Bill Nicholson, was appointed today, 11th October, in 1958. It was announced on th..."/> Bill Nicholson, was appointed today, 11th October, in 1958. It was announced on th..."/>

11th October 1958 Bill Nicholson’s First Match as Tottenham Manager


Bill Nicholson appointed Tottenham manager in October, 1958

Tottenham’s greatest manager, Bill Nicholson, was appointed today, 11th October, in 1958. It was announced on the morning of the home match against Everton but with the manager’s position vacant, following the resignation of Jimmy Anderson, Spurs had interviewed Nicholson who was the first-team coach and offered him the manager’s position a few days earlier, on 8th October. He had had no thoughts about becoming a manager and would have preferred to remain as a coach but realised that a new manager may appoint someone else to that role so he accepted the position.

11th October, 1958 

Tottenham Hotspur 10 Everton 4

Scorers: Ryden, Medwin, Harmer, Smith (4), Stokes (2), Robb

What a way for Bill Nicholson to start his managerial career. Appointed on the morning of the match the players responded and produced this outstanding result – a sign of the great times ahead at White Hart Lane when ‘Sir’ Bill was in charge.

With only three victories and nine points in the opening eleven games, Spurs’ season was in danger of becoming a struggle against relegation. They were only one place off the bottom of the League when Nicholson took charge and his first decision was to restore Tommy Harmer to the team and he helped to inspire Spurs to an incredible victory.

Spurs were 6-1 ahead at half-time and the goal scorers were Bobby Smith(4), Alf Stokes(2), Johnny Ryden, Terry Medwin, Tommy Harmer and George Robb.

Alf Stokes opened the scoring for Spurs but Jimmy Harris equalised for Everton. Bobby Smith and George Robb added two more before Smith, Stokes and Terry Medwin scored before the interval. Harris scored a second for the visitors early in the second half but then Smith and Tommy Harmer took the score to 8 – 2. Harris completed his hat-trick but Smith scored his fourth. Bobby Collins scored Everton’s fourth but centre half Johnny Ryden scored Tottenham’s tenth.

Nicholson in 1961 with the ‘Double’ trophies

No-one realised that this was only an introduction to the excitement and success that Nicholson was to bring to the club over the next sixteen years.

Team: Hollowbread; Baker, Hopkins; Blanchflower, Ryden, Iley; Medwin, Harmer, Smith, Stokes, Robb

Harmer Stars against Everton

Tommy Harmer

Tommy Harmer was known as ‘The Charmer’ and as a player he spanned the years between the ‘Push and Run’ team of the 1950s and ‘The Double’ side of the 1960s but missed out on both. He joined Spurs as an amateur in 1948 and made his debut in September, 1951 against Bolton. He played 222 League and Cup games before signing for Watford in October, 1960 having lost his place in the first team to John White. He was loved by supporters with supreme tricks and skills on the ball.  Lightly built in the rugged midfield battle of those days he was frequently the inspiration for Spurs best performances having taken over from Eddie Baily as the creative influence in the team. He was at his best in Bill Nicholson’s first game as manager, when the new manager restored him to the team. He was the creator behind the 10 – 4 win over Everton and even managed a goal for himself.

As Bill Nicholson congratulated his team on a magnificent performance, Tommy Harmer turned to his new boss and said,

"“We won’t win 10 – 4 every week, y’know!”"

At first, having signed John White from Falkirk in 1959, Nicholson tried to play both Harmer and White in his team but eventually opted for the Scot.

In the book about the late John White, ‘The Ghost of White Hart Lane’, Harmer is described as, ‘though he was small, he was a giant’ and Julian Holland wrote, ‘Harmer was a truly great player. His tragedy was that his gifts were never fully suited to the type of play current at Tottenham. Under Rowe he was too static.  Under Anderson he was denied colleagues quick and responsive enough to turn his genius into Champion-ship winning football.  Under Nicholson he lacked the mobility that the new manager looked for. Nor could he supply rapid improvisational touches that Nicholson knew were necessary to overcome planned, coherent defences in 1961.’

Harmer spent two years with Watford before moving to Chelsea as a player/coach and helped them win promotion.

#knowyourtottenhamhistory  10th October, 1960  ‘Double’ Team drop first points of the season