Bill Nicholson [Photo: Logan Holmes]

Tottenham On This Day: Bill Nicholson Goes On Trial At Spurs

On this day, in 1936, the Tottenham Weekly Herald reported that Bill Nicholson had started out on his footballing career at Tottenham.

Tottenham on this Day

13th March, 1936

On this day, 78 years ago, one six line paragraph in the Tottenham Weekly Herald, headlined ‘On Trial’, stated,

“Spurs are giving a month’s trial to an amateur Wm. E. Nicholson, an inside right of Scarborough Working Man’s Club. He recently celebrated his 17th birthday. His height is 5ft 8 ins and weight 10st 12 lbs.”

And so Bill Nicholson arrived at Tottenham Hotspur where he served with distinction as a player, coach and manager. After a brief period away from White Hart Lane he was brought back by Keith Burkinshaw as a Consultant and later became Club President until passing away in 2004, aged 85 years.

Bill Nicholson’s Playing Record at Tottenham

1938 – 1954

League:  App. 314  Goals: 6
FA Cup:  App. 27

In her excellent book, The Biography of Tottenham Hotspur, Julie Welch, details Bill Nicholson’s early days at Spurs. After his successful trial, he signed as a ground-staff boy for £2 a week, on the same day as Ron Burgess. The pair lived in digs near the ground and spent most of their time helping the groundsman with little time devoted to football training. That came on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and then on Saturday the pair would travel by coach with the other ground-staff boys to catch a train to Northfleet where they played in the Kent Senior League for the local club, Northfleet United..

Many Tottenham players from that period before and after the 2nd World War developed through Spurs links with Northfleet which was used as a nursery club. Progress was quick and Nicholson made his League debut for Tottenham at Blackburn Rovers in 1938-39. The rest is history as after the war Nicholson was an integral part of Arthur Rowe’s ‘Push and Run’ team which won the 2nd and 1st Division in successive seasons.

Managerial Record

IMG_0866League and Cup Double – 1960-61
FA Cup – 1962, 1967
League Cup – 1971, 1973
European Cup Winners’ Cup – 1963
UEFA Cup – 1972

 Having retired in 1954, Nicholson took on a coaching role with Tottenham and became manager on that day in October, 1958 when they defeated Everton 10 – 4 at White Hart Lane. From battling against relegation, Nicholson took the club to the top of English football with the ‘Double’ and challenging as one of the best club’s in Europe.

Through his time as manager, Tottenham enjoyed many great and memorable times. Nicholson dedicated his life to the club and will never be forgotten.


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