 1962, Spurs 4 West Ham 4.
    Saw Spurs 0 Stoke 0 on 22 December 2012, the 50th anniversary !


    I started following SPURS in 1948 with a friend ALAN, we lived in Sandringham Rd. Hackney, and we went to all the home games and lots of away games all in the push and run days, We had tour of the stadium by Ted Ditchburn, if anyone from that area might know me please contact me. COYS