Our First Division title in 1951. The double in 1961. The first English team to win a UEFA competition in 1963. There have been some great moments in the history of Tottenham Hotspur football club over the years.
Most of these have been documented in books, of which I own a fair few, but not until recently had I enjoyed the opportunity to read the newspaper columns from the days of these wondrous events.
I’m a big fan of nostalgia products and so to read through the journalistic accounts from the time was something new.
It not only allowed me to reminisce over the events that I had witnessed, but also gave me a different viewpoint on the moments that came before my time. I’ve read about them in many a book, but to browse the newspaper editorial from the day, gave a new perspective on these previously chartered waters.
How ‘outside left’ Jimmy Dimmock won the 1921 FA Cup Final with a ‘slashing drive’ after ‘King George insisted on shaking the player’s hand despite the heavy rain.’
Or how Danny Blanchflower joking with a reporter speculating over his retirement after the 1962 Cup Final said ‘I may go on until i’m too old or someone offers me an easier job!’ Whilst he described the Final itself as ‘an enjoyable one, but not an exhilarating one.’
A favourite is how the great Bill Nicholson responded to our victory over Sheffield Wednesday to secure the first part of our historic double. He naturally took it comfortably in his stride, declaring afterwards ‘now for that record’ as he spoke about beating Arsenal’s all-time tally of 66-points.
But it’s not just the quotes in amongst the headlines from greats like Blanchflower, Greaves, Lineker, Hoddle and Nicholson. The accounts of the games themselves are also from a different angle from those found in a biography, sounding more like a Pathe News report.
The ‘immaculate soccer machine’ won the 1961 Cup Final ‘with a headed goal from Dyson made by four men, just as scores of Spurs’ efforts have been this season.’
Or how Ricky Villa ‘didn’t look too pleased about being taken off’ in the 1981 Cup Final against Manchester City in the initial 1-1 draw. Only for the report on the replay to declare ‘you could not write as fiction, and have it accepted, the story of the match that Ricky Villa played!’
Whilst the match reports from the recent past in this collection have the depth and detail that we’ve come to expect from the modern era. The character of those describing the 1921 Cup Final win as ‘splendid’ or how ‘after the final whistle the players sang for he’s a jolly good fellow’ also give it an added charm.
What’s more, the great games and goals are also alongside the big headlines from the day.
Jimmy Greaves revealing Spurs ‘could have signed him for nothing.’ Whilst Gary Lineker decided ‘the time was right to come back to England, so I got in touch with Spurs. I wanted to come back to a big club and Tottenham are one of those.’
Overall, this is a thoroughly unique history of Tottenham Hotspur football club from the newspaper archives. It’s a truly enjoyable read from a different perspective to the usual biographical book and available from Great Experiences. Order now to get it in time for Christmas.