SPURS' FIRST TITLE SUCCESS - THE STORY OF 1950-51 - April & May 1951
(all articles written by the late Brian Judson - unless otherwise stated)
Tottenham Hotspur: First Division Champions 1950-51
Standing, left to right: C. Poynton (trainer), W.E. Nicholson, A.E. Ramsey, H. Clarke, E.G. Ditchburn, A. Willis, R. Burgess (captain), Mr A. Rowe (manager)
Seated left to right: W.E. Walters, L.D. Bennett, L. Duquemin, E.F. Baily, L.D. Medley
On Wednesday, April 4th, 1951, Newcastle United lost at home to Aston Villa, 0-1, which more or less eliminated them from the race for the title. At the Hawthorns, West Bromwich Albion lost at home to Blackpool, 3-1. The Seasiders were nicely tucked in behind Spurs and Manchester United should either of the leading two start to slip.
On Saturday, April 7th 1951, Spurs moved closer to winning the title when they travelled to Newcastle United and won 1-0. Walters scored the vital goal. (Final score:- Newcastle 0 Spurs 1. Attendance:- 41,241) Stoke City surprisingly beat Manchester United, 2-0, at the Victoria Ground to put a huge dent in their hopes of catching Tottenham. Blackpool also lost ground on Tottenham, surprisingly losing to Huddersfield Town, at Leeds Road, 2-1. This victory put the Terriers seven points clear of
the bottom duo, Sheffield Wednesday and Chelsea. The Owls drew at home with Fulham, 2-2, who were themselves not safe.
In another relegation battle, Chelsea drew 1-1 with Aston Villa, at Stamford Bridge. The third team in deep trouble, Everton, drew 1-1 against Wolverhampton Wanderers, at Goodison Park.
Of the other matches, Arsenal, now well out of the race for the title, lost at home to Liverpool, 2-1. Middlesbrough's own championship aspirations died in a 1-1 draw at Ayresome Park against Bolton Wanderers.
The remaining matches saw Burnley beat Derby County 1-0, at Turf Moor, Portsmouth and Sunderland draw 0-0 at Fratton Park, and West Bromwich Albion beat Charlton Athletic, 3-0, at the Hawthorns.
On Wednesday, April 11th 1951, Middlesbrough crashed at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers, 2-1, to confirm the belief they were out of the race for the title. This is, I believe, was the closest Middlesbrough have
ever come to winning the Championship. Newcastle United and Portsmouth drew 0-0 at St James's Park. Presumably, the Magpies had one eye on their forthcoming Cup Final against Blackpool.
On the morning of Saturday, April 14th 1951, Spurs required only two points to clinch the championship. They were at home to Huddersfield Town and were without Alf Ramsey, who was at Wembley, playing for England against Scotland. Withers deputised for Ramsey. However, Spurs crashed, 0-2, for the third time that season against the relegation threatened side. (Final score:- Spurs 0 Huddersfield 2. Attendance:- 55,014)
Manchester United beat West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford, 3-0, to reduce the gap to three points. Blackpool beat Middlesbrough, 2-1, at Bloomfield Road. to hang on to third place. Fast fading Arsenal travelled to Craven Cottage and lost 3-2 to Fulham.
At the bottom of the table, there was a major surprise as Bolton Wanderers lost at home to Sheffield Wednesday, 1-0. Things looked bleak for Chelsea after they had crashed against Derby County, 1-0, at the Baseball Ground. Elsewhere, Sunderland thrashed Everton, at Roker Park, 4-0, to increase Everton's problems.
Of the other games, Aston Villa and Portsmouth drew 3-3 at Villa Park, Charlton Athletic lost at home to Newcastle United, 3-1, Liverpool beat Burnley, 1-0, at Anfield, and Wolverhampton Wanderers lost at home to Stoke City, 3-2.
On Wednesday, April 18th 1951, Huddersfield Town beat Chelsea, 2-1, to increase their chances of avoiding relegation whilst adding to Chelsea's problems. Newcastle United lost at home to Bolton Wanderers, 0-1, as they caught up with their backlog of fixtures. Sheffield Wednesday beat Derby County, 4-3, in the hope of avoiding relegation.
On Saturday, April 21st 1951, Spurs made another long journey to the North-East to play Middlesbrough, at Ayresome Park. The game was drawn 1-1. It was the reliable reserve Murphy who scored the vital goal. (Final score:- Middlesbrough 1 Spurs 1. Attendance:- 36,689) Meanwhile, down the road at Newcastle, Manchester United were winning 2-0 to reduce Spurs' lead to three points. Blackpool crashed at Hillsborough, losing to the resurgent Owls, Sheffield Wednesday, 3-1.
