Tottenham On This Day: Bill Nicholson Revisited By Norman Giller


Bill Nicholson in 1967 [Photo: Logan Holmes]It was on this day, 26th January, 1919, in Scarborough that Tottenham’s greatest manager was born. Bill Nicholson came down to Tottenham in 1936, made his first team debut in October, 1938 and served Spurs as a loyal player until moving into coaching in 1955. He made 395 appearances for the club and was at the heart of the team which won promotion as 2nd Division champions in 1949-50 and then lifted the 1st Division title the following season.

Bill Nicholson [Photo: Logan Holmes]After a successful playing career he became a coach and on 11th October, 1958 stepped up to become manager, marking the occasion with a 10 – 4 win over Everton at White Hart Lane. That was an indication of what was to lie ahead for Tottenham under Bill Nicholson. From then until he stepped down in 1974, Spurs won the Double, retained the FA Cup and became the first British club to win a European trophy when lifting the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1963. In 1967  another FA Cup triumph was followed by two League Cup victories in the early 1970s and a UEFA Cup win in 1972.

Great success enjoyed by Nicholson’s teams who played with style and a desire to entertain. After a brief period away from White Hart Lane Bill Nicholson returned as a consultant and then Club President.

Sir Bill will always have a place in the hearts of every Tottenham fan.

"It’s been my life, Tottenham Hotspur, and I love the club."

Bill Nicholson Revisited by Norman Giller

The above was just a brief resume of Bill Nicholson’s career with Tottenham but Norman Giller’s latest book, Bill Nicholson Revisited – The Master of White Hart Lane is an excellent personal memoir of Bill Nicholson based on conversations that the esteemed journalist and writer had with the great man during a period of over 40 years.

Giller who has written many books on Spurs first met Bill Nicholson when he was a young reporter and had been granted an audience with the Tottenham manager in late December, 1958. Nicholson had been appointed Spurs manager a few weeks earlier and the young reporter had been told he could have five minutes in the manager’s office just off the Tottenham High Road. Over an hour later the meeting came to a close and the retelling of that interview provides a fascinating insight into Bill Nicholson as a man and a manager.

He took time to talk to talk to the young reporter from the Stratford Express when others would have dismissed him within minutes and so started a long relationship that enabled Giller access to the Tottenham manager that others were denied.

As a manager, Nicholson hated being in the office with all the associated paperwork but was at his happiest on the training ground passing on the knowledge he had acquired under the tutelage of the former Tottenham manager, Arthur Rowe, and Walter Winterbottom, the England manager.

From conversations and interviews over the years, Giller has drawn together a wonderful account of the thoughts of Bill Nicholson on events throughout his career – his views on the individual members of the ‘Double’ team, on his players including Jimmy Greaves, Martin Chivers and Graeme Souness, his teams, the European adventures and his departure from White Hart Lane.

Speaking about Dave Mackay, Nicholson said,

"I’ve often gone on record as saying that Dave Mackay was my best signing. I did not just get a player from Hearts, I got a motivator. He could bring the best out of his team mates by his effort and enthusiasm…..the heart and soul of the team."

There are many interesting stories retold in the book which closes with the tributes from former Tottenham players, managers who knew Nicholson and from the Tottenham fans and supporters.

Bill Nicholson Revisited is an interesting book which no-one else could have written as few were afforded the opportunity that Norman Giller had to meet, talk and discuss Tottenham and football in general with Bill Nicholson.

Don’t miss this opportunity to discover the inner thoughts of Bill Nicholson as told by Norman Giller.

***You can order a copy of the book: here