Ron Henry – Tottenham Hotspur Legend (2)


Ron Henry was an ever-present member of the Tottenham team which won the 1st Division title and the FA Cup ‘Double’ in 1960-61. Playing at left back he was an important part of the Tottenham successes of the early 1960s. He developed a good understanding with his full back partner, Peter Baker, and while others were making the headlines Henry was an unsung hero.

Henry had joined Spurs in 1953 as an amateur, turning professional two years later and making his debut against Huddersfield Town in April, 1955, playing at centre half. In each of the next two seasons, he made just one appearance in his traditional left back position. During the first half of season 1957-58 he again played only one solitary match but in February, 1958 he got his chance replacing the Welsh international, Mel Hopkins, who was injured playing for his country. Henry held his place for the final fourteen games of the season. At the start of the next season, Henry played in the opening two games but with Spurs losing heavily, Hopkins reclaimed the position and Henry played in only six more matches that year.

In November, 1959 Hopkins broke his nose on international duty and Henry came in as his replacement. He played throughout that season and over the next three seasons missed only one game, through injury, in April, 1962. A reliable player, he was rarely injured and having waited patiently, his opportunity came and he was part of Tottenham’s greatest ever team as they won the League title, two FA Cup Finals and the European Cup Winners’ Cup trophy in 1963.

Ron Henry won just one England cap, aged 29 years, being selected for Alf Ramsey’s first match as manager in February, 1963. Unfortunately, for Henry, England lost 2 – 5 to France and he never  had another opportunity to stake a late claim to an international career.

In season 1963-64 he made 29 League appearances and the following year he captained the side in place of the injured Dave Mackay, playing in all but one of the League matches. That was his last season as a regular – he made just one further appearance, Cyril Knowles having established himself at left back. His final first team appearance was during the Christmas fixtures in December, 1965. He replaced the injured Knowles for the return match against Sheffield United on 28th December, with Spurs winning 3 – 1, having won the home game the previous day by a single goal.

In total, Ron Henry made 287 League and Cup appearances for Tottenham.  He scored only one goal but it was worth waiting for as it came in his final full season, in February 1965, the only goal against Manchester United at White Hart Lane.

Troubled by injury he stepped down to the reserve team where he played for another four seasons, using his experience to help the development of the younger players and then on retiring from playing he assisted by coaching the junior teams at Spurs for many years.

Ron Henry was a loyal Spurs player.  He was a sound defender and had great positional sense. Henry is now in failing health and in a care home suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

Tottenham’s ‘Two Ronnies’

As Tottenham open their pre-season programme at Stevenage on Wednesday evening, there is a connection with Ron Henry. The Tottenham ‘Legend’s grandson, Ronnie, played in the Stevenage team which opposed Spurs in the FA Cup last season. After seven years with the club he joined non-League Luton Town in May, 2012.

Ronnie, was on Tottenham’s books as a junior and progressed through the reserves to the verge of the first team but apart from a few appearances in friendlies didn’t make it into the first team.  Having left Tottenham, he at first had difficulty finding a club but established himself with Stevenage in the Conference and has helped them to promotion to the Football League and into League One.