At the bottom of the table, Chelsea beat Liverpool, 1-0, whilst Everton crashed at home to Aston Villa, 2-1. Huddersfield Town picked up another valuable point against Charlton Athletic in a 1-1 draw at Leeds Road. Fulham ensured they were safe for another season by beating Burnley, 2-0, at Turf Moor.
Of the other matches, Arsenal drew with Bolton Wanderers, 1-1, at Highbury. Portsmouth and Derby County drew 2-2 at Fratton Park, Stoke City lost at home to Sunderland, 4-2 and West Bromwich Albion beat
Wolverhampton Wanderers, 3-2, in the South Staffordshire derby.
On Wednesday, April 25th 1951, Chelsea beat Wolverhampton Wanderers, 2-1, at Stamford Bridge, an important victory in their fight to avoid the drop. At Anfield, Liverpool and Aston Villa drew 0-0.
On Saturday, April 28th 1951, Spurs clinched the championship for the first time when they beat Sheffield Wednesday, at Tottenham, 1-0, just as they would ten years later. Duquemin scored the vital goal a
minute before half-time. (Final score:- Spurs 1 Sheffield Wednesday 0. Attendance:- 46,645) Manchester United thrashed Huddersfield Town, 6-0, at Old Trafford but the championship had slipped from their grasp.
There was a reduced match programme as Newcastle United were playing Blackpool at Wembley in the FA Cup Final. But there were two games with a relegation issue at stake. Everton increased their chances of survival by going to Derby County and winning, 1-0. The other relegation match involved the South West London neighbours, Fulham and Chelsea. The Pensioners, as they were then known. won 2-1.
Of the other matches, Bolton Wanderers beat Wolverhampton Wanderers, 2-1, at Burnden Park, Charlton Athletic beat rapidly fading Middlesbrough, 3-0, at the Valley, and Sunderland and West Bromwich Albion drew 1-1 at Roker Park.
On Wednesday, May 2nd 1951, Blackpool crashed at home to Arsenal, 0-1, to seal the disappointment of missing out on the League title after losing to Newcastle United in the Cup Final. Fulham lost at home to Portsmouth, 1-4, but had done enough to avoid the drop but the omens for the following season were not good. Wolverhampton Wanderers entertained the newly crowned Cup Winners, Newcastle United and lost, 0-1.
The last Saturday of the season, May 5th 1951, saw Arthur Drewry present the Championship shield to Ronnie Burgess prior to their home match against Liverpool, which Spurs won, 3-1. Murphy scored twice and Walters
once as Spurs celebrated in the spring sunshine. (Final score:- Spurs 3 Liverpool 1. Attendance:- 49,072) Blackpool and Manchester United drew 1-1 at Bloomfield Road so the visitors finished runners-up to Tottenham.
The relegation issue went to the wire. Sheffield Wednesday thrashed Everton, 6-0, at Hillsborough, which condemned Everton to relegation for only the second time in their long career in the Football League since
they helped to found the League in September 1888. But the joy at Hillsborough quickly evaporated when they heard that Chelsea had thrashed Bolton Wanderers, 4-0, at Stamford Bridge and stayed up on goal-average.
Of the other games, Aston Villa thrashed Stoke City, at Villa Park, 6-2, Charlton Athletic lost at home to Derby County, 2-1, Newcastle United beat Middlesbrough, 1-0, at St James's Park, Portsmouth beat Burnley, 2-1, at Fratton Park, and Sunderland and Wolverhampton Wanderers fought out a 0-0 raw at Roker Park.
A memorable season for Tottenham was over!
Pos. P W D L F-A Pts
1 Spurs 42 25 10 7 82-44 60 C
2 Man Utd 42 24 8 10 74-40 56
3 Blackpool 42 20 10 12 79-53 50
4 Newcastle 42 18 13 11 62-53 49
5 Arsenal 42 19 9 14 73-56 47
6 Middlesbrough 42 18 11 13 76-65 47
7 Portsmouth 42 16 15 11 71-68 47
8 Bolton 42 19 7 16 64-61 45
9 Liverpool 42 16 11 15 53-59 43
10 Burnley 42 14 14 14 48-43 42
11 Derby County 42 16 8 18 81-75 40
12 Stoke City 42 13 14 15 50-59 40
13 Sunderland 42 12 16 14 63-73 40
14 Wolves 42 15 8 19 74-61 38
15 Aston Villa 42 12 13 17 66-68 37
16 West Brom 42 13 11 18 53-61 37
17 Charlton 42 14 9 19 63-80 37
18 Fulham 42 13 11 18 52-68 37
19 Huddersfield 42 15 6 21 64-92 36
20 Chelsea 42 12 8 22 53-65 32
21 Sheffield Wed 42 12 8 22 64-83 32 R
22 Everton 42 12 8 22 48-86 32 R