FIFTY YEARS AFTER
The Double Series was written by the eminent Brian Judson
Spurs marched closer to the title on Saturday, April 1st 1961 by thrashing
Preston North End 5-0. Marchi, replacing Dave Mackay, had a superb game.
Les Allen provided the pass from which White scored in the third minute.
Soon afterwards, Spurs were 2-0 up as Cliff Jones ended a man-to-man
passing bout that had begun with Blanchflower at the other end of the
pitch. That was the 100th League goal of the season for Spurs. Saul headed
the third after a left-footed centre from White. The fourth came after a
foul on Allen. Blanchflower appeared to hesitate as he shaped to take the
kick before he chipped the ball to Jones, who scored, whilst Preston were
still trying to work out what Blanchflower was doing. The fifth goal came
when Jones scored with a sparkling overhead kick. Had Spurs taken all of
the chances they created, they would have won 10-0.
Sheffield Wednesday could only draw 1-1 at Blackburn Rovers, which swung
the bookmakers solidly behind Tottenham. Wolves beat Manchester City at
Molineux to keep their fading hopes still flying but Burnley's 2-2 draw at
Filbert Street against Leicester ended any hopes they had of retaining the
Blackpool crashed at home against West Bromwich Albion to increase their
fears for the drop. Fulham lost at Old Trafford but Bolton snatched a
valuable point at home to Arsenal to increase their chances of survival.
Final score - Spurs 5 Preston North End 0. Attendance:- 46,325.
On the Easter Monday, (April 3rd)Spurs completed the double over Chelsea. But Spurs
had a fright before they were assured of the win that put them within
touching range of the title. Spurs went ahead in the 7th minute when Bobby
Smith, restored to the side after injury, powered home a header. Chelsea
lost Peter Brabrook with a dislocated shoulder in the 33rd minute,
reducing Chelsea to ten men in those pre-substitute days, after Norman had
tackled him after Brabrook had threatened to score. Four minutes later,
Greaves equalised for Chelsea but had the goal disallowed because someone
else had been offside. Greaves protested and had his name taken. In the
second half, Frank Blunstone equalised within three minutes of the
re-start. Then Blunstone laid on a pass for Greaves to score in the 56th
minute. But shortly afterwards Terry Medwin headed home the equaliser.
Spurs powered forward for the winner and grabbed it when Norman headed
home a free-kick taken by Dave Mackay.
Sheffield Wednesday were effectively the only team that could catch Spurs
now but they could only draw 1-1 with relegation haunted Newcastle United,
which, more or less, ended the Owls hopes. On paper they could catch Spurs
but they required a monumental slice of luck.
Preston and Manchester City, two of the other teams in trouble, drew 1-1
at Deepdale, whilst Blackpool crashed 2-0 at Old Trafford. Final score - Chelsea 2 Spurs 3. Attendance:- 57,103.
Spurs then travelled to Birmingham City on Saturday April 8th. Spurs took a shock
lead in the first minute when White headed a corner from Cliff Jones on to
the bar and Bobby Smith forced home the rebound. White then had a goal
disallowed for offside. Spurs then added a second, despite Smith being
clearly offside, Smith steered the ball past the goalkeeper to present
Allen with the simplest of tap-ins. White cashed in on a poor Birmingham
pass to put Spurs 3-0 ahead. But, roared on by the crowd, Birmingham
fought back. They were awarded a penalty in the 39th minute for a foul on
Bloomfield. Harris fired the ball wide but the referee decided Brown had
moved before the kick was taken and allowed Harris to re-take the penalty.
Harris made no mistake this time. Two minutes after the break, Harris
smacked the ball home after a cross from Bloomfield. Birmingham poured
forward seeking an equaliser but Spurs hung on to secure a famous victory.
Sheffield Wednesday dropped another point at home to Leicester City which
ensured the following week's clash of the titans would effectively settle
the destination of the title should Spurs win.
All the teams at the bottom of the table lost. Bolton lost 2-0 at Burnley,
Blackpool lost at Highbury, Newcastle crashed 4-0 at home to Everton and
Preston crashed 2-1 at home to Wolves.Final score - Birmingham 2 Spurs 3. Attendance:- 40,961.
The following Saturday, with the Spurs game postponed to the Monday, the
focus was placed on the relegation battle. Preston and Newcastle United
both lost (to Aston Villa and Blackpool respectively) to increase the
dangers of relegation. Bolton beat Nottingham Forest and Manchester City
drew at West Ham to enhance their chances of survival.
Postponed from the Saturday, because of the England -v- Scotland
international (which England won 9-3), Spurs clinched the title on the
following Monday, April 17th. After 30 minutes, Sheffield Wednesday were
awarded a free-kick when Don Megson gathered a rebound from the Spurs wall
to fire the ball home. Three minutes before half-time, Spurs equalised.
Baker started the move with a 40-yard clearance. Dyson, the smallest
player on the field, outjumped Megson who was 12" taller than him, and
backheaded the ball to Smith. Smith eluded Swan and then hooked the ball
past Ron Springett, the visitors' goalkeeper. One minute later, Norman
headed a free-kick, taken by Danny Blanchflower, down to the feet of Les
Allen, who crashed the ball home. When the final whistle echoed, Spurs
were Champions. The crowd invaded the pitch and raced across to the old
West Stand. They chanted "WE WANT DANNY! WE WANT DANNY! WE WANT DANNY!"
and refused to leave the ground until Blanchflower led the team out to
acknowledge the supporters. Final score - Spurs 2 Sheffield Wednesday 1. Attendance:- 61,205.
On the following Saturday (April 22nd), Spurs travelled to Burnley for their last away
match of the season. Spurs were lucky to avoid a heavier defeat than 4-2.
Only Bill Brown kept the score down to a reasonable level. Spurs' first
goal came against the run of play when Baker scored with a long range
speculative pot shot. Smith added a second when Dyson lobbed the ball for
Smith to head home, also against the run of play. Harris reduced the
arrears in the 58th minute when put through by McIlroy. Nine minutes
later, Pointer crossed from the left to provide McIlroy with the chance to
equalise. Harris put Burnley ahead in the 84th minute when McIlroy put him
through. There was a further Burnley goal scored in the 88th minute by Robson.
Preston and Blackpool had both played in midweek, picking up a valuable
point by drawing against Bolton and Manchester City respectively. But on
the Saturday, Preston crashed at home to Manchester United, which left
them dangerously poised for the drop. Newcastle beat Bolton and Blackpool
won at Birmingham but there was only one game left for them, which they
had to win to ensure survival. Final score - Burnley 4 Spurs 2. Attendance:- 28,991.
The following Wednesday evening (April 26th)saw Spurs beat Nottingham Forest, thus
equalising Arsenal's record number of points for the First Division title.
The only goal of the game came in the 64th minute when Medwin's left foot
diverted the ball into the Forest goal past the unfortunate Grummitt, who
was destined to suffer lumbago two seasons later, when Spurs thrashed
Nottingham Forest, 9-2. Spurs played some terrible football and were
fortunate to win. Final score - Spurs 1 Nottingham Forest 0. Attendance:- 35,743.
For their final League match of the season, Spurs played West Bromwich
Albion. The looming Cup Final against Leicester City was clearly on their
minds. All of the team played well below par and Derek Kevan, no great
shakes as a striker (in modern parlance) certainly took advantage of it.
Bobby Smith put Spurs ahead four minutes after the break but looked
suspiciously offside. West Bromwich fought back. Derek Kevan snatched the
equaliser from Clive Clark, who had been signed from QPR. Their winner
came in the 62nd minute when Bobby Robson (yes, that Bobby Robson!) fired
a shot from fully 25 yards out. Brown was so stunned he didn't even move.
Preston could only draw at Bolton and were relegated. Newcastle won at
Blackburn and must have thought they were safe but Blackpool got the draw
they needed against Manchester City to survive. Preston have never been
back to the top flight since then. Final score - Spurs 1 West Brom 2. Attendance:- 52,054.
And so to Wembley. (on Saturday May 6th)It was our first FA Cup Final since April 1921 when Jimmy Dimmock's goal had beaten Wolves at Stamford Bridge. Bill Nicholson,
aware how tired the team were and aware of the strength-sapping turf, was
ultra cautious in his tactical planning. He knew Spurs could not afford to
play cavalier football of the kind that had excited fans up and down the
country all season.
Leicester City sprang a huge pre-match surprise by sensationally dropping
Ken Leek, who had scored in every match in the Cup so far, in favour of
the untried and untested Hugh McIlmoyle, who was later to travel widely
around the minor Football League clubs.
When Blanchflower was introducing his team to the Duchess of Kent, she
commented that Leicester's players had been wearing tracksuits with their
names on them but Spurs hadn't. Blanchflower quipped, "I know, ma'am, but
we all know each other, they don't!"
Spurs played on the attack for five minutes after the kick-off and then
withdrew to what we now call the midfield, with the intention of making
Leicester City make all the running, thus tiring themselves out. But in
those first five minutes, Spurs could have gone ahead. White saw a shot
whiz wide from eight yards when it looked easier to score. After that,
Spurs ceded control of the midfield as pre-arranged in the tactical
planning. The turning point came in the 19th minute of the game when
Chalmers, trying to clear the ball, and Allen collided and Chalmers
collapsed in a heap. Allen was soon up after treatment by Cecil Poynton
but Chalmers needed lengthy treatment and could only hobble about. Today,
of course, he would have been whipped off and replaced by a substitute but
substitutes were not allowed until the start of the 1963-64 season. With
Chalmers hobbling about on the wing, Spurs now had a definite advantage.
McLintock was forced to drop back to right-back and Keyworth to
right-half. In the 38th minute, Cliff Jones scored what looked a perfectly
good goal but the linesman, who happened to be one Harry New, flagged for
But towards the end of the second half, Blanchflower noticed that
Leicester were beginning to flag and tire. He urged his players forward.
Then, with 21 minutes to go, Allen pushed the ball to Dyson, who prodded
it on to Smith. Smith pivoted like a ballet dancer and smashed the ball
past the bewildered Gordon Banks. The Spurs players raced to congratulate
Smith. Seven minutes later, Chalmers lost the ball to White, who pushed it
on to Smith. A quick look at the goalmouth and Smith hoisted the ball to
the far post where Dyson outjumped everyone to head a spectacular goal.
Again, Spurs celebrated whilst Chalmers limped off the field. Final score - Spurs 2 Leicester 0. Attendance:- 100,000.
Blanchflower led his team up the steps to the Royal Box to receive the Cup
from Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent. The first modern League and Cup
Double had been achieved.
The following day, there was a victorious open-top bus procession from
Edmonton Green's Town Hall to Tottenham's Town Hall, opposite the Prince
of Wales Hospital, now closed and converted to flats. It was estimated
that two million people thronged the route of the procession to celebrate
Pos Pl W D L F A Pts
1 Spurs 42 31 4 7 115 55 66 (C)
2 Sheff Wed 42 23 12 7 78 47 58
3 Wolves 42 25 7 10 103 75 57
4 Burnley 42 22 7 13 102 77 51
5 Everton 42 22 6 14 87 68 49
6 Leicester 42 18 9 15 87 70 45
7 Man Utd 42 18 9 15 88 76 45
8 Blackburn 42 15 13 14 77 76 43
9 A. Villa 42 17 9 16 78 77 43
10 West Brom 42 18 5 19 67 71 42
11 Arsenal 42 15 11 16 77 85 41
12 Chelsea 42 15 7 20 98 100 37
13 Man City 42 13 11 18 78 91 37
14 Nottm Fst 42 14 9 19 62 78 37
15 Cardiff 42 13 11 18 60 85 37
16 West Ham 42 13 10 19 77 86 36
17 Fulham 42 14 8 20 72 95 36
18 Bolton 42 12 11 19 58 73 35
19 Birmingham 42 14 6 22 62 84 35
20 Blackpool 42 12 9 21 68 73 33
21 Newcastle 42 11 10 21 86 109 32 (R)
22 Preston 42 10 10 22 43 71 30 (R)