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.
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.
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.
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.
COME ON YOU SPURS!
Make this your personal diary: What is your earliest memory of Spurs